100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Study on How Meeting Planners' Online Activities Drive Purchase Decisions Announced

Monday, May 5, 2014

Washington, DC - Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) and Meeting Professionals International (MPI) embarked on a new study today to understand the role of digital and online activities in meeting planners' decision-making process.

The Role of Digital Resources in Meeting Planning Study’s results will inform destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and similar meeting industry suppliers on how planners currently engage in digital tools throughout their purchasing journey, from awareness to consideration to purchase. In turn, DMOs will be able to serve meeting planners with better information and through their customers' preferred channels of communication.

“DMAI realizes that DMOs are noticeably absent in conversations that meeting planners are having online,” said Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki, Managing Director of DMAI's empowerMINT.com and Event Impact Calculator. “As an industry, we need to better communicate our expertise to meeting planners. We should be advising and consulting through the channels that planners are taking their buying process, to ensure the success of our customers’ meetings and events.”

DMAI and MPI have partnered with Converse Digital and Market Dynamics Research Group (MDRG) to conduct the study, which will focus on three major areas of interest:

  1. Research and Information Gathering,
  2. Comparison and Selection Process,
  3. Contact and Interaction Methods.

Converse Digital is a digital marketing strategy agency specializing in social sales and inbound lead generation, and MDRG is a market research firm with over 20 years of experience identifying consumer perceptions, purchase intent, and identifying the elements that motivate and discourage buying behavior in the travel and tourism sector. Converse Digital enlisted MDRG, DMAI, and MPI in the study based on observations that the DMO industry as a whole has been slow to integrate digital, social, and content marketing activities into their sales efforts.

“Many DMOs have remained on the technology sidelines when connecting with planners, when other meeting suppliers are actively blurring the lines between inbound marketing, social media, and sales,” explained Tom Martin, Founder of Converse Digital. “The purpose of this study is to provide evidence that there are significant business opportunities in the digital space, and ultimately drive DMO practices forward to meet those opportunities.”

According to Forrester Research, business-to-business consumers are more than two-thirds of their way through the purchasing journey before contacting a vendor. The availability and accessibility of online and digital resources have contributed to this shift, and the study will unearth insights into how these resources and channels are impacting meeting planners and their buying behavior.

“The findings from the study will be particularly relevant for understanding not only how members of the meeting and event industry interact in the modern marketplace. We not only seek to understand how planners are leveraging online and digital resources in their jobs, but also to unveil opportunities for greater and more effective collaboration with destinations,” said Christian Savelli, Senior Director of Business Intelligence at MPI.

The study’s findings will be revealed through a dedicated session in July 2014 at DMAI's 100th Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) protects and advances the success of destination marketing worldwide. DMAI's influential membership includes nearly 600 official destination marketing organizations (DMOs), also known as tourism boards or Convention and Visitor Bureaus, from nearly 20 countries that command $2.5 billion in annual budgets. As the world's largest and most reliable resource for DMOs, it provides more than 3,700 individual members - professionals, industry partners, educators and students - the most innovative and relevant educational resources, networking opportunities and marketing intelligence worldwide. For more information, visit www.destinationmarketing.org.

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is the largest and most vibrant global meeting and event industry association. The organization provides innovative and relevant education, networking opportunities and business exchanges, and acts as a prominent voice for the promotion and growth of the industry. MPI membership is comprised of approximately 20,000 members belonging to 71 chapters and clubs worldwide. For additional information or to join, visit www.mpiweb.org.


Media Contacts:

Joy Lin
Content Manager, DMAI

Sonya Thorpe
Manager of Communications, MPI