COVID-19 Q+A: How can my DMO engage stakeholders during a constant crisis?

Silhouette of a person looking out a window
Kelly Cubbon

21 April 2020

One of your most critical jobs as a destination marketer is to collaborate with your stakeholders. Many destinations are in some form of lockdown, and the economic and humanitarian ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis are still unfolding, which led one Virtual Forum participant to ask a pertinent question: 

“How do we [DMOs] successfully engage boards and stakeholders in planning when their worlds are falling apart?”  

Destination Think CEO Rodney Payne and Chief Strategist William Bakker responded to this question during Day 1 of Virtual Forum on April 7, 2020. 

Here are some key takeaways from Rodney:

  • It seems that many destinations have not yet reached the peak of their health crises, which means that things may get worse before they get better. 
  • The dynamic situation is challenging for boards and stakeholders. Some don’t know where to turn or which sources of information to trust.
  • Part of your DMO’s role is to constantly keep the board informed.
  • Consider these questions about distributing information:
    • How can you distill regular updates from the information you’re seeing?
    • How will you conduct future planning? And how will you get board or stakeholder input with this process?
    • How can you share what businesses are doing to address immediate problems and help their community? 

From William:

  • We’re all on an emotional rollercoaster. Much of our team’s work with DMOs engages stakeholders and residents. We’ve paused some of this for obvious reasons.
  • There will be a time to re-engage, and it may come sooner rather than later. It will be important to anticipate different scenarios.
  • Be ready to look to the future and engage stakeholders in this planning. It will give them a much-needed sense of optimism and control. 

Hear their full response to this question starting at 1:13:20 of the Virtual Forum presentation.

These are times of great uncertainty, but we at Destination Think are united in our desire to get through this together. 

Support for your DMO

From Bermuda to California to Campbell River, our team helps tourism destinations respond to crises and work toward recovery with poise and confidence. Speak to us to learn about our collaborative approach to strategy, communications, and creative solutions or click here to send us your RFP.

Feature image credit: Jon Eric Marababol, Unsplash


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You’ve found your partner for destination marketing

We work with the most innovative tourism boards in the world to create a vision for each of their destinations, solve business challenges and execute brilliant, integrated campaigns. The expertise we apply to that work is shared in the articles published here and in our DMO Matters newsletter.

Get must-read updates delivered weekly!

Sign up to have our must-read weekly digest of leading destination marketing trends and innovation delivered directly to your inbox.

Fields marked with an * are required.


Thank you! You will receive an email to confirm your subscription.

Share This