When was the last time you visited a tourist office web site and booked your accommodation, possibly even with the flights and a few activities and attractions to complete the trip? You can admit it – never… OK, I might be exaggerating a bit, but the example serves to underline the problem of the role of DMOs in the current tourist sector distribution system.
A little reminder for those who have just joined us – DMO stands for Destination Marketing Organization, and their main mission is to attract visitors to their region. They are responsible for the development and promotion of tourism, and are mainstays of the tourism industry.
DestinationNext Futures Study 2017 has just published a study focusing on the concerns of DMO managers. It’s time for us to provide you with the trends and opportunities the destination marketing industry is facing up to.
Towards the re-engineering of the tourism trade
5 opportunities for transformation were identified by DestinationNext for DMOs to be efficient and relevant in the evolution of the world of tourism events; and surprising though it may be, this re-engineering of trades does not depend solely on tourism competences.
Curators: official experts at the destination
Historically, DMOs hire third parties (advertising agencies, bloggers, journalists) to generate tourism content. Nevertheless, omnipresent access to information channels has led to a paradox for consumers. Infobesity is becoming and a more and more common term – travelers find themselves in an ocean of information and it gets more and more difficult to find what they are looking for. They need a lot of time to search and consult the different sources of information; the e-tourist is a being in a hurry, he wants quick access to coherent, relevant and authentic content about the experiences at destination. So why not make the most of this opportunity as a DMO to do some content curation and reduce it to the most relevant about the destination? Becoming an information channel manager and curator means you can guarantee the authenticity, relevance and neutrality of the information.
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts”.
Sherlock Holmes, private detective information is mixed in with strategy; the idea here is to mobilize knowledge and tools to help with group decisions, data management and analysis concerning the territory and in companies so that the DMO can take strategic decisions and get the edge over the competition. Data management is a real springboard to the tourism of the future.
Catalysts: economic developers of the destination
As a worldwide economic leader, tourism generates income from investment, formulas for export and domestic and international exchanges for destinations. DMOs therefore play an essential role in the economic promotion of their territory, by helping the community to deploy development projects, linked to a greater or lesser degree to tourism. The study advises a holistic approach, more integrated in the environment and involving all sectors in development.
Place Makers: the creator of community spaces
Few DMOs take an active part in the creation of community spaces. Hence direct involvement and partners are essential for enabling culture, preservation and the presentation of a wide range of authentic experiences for visitors. The idea is to adopt innovative strategies to take advantage of opportunities and play for the stakes of tomorrow’s tourism.
Collaborators in strategic networks
It is crucial for DMOs to build up numerous networks, many of which should be beyond the traditional grouping together of the tourism companies that have characterized this industry for so long. For example, they should establish relationships with financial agencies, universities and other companies in multiple sectors; and above all set up alliances with agreements and commercial travel customers. The co-creation of the destination becomes a dominating model in all sectors, and should form part of DMO’s development strategies.
Troy Thompson wrote an article entitled “3 reasons why DMOs will not survive” on his blog in 2014. Three years later, it turns out they are still with us. In fact, in the midst of a prosperous tourism economy, destination marketing leaders are at a suggestive turning point. The world visitor economy is transforming the way tourism is created, sold and consumed. It is necessary for these entities to adapt to tourists’ contemporary usages by offering added value.
“Digital media and social networks, together with the increased number of individual travellers who organize everything themselves, are forcing DMOs to adapt quickly, to show their skills and digital intelligence in order to enhance their relevance for consumers”.
Rafat Ali, CEO and founder of Skift