Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) promote the long-term development and marketing of a destination, focusing on convention sales, tourism marketing and service. (Destination Marketing Association International www.destinationmarketing.org)
The Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI)
Brad Toll, CDME, President/CEO of the Greater Green Bay CVB is a member of the The Destination Marketing Association International, which the majority of CVBs are members. It gives members the opportunity to network with their peers and take advantage of the resources that are available from around the world. “The Destination Marketing Association International (which used to be International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus) provides information on the “typical” DMO or Destination Marketing Organization. A CVB is a DMO and there are various types of DMOs. Some communities are so small that the Chamber of Commerce does the tourism marketing, they would then be considered a DMO.“
This international organization represents over 600 DMOs in nearly 20 countries.
Worldwide Economic Impact
Travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest service exports and largest employers. In the United States; for example, travel and tourism is the third biggest retail sales sector. The industry contributes more than US $599.2 billion annually to the nation’s economy and generates US $99.4 billion in tax revenues (2004 figures from the Travel Industry Association).
DMO budgets have stabilized this year with a median average of $2.8 million, but have yet to recover from their peak in 2008. ((Destination Marketing Association International www.destinationmarketing.org)
How Are CVBs Funded? How Can They Offer Free Services?
For most services, CVBs do not charge their clients — the visitor, the business traveler and the meeting planner. Instead, most DMOs are funded through a combination of occupancy taxes, membership dues, improvement districts and government resources. The vast majority (89%) receive hotel tax funding, averaging 79% of all revenue. In terms of private funding, 42% receive membership dues. (Destination Marketing Association International www.destinationmarketing.org)
In Bloomington, IN the CVB is funded through the bed tax in county, which is a 5% hotel bed tax on top of room rate; this is in addition to their 7% state tax. They use funds to market 50 plus miles out of their community, as well as share funding with their local convention center. Erin Erdmann, Convention Sales & Travel Media Manager with VISIT BLOOMINGTON explains, “This model works really well. Some CVBs are member based so they operate similarly but more like a chamber of commerce, they would have dues for members, which is different than ours. We do have industry partners, who are comprised of local businesses such as restaurants, museums, shops, and other tourist attractions. As a partner we advertise their business in a variety of our print and online resources. Our main publication is our visitors guide, which we print and distribute 65k annually.”
What Services Do CVBs Provide?
Typical services include, but are not limited to range from the initial planning to onsite assistance during events, including: Request for Proposals (RFP), site visits, local media assistance, registration staff, welcome packets including maps, guides, and transportation assistance.
They are the go-to resource for helping groups connect with the right venues and businesses for successful events.
With the age of social media and onsite interactive communication, some cities have adopted new tools to personalize the experience even more. Visit Bloomington is a great example of maximizing Twitter to create a more special and personalized experience for its visitors. Erdmann, “In addition to providing printing and graphic design services to help encourage attendance at conferences, we’ve been successful using Twitter with groups. Our hashtag is @askbtown and sometimes locals will follow and chime in too. If the group has a hashtag we’ll follow them and interact during their time here. To promote this service we put up signs with the hashtag so attendees know how to use this service. People will tweet asking about a recommendation for a restaurant, etc. and we, along with any local residents will share recommendations.”
Great Resources For Meeting Professionals
Meeting Planning Partners, the official empowerMINT.com blog in partnership with Destination Marketing Association International blog offers a variety of resources from finding DMOs in specific regions, articles with tips and resources about planning the perfect site visit to increasing attendance using Pinterest and making memorable and impactful presentations. Planners can also read reviews from their peers on various cities. (www.meetingplanningpartners.com)