Destination Marketing Organizations
Tools to Enhance DMOs, City Marketing Arms Meet High Standards
Your City’s Nearly 50 Cities Have Earned Accreditation in New International Program
Tourism Industry If Destination Marketing Association
International (DMAI) has its way,
by Michael D. Gehrisch accreditation will soon become the norm
President & CEO, Destination Marketing for destination marketing organizations
Association International (DMAI) (DMOs) around the world.
DMOs — sometimes called CVBs
(convention and visitor bureaus) or
tourism boards — represent their local
hospitality and tourism community
(including hotels, meeting facilities,
attractions, restaurants and more). They
promote the long-term development and
marketing of an “entire” destination
for official desti-
through convention sales, tourism mar-
keting and service.
Since January 2007, nearly 50 DMOs
(DMOs), we have
have earned accreditation seals from the
several tools that
Michael D. Gehrisch Destination Marketing Accreditation
Program (DMAP). Developed by Accredited DMOs: In the last 16 months, 47 DMOs – from 25 states/provinces and
develop and mar-
DMAI, a membership organization of D.C. – have earned accreditation. By the end of 2008, this number will near 100.
ket their tourism destinations.
more than 650 DMOs in nearly 30 coun-
These tools provide insight to destina-
tries, DMAP recognizes organizations officials, visitors and business partners of accreditation.
tion performance reporting, customer
that meet or exceed industry standards. that their trust is well-placed in the “Knowing [the Richmond
service training and convention facility
DMAP distinguishes those official DMO,” remarked Michael D. Gehrisch, Metropolitan CVB] has been awarded
DMOs committed to industry excel- president and CEO of DMAI. accreditation from its professional trade
DMAI’s “Recommended Standard
CVB Performance Reporting: A lence. “Being accredited assures mem- City government officials across the association acknowledges that they are
Handbook for CVBs” helps DMOs uni- bers of the local DMO, local government country are recognizing the importance see page 8, column 2
formly articulate their value to their com-
munities. Available at no cost, the hand-
book provides standards, definitions, pro-
ductivity metrics and ROI formulas.
Southwest Louisiana Finds Strength in Numbers
DMAI published Destination Image is everything, but what about out being too generic. Ultimately, it has
BrandScience™ ($25) to assist tourism having one image for a destination with to be an idea that everyone can stand
marketing organizations in enhancing and multiple municipalities? behind as our “true” identity,” said
distinguishing their destination’s brand. The Southwest Louisiana/Lake Shelley Johnson, executive director of
Tailored to be taught by a destination Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau the Southwest Louisiana CVB.
representative, DMAI’s affordable and represents six cities in Calcasieu Parish, The branding project was previously
flexible License to Serve Customer Service and is working with city officials and scheduled for 2006, but it was postponed
Training Program transforms a communi- community leaders to create an effective after Hurricane Rita swept through the
ty’s hospitality employees, visitor center “brand” for the whole area. area in the fall of 2005 and recovery and
volunteers and other tourism staffs to be Destination branding has become a rebuilding took center stage. Calcasieu
the shining stars of a destination. hot trend in recent years and, with Parish rebounded quickly. The CVB
The relationship between DMOs and tourism having a positive economic worked closely with city officials to
convention facilities is complex and inter- impact, it is no wonder that DMOs ensure the success of the 2006 Mardi
twined. DMAI and the International across the nation are developing power- Gras season as well as conventions
Association of Assembly Managers ful messages to project to prospective scheduled for 2006. As a result of these
(IAAM) have written a white paper, Best visitors. efforts, the Louisiana Travel Promotion
Practices for Convention Center Sales and “With a project of this magnitude, Association recognized the bureau as
Convention Center Operations (available input from our tourism partners is key. “CVB of the Year” in 2007.
at no cost), which facilitates partnership, We want to have a message that res- The Tourism Enhancement
provides joint advocacy and identifies onates with everyone in the parish with- Development Zone (TEDZ) grant pro- attract athletic events and administer
common objectives for DMOs and con- gram is another major parish-wide pro- special projects of communitywide inter-
vention facilities (Read “DMOs, motion initiative established by the est.
