It was a new day at #DMAI16 this year under the leadership of Don Welch with more than 1,500 attendees spending two and half days focused on learning how they can advance their destinations.

Meetings & Conventions-Focused 

Following the “It’s a New Day” theme, the conference program had a surprising number of Meetings & Conventions-focused sessions.  As experts in marketing for Meetings & Conventions destinations, Digital Edge offers a keener understanding of how you can apply key take-aways from DMAI’s speakers to a list of action items this year.

“Smarket” Your DMO to Meeting Planners 

A keynote speaker at DMAI, Jay Baer, a marketing and customer experience consultant and bestselling author, shared with the audience the value of aligning sales and marketing teams to effectively and consistently promote their destinations and gain visitors. He explained that when this happens, DMOs can expect an approximate 400% increase in revenue.

Action Items

  • The marketing team can support the sales team as they prepare for sales events by developing a consistent message and imagery throughout all of their pre-, during, and post- emails.

Visit Florida has an excellent program that uses email to drive awareness for their “VIP” or Very Important Planner events, which are events that take place out of state and are carried out by the sales team. Together, they align their goals for each event and the team at Digital Edge and the marketing & sales team at Visit Florida makes sure the emails convey the promises of these fantastic events in a way the sales team can seamlessly carry out.

For these sales events, the design within the emails are paramount. It’s one of the most effective marketing tools for leads, but the design in the email has a challenging job: it needs to market to an audience in a different city for an event in that city, while still referencing and conveying the beauty of the original destination. For example, an event marketing to meeting planners in San Francisco that takes place in San Francisco, but hosted by Visit Florida can have confusing branding. They are both sunny places that market water activities, but how do you define the difference and still accomplish the goal? Finding this alignment takes a collaborative effort between your sales team, marketers, and creatives.

Collectively, we were able to identify unique animations & imagery that matched the events in each city and together, we accomplished a goal of increasing awareness to meeting planners about the M&C spaces available in target regions nationally.

  • The sales team can increase online user engagement by representing the front line of content and social media collection.

Visit Park City’s Sales team recently hosted a content marketing collection team on a summer FAM Tour, where the Digital Edge team was able to collect a ton of real content and media that is specifically relevant to meeting planners to use throughout the year in order to accomplish the collective goal of driving more off-season interest from meeting planners.

If you are interested in how the Meetings and Conventions marketing team at Digital Edge can help your marketing campaigns support your sales team directly, let us know!

Give Meeting Planners the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 

An educational panel of prominent meeting professionals at DMAI stressed the importance of honest sales and marketing from DMOs to meeting planners. Members of the panel were: Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki, the Managing Director of empowerMINT.com, Tammi Krone with HelmsBriscoe, Carlos Pelham with the American Gas Association, and Missy Schrupp, Director of Meetings, Events & Travel at International Dairy Queen and a member of DMAI’s Meeting Professionals Advisory Board.

They discussed the importance of making sure information about the destination is conveyed properly and not just sold, so they know the right caliber of property for their events.  Many third party planners said they need DMO’s to know the location they are going and the spots that are not right for their events.

Action Items

  • Make sure your media campaign messages online are highly targeted to meeting planners that would most benefit from hosting a meeting or convention at your destination.

The Rapid City CVB recognized that drive-in, regional market segments that focused on agriculture & education industries were a huge opportunity for them. So Digital Edge incorporates geo-targeting and highly researched keyword lists to pinpoint these groups with ad campaigns, creative, and content that would highly appeal to their interests. We also a/b test our creatives across each segment we identify, so we can customize the designs we publish for the target audience.

  • Focus on Expertise Among Your Sales Teams

Meeting Planners are seeking experts, not sales teams. They need to know that they can trust your team to understand their needs. So your site content should reflect this. At Digital Edge, one of the first content pieces we develop for the meetings section of your site is an in-depth look at the background your sales members have in the meetings and conventions space, along with anecdotal references to challenges they have helped meeting planners overcome in the past. This can be conveyed in the “about us” section, in a more in-depth blog, or even in a video!

If you are interested in how the Meetings and Conventions marketing team at Digital Edge can help you target the meeting planners that would be most successful in your destination, let us know!

Becoming a Meeting Planner’s Super Connector 

The same panel also discussed becoming a “Super Connector” for meeting planners. This doesn’t only pertain to connecting planners with a transportation company or local photographers (more emphasis on the “super”!). The information needs to become more personal and this not only should become reflected in your sales team communication, but also the content you present online.

            • Build “Super Connector” Content

Digital Edge researches destinations to develop content that provides a connection to resources and locals who are “like minded” in their specific industry, or share contacts with other planners who have had similar goals and objectives and have planned similar events in your destination.  

Connect the planners to these unique resources, humanize the local leaders and bring them to the table at site visits. Then, go an extra step further and share the value of their event in the form of an economic impact report. These extra steps are what it take’s be a super connector!

            • Share “Super Connector” Content to Relevant Audiences

Aaaand…. This. This is how everything leads to that 400% increase in revenue! When you develop your content and media strategy with the goal to share your relevant destination insights with targeted meeting planners, you will effectively market to the meeting planners you want to reach. Digital Edge is constantly perfecting the science of identifying these audiences and developing perfect content. We continuously optimize our campaigns for client-specific meeting planners.

If you are interested in how the Meetings and Conventions marketing team at Digital Edge can help your destination become a “Super Connector” for meeting planners, let us know!

Take Action! 

When you take action on these DMAI takeaways, you are going to notice major successes in your Meetings & Conventions marketing & sales. We hope these action items have been helpful for you, but if you are looking for experts to assist you with these plans, please contact Digital Edge. We are experts at telling stories about amazing places and we know the meetings and conventions industry inside and out. We look forward to hearing from you!

Destination Marketing Digital Marketing Insights Meetings and Conventions