DMOU catches up with Destinations International CEO Don Welsh and the Foundation's Jack Johnson to discuss how the industry's trade association is responding to the cascading challenges relative to the pandemic. In this episode, you'll hear their thoughts on the availability of an online portal for DMO pros to connect and share, the increased online content that the Organization is creating for everyone in the DMO space (and not just for members) and plans for next month's Annual Virtual Convention on July 14-15.
Richmond Region Tourism EVP Katherine O'Donnell joins DMOU to share how her Organization has made significant strides in changing her destination's narrative with two community-based initiatives to highlight and support LGBTQ and Black Tourism. Far from "checking a box," Katherine walks us through the extensive process RRT used to ensure deep community engagement. She also discusses how the RRT Board recently made the difficult decision to advocate for the removal of Confederate Statues, despite concerns by some that such a move would negatively impact the Visitors Economy. If Diversity and Inclusion are increasingly on your radar, this is an episode you need to hear.
On this episode of DMOU, Bill Geist hangs with Bentonville CVB CEO Kalene Griffith to drill down on how her DMO has become a model of community engagement. From weekly meetings with key community leaders to being engaged in virtually everything that screams Bentonville, Kalene has developed an agency that is a true Shared Community Value. You'll hear her strategy for engaging community leaders, building a rock star staff...and how Rugby prepared her for leading her organization.
The conversation regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the DMO space is nothing new. But, over the past few weeks, the drumbeat has become significantly more pronounced. On this edition of DMOU, we sit down with Visit Jackson CEO and industry veteran Rickey Thigpen to discuss race, the lack of diversity in the C-suite and on DMO Boards and his suggestions for how we can all be more intentional about righting this wrong. Plus, in the Bonus Round, you’ll hear what letters Rickey will be adding to his name in the weeks ahead. As Rickey says, “we can all do better,” and this episode is a start.
In our last Z-News Commentary, we opined that the traditional structure for community marketing and development was passe. Indeed, Gary Sherwin has been experimenting with a more logical structure for years in Newport Beach. In this edition of DMOU, Gary shares the genesis story of Newport Beach & Company, an organizational structure that may be the new model for communities across North America in the post-COVID world. He also discusses his view that DMO Sales may be more important now than ever before...and reveals a Bonus Round answer about his youth in Hollywood that you'll love.
Want a visual as Gary walks through the Org Structure? Click HERE. And, if you want to really want to head down the rabbit hole, click HERE for one of the most impressive Business Plans we've ever seen.
Destinations International's Jack Johnson has been extolling the concept of DMOs becoming a "Shared Community Value" for over a year...and one would be hard pressed to find an organization that more exudes that philosophy than Visit Anaheim. Just before COVID-19 caused us all to pivot, CEO Jay Burress sat down with DMOU to discuss three breakthrough programs that address community needs while his DMO works tirelessly to attract the world. On this episode, you'll hear how Visit Anaheim works with meeting professionals to "give back" to local schools, how professional staff volunteers with local neighborhoods, how a local initiative became a $250 million City program and how the agency is inspiring high school students to consider hospitality and travel as a career. Want to blow your mind without hallucinogens? This is the episode for you.
Twenty years ago, more professionals in the Travel Industry feared TripAdvisor than embraced it. In those early years, the fear of giving voice to bad reviews often obscured the opportunity that the platform offered. Of course today, many DMO pros realize the power of partnership with the iconic company. On this edition of DMOU, we catch up with our friend Steve Paganelli, CDME and Trip Advisor's Head of Destination Marketing for the Americas. As we (hopefully) emerge from pandemic travel restrictions, Steve shares data from how consumers are planning for the future to ways smart marketers can partner with TripAdvisor to drive greater intent to travel to your destination.
Crisis Communications has always been an artful dance on a tightwire stretching between truth and reassurance...but it has taken on new meaning for DMOs during the pandemic. Communications strategist Meghan Risch (R4 Communication Strategies and formerly Choose Chicago) joins DMOU to share her take on how our messaging needs to resonate in these difficult times (and everyday). From selecting the right message to the most appropriate messenger, Meghan offers ways for DMOs to convey relevance and compassion in desperate times...and how Chicago reached out to help a post-Katrina New Orleans.
As DMOs have dedicated themselves over the past month to setting up a support net for their industry partners, it's time to ask "what's next" in the aftermath of the "shelter in place" orders that have halted the Visitor Economy in its tracks. For guidance in these difficult days, we reached out to our friend Julie Hart (CFO by design) for counsel. In this timely episode of DMOU, Julie shares her thoughts on dealing with declining revenues, re-imagining how DMOs will reorganize over the next six months and why accountability is more important than ever before. Plus, you'll hear a response to a Bonus Round question that conjures up visions of "I Love Lucy." Join us.