Conventions Centers Work Together to CVB. TEDZ grants are geared toward “One important aspect of promoting
Meet Goals,” page 6, for more informa- assisting smaller communities to attract tourism, in any destination, is being
tion.) visitors. Some of the guidelines for inclusive of the resources, perspective
implementing these funds are to revital- and ideas of everyone in the communi-
Details: For more information, visit ize an existing tourist facility, develop a ty,” said Johnson. “Working together is
www.destinationmarketing.org. new festival or tourist attraction, adver- the only way to make a significant
tise to potential tourists, enhance or impact.”
6 NATION’S CITIES WEEKLY MAY 12, 2008
Creating Economic Development Through Tourism in Irving, Texas
In most communities, conven-
tion and visitors bureaus are con-
sidered destination marketing
organizations (DMOs), which is
an appropriate moniker. But in
communities across the country,
these organizations are more and
more commonly being seen as
key economic development gen- leadership understand the CVB’s many of the city’s restaurants
erators as well. role in economic development. would suffer.
One such city is Irving, Texas. For example, it is no secret “CVBs are unquestionably in
With a location in the center that community amenities — the business of economic devel-
of Dallas/Fort Worth, immediate- convention centers, stadiums, are- opment, both directly and indi-
ly adjacent to one of the world’s nas, arts centers — often are built rectly,” said Tommy Gonzalez,
largest airports, and a corporate through hotel occupancy taxes, city manager of Irving. “It is the
community that houses the glob- restaurant taxes, alcoholic bever- kind of economic development
al headquarters of numerous for its DMO at the economic city as well. age taxes, parking taxes and the that means cold, hard cash spend-
Fortune 500 companies, Irving development table? “In Irving, corporations are list goes on. ing in your community, and the
consistently has one of the state’s According to Maura Allen our top attractions,” Gast stated. But it’s not just visitor ameni- kind that supports important jobs
highest hotel occupancy levels, Gast, executive director of the “Every day, those corporations ties that depend on visitor spend- and businesses in doing so.”
even though there isn’t a water Irving Convention and Visitors lure business travelers, and those ing; it is also the businesses that By giving DMOs a seat at the
park, roller coaster or mega mall Bureau, it’s simple. Know what travelers account for roughly residents appreciate on a daily economic development table,
currently within city limits. you are, who you are and what nine out of ten visitors to Irving. basis, such as restaurants and communities are better equipped
So how does a city without you bring to the table. Shout that Corporate travel is an important shops. In Irving, visitor spending to recruit, retain and develop
such amenities generate almost message as loud as possible, not area for our outer market in restaurants alone is more than businesses and amenities that
$1.5 billion in visitor spending only outside the community – but efforts.” $345 million annually. If those make the best sense for their
annually and have a seat reserved almost as importantly – inside the It is also important that city dollars went away, the viability of city’s financial structure.
DMOs, Convention Centers Work Together to Meet Goals
This past fall members of tired of watching the convention “filling the convention center,” to better serve the destination cal areas are identified to pro-
DMAI, representing destination center and DMO staff clash, par- but their disparate performance customer, providing a seamless mote best practices in sales and
marketing organizations ticularly when it came to han- expectations make it hard to positive experience [for the cus- operations in order to provide
(DMOs), and members of the dling clients’ needs. present a united front to local tomer] from the beginning of the the customer with a seamless
International Association of The group recognized that stakeholders and to clients. sales cycle through move out,” experience. These areas include:
Assembly Managers (IAAM), the heart of the problem is that The discussion between said Steve Moore, co-chair of the convention sales, convention
representing city convention — in many cities — the conven- DMAI and IAAM’s members effort and president & CEO of center operations, joint account-
centers, came together to put tion center and DMO are two resulted in a white paper called the Greater Phoenix, Ariz., ability, joint advocacy, funding
forth recommendations for completely distinct entities with Best Practices for Convention CVB. and finance, technology, training
building better relationships entirely separate performance Center Sales & Convention The guidelines can be used by and human resource deploy-
between centers and DMOs … reporting structures that are Center Operations. any destination, with any busi- ment, conflict resolution, and
in any city. These executives — often at odds with one another. “The report is a tool for ness model, and are intended to certification and accreditation.
from all across the U.S. — were Both entities are charged with DMOs and convention facilities facilitate partnership, provide
joint advocacy and identify com- Details: The white paper is
mon objectives for DMOs and available at no cost at www.des-
Customer-Focus Fosters Convention Sales Success convention facilities.
