A debate has been raging for years in the tourism community about how DMOs can remain relevant in a very complex marketplace. Are local DMOs still the trusted resource for travel information that they used to be? Just look around and see how many outlets are offering travel advice, reviews and even bookings. In addition to the local DMOs, there are state tourism offices, regional partnerships, social media, TripAdvisor, online aggregators like Travelocity and even private entrepreneurial efforts like guidebook publishers.
So, DMOs have to kick it in high gear to prove their relevance in order to keep their funding. Advice on how to do it ranges from:
• Educate local leaders and stakeholders about what your organization accomplishes for them.
• Build good personal relationships with local leaders so you have a seat at the table during discussions about funding, long-term product development and economic development.
Good advice, indeed.
Here's the bottom line — because I'm a bottom line kind of guy. Focus on what the "M" in DMO stands for and be great at it. I mean be unbelievably awesome. Don't settle for mediocrity when it comes to leisure travel marketing and don't let anyone out hustle your sales team on meetings, conventions and groups. If you're going to be in the social media arena (and you darn well better be), work it hard. Post interesting content, tweet about your strengths and write a blog. And — you probably suspected this would show up eventually — hire the best talent you can afford. Marketing (which is what the "M" stands for if you did'?t know) works and creative marketing works wonders. Innovative and creative marketing moves the needle and gets results. That will give a DMO more relevance than any amount of rhetoric.