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

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. 

Join our COVID-19 support network to access tools and guidance designed for destination marketing professionals. 

Feature image credit: Jon Eric Marababol, Unsplash

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