Within the report, nine criti-
In 2004, Dan Fenton, president and CEO of book your facility.
the San Jose, Calif., CVB led an effort to form 2. Conduct regular meetings with the full
Team San Jose, a start-up company focused on service teams (of both the DMO and the con-
innovation and customer service. This powerful, vention center).
unique partnership included the DMO, the arts 3. Engage organized labor interests in your
community, hoteliers and organized labor. community in discussions about improving serv-
“The inclusion of organized labor raised a lot ice, as well as bidding for future business.
of eyebrows because usually unions and conven- 4. Remove obstacles for the customer and
tion centers are at odds, often at the expense of make it easier for them to work with you.
the customer,” Fenton said. “However, by bring- 5. Raise the bar on service.
ing all of these interests to the table, we have cut 6. Consolidate customer billing and invoic-
red tape and now provide a “one-stop shop” ing, so that it’s more efficient for the client and
approach that has meeting planners singing our expedites payment.
praises.” “Every destination is different, so how you This special report is sponsored by the Destination Marketing
Fenton sat on the committee that wrote Best implement the above recommendations — and Association International (DMAI). With offices in North
Practices for Convention Center Sales & the additional recommendations discussed in the America and Europe, DMAI is dedicated to improving the effec-
Convention Center Operations (a white paper) white paper — in your city, will vary. The bottom tiveness of over 1,500 professionals from 650 destination mar-
and he offers these specific steps to cities bring- line is that, in an increasingly competitive mar- keting organizations in nearly 30 countries.
ing their DMO and convention center teams ketplace, it’s more critical than ever that we put Editor: Kristen Clemens; Contributor: Rhonda Kauffman
together to work: ourselves in the place of meeting planners and 2025 M Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20036
1. Develop a customer satisfaction survey really figure out how we can focus our services to www.destinationmarketing.org
that is distributed to all meeting planners who meet their needs,” said Fenton. (202) 296-7888
MAY 12, 2008 NATION’S CITIES WEEKLY 7
Tourism Strengthens Workforce, Economy in St. Louis
The St. Louis, Mo. hospitality industry
contributes to an improved quality of life
for the region’s 2.8 million residents —
and it doesn’t cost them a dime.
The St. Louis Convention & Visitors
Commission (CVC), the official destina-
tion marketing organization for St. Louis
City and County, is funded by taxes paid
by visitors on hotel rooms.
Each year, the region welcomes more
than 22 million people for business,
leisure travel, meetings and conventions,
and these visitors leave behind about
$4.07 billion. This creates jobs for nearly
83,000 area residents, industry wages of management and manufacturing. High
$2.35 billion, and adds an additional $811 school seniors interested in pursuing
million to federal, state and local tax cof- careers in hospitality or the culinary arts
fers. can receive monetary scholarships or paid
In Fiscal Year 2007 the CVC booked In 2007 — due to its commitment to tional, comprehensive training center and internships with the CVC, where they
more than 524,830 hotel rooms for future workplace diversity, education and pro- help resolve issues of employment diver- learn and improve specific skills including
meetings and conventions. viding opportunities for non-traditional sity. communications, problem solving, team-
The organization works with a number students — the CVC received the The CVC has also formed a partner- work, computer applications, and inter-
of groups to help improve the quality of Construction Prep Center’s (CPC) ship with Clyde C. Miller Career personal skills.
the regional workforce and offers finan- “Exceptional Friend Award.” The CPC is Academy, a school offering an expanded Through these efforts the CVC is help-
cial assistance to students pursuing a coalition of private and public entities curriculum including hospitality studies, ing to groom the future of the hospitality
careers in the hospitality industry. that joined forces to develop a non-tradi- culinary arts, biotechnology, database industry.
Tourism Key to Las Vegas’ Success A $1.6 Trillion Market, Travel &
The tourism industry is vital Tourism Industry Booms
to the Las Vegas, Nev. economy,
and ensuring the continued suc- Travel and tourism is a booming industry and accounts for a
cess of that industry is the main $1.6 trillion market in the United States. It is one of the country’s
function of the Las Vegas largest employers and directly and indirectly affects most facets
Convention & Visitors of American life.
