The answer is the front end is mostly for potential new members.
There are of course other stakeholders. Media. Local government departments.
However, it’s the biggest job the website has is to sell the value of collaboration and membership to prospects. Answer how you’re going to achieve this and you have a content strategy for the website.
The back-end is for existing members. I’d tip that most DMOs don’t have this sorted.
So, what the heck do I mean by front-end and back-end, how are they different and why is the back-end the exclusive domain of members?
The front-end of the website is the public-facing stuff. What anyone in the world sees when they hit the site, without the need to log-in.
The back-end is the experience one might get when they are logged-in to a website.
You might be familiar with a Content Management System; something like WordPress. This is an example of a back-end. You log in and you’re experience with the site changes. You’ve now got increased access and permission to do things that you can’t if you’re not logged in.
Why would a member need to log-in? Well, historically, they probably haven’t had to. Like I mentioned, I’m tipping very few DMOs actually offer members a logged-in experience. But this is going to change.
Why? Because you are competing with Chambers Of Commerce. Other subscriptions. Other training platforms. Other mentors.
To date, you haven’t felt the pressure because there has been enough money around, a lack of data to demonstrate your impact (or lack thereof), not too much competition and a shortage of exceptional online training options specific to the industry – and a predisposition to dislike the idea of online meetings and training.
In 2020, all that change for the tourism industry.
Money dried up. Operators disappeared, were acquired, or consolidated. Business owners realized it’s actually incredibly efficient to get their information and training online.
And you were more helpful to them too!
You felt the urge to respond to the situation everyone found themselves in. From what I witnessed, you responded with gusto.
You parked membership fees for certain periods of time, there was more focus on your members’ needs, and you got more done. Your communication improved, your delivery of training improved and your members responded positively. Right?
So you see? The landscape has changed now, forever. Value has been scrutinized; improved. The bar has been raised.
DMOs must adapt because you’re operators already have. Or, expect to lose them.
Your member is going to expect more personalization, more communication, better training, better data, more value.
Tieing together your website and an email marketing platform just isn’t going to cut it.
Your corporate website back-end (or a learning management system) will be how you deliver it.