Definition and Scope

Destination marketing or management organizations (DMOs), often identified as convention & visitors bureaus (CVBs), or tourist/convention commissions, boards or authorities are organizations charged to be the community leader in tourism marketing and development, and are typically mandated to bring more meeting, convention and leisure travelers to their destinations. They are typically funded through a lodging/hotel tax, tourism business improvement district assessment, government base budget allocation/grant and/or industry partner/member fees and other cooperative marketing program investments.

Facts and Figures

First DMO Worldwide
1896 Detroit, MI, USA
North American DMOs
2,500 (2,000 community + 500 state/provincial/regional)
International DMOs
4,000 (including North America)

Five Primary Types

  • Not-for-Profit DMOs
  • Not-for-Profit Chambers
  • Local Government Department
  • Special Legal Authority
  • For-Profit Company

Strategic DMO Focus

Drive New and/or Current Visitor Demand

Enhance the Visitor Experience

Communicate Relevancy and Viability

Primary Destination/Community Roles and Benefits

  • A tourism economic and/or community development agent
  • A place/destination marketer, planner and/or builder
  • A visitor industry coordinator and partner
  • A public or quasi-public representative of the visitor and resident
  • A custodian of the community brand and associated local pride

Key Outcome

Increased total visitor spending across all industry sectors (lodging, foodservice, attractions/events, retail and other services) by encouraging overnight and off-peak travel through effective promotion and development of tourism experiences, resulting in sustainable economic growth and higher quality of life for communities.

Six DMO Best Practices and Operational Standards

  • Strategic destination plan with priority tourism initiatives
  • Aligned annual targeted and measurable destination marketing and sales plan with visitor industry and community buy-in partnership programming
  • Innovative convention, group and leisure travel marketing strategies
  • Enhanced destination/community brand development platform and associated delivery training
  • Proactive community/district tourism marketing planning and development assistance
  • Internationally recognized DMO accreditation and professional development certification program compliance

Typical DMO Accountability Measures (balanced quantitative/qualitative scorecard)

  • Converted leisure/VFR travel inquiries and spending
  • Attraction/event attendance
  • Community tourism economic impact
  • Qualified meeting leads
  • Destination website analytics
  • Hotel industry/STR reports
  • Community visitor and host experience satisfaction and loyalty
Sources: Destinations International, Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) Program
and Various Destination Marketing Research Studies and Articles (2010 – 2019)
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