Record Attendance Marks Destination Marketing Association International’s 100th Anniversary

August 5, 2014

Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) celebrated its 100th anniversary with record attendance of 1,400 delegates, as well as the launch of its Hall of Fame and presentation of a landmark study during its 2014 Annual Convention that took place July 21-23 at Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

“Our organization is delivering some of the most advanced research and insights shared in its 100-year history and opening new opportunities for DMOs to continue nurturing their business and their communities,” said Michael Gehrisch, president and CEO of DMAI.

Earlier this year, the association polled over 300 DMOs for its project DestinationNEXT: A Strategic Roadmap for the Next Generation of Global Destination Marketing. The findings of the first stage were revealed during the keynote address and focused on adoption of technology and social media, destination branding and economic development.

According to the study, the top five trends that impact the work of DMOs are:

·         Social media’s prominence in reaching the travel market

·         Mobile platforms and apps becoming the primary engagement platform for travelers

·         Customers increasingly seeking a personalized travel experience

·         Smart technology (e.g., phones, bag tags, and cards) creating new opportunities for innovative new services and processes

·         Travelers demanding more information, control, interaction, and personalization

The full report is available here.

The second step will focus on scenarios based on industry best practices that would help organizations of all sizes find the right pathway to becoming a “Destination Trailblazer.”

“The scenario concept is very significant because one size will not fit all,” said Paul Ouimel, executive president of Inter Vistas that was instrumental in the study. “There’s so much pressure on DMOs to generate room nights that it’s hard to do ‘cathedral thinking.’ For them to survive, the objective has to be consistent quality. It’s no longer enough to just sell.”

Transformation of technology dominated conversations at the event.

“For us, the next few years are going to be about business intelligence: gathering, aggregating and curating it,” said Scott Beck, chair-elect of DMAI and president of Visit Salt Lake.

 He also noted the impact of the industry’s changing economic model, where customers expect deep discounts on convention space and go through their own online channels to buy rooms. “You have stakeholders that want it the way it was and customers who are way ahead of the curve,” he added. “As a DMO, we’re in the epicenter.”

Fusing even basic business intelligence with high-tech tools can yield excellent results. When Fuseideas started working with Bermuda Tourism, the company digitized the business cards that had been collected by the organization over several years and created a digital profile of the visitors.

“Tech changes creative,” said the company’s CEO Dennis Franczak. “You can make creative messaging based on those profiles and target creative close to one on one, using interest and psychographic data.”

Custom, targeted content was a hot topic at the booth of Lonely Planet, offering online and offline solutions for DMOs with the look and feel of the famous guides. “Our clients are staying away from banner ads and instead, want custom microsites, itineraries and Spotify lists with specific themes,” said advertising solutions manager Clarice Bongolan.

Attendee Ida Jones with Lake Havasu City CVB was looking for tech ideas that help drive business. “We need to stay relevant in how we’re reaching our audiences,” she said and noted that she was excited about the second phase of the DestinationNEXT project, hoping it would feature scenarios she can use. “The role of CVBs is changing, and we want to make sure we’re keeping up,” Jones said.

Add new comment

Image CAPTCHA

Partner Voices

Atlantic City is a hidden gem along the New Jersey shoreline, offering visitors much more than a seaside destination. As Atlantic City has gone through numerous transitions, the destination is in the midst of the dawn of a new era, drawing from its rich history to meet the demands of the future.