A DMO and its initiatives are only as successful as the reporting the succeeds it
After 16 weeks, Solimar has completed its first virtual DMOs Development Course which worked with representatives from six unique and growing DMOs in the Republic of Georgia. With the expert knowledge of Solimar’s CEO Chris Seek and several other experts within the industry around the world, the curriculum aimed to provide a well-rounded full circle of support for the DMOs. Over these 16 weeks, the organizations learned about and discussed the following topics:
- The role of the DMO within the tourism industry
- A DMO’s response to COVID-19 and the future in the same respect
- Governance within a DMO
- Development of a Board of Directors
- Important and available funding models for DMOs
- Destination planning and stewardship
- The visitor services a DMO can and should provide
- Branding and marketing within a destination
- Tourism information systems
- The importance and development of a DMO’s website
- Social media within and for a DMO
- The still important visitor guides and destination maps
- Private sector membership plans
- Visitor voluntary contribution fee
- The use and importance of storytelling in online marketing
As we conclude the lesson series, it is important for organizations to remember and respect the importance of quality reporting. After all the hard work that DMOs conduct on behalf of their destination, why wouldn’t they want to share the results? Although data collection sometimes seems like a daunting task, it’s important to show your stakeholders what your organization is doing, why they are doing it, and the impact it is having for stakeholders.
Destination International shares the opportunities that come with good reporting, stating,” Performance reporting is crucial to communicating the role and relevance of the DMO to its stakeholders. Effective reporting delivers not only a tremendous opportunity to tell a positive story, but also a key resource management tool for guiding sales and marketing decisions and staff development.” Clearly, reporting serves as much more than just a formality.
As discussed in week three of the series — centered around DMO Governance — DMOs should be accountable, transparent, and involve as many stakeholders as possible. There should be focus on the structure of your organization, how to make sure your work is effective, and how to use your power for good in your destination. Most DMOs report to four different types of stakeholders:
- public sector partners,
- a Board of Directors or advisory board,
- the DMO team, industry partners,
- and the general public.
As each of these stakeholders are unique from the next, and the information you provide to them in the form of a report should be the same.
In this final session, we had the opportunity to reconnect with Jennifer Wesselhoff, who recently accepted the role of President/CEO of the Park City, Utah Chamber of Commerce|Convention & Visitors Bureau — congrats Jennifer! She emphasized the importance of making sure your DMO is reporting the correct information to the correct entity and that not every entity is going to understand or care about the same information you provide other entities. Take some time to research what information is valuable to whom.
Finally, remember that a report can benefit your organization just as much, if not more, than it benefits stakeholders. Jennifer reminded us, “Not everything works! You want to experiment, you want to try new things, you want to see if you can do a better job, or produce better results.” In this way, reporting can be of great use to a DMO.
Solimar has thoroughly enjoyed working with the various DMOs across Georgia and has loved seeing the growth from each organization. We are confident in their abilities to develop prosperous DMOs and we look forward to following their progress in the future!