DMOU: Destination Marketing Organization University
Butch Spyridon: The Chair’s Agenda for Destinations International

Butch Spyridon: The Chair’s Agenda for Destinations International

September 14, 2020

This Summer, Nashville's Butch Spyridon assumed the Chairmanship of Destinations International. On this edition of DMOU, he outlines his agenda for the organization in the coming year, focusing on Diversity and Advocacy. In our conversation, Butch goes deep on both topics and shares his experience in producing brand-defining documentaries that showcase the voices behind Music City.

David Peacock: The Future of Tourism

David Peacock: The Future of Tourism

September 3, 2020

Earlier this year, Simpleview asked sector veteran David Peacock to lead its Future Tourism Group, a think tank created to envision next steps and design the necessary tools to get there. In this episode, we sit down with David to discuss how the process began, pivoted and is positioning itself to guide DMOs into the future. Plus, we talk about broken bones and how an unintentional Visitors Center almost cost a destination a boatload of money. Join us.

Shelly Green: On Ethics and Accountability

Shelly Green: On Ethics and Accountability

August 30, 2020

Shelly Green (former CEO of Visit Durham) is one of the DMO world's thought leaders. Thus, when she wrote her CDME paper on Ethics, we were all over learning about her research into what we're doing right...and wrong. In this episode, Shelly shares the concept of "ethical blindness" and offers up examples of how the best intentions can trip us up. And, you'll learn more about her international musicality in the Bonus Round.

Ray Hoyt: Diversifying DMO Revenue Streams

Ray Hoyt: Diversifying DMO Revenue Streams

August 18, 2020

When Ray Hoyt was named CEO of Visit Tulsa, he knew Job #1 was increasing revenue for the DMO. Over the past decade, he has grown the organizations budget from $1.8 million to $7 million by increasing his City's investment of Room Tax, developing an aggressive Corporate investment program that is a model for the DMO sector and managing an exhaustive drive to establish a Business Improvement District. In this edition of DMOU, Ray shares his path forward in diversifying his DMO's revenue streams and positioning Visit Tulsa to continue to be able to drive business, even in an economic downturn.

Dave Nolan: Lessons Learned from a Former DMO Pro

Dave Nolan: Lessons Learned from a Former DMO Pro

August 16, 2020

17 years ago, Dave Nolan was serving as the CEO of what is now known as Destination Cleveland. To say he was riding high would be a considerable understatement. Awarded the key to the City, his Convention Sales Team was shattering production records (without a convention center), the national media had fallen in love with the city's renaissance...and then, it all came crashing down. They weren't "rookie mistakes," Dave says. "They were veteran mistakes." He recently reached out to DMOU to share the caution signs he says he missed in hopes that others never have to go through what he did. Join Bill and Dave in this, at times, painful and yet powerful conversation.

Adam Stoker: The Touchpoints that Drive Destination Marketing

Adam Stoker: The Touchpoints that Drive Destination Marketing

July 19, 2020

Adam Stoker is the author of the new book, "Touchpoints: A Destination Marketer's Guide to Brand Evaluation and Enhancement." He is also the host of the Destination Marketing Podcast. Thus, we so needed to have him on the show. In this episode, Bill and Adam riff on cutting-edge destination marketing campaigns from State to small town, and everything in between. We also discuss some of Adam's tenets from the book and how he believes that addressing those destination challenges you can control makes it easier to deal with those you can't.

Don Welsh & Jack Johnson: Destination International’s Response to the New Reality

Don Welsh & Jack Johnson: Destination International’s Response to the New Reality

July 1, 2020

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.

Katherine O’Donnell: How OUT RVA and BLK RVA are Transforming the Richmond VA Narrative

Katherine O’Donnell: How OUT RVA and BLK RVA are Transforming the Richmond VA Narrative

July 1, 2020

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.

Kalene Griffith: Creating the Seat at the Table

Kalene Griffith: Creating the Seat at the Table

June 24, 2020

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.

Rickey Thigpen: Prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Rickey Thigpen: Prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

June 15, 2020

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.

Gary Sherwin: A New Model for Destination Marketing

Gary Sherwin: A New Model for Destination Marketing

June 3, 2020

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.

Jay Burress: On Being a Shared Community Value

Jay Burress: On Being a Shared Community Value

May 19, 2020

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.

Steve Paganelli: 20 Years of (Re)Evolution with TripAdvisor

Steve Paganelli: 20 Years of (Re)Evolution with TripAdvisor

May 18, 2020

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.

Meghan Risch: Crisis Communications in a COVID-19 World

Meghan Risch: Crisis Communications in a COVID-19 World

April 27, 2020

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.

Julie Hart: What DMO Leaders Need to be Considering Now

Julie Hart: What DMO Leaders Need to be Considering Now

April 22, 2020

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: The Role of DMO Boards during COVID-19

Bill Geist: The Role of DMO Boards during COVID-19

March 26, 2020

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.

Bryan Grimaldi: What DMOs Need to Be Considering in the Era of COVID-19

Bryan Grimaldi: What DMOs Need to Be Considering in the Era of COVID-19

March 25, 2020

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.

Gretchen Hall: On Destination Management

Gretchen Hall: On Destination Management

March 5, 2020

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.

Don Welsh: The Future of Destinations International

Don Welsh: The Future of Destinations International

February 20, 2020

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.

Monica Smith: Achieving Success on Capitol Hill…and at Home

Monica Smith: Achieving Success on Capitol Hill…and at Home

February 11, 2020

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.

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