PhoCusWright’s Executive Conference and some thoughts on DMOs……

Posted on November 17, 2006. Filed under: Tourism, Travel2.0 |

Another PhoCusWright Executive Conference is history and what an experience it was. In keeping with the them of “Travel 2.0 confronts the Establishment”, this truly was a 2.0 conference in terms of innovation in structure and staging. From everywhere in the entire conference area, including the trade show floor, and terrace for laptop users the more than 800 attendees could follow all presentations not only visually on screens but verbally by using the portable audio devices. Questions could be asked by SMS, e-Mail too for the timid who don’t want to raise their hand.

The level of participants, the content, the excitement, the buzz and the very high production values combined to make this the best ever in what is now an event with a twelve hear history. There is no comparison with others in the travel industry. As always,well staged and managed with the punctuality of a Swiss train schedule by the folks at PhoCusWright. Congrats!

All the major industry players were on hand including venture capitalists, financial analysts, the searchers and meta-searchers….In brief presentations, a select number of entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to present their innovative new web 2.0 ventures to the audience. Two of the more interesting new networking and collaboration tools are Plum who’s tag line is “you google, and then what?” very relevant to future online travel planning and a similar play Gusto concentrating on travel.

Conspicuous by their absence were, once again I might add, the DMOs. Granted there were a handful and the Canadian presence was larger than that of the U.S. No major city CVB, nor state office and hardly any foreign offices, except from Denmark and Ireland, were present.

It continues to puzzle me how so many of these organizations ignore an event recognized as the leading one in the travel industry focused on the future and fail to take advantage of the opportunities to see what the latest developments are that will have an impact on their role in the marketplace and let’s be quite frank about it, their future relevance.

Many DMOs complain about the problems they face to be taken seriously as professionals or to get adequate funding to remain active. Why then, are they so reluctant to seek outside strategic advice and engage people who are able to keep them on the leading edge of what’s going on in the online marketspace where today customers are making the decisions affecting their destinations?


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