Tourisme Montréal has laid out a plan that combines the benefits of digital marketing with tried-and-true hospitality traditions, and is determined to grow its annual overnight hotel stays by 6 percent per year over the next five years.
The main priorities at Tourisme Montréal include developing new tourism markets and strengthening international ties; promoting Montréal’s authentic and creative urban character; personalizing the visitor’s experience; and helping to develop the city’s tourism infrastructure, including “cultural neighborhoods.”
Announcing the strategy recently to the local tourism industry, Yves Lalumière, president and CEO of Tourisme Montréal, called the goal of generating an additional 1.5 million overnight stays by 2022 as “ambitious.” The organization is looking to attract 13.5 million tourists annually by 2022, more than two million more than in 2017.
Like many other industry destinations and suppliers, a key tool in Montréal’s plan is the development of a customer relationship management database to better plan and target visitors and build “market intelligence on visitors coming to the city to enable more effective consumer targeting,” the organization said in an accompanying press release.
The database was completed in June 2017, in cooperation with Montréal’s tourism partners, said Andrée-Anne Pelletier, Tourisme Montréal’s manager of corporate public relations.
At its core, it has 125,000 contacts who subscribe to the agency’s newsletters, including “meeting planners and associations for the business side, and an extensive database of members and tourist business organizations and journalists,” she said.
“From there, we created a business intelligence team to understand consumers’ behavior and optimized our actions [communication, marketing, tourist development and industry insights] for us and for the tourism industry of the province,” said Pelletier.
Tourisme Montréal plans to use the tool to market to consumers through email, Facebook ads and other social media channels, enabling the organization to “follow the visitor thoroughly through his [trip] planification [sic] process, and provide him with accurate content based on his field of interest, before, during and after his visit,” Pelletier said.
The organization has more than 20 social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
While technology is a core part of Tourisme Montréal’s platform, the organization will also focus on promoting the city as a “creative and open destination,” while stepping up efforts to improve initiatives related to welcoming tourists and developing new products, she said.
Pelletier described the strategy as positioning Montréal “as an active and friendly destination where you can live a unique and an original experience, where creativity is expressed throughout different ways like festivals, culture, gastronomy, etc.,” she said.
Focusing on tourists from Canada, the U.S. and China
Tourists from within Canada and the northeast U.S., which represent 50 percent of Tourisme Montréal’s marketing investments, will remain a key focus. Pelletier said that new marketing campaigns for both markets will launch soon.
However, the city and surrounding region are also investing in high-potential markets like China. Earlier this month, Tourisme Montréal began training local tourism employees in how to “effectively welcome Chinese tourists and cater to their preferences.”
Tourisme Montréal estimates that about 124,000 Chinese tourists visited Montréal in 2017, and that this number will grow 15 percent in 2018, and maintain a 12-13 percent annual growth rate through 2020, due to more direct air service and promotional initiatives.
If these growth rates hold, China would become the second most important overseas market for Montréal within the next five years, Tourisme Montréal said.
Pelletier said that Tourisme Montréal is “currently collaborating” with destination Canada and the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec on different ways to work with travel agents to support these initiatives.