“By managing the destination experience, we manage the destination stories. By managing both, we manage the right growth.”

Destination Think’s Chief Strategist William Bakker outlined a bright future for destination marketers during our December 2016 destination marketing webinar, “Structuring your organization to lead your destination into the future”.

This webinar echoed Bakker’s keynote presentation from Forum 2016, an intensive two-day event where destination marketing leaders gathered to address four critical industry trends and seek solutions to common destination marketing challenges.

Here, Bakker imagines the role of the DMO as a manager of both the experiences and stories a destination has to offer, emphasizing the importance of the “Experience Economy”.

William Bakker, Forum 2016

William Bakker speaks at Destination Think Forum 2016.


How can destinations begin?

Read five key takeaways from the presentation or watch the full video below.

1) Uncover your Place DNA®and set the stage

Place DNA®is becoming a foundational element of destination marketing. It helps you turn a product into an experience and turn your destination into a stage for the right stories.

2) Market to niche audiences

Once your destination identifies its DNA and sets the stage that it can develop, you need to understand who the right audience is. We need to think beyond geographics, demographics and psychographics. Instead, we need to think about interests and passions.

3) Map and measure the end-to-end customer journey

You need to know the complete path from awareness to purchase, and the full customer journey from the moment of purchase to the visitor experience within the niches.

4) Align and educate your stakeholders

Destination management is an important new role for destination marketers. This role requires new skill sets and a much more integrated approach to collaboration with stakeholders.

Today’s DMOs need to lead the way to make operators successful. This means creating demand through promotion and also helping them understand how to be successful, through
education and assistance.

5) Fill promotional gaps

Destination promotion needs to be focused. With an understanding of the challenges and roadblocks in the path to purchase, you will understand what information you need to develop, what kind of advocacy you need to activate, or what kind of third party content providers you need to support. DMOs no longer need to be the only or complete source of information.

Is your DMO reevaluating its role? The destination marketing industry discussed the industry’s greatest challenges at Destination Think Forum 2016. Download the Leading your destination into the future whitepaper to receive strategic insights from today’s destination marketing leaders.


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