Destination Think! Forum 2016 brought together destination marketing leaders who have been working on the same kinds of challenges that you are facing. The challenges were distilled into four topics:
This gathering of leaders are people, like you, who are testing and finding new solutions. This event provided the forum for that exchange and an agenda to deliver results. Here’s how.
How Forum works
Participants were hand-picked, and Forum’s four-step format was designed to provide proven ideas from around the globe, vetted strategies to take back and apply at your organization, and working relationships with the world’s top destination leaders. The four steps are:
- Where are we now? Understand the issues. Participate in moderated discussions on the state of destination marketing and the disruptive changes that affect your DMO.
- Where could we be? Learn from leading thinkers.
Hear from keynote speakers Brian Solis, Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir and William Bakker, and learn from leading destination marketers who have addressed the critical issues before us.
- Where do we want to go? Collaborate on strategies.
Work with a small group of hand-picked peers to collaborate, identify and move beyond roadblocks, and create opportunities for your destination.
- How do we get there? Create a plan for action.
Come together as a large group to address your most pressing challenges and benefit from decades of collective experience. Leave empowered and equipped to return to your organization with direction and focus.
>> Jump to: DAY TWO
DAY ONE: October 13
Keynote and Executive Breakfast
Profit and Planet
Every destination needs to consider the long-term implications of tourism in order to ensure that the right balance is achieved between economic, environmental and social value. Tourism growth tests the boundaries of the environment and the quality of life for the people who live in popular tourism destinations. In some destinations, this leads to a backlash from its population. Are there profitable solutions where a successful commercial transaction leads to positive effects on the environment and residents?
Cost and Revenue
Without new approaches to managing costs and revenues, and corresponding measurement tools, the future of destination marketing is fragile. Most DMOs are reliant primarily on government funding arrangements. This model is volatile and poses a risk for meaningful strategic planning. Are there alternatives that offer a stable, long-term funding model? Some DMOs are entirely funded by industry, and yet product and buying patterns are changing. Where does revenue come from in an economy fragmented by companies like AirBnB? What can be done to secure future revenue? How do we measure the economic impact of our marketing? How can we help stakeholders understand the relevancy of tourism boards and justify their investments?
>> Jump to: DAY ONE
DAY TWO: October 14
Keynote and Executive Breakfast
Product and Promotion
Without a unique story told consistently and by all, a destination and its product becomes a commodity. When a product becomes a commodity, the price is the only battlefield. In 2003, Harvard Business Review wrote: “…the only path to profitable growth may lie in a company’s ability to get its loyal customers to become, in effect, its marketing department.” Consumer perceptions of a destination are now largely shaped by the opinion of others, communicated through the word-of-mouth from millions of individuals. With ever-increasing competition, consumers seek more authentic experiences. How do you leverage big data to better profile and target prospective travelers? An experience that is not talked about might as well be invisible. How can a DMO shift its focus on the visitor experience in order to deliver the right destination experience that creates brand advocacy from visitors and residents alike?
Community and Collaboration
Many destination marketing organizations are recognizing the important role that residents play in delivering authentic experiences and servicing as brand advocates. When promoting a destination, the DMO now relies on (and sometimes competes with) an ever-increasing number of people and organizations. Through word-of-mouth communications, everyone from visitors to myriad niche influencers, non-traditional partners and residents all affect destination perceptions. How does a DMO become a destination manager, coordinating all of these fragmented communications?