Study Strengthens DMO Role
So far this summer, the erratic weather and the latest skirmishes from the presidential campaign have dominated the national news. The meeting industry got a reprieve from all that, along with a dose of good news, at this year’s annual Destination Marketing Association International Convention in Seattle, July 16-18.
For DMOs around the country, the annual event is a sure sign that it’s high summer and their chance to connect with peers who share common challenges, no matter how competitive they might be when they get back to their home territories. The meeting draws attendees from many segments of the industry, but for destination managers, it’s an opportunity to learn about new trends, collect survey information that will help them win support for their programs, and “be better about what we do,” as one attendee said.
“Destination marketing organizations play a significant role in the group meetings business,” said Michael D. Gehrisch, president and CEO of DMAI, introducing results of what he described as a landmark study during a state of the industry session. “Approximately 275 cities and towns across the United States rely upon the sales and marketing efforts of DMOs to attract events to their destination.”
The study, based on data from nearly 100 DMOs representing three-quarters of the total market, found that DMO’s new group room bookings grew 4.8 percent last year. A total of 35.6 million group room nights occurred as a result of DMO sales and marketing efforts. In the 275 markets where DMOs are active in group sales, DMOs represented 19 percent, or 1-in-5, of all group room demand in 2011.
The positive numbers are good news for meeting planners, too. Bolstered by this latest research and the growing awareness of the economic significance of face-to-face meetings, DMOs are empowered to produce their own political campaigns to improve the value and products their destinations offer for meetings.
Read more about the role of DMOs in “Communication Is Key.”
Photos courtesy of Rodney Choice/DMAI.