In 2005, the International Association of Convention
& Visitor Bureaus (IACVB) changed its name to Destination Marketing
Association International (DMAI). This made the organization more inclusive of
all entities promoting their destination, such as chambers of commerce, city or
county tourism offices, economic development departments and downtown merchant
associations. Not every community has a CVB, but all of the examples mentioned
can be considered official Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs).
Well, leave it to me, Mr. Hard-to-get-along-with, to take
exception to the term DMO. A destination is a spot, a place on a map, a plot of
real estate. What we are really selling is experiences. It may be the thrill of
ziplining over the trees, or the romance of a candlelit dinner at a sidewalk
café, or snapping a photograph of the biggest smile ever as your little girl
reels in a fish half her size, or catching your breath as you take in a view of a sunset that paints the sky with pink, purple and orange hues at all one time.
Sure, all those things and more may happen within the borders of a city or
county, otherwise known as the destination. The name of the destination doesn’t
mean nearly as much in the long run as the memories.
I don’t really expect any association to change its name because
of this blog. I just hope that those who are charged with helping places lure visitors
and spur economic activity will think more about the activities and less about
the boundaries of the destination.