100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Buddy2Buddy Challenge: Results and Wrap Up

Author: Joy Lin
Posted: July 24, 2013
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Exactly three months ago, we announced the first class of DMO sales professionals undertaking a pilot training program to assist them in developing more productive business relationships with their planners, and after only two months of preparation-to-practice exercises, our fearless guinea pigs were able to make measurable progress in their accounts.

It's a tough crowd out there... but you're not alone.

It's pretty apparent that we all struggle with very similar challenges when convincing planners to engage our expertise and resources when considering a destination. As the group explains, some of the most significant ones they had to face included:

  • Don't consider your destination
  • Don't respond back
  • Have uncertain timelines
  • Have misconceptions about your destination
  • Have minimal information for you to research

Find your in with the crowd.

As Tamara summarizes in her testimonial, there are only a few clear and easy steps to take that will put you in a better position to provide planners true value that they cannot ignore:

  1. Do background research on the client, not just the meeting.
  2. Establish points of common interest and goals first as a reason to contact an influencer or planner.
  3. User all available resources and networks including your own database, online research, and professional or social networks.

Make the crowd matter.

Ultimately the Buddy2Buddy Challenge would not have been successful at all, had we not been able to incorporate measurable goals into the exercises. So instead of just counting the number of phone calls or sales visits, take some of these relationship development milestones and incorporate them as "wins" for yourself and your team as well.

Michelle Travis, Senior VP of Sales at Visit Indy and Chair for DMAI's Content Marketing Subcommittee, and her team have already integrated this as part of their normal sales process with definite results. See if you can do the same:

  • Attract the planner's attention
  • Set a meeting with an influencer
  • Convince a planner to visit your destination
  • Secure a site inspection
  • Gain consideration for an event

Don't stop there.

The Buddy2Buddy Challenge was created as a framework that creative and imaginative sales professionals can adapt to their own target segments, selling styles, and engagement preferences. Explore what else our first class did individually with their particular groups and how they applied what they learned to very specific cases.

Kathy McAdams
Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
Malinda Harrell
Visit Raleigh
Katie Stien
Catch Des Moines
Tamara Whiting
Anne Boon & Ryan Barth
Visit Indy
Jennifer Friday
Tampa Bay & Company


Thank You

I want to take this time to thank all the participants in the Buddy2Buddy Challenge.

Michelle, thank you for volunteering not only one but two guinea pigs! What you do in Indy is a living example of what can be accomplished when you bridge marketing and sales. Anne and Ryan, your naturalness on camera makes me worry that you will leave the DMO world to pursue a career in the movies. I hear Kathy is great at selling LA. Please refrain from talking to her. Malinda, you walked into this with no expectation and made gold out of popsicle sticks. Katie, I really enjoyed our one-on-one calls. You're a very busy lady. Tamara, don't think you are off the hook yet. With any luck, I'll make you record all my training videos for the next 30 years. Jenn, I'm sure you'll never forgive Jeremy for volunteering you, but I had a great time hearing about your successes in social media. A special thank you to Brock, Christine, Sara, Kat, Bob, Derek, and Leslie for their generosity in helping us create video content. It was completely undeserved but welcome! Lastly, thanks to Shimo and the Sales and Marketing Committee for humoring me in this project. It couldn't have happened without your indulgence.

For more information on the Buddy2Buddy Challenge, contact me at jlin@destinationmarketing.org.