Bill Geist takes a rare turn as both host and guest in another special COVID-19 edition of DMOU. The past few weeks have seen DMOs come to the aid of hotels, restaurants, bars and attractions like never before. But now, DMO Boards have a meaningful role going forward to ensure that their Organizations are sustainable. From ensuring that community leaders are kept abreast of the Organization's efforts to save local businesses and jobs to working to diversify future revenue streams, Bill encourages DMO Boards to step up to the new opportunity to solidify their Organizations as a Shared Community Value.
In this special COVID-19 episode of DMOU, Greenberg Traurig's Bryan Grimaldi (former COO of NYC & Company) shares his thoughts on next steps for Destination Marketing Organizations as we look beyond this crisis. From planning for that moment that the virus releases its grip on the Visitors Economy to taking immediate steps to survive until that time, Bryan suggests a number of opportunities for DMO consideration in the next few weeks.
For the past decade, many DMOs have slowly evolved from being Destination Marketing Organizations to Destination Management Organizations. The Little Rock CVB, however, has been managing destination facilities there for half a century. CVB CEO Gretchen Hall joins DMOU to share her tales of managing and renovating iconic public facilities. You'll also hear how she helped shepherd forward a downtown entertainment district (featuring an open-drink zone) last summer and how she can trace every good thing that's happened in her career...to basketball.
We are coming up on four years since Don Welsh was named the CEO of the organization today known as Destinations International. In that time, the organization has increased member outreach, professional development options and industry advocacy efforts. In this episode of DMOU, we sit down with Don to discuss what's next...from the revolutionary new joint partnership with Simpleview to create the all new MINT+ meetings database to new services and offerings for small to medium DMOs. If you're a DMO and not a member of Destinations International (or even if you are), this episode is for you.
While most in the Destination Marketing sector signed up because we loved Sales, Marketing and our communities, being adept at politics is becoming more important with each passing year. Monica Smith, CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society, joins DMOU to share her experiences in communicating the value of Destination Marketing and the Visitor Economy to elected leaders...from the nation's Capital to back home in Georgia. In this episode, you'll gain common sense insights into working with legislative leaders (and members of their staff), finding common ground on which you can agree and why taking your message to Capitol Hill is such a powerful move.
In our work with DMOs throughout the Americas, we rarely experience the organizational culture we experienced in our work with Visit Anchorage. So naturally, we needed to understand how this Team was so different. On this episode of DMOU, Visit Anchorage CEO Julie Saupe shares what she believes to be the "secret sauce" behind the staff culture over which she presides. From recognizing staff for the little things to breaking from conventional wisdom on being cool with staff working remotely, Julie suggests some interesting thoughts on way to cultivate a staff culture that rocks. Plus, in the Bonus Round, you'll hear her experience in watering the roof of her first DMO.
Over the past two decades, Searchwide Global's Mike Gamble has seen a significant evolution in what communities and their DMOs expect from their next leaders. On this edition of DMOU, Mike shares the changes he's seen from Board Search Committees over the years and offers suggestions for how DMO pros who are looking for that next opportunity can build their magnetism. Kick off the new year with sage advice from the man that has placed more DMO CEOs than anyone else.
As the pressure builds on public sector investment into Destination Marketing, smart DMOs are looking for alternative revenue streams...and the most successful strategy for over 200 communities has been establishing Tourism Improvement Districts. On this episode of DMOU, we catch up with the man who has had a hand in virtually all of them, John Lambeth of Civitas. In this wide ranging conversation, John shares the genesis of the concept, how DMOs can begin down the path and some exciting news regarding how the Improvement District movement is seeing expansion to other sectors of the hospitality industry. This is a "must-listen" for anyone concerned with the future viability of DMOs.
When a community pushes back on the industry that is its lifeblood, what is a DMO to do? Jennifer Wesselhoff of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce sits in on this episode of DMOU to share the story of how a DMO that thought it was being responsive to its community found itself using all the wrong measures and all the wrong words. Today, the Chamber is at the vanguard of global sustainability, heralded as a model for international DMOs. Jennifer's story is both compelling and inspirational for all Destination Marketing leaders.
What does it take to make the jump to the Big Chair? Two former Number Twos share their experiences as Visit Pittsburgh CEO Craig Davis and Visit KC CEO Jason Fulvi join us for this episode of DMOU. From the importance of mentorship to volunteer engagement in Destinations International, this dynamic duo of DMO Leaders discuss their respective paths to CEO…as well as learning to fly and making the perfect margarita.
While those of us with Convention Centers always dream of upgrades and expansions...what if that renovation meant your primary asset would go dark for two years? In this edition of DMOU, we hang with Louisville Tourism COO Cleo Battle, who shares that the loss of their Convention Center actually made their DMO better. You'll hear how they adapted their team and approach in response to the closure and how they've evolved into a much more effective agency.