As the destination marketing Taxes & Revenue
organization for Las Vegas and
Last year, spending by domestic and international visitors in
Clark County, the CVA’s mission
the U.S. generated $740 billion in direct expenditures nationwide,
is to market, brand and promote
averaging $2 billion a day.
the destination as a world’s most
The third largest retail industry, behind automotive and food
desirable place for both business
stores, travel and tourism generated $110 billion in tax revenue for
and leisure travel.
local, state and federal governments in 2006. Without this avail-
The lifeblood of the economy
able revenue, each U.S. household would pay $995 more in taxes.
depends on continued success in
Travel and tourism is one of the nation’s largest service exports.
the tourism industry and plays a
In 2006, international visitors to the U.S. spent $107.9 billion, while
key role in supporting the com-
Americans spent $99.5 billion outside of the U.S., leaving a bal-
munity. More than half of all
ance of $8.3 billion in travel trade surplus for the country.
room taxes collected in
Southern Nevada are returned
to the community to support Employment
local government, transporta- As a part of the CVA’s itors, who provided a $41.6 bil- The travel and tourism industry is the first, second or third
tion infrastructure, local schools, upcoming renovation and lion economic impact. The CVA largest employer in 30 of the 50 states, making it one of the coun-
neighborhood parks and other expansion of the Las Vegas — one of the first DMOs to be try's largest employers with 7.5 million direct travel-related jobs.
recreation facilities. Convention Center, the organi- accredited by the Destination Payroll to these travel industry employees totals $178 billion.
The remaining room tax dol- zation is adding a police station Marketing Association With one of every eight U.S. non-farm jobs is connected to
lars support the operations of and a fire station to its property International (DMAI) — is travel, and with 97% of businesses in the travel and tourism sec-
the CVA, including a community that will benefit the tourism cor- committed to ensuring that Las tor belonging to small businesses, the travel and tourism indus-
grant program that returns even ridor as well as the neighbor- Vegas retains its status as a try plays a major roll in the U.S. economy. The industry as a
more dollars to local tourism hood surrounding the conven- world-class destination and has whole encompasses many interrelated businesses, including air-
and recreation programs. In tion center. Plus, during the last set a goal of attracting 43 million lines, lodging, restaurants, cruise lines, rental cars, travel agents
2007, this grant program provid- state legislative session in annual visitors by the end of the and more. Yet, beyond these visible segments of the industry,
ed more than $350,000 to local Nevada, the CVA agreed to ded- decade. tourism-related jobs are prevalent in technology, transportation,
groups to support various activi- icate $20 million a year from its attractions, meeting services, entertainment, recreation and out-
ties. The CVA also provides cap- operating budget for the next 30 door arenas, as well as travel marketing and promotions.
ital grants to organizations for years to fund transportation
larger projects. Over the years, projects to upgrade the infra- Sources: Travel Industry Association; American Hotel &
this has included the Fremont structure in the resort corridor. Lodging Association; U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of
Street Experience and the In 2007, Las Vegas attracted a Travel & Tourism Industries
Henderson Pavilion. record-breaking 39.2 million vis-
8 NATION’S CITIES WEEKLY MAY 12, 2008
Wichita Develops a New Double-Duty Destination
Downtown Wichita’s newest fect for helping visitors get the
development, the WaterWalk, is information they need to really
giving travelers two reasons to enjoy our city,” said Mayor Carl
stop by the banks of the Brewer. “The WaterWalk, com-
Arkansas River. It’s a destination bined with the new arena and
in its own right, and a spring- tors, Web-site access, racks for other developments springing up
board for promoting tourism attraction brochures and retail around Wichita, give vacationers
across the metropolitan area. space to sell Wichita-related sou- and convention delegates even
The WaterWalk is a $130 mil- venirs. more reasons to visit our city.”
lion public-private, mixed-use The new Welcome Center and In other parts of downtown,
development featuring retail, CVB office has convenient developers are refurbishing his-
restaurants, office space and resi- access to US Highway 54/400, the toric buildings in the process of
dential condominiums. The city main east-west highway through creating additional retail, office
of Wichita, Kan. has invested $32 Wichita, making it easy for visi- space and condominiums. The
million in the district to reroute tors to stop and gather informa- combined goal is to revitalize the
streets and enhance infrastruc- tion about what there is to do entire downtown area into a 24/7
ture. and see in the region. destination for visitors, local resi-
Gander Mountain was the development. The WaterWalk is provided by the Greater Wichita “The central location is per- dents and area businesses.
