You’ve heard from us about Destination Think Forum, now we want to share with you a bit more about what makes this event so unique. Forum brings the world’s leading destination marketers together in one place to have a global conversation about our industry’s challenges and opportunities.
Over the past five years of hosting international SoMeT conferences, and through our work at Destination Think, we have had the opportunity to talk to some the most innovative destination marketers in the world.
We’re all aware that the original destination marketing business model has been disrupted. Destinations are doing incredible work, but everyone is learning and trying things in isolation. Our industry wants to learn from each other but has had no way to do that. Until now.
It’s time to address our challenges and opportunities collectively. In 2016, we put together the best conference that’s ever been built for destination marketing.
Forum is a different kind of conference
Forum is changing the way conferences are created. Rather than back-to-back presentations for two days straight, Forum is about participating in a global conversation and moving the tourism industry forward together.
From our extensive research in the industry, we’ve identified four key themes that matter to destinations most:
- Dealing with the impact of the tourism on the environment and the quality of life for residents (Learn more about Profit and Planet)
- Maintaining sustainable funding models and communicating value back to your stakeholders (Learn more about Cost and Revenue)
- Transitioning marketing strategies and tactics – not just through promotion but by developing remarkable products and experiences (Learn more about Product and Promotion)
- Creating stronger partnerships and collaboration, between both traditional and non-traditional partners, including residents, local businesses and destination advocates (Learn more about Community and Collaboration)
Presentations and Panels
In the first part of our 2016 program, we heard presentations from innovative destination CEOs and executives that are already leading the way, including Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir of Iceland Tourist Board, Deana Ivey of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp and Elke Dens from Visit Flanders.
Panel discussions included the brightest minds in destination marketing including: Will Seccombe of VISIT FLORIDA, Jos Vranken of Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, Issac Mizrachi of Tel Aviv Global, Magnus Ling of Swedish Tourist Association, David Gilbert of Destination Cleveland, Steve McRoberts of Tourism and Events Queensland, Eduard Peter Oud of Amsterdam Marketing, Grant Mackay of Destination British Columbia, Martin Nydegger of Switzerland Tourism and Eduardo Chibás, producer of the documentary Bye Bye Barcelona. See the full program here.
During the registration process, we built up a potent mix of national, provincial/state, regional and city destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and took time to learn about each participant, so that we could invite attendees to participate in the conversations that matter the most.
Small group discussions and action items
After the break, we moved into a different room, rolled up our sleeves and formed small groups to discuss each of the themed challenges, what the role of the DMO is and what are some of the next steps and action items we can apply to tackle them.
Consensus and take aways
Then we all came back together to compare notes, to see if we can achieve consensus and move forward with a united, global plan. At the end of Forum, participants left with global knowledge and tangible examples to take back to their destination, new ideas to bring forward within organizations and new network connections.
In order to get in the right mindset, we invited futurist Brian Solis. Solis is the ideal speaker to help our industry understand how the marketing landscape has changed, and how we need to start thinking in order to remain effective and relevant. Closing the event, Destination Think’s chief strategist William Bakker focused on the organizational implications of the changes discussed during the event.
At Forum, participants uncovered the role for their DMO now and in the future and learnt about the right business models that will provide value for the industry and ensure that economic benefits are maintained without compromising the environment or residents’ quality of life. Participants also learnt how their DMO needs to organize in order to be effective and efficient, and understand what partnerships need to be in place to make this all happen.