Connecting the Dots Between Actions and Outcomes, with Jay Kinghorn

Episode 299

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Jay Kinghorn leads Zartico’s data and analytics team, helping destination marketing organizations (DMOs) use data-centered insights to market and manage their destinations more effectively.

Zartico’s mission is to provide the clearest perspective of the visitor economy. As the world’s first Destination Operating System®, Zartico combines science, technology and domain expertise to create SMART destinations and positively impact communities. Through its proprietary integrated data model, Zartico answers the “why”. With decades of destination and travel experience, Zartico is uniquely positioned to lead the transformation from global destination marketing to global destination leadership.

Jay was previously the Associate Marketing Director at the Utah Office of Tourism, where he led the agency’s content, social, marketing analytics, and digital marketing initiatives. In 2017, Jay received the Peter Yesawich Award for marketing excellence from the Travel and Tourism Research Association and MMGY Global.

Jay is a Colorado native living in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and two children. He enjoys trail running, watching his son’s soccer games, and skate skiing.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Jay Kinghorn about the challenges that DMOs face when trying to interpret data. He shares how the right tools can help destinations make better decisions that will lead to better outcomes for their communities. Jay also describes the five foundations for the contemporary DMOs that he hopes will solidify into industry-wide standards in the not-too-distant future.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How Jay transitioned from photography into travel and tourism
  • Three reasons Jay and his partners were motivated to start Zartico
  • What a Destination Operating System is and how it helps you understand the rhythms and the flows of your destination
  • What the three core data sets can tell a DMO about their visitors
  • How to use data to introduce visitors to new opportunities within a community
  • The five foundations that will help to solve a DMOs marketing challenges, including demand generation, visitor distribution, economic opportunity, accountability, and stability

Destination Operation Systems

Jay shares why he didn’t want Zartico to be just a passive reporting platform but something that helps you understand your destination’s rhythms and flows. He describes why the critical components within their destination operating system rest on three core data sets – anonymized geolocation data, anonymized credit card data, and predictive event-related data, all of which help you understand visitor data.


We discuss how destination operating systems can really make an impact and help drive visitors from big attractions into smaller local businesses. DMOs have leveraged digital tools to become expert multimedia storytellers to communicate the story around the people, places, experiences, and historical and cultural touchstones that make your destination unique.

A DMO can play a vital role in layering in how to have a local experience and experience the unique cultures that form part of the region. DMOs need to think creatively about how to tell their stories, and that’s where Zartico’s operating system connects the dots between actions and outcomes.

The Future Framework

According to Jay, the five foundations that will help to solve a DMOs marketing challenges are demand generation, visitor distribution, economic opportunity, accountability, and stability. He shares why he hopes that DMOs will start to adopt this as a framework and help flesh it out so that, as an industry, we can grow around the five foundations by understanding how the data can help you strategically drive demand in your location.


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