Destination Marketers and Tourism Boards Change or Perish

Interesting Article by Yeoh Siew Hoon from Wired Asia 2006, published by Travelmole on November 10, 2006


In a world where the consumer is in control of accessing information, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) or tourism boards need to stay relevant to the needs of consumers due to the fact that the way how consumers seek information on destinations and buy their travel is changing. Many factors were affecting the way destinations marketed themselves and some could become irrelevant, particularly in the face of new websites such as the social networking portals where consumers were “telling the truth” about places and experiences. In the absence of a true, independent, all-encompassing destination dashboard, however consumers still trusted the websites of DMOs.

There are three main drivers of change that were affecting the role of DMOs.





  • Demanding and connected consumers who were price conscious, demanding immediate attention/bookings, expecting rich, accurate information and able to exchange information with other consumers; and




    1. Commercial players who have developed over the past 10 years and are now operating in DMOs’ traditional marketing space and who are customer-focused had efficient business processes, effective distribution and continual improvement.


Tourist boards and DMOs had two clear advantages over the new players however – the majority of tourism services on the ground need the DMO to provide the “umbrella” and the public do trust the official tourism organization to provide unbiased information. However they must add value by doing things that the private sector does not wish to do for their destination and cannot do as efficiently and as effectively as the DMO. DMOs must become expert in exploiting the opportunities that ICT (information communications technology) and the Internet offer, which must become central to their operations. To secure the future, there must be interoperability between the different levels of DMOs within a country and they must succeed in e-marketing.

The following 10 principles to future success in e-marketing for a DMO include:



  • Reach as many potential customers as possible




  • Maximise the lifetime value of customers, by maintaining the relationship




    1. Be aware of what consumers are saying about them through community websites



    1. Create a compelling website experience



    1. Maintain high quality content



    1. Deliver sales, directly or indirectly



    1. Offer customized packaging



    1. Engage tourism businesses to deliver the inventory



    1. Demonstrate return on investment – performance evaluation and benchmarking



    1. Ensure effective electronic distribution of information to travellers and visitors.




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