100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Unlocking the Meetings Industry with DMAI's empowerMINT

Author: Guest Kate Skidmore
Posted: March 03, 2014
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Since starting with the empowerMINT team, one of the biggest challenges I noticed that DMOs face is tackling a question that planners often pose, "What can the DMO do for me and my meeting that I can't find on my own?" Not only are DMOs challenged to find clients with quality business that fits the destination, there is also a struggle on how to convince these clients to partner with them at all.

DMOs seek to gain visiblitiy in a rapidly changing meetings marketplace. Likewise, it's equally hard nowadays to create visibility to meeting planners on the value of your destination when there is so much noise out there. DMOs have been evolving with market shifts, coming up with unique and effective ways to market their destination, and making sure their destinations are visible in multiple channels. We are seeing a lot of DMOs turn to social media, email marketing, and online advertising to great success.

But what I encourage all DMOs -- both large and small -- to do is to take advantage of the resources that DMAI provides. Leverage the presence that we have as an industry to your advantage. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Managing multiple industry channels in one place.

If you're struggling to keep your contact information up to date on so many online channels, you're not alone. On a recent call with one of our DMO subscribers, she shared with me the challenge they had with so many industry technology tools. She said there is too much to choose from, keep updated, and track what is going on.

She was delighted when she discovered that her empowerMINT content is actually being syndicated out to other places where planners are visiting. For example, a planner might be shopping in Cvent or HelmsBriscoe and click to connect with a DMO's sales professionals. Little do they know this information is actually flowing out of the empowerMINT profile. In an age where we have too many logins and passwords to remember, this is a huge benefit for a destination to have their contact info in several syndicated partnership sites and only have to update in once place! The target audience, meeting planners, is instantly captured in more than just the empowerMINT site that leads them to the DMO.

2. Leverage our online footprint with your presence.

One of the ways we empower our DMOs to have tools to push info out and connect directly with the planner community is our empowerMINT Blog. Powered by articles that we share with over 24,000 planner subscribers, we also showcase DMO sales professionals in our webinars. They are then supported by your own blog posts blasted over social media. And the content stays evergreen as a recording and accompanying presentation, all tied up with a CMP-credit bow.

Ultimately, we have a wealth of information housed in our library and a part time staff writer that is dedicated to writing about your value and your destination expertise. DMO subscribers can co-create content, put it on their website, paste it in their newsletters to make it your own.

3. Deepen your view into the meetings market.

Collectively, empowerMINT brings DMOs together with an initiative to educate planners about the value of working with a DMO. And it's not just about educating our customer, it's also about educating ourselves. We create a forum of peer-to-peer interaction and multiple resources based on planner research to further the professional development of DMOs.

The MINT database is an essential tool that represents the ultimate collaboration by DMOs intended to educate ourselves about our customers. This historic collection of meetings history is supported & updated by 150+ DMO subscribers. By contributing to and utilizing this information, DMOs have keen insight to planners & the power to successfully prospect for new business.

With our annual empowerMINT survey and Meeting Professionals Advisory Board, you also benefit from unique insights that planners have about how they conduct business and your status as a DMO throughout the process of creating successful meetings.

4. Keep your DMO status top of mind.

The benefit of empowerMINT is that it creates a one-stop shop for a planner & greatly simplifies the RFP process. Often DMOs/CVBs can take on a competitive mindset, however empowerMINT creates a collaborative environment where DMOs can work towards the common goal of building an industry brand. The more relevant and proficient destinations are with representing themselves, the more likely it will be that the planner will have a DMO top of mind when they start planning their meeting.

Take the webinars as an example. We explore everyday issues that the DMO community can relate to, and we surface solutions by pairing meeting planners and DMO representatives in an open discussion for hundreds of webinar attendees every month. After the main session we allow participating attendees to directly ask the both the DMO & meeting planner panelists questions so they have hands on access to the topic.

At our recent Destinations Showcase, I spoke with one planner whose company had a budget cut and they no longer paid for her educational development. She had taken a personal unpaid day to attend and educate herself. I told her about the empowerMINT planner education resources, and her mind was boggled to hear that this existed and was free to her as a planner. We encourage our DMOs to use these tools and take ownership of them so they can nurture their own direct relationships with planners. It is a win-win for both, so you really must to be proactive and constantly engaged with the empowerMINT resources available to you.

There is so much information out there for meeting planners to choose from. A DMO has the opportunity to hand hold a meeting planner from beginning to end, customizing their experience along the way. The crux of the empowerMINT initiative is compelling meeting planners to use DMOs as their first point of contact. We know if we can educate planners on the value of DMOs and also encourage DMOs to become accredited and more educated on the customer as well, meeting planners will be encouraged to keep their business flowing within the DMO community.

Your next step...

Call me! Write me! As your empowerMINT engagement manager, it's my job to make sure you're taking advantage of all the DMAI resources and networks that will help you be a smarter and more impactful sales professional.

While you checking your calendar, put this into your schedule once a month. Join our monthly webinar to learn how to better articulate your value to planners and match your services to their pain points. Not only that -- invite you planners to our webinars to consistently learn more about how you as a DMO can help them. And you all earn CMP credit every time.

Bottom line is: Don't be a stranger; be a regular with us and unlock the potential of the meetings market for your destination.

Kate Skidmore is Subscriber Services and Engagement Manager for the empowerMINT product. She has spent the last seven years at the San Diego Tourism Authority and most recently in the capacity of Digital & Traditional Media Account Executive. Her background includes marketing, advertising sales, IT implementation, and hotel sales training for iLead.

Her role is to fully support all DMOs engaged with empowerMINT in gaining more exposure to planners and helping them articulate and drive the DMO value proposition. She can be reached at +1.202.835.4099 or kskidmore@destinationmarketing.org.