9 Insights for DMOs from DCI’s Research Study: A View from Meeting Planners: Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing.

In this third edition of the semi-annual survey, Development Counselors International provides a peek into what planners are thinking that Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) can use to develop their own meetings marketing strategies.

Here are our top nine insights from the study:


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Safety & security is what keeps meeting planners awake at night.

  • DMOs should have content available to ease planners minds on your community’s emergency preparedness resources, processes and plans.
  • Tip: this would make a great whitepaper or case study topic.

Decision makers suggest that introductions to new destinations be made at industry shows and leverage existing relationships.

  • Make sure your DMO is present at the show in the most eye-catching way.
  • Leverage the trade shows with digital marketing efforts like geo-fencing and pre- and post-show email campaigns to get additional reach and exposure at the shows.

Meeting planners indicated they rely on DMOs to be their trusted source of information.

  • Create the mindset among your sales team to stop selling and start advising.  You don’t have control over the product so you might as well be as best of a resource to the planners as possible. That includes providing transparency.

Social media is becoming increasingly important and finally starting to trend with planners as it does for leisure marketing.

  • Make sure your organization has a content marketing approach to reach planners in new and different ways. This includes content development, storytelling, social media distribution and advertising.

The FAM trip increased in importance with the biggest leap from 73% to 95% of planners indicating the FAM is an important factor in the decision-making process.

  • Your DMO needs to make sure you have an effective strategy for hosting routine FAMs, qualifying the planners and showcasing your experience during the visit beyond the meeting spaces.

The path to purchase from the discovery phase to site selection requires DMOs to be present at each stage.

  • Your sales and marketing team needs strategies and tactics to reach and engage planners throughout each stage of the buying cycle.

Planners are continually having to do more with less. This rounds out two of the top four concerns.

  • A key tool will be to develop strategies for how your sales and marketing approach can be the resource planners need to help them increasingly do more with less. Be the resource they need by going beyond space, dates and rate focus.

Email is the top preferred method of communication with suppliers by planners for third straight time.

  • Create email marketing that goes beyond the newsletter with segmented email campaigns, automated email campaigns and lead generation initiatives.

Top sources of information that shape perceptions of a destination are in order: meetings with destination representatives, business/personal travel, dialogue with industry peers, online sources, articles in newspapers and magazines, word of mouth, social media and coverage on TV/radio.

  • What you don’t see on this list is print advertising. Develop a meetings marketing plan that goes beyond advertising. Use content marketing, key trade media digital opportunities and a comprehensive digital approach to reach meeting planners, and you will see your activity and lead generation go up.

If you need help implementing any of these key strategies, contact us today.  We are DMO-focused meetings marketing agency.  With a team of meetings marketing specialists, we can develop a comprehensive marketing approach to help you move planners through the buying cycle.

If you would like a copy of the DCI Study, you can purchase one here for $100.

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