It seems that every other day I see more evidence that the role of destination marketing organizations (DMOs) is under greater threats and challenges than ever before. The diminishing role of print and broadcast advertising, the ready availability of new sources of unbiased destination information and new distribution systems all challenge DMOs to redefine the value that they add for their community. They must not only adjust to reduced budgets, but also avoid the ongoing technological and consumer behavior changes that are totally reshaping the game. Added to that, there are now previously unseen competitors and alternatives that threaten to replace them. Never before has the relevance and role of DMOs been as hotly debated.
It’s not hard to find DMOs that have had their budgets decimated or even worse are closing their doors. In most cases, this is extremely short-termed thinking where the objective has been to balance the City’s bottom line because of shortfalls in taxes and revenue. Cities that are serious about economic development and tourism, and the long term prosperity and growth of their communities need their DMO and the stellar reputation for their city like never before. However, in this environment DMOs must adjust their focus, role and the way that they operate. Specifically, they must become brand managers on behalf of their cities.
These challenges have been addressed by DMAI in its excellent DestinationNEXT Report which provides an important strategic roadmap for DMOs to succeed in the future. The Report reveals three transformational opportunities that DMO have to effectively address in this rapidly changing world. These transformational opportunities are:
- Dealing with the new marketplace
- Building and protecting the destination brand
- Evolving the DMO business model
Recommending that DMOs become brand managers by building and protecting their brand is not new to the TDM team. We have been advocating this for more than a decade.
In Part Two, next week, we will consider the opportunities and benefits that a brand management approach will open for DMOs and cities of all sizes.
Produced by: Total Destination Marketing
Best Selling Book: Destination Branding for Small Cities
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