What’s a DMO for anyway?

Marketing a destination is a complex business. Choosing where to focus your resources is I believe, crucial to success.

Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) - or tourist boards as we used to call them - are tasked with growing overall tourism numbers to their destination.

There are lots of ways you might try and do this. Digital is obviously a massive part of the equation. In a world of finite resources what's the best way to do it? Where should you focus?

And should you even bother? Some would go so far as to argue that maybe we don't need DMOs. In a world where people are so much more connected, with vast organisations like Expedia, Trip Advisor and Booking.com offering detailed information about just about everywhere on the planet, why not let them do the job for you?

> I'm going to be thinking about the role of DMOs and writing a short series of posts with my ideas.

But first a little background.

In the early days of digital, before Facebook and other social platforms, the tourist board website was in my opinion about the 'mid-inspiration' phase of the customer journey. The nuts and bolts about how to get to a destination and what to see when there. The broad assumption was that the user had probably already decided they fancied going to say, Wales, on holiday. The Visit Wales website was there to help them validate the decision and home in on particular activities and areas to visit. Fairly straight-forward.

It's all much more complex now.

DMOs play higher up the purchase funnel, when people are in the initial inspiration phase, getting them to consider their destination in the first place (as opposed to choosing a competing destination).

Some also play right at the point of purchase offering conversion points - allowing the user to book a hotel or a tour direct on their site, usually via a third party like say Booking.com or Expedia.

And what about the people already in destination walking around with their smartphones looking for on the spot ideas and information? Can you offer something to them too?

There's no right or wrong answer here. But it's essential to make the call. Are you at the top of the funnel, trying to influence people to consider your destination? Are you in the middle helping to cement their choice? Are you at the bottom delivering bookings? Are you in location offering info to people already in your destination.

Your website and social platforms and your team structure will vary a lot depending on where you focus your energies. And, crucially, your metrics for success will be different.

Focus. That's an important word. Aside from a few mega-destinations with deep pockets few can probably play well on all these different levels.

So if you worked for a DMO what would you do? If you work for a DMO what do you do? And if you use DMO websites to plan trips, what do you use them for?

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