The question will continue to be raised

Posted on March 22, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

about The value of DMOs as long as these organizations do not adapt to what is no longer that new of an environment.

In the past, a position of “neutrality” and just being an impartial information provider to both potential visitors and the travel industry intermediaries might have been valid due to a lack of alternatives to influence the decision making process for choosing a destination. This made the effectiveness of many of the DMO activities hard to measure by the yardsticks common in the commercial sector such as revenue generated or conversion of leads to sale etc. Again, twenty or more years ago that was mostly acceptable to politicians who controlled the purse strings and were satisfied with rather vague ROI claims, if that term was used at all.

The web has entirely changed the playing field and the rules of the game but many DMOs continue business as usual and only have added the website to many of their traditional activities. That no longer cuts it. The DMO website has to be the core engine that drives all marketing activities. Previous marketing activities have to be questioned and if necessary eliminated to free up funds for more effective web based initiatives.

For the first time DMOs have the ability to conduct commercial activities starting with accommodation bookings but also to play a useful role as platform providers for online sales of packages and local destination services. These are all tangible and measurable efforts that add value to potential visitors who increasingly start their vacation research and planning process on destination websites and not online travel agency sites. DMOs are in the ideal position of providing much desired one stop shopping to online travel buyers.

Destinations such as Switzerland, the Bahamas or in fact the entire Caribbean, and others are excellent examples how the traditional role of a DMO can be successfully extended with commercial efforts that not only can be clearly measured but produce much needed revenue and offer partnership opportunities previously not possible.

There is definitely no law that guarantees a DMOs existence and if more of them don’t start moving more aggressively towards making themselves an indispensable intermediary in the marketplace the more their existence will be questioned by those who are asked to provide funding.

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One Response to “The question will continue to be raised”

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Yeah, I actually tried to comment on that article, but a glitch prevented. Truth is, the notion scares the hell out of me.

Absolutely true, I’ve been telling my colleagues for years that anyone anywhere could be a DMO. The fact that we are “designated” is a privilege, not a right. If we can’t take advantage of being “official”, then we are truly lame. Fact is, we now operate in a profitless environment. We don’t rely on profit to survive! How long can we continue to receive funding based on CPI and questionable conversion surveys? Answer: Until someone comes along and makes us irrelevant.

So, if it no longer “costs” to do tourism promotion, will the margins associated with the activity incentive someone to do it effectively? Or fairly? Will cities like Ottawa become virtualized by people in their pajamas living in another place? Will destination promotion become purely driven by profits from distribution channels? Travel 2.0 will surely create some new equilibrium. Existing DMOs are ideally positioned to take advantage if they see the light. Or they will become a museum.

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