first retailer to open. Saddle next door to the Hyatt Regency CVB, which will move into
Ranch Chophouse is scheduled Wichita and Century II 10,000 square feet in WaterWalk
to open this fall and two other Convention & Performance Plaza, the development’s main Tourism & Taxes
entertainment venues — the Center. The new 15,000-seat building. The new office utilizes
Funny Bone Comedy Club and On average, each U.S. household would pay $995 more in
Intrust Bank Arena will open in 1,200 square feet for a new
Wet Willie’s Daiquiri Bar have 2010, just a few blocks away. Welcome Center that includes taxes without the tax revenue generated by the travel and
committed to opening in the The tourism springboard is the latest interactive video moni- tourism industry. (Source: Travel Industry Association)
Below the Water Line Marketing A Destination – A DMO Snapshot
The target mission of official More than half (52%) are mem- receive public funding from hotel
The total value of the U.S. travel industry is calculated at more
destination marketing associa- bership organizations, averaging occupancy tax revenue. A hotel
than a trillion dollars when considering direct, indirect and induced
tions is to promote the long-term 573 members. The average total guests pays a mean of 12.2% in
travel expenditures. Measuring travel's powerful return on invest-
development and marketing of a revenue of a DMO is $4.8 million. total taxes (including hotel room,
ment within a community should include what’s “below the water
destination. Whether consisting A typical destination has two sales tax, etc.), with 7.4% allocat-
line” — the indirect, induced and softer benefits that contribute to
of cities, counties or regions, visitor centers, the majority ed for hotel room tax. On aver-
an enhanced quality of life for those who live in and visit a region.
DMOs represent the hotels, facil- (83%), operated with 80% paid age, 53% of the hotel room tax
Like an iceberg, the travel industry’s ROI is much more than what
ities, attractions, restaurants and staff and 20% volunteer staff.The revenues are allocated to the
is visible — some of the best lies below.
other providers serving travelers. most common services offered DMO. DMOs use slightly more
The following describes an are merchandise sales (42%), than one-third (36%) of hotel
average DMO from a sample of Internet access (31%), ticket room tax for convention center
223 DMOs surveyed in DMAI’s sales (29%), and lodging (26%) purposes (operating, constructing
2007 DMO Organizational & and restaurant (15%) reserva- and debt service), and 24% for
Financial Profile. tions. arena or sports facilities.
The majority of DMOs are For destinations containing DMOs spend half their budg-
independent not-for-profits: 56% convention centers (65%), the ets (48%) on sales and marketing
are 501(c)(6); 19% are govern- vast majority (85%) are owned efforts, with media advertising the
ment agencies and 5% are a divi- by a government-related entity. top activity (18% of total expens-
sion of a chamber of commerce. The majority of DMOs (86%) es).
To become accredited, a DMO must demon-
Standards, from page 5 strate standardization on 54 mandatory and 33 vol-
untary points covering areas such as governance,
doing things right,” said Cecil R. Harris, county finance, management, human resources, visitor
administrator in Hanover County, Va. services, sales, and destination development.
Wayne Cauthen, the city manager from Kansas The process is a self-imposed internal audit that
City, Mo., commented, “We recently invested bil- the DMAP Board reviews after completion.
lions into our convention and tourism infrastruc- “This was an opportunity to take an introspec-
ture, and the accreditation of [our CVA] gives us tive view of our own vision and goals, assisting the
confidence in our ability to capitalize on our new entire team with long-term, strategic goals and
entertainment district and new attractions." planning,” said Mayor Les Aasheim, City of Clive,
Lastly, Austin, Texas, Mayor Will Wynn reiterat- Iowa and chairman of the board for the Greater
ed, “Accreditation is an esteemed accomplishment Des Moines, Iowa, CVB.
for the city and signals that [the Austin CVB] car- The DMAP accreditation seal is quickly becom-
ries out its mission to the highest standards.” ing recognized — especially in the meetings indus-
The accreditation application can take more try.
than 80 hours to complete. “Attaining this measure “Eventually we want it to be likened to the
of excellence is no easy task,” said Barry Biggar, accreditation seal that Good Housekeeping
CDME, the board chair of DMAP and president awards,” said Gehrisch. “One day DMO stakehold-
and CEO of the Bryan-College Station, Texas, ers will recognize the seal and know they can expect
(Reprinted from “Tourism Works for America®” 2007) CVB. consistent, high-quality products and services.”