100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Destination Next for the Destination Sales Pro, Part 4

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The DestinationNEXT study's phase one report was released at DMAI's Annual Convention a couple of weeks ago with over 40 pages detailing the top 20 trends affecting destination marketers. The report also includes the most popular strategies to meet these trends based on the study's survey response. On the broadest levels, the top three areas that DMOs can exploit in the coming years include:

  • Playing an expanded role in the community on broader economic development issues.
  • Improving branding of a destination in both leisure and meetings and conventions markets.
  • Capitalizing on social media and smart technology to engage and access residents, industry and markets.

The implications for DMO sales pros might not be immediately clear, but that's due to the nature of the future that all of us face: one of greater connectivity that continuously blurs the lines between our traditional disciplines.

In this four-part series, we'll explore four categories of trends that directly engage the DMO sales community. We'll also identify where sales pros will be expected to perform, which ultimately will affect how sales performance in general may be evaluated and compensated in the future.

To access the full report, go here.


The One Thing

If you take away one thing from this series, it's this: You are not alone!

Sales pros have a huge opportunity for increased collaboration not just with their customers, the meeting planner, but also with a host of distribution alternatives, and more integrated support from their services and marketing teams.


Part 4. Performance

After Engagement, Perception Management and Distribution, we conclude our four part series on the DestinationNEXT top list of trends with performance measurements.

Destination sales pros are no strangers to performance measurements. After all, performance-based compensation goes hand in hand with the job description. Ultimately, tracking our performance makes the job exciting, because it shows how far we've come and pushes us to excel. The next stage of performance forces us to reevaluate exactly what we measure, how we measure it and who we involve in the process.

High-Level Planning and Budget Allocation

In our previous webinar on Building Better Stakeholder Relations, we learned that Experience Columbus was able to basically double their budget over a matter of four years by getting important decision makers to participate in setting a vision for the city's tourism potential, flesh out the scope of work to achieve that vision, and allocating funds to the DMO to truly make it happen.

Of course, these conversations also increasinly include a vision for the meetings industry in the destination and how it fits into the overall travel and tourism product. Why should it matter to sales pros? This will set the course for what kind of business to pursue and define realistic sales metrics and future goals for the DMO -- and you!

Transparency and Partnership

Securing business for a destination was never a one-man act. It can often take years of nurturing relationships with many people and collaborating with various parties, to make it all possible. Moreover, in today's more integrated market place, DMOs more often than not are influencing business and negotiating multiple needs and requirements of the destination, meeting planners and other channels. So, it's becoming harder to say who "takes credit" in the end.

What this implies for performance is that DMOs may not be looking at the same metrics in the future. The role of sales professionals is evolving from the hard salesman counting room nights booked, to the consultant or advisor tracking overall demand and economic impact. For more information on the evolution of sales pros, sign up for our next webinar. It's free and multiple times are available.

Justifying Your Investment

The task of winning business can at times require not only significant investments in time, but also financial resources in the form of incentives and grants. Understanding exactly how these investments pay off for the community at large was ranked as a top trend related to future DMO performance. Again, metrics are moving beyond room nights and pointing to direct spending, taxes and jobs. Several DMOs are already tracking these metrics with the assistance of the Event Impact Calculator; learn exactly how they apply their knowledge of the ROI of incentives.


 

Top Trends Affecting Destination Sales Pros - Full

Rank Trend Average
Rating
1 Social media’s prominence in reaching the travel market (e.g. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Weibo) 3.52
3 Customers increasingly seeking a personalized travel experience 3.30
5 Travelers demanding more information, control, interaction, and personalization 3.27
7 Brand identity for destinations becoming more critical in terms of meeting planner perceptions about value and experience 3.19
9 Technology enabling faster decision-making by customers, thereby increasing business to a destination 3.16
11 Hotel taxes increasingly vulnerable to alternative politically based projects 3.10
16 More third-party information providers aggregating content about destinations 2.98
17 Peer-to-peer buyer influence driving customer purchases 2.97
19 Customers increasingly going directly to suppliers for goods and services 2.94
21 More information clutter and noise about destinations occurring in the marketplace 2.92
22 With advances in technology and social media, greater collaboration occurring between competitors to move similar interests forward 2.91
23 Increasing importance of transparency and building partnerships to secure business to a destination 2.91
26 Marketing as a means to support sales shifting to marketing to support engagement in a destination 2.86
28 Destinations making greater use of incentives and grants to obtain business 2.82
29 Meeting planners choosing destinations based on financial outcomes over destination appeal 2.81

 


Method: While the phase one report explores the top 20 trends, the study actually identified 64 trends in total -- all ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being not significant and 5 being very significant). For the purposes of this blog, I've identified 15 trends directly impacting destination sales pros that ranked above the median score of 2.675.