The new normal: DistURBANce in TRAVEL

22nd Jun, 2017

At the European Cities Marketing International Conference in Dubrovnik, May 31-June 3, 2017, Europe’s city marketers, convention and tourism professionals met industry thought leaders and tourism academics from around the globe to debate and strategise the new normal in urban travel and tourism.

Only now are the DMOs beginning to understand urban travel and tourism as one global marketplace under constant disturbance. DMOs navigate in a network of connected cities with an ever growing exchange of visitors seeking to become temporary locals, with seamless sharing of great moments and ideas of the good life, with many celebrations and urban events manifesting the popular identity of the city, with surging exports of entrepreneurial creations and commercial concepts. The new normal in urban tourism is a wonderland of opportunities, but it can also be a no man’s land for the DMOs that can’t or won’t engage. 

During ECM International Conference, attendees started with a shared belief that the new normal is both creative and destructive. Constant change is the only constant.

In the frame of the Conference, European Cities Marketing launched The Future of DMOs – The ECM Manifest that looks at the daily changes and disruptions occurring in European tourism; it sets out a vision on how Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) can empower to take on a leading role in city marketing and management.

The Future of DMOs – The ECM Manifest

The sector of Destination Marketing has undergone several identity crises, resulting in name changes. Thus, the “Destination Marketing Organisation” (DMO) is becoming “Destination Development, Management and Marketing Organisation” (DDMMO). Of course we do not want to come up with another acronym but this is a way of describing the changes occurring in both Tourism Industry and Meetings Industry. DMOs require a much fuller and deeper coalition of destination partnerships to maintain the visibility of their destination as a great place to live, work, study and visit. With this holistic approach, there is for sure room for DMOs to engage not only towards leisure travellers but also with meetings, incentives conferences and events industry in a targeted way that meets the wider policy objectives of their city.

The freshly published The Future of DMOs – The ECM Manifest produced by European Cities Marketing (ECM) in collaboration with Toposophy, gives 8 principles around which, it recommends Destination Marketing Organisations to take a chance on their future.

The leitmotiv of the Manifest is the radical switch from external to internal, from outbound to inbound, from focus on visitors to focus on locals. If destination marketing used to be about appealing tourists, it is now a more complex undertaking which consists in beginning with the locals, making sure they feel good in their city building a quality of life for them. People are now appealed to destinations by the genuineness of the accessible local experiences: “In communicating who you are to the outside world, what matters most is how local people live and what they think makes their city unique…”. (Source: ECM Manifest) 

From DMO to DDMMO?

It not enough to only market your destination, DMOs should also play a role in developing and managing it. It’s what makes DMOs become DDMMOs (Destination Development, Management and Marketing Organisation). 

“An extended horizon that includes destination development and management necessitates greater levels of alignment and partnership with other public and private enterprises within the destination.” (Source: ECM Manifest)

Building partnerships: a sign of strength

“Today, the most forward-thinking DDMMOs are re-inventing themselves primarily through building deep and meaningful partnerships. Whether it’s through teaming up with a local university to analyse data, rolling out a major campaign with an online travel agent, or building a political taskforce to tackle a specific issue, partnerships are essential for helping you get where you want to be.” (Source: ECM Manifest)

The ECM Manifest is available on ECM Website:

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