100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Live Webcasting to Keep Planners Informed

Posted: August 03, 2015
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From Webinar to Webcast

For the past few years, we've tested and refined a consistent production of monthly webinars to reach meeting planners through topics of interest to them, and tying those topics and pain points back to you the DMO as experts to help mitigate those pain points. With registration reaching between 150 to well above 500, online delivery of DMO expertise and destination insights remains a critical part of DMAI's mission to position DMOs as the best first point of contact for a planner to find what they need for any size meeting.

This time, during DMAI's Annual Convention, we explored another medium to reach planners to meet a somewhat different need, which is staying up to date and in the know on meeting destinations and meeting locations within those destinations.

Based upon what our surveys, interviews, and advisory board have told us in the past, meeting planners are looking for many things, but besides promotions, they seek information about local events, hotel developments, event ideas, unique venues, and relevant local news. But the challenge of combing the web and pull all this information together into a cohesive impression of a meeting destination remains a significant challenge.

A Live Experiment

This is where our experiment came in. At DMAI's Annual Convention where we had over 1,500 destination marketing professionals and business partners come together, the empowerMINT.com team pulled fourteen of our finest Texas meeting destinations together and produce a live broadcast of fifteen-minute presentations by each of the DMOs.

Working with Chuck Boyce and his team at Authority Media Marketing, Terri and I worked together as co-hosts for the live show interviewing fourteen Texas destination representatives while our amazing support team monitored the live chat roll where planners could interact with each other and submit their questions, lined up our guests, and troubleshooted any difficulties.

The Results

We were not exactly sure how this was going to roll but the feedback and interaction amongst our planner audience was amazing. We even had a team of planners from Brazil who sent us in a photo of themselves following the webcast from thousands of miles away, which just goes to show you that the world of meeting planning and location sourcing can get a lot smaller pretty easily, with today's technology. Below is a snapshot of the webcast "by the numbers":

Of the 542 webcast registrants, 401 were planners representing:

  • Institute of Engineers
  • Martiz Travel
  • Epilepsy Foundation
  • Texas Computer Education Association
  • Bayer CropScience
  • Conference Direct
  • Wells Fargo
  • McDonald’s
  • American Institute of Physics
  • National Association for Music Education
  • Ericsson
  • Nestle Purina PetCare Company
  • First United Methodist Church Grapevine
  • HelmsBriscoe
  • Volkswagen Credit

The remaining 140 or so participants included DMO sales professionals themselves, curious about learning the new format of the webcast and also team members who made themselves available to answer any questions on the chat roll as their colleague presented live with Terri and myself.

While our audience viewed us live, they were able to chat with us and each other, So through our experiment, we recognized the importance of bringing planners together in a single platform, at the convenience of their desktop or mobile device to learn not only from our destination experts, but perhaps more importantly, from each other as a way to validate the knowledge being delivered.

Feedback and Next Steps

The response from participants has been shown resounding support for the live webcast format:

  • “I’m impressed. Thanks for the power packed info! This webcast is an awesome idea. This is a really great way to show these cities!  I enjoyed the presentations.”
  • “Great presentations! Very informative.  Thanks for giving us a platform to hear all about these great cities.”
  • “This has been a great presentation and has taught me alot of stuff that I didn't know about what goes on in Texas and some things here in our own back yard of the DFW Area.”
  • “Seriously, this is a great opportunity to see the diversity of a single state. Thanks, empowerMINT!”
  • “This is great!  No lapses in sound, easy-to-use Chatroll, no problems with picture.  Better than Comcast at home!  Nice work!”
  • “Great idea to invite the lesser known cities to be showcased. Very enjoyable webcast. Will look forward to another one in the future.”

With this kind of feedback, we are now putting our heads together to figure how we can continue doing this type of planner education for other regions and we’ve had Southern California and New York destinations already wanting to participate. I’d sure like to hear from you on what you think about this concept, so leave a comment and let us know, or reach out to Kate Skidmore at kskidmore@destinationmarketing.org.

If you'd like to see the replay on Texas Destinations broadcast, check it out on the replay page of the empowerMINT blog.