100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Foundation Research & Resources

DMAI and the Destination & Travel Foundation continue to invest in resources to improve the effectiveness and underscore the significance of destination marketing organizations.

As a result of significant industry support for the Destination & Travel Foundation’s 2009 capital campaign, Destination Excellence: Investing in the Future of Destination Marketing, the Foundation has been a silent but significant funding source, supporting a broad range of projects and initiatives. Three core initiatives - relevancy, technology and social responsibility - were the basis of the investments of the Destination Excellence campaign. The engaging and impactful resources showcased below now exist due – either in full or in part – to the investments and partnerships made possible through Foundation resources.

Planned Research & Resources

DMO Marketing Activities Study – Canadian Edition: The DMO Marketing Activities Study was conducted and released in 2012 for the first time. More than 240  DMOs participated in the study that provides critical information on U.S. DMO leisure marketing best practices, essential for DMOs as they develop and target their marketing efforts in the most efficient and effective manner possible. The study proved so popular that we are currently conducting a Canadian edition for 2013.

Convention Sales Practices Study: DMOs are facing an increasingly competitive meetings and conventions marketplace with budgets stretched to the breaking point. As a result, DMOs must continually evaluate their sales and marketing efforts, incorporating new tools and revamping traditional programs, to achieve greater levels of success. Originally published in 2011, this biannual study benchmarks DMO and Convention Center sales and marketing activities.

Destination 2020 Study: Destination 2020 is focused on forecasting the impact of current convention center marketing issues and trends – and importantly  - gather credible research and data to support the public policy debate of the fair use of public dollars and/or hotel tax dollars to support a sustainable and viable meetings and exhibition industry. The purpose of the study is to test the following assumption: Convention centers can be good investments given the substantial direct and downstream impacts. Tourism Economics will create a framework (similar to a proforma conducted before a facility is built) to quantify the impact of a number of convention centers utilizing data from the Event Impact Calculator and data from respective individual DMOs.

Event Impact Calculator – Sports Module: The Sports Module will expand the applicability and adoption of the Event Impact Calculator that was made possible by a significant Foundation grant. The Sports Module will provide the DMO professionals with an industry standard method and resource to calculate the economic impact of a sports event on their local economy. The module satisfies the immediate need for an industry standard tool, influenced by local data, with annual data updates and support from a credible firm specializing in global forecasting and quantitative analysis for business and government. Similar to and consistent with the existing Event Impact Calculator, the Sports Module will report on direct spending on local goods and services, and also calculates indirect and induced spending outputs (job, wage and tax contributions), important to local policymakers.

Current Research & Resources

DMO Group Sales Channel Impact Study: This original landmark study completed in July 2012, covered 2009‐2011 and for the first time in history quantified the number of bookings, definite room nights and events confirmed by DMOs on an occurred and future periods basis. The results were significant and provided the industry with critical figures required for strategic discussions with meeting planners, hotel companies and other distribution channels of the meetings and convention market. The initial study was made possible through the pro bono work by Tourism Economics. The continued commitment to this study from the Foundation will build upon its investment in the Event Impact Calculator on an annual basis and will continue to provide the industry with the future health of the DMO group sales channel.

2013 Digital & Mobile Marketing Toolkit: This first-time resource for the industry focuses primarily on leisure marketing  and technology, one of the three pillars of the Destination Excellence Campaign. The 100-page e-document , made possible by a grant from the Foundation and by a partnership with GetSmartContent and W2O Digital, offers a comprehensive analysis including:

  • Current mobile and digital marketing trends and top strategies for digital engagement
  • Dynamic case studies from 10 city, state or national DMOs 
  • Best practices, frequently asked questions and a comprehensive glossary to help DMO and travel professionals at all levels to understand and successfully implement mobile and digital marketing strategies for their destination

2013 DMO Visitor Information Center Study: Visitor centers provide quality information services to visitors that support a strong visitor experience, increasing spending within a destination, building reputation and repeat visits. This is a valuable and meaningful resource for any DMO providing actionable data and trends about visitor information centers to benchmark and improve performance.

2012 DMO Marketing Activities Study – US Edition: The DMO Marketing Activities Study was conducted and released in 2012 for the first time. More than 240 DMOs participated in the study that provides information on U.S. DMO leisure marketing best practices, which is essential for DMOs as they develop and target their marketing efforts in the most efficient and effective manner possible. 

2012 Compensation & Benefits Study: The DMO Compensation & Benefits Study is the most comprehensive and up-to-date study on destination marketing organization (DMO) HR practices. The study examines critical topics -- salary and compensation, retirement plans, healthcare and insurance practices, among others -- invaluable information for budget planning, benefits program evaluations, hiring practices and justifying staff investment to stakeholders.

2011 Advocacy Toolkit: With destination marketing budgets facing increased competition from other government priorities for funding, it is more critical than ever for the official destination marketing organization (DMO) to be a constant advocate for the travel industry and the dedication of marketing dollars. The DMO Advocacy Toolkit provides the groundwork to assist in creating and implementing a solid advocacy plan. A valuable resource, the toolkit provides guidance for building and nurturing community relations, including key messages to help stakeholders understand the role your DMO plays in promoting the destination.

2011 Standard Performance Reporting Handbook: The Handbook provides DMOs with a systematic, business-minded approach to internal performance assessments, necessary to guide the decision-making process for resource management, sales and marketing campaign development, as well as staff training and development. Performance reporting also gives DMOs benchmarks and a platform by which they can clearly articulate their contribution to their stakeholders and the local community. The 2011 edition was updated to include new definitions and metrics for digital marketing and ROI formulas.

Event Impact Calculator: The Event Impact Calculator measures the economic value of an event and calculates its return on investment to local taxes. Armed with this information, DMOs are better prepared to make the case to policymakers for the ongoing development and growth of the meetings sector. Updated annually, the calculator provides an industry-wide standard with important distinctions:

  • Flexible - Users can run scenarios depending on the type of event, year, industry focus and financial agreements
  • Localized - For the first time, the analysis is based on city-specific data 
  • Comprehensive - Direct and indirect impacts are measured for business