DMO’s Must Be Scratching Their Heads - By John Hendrie

Well over a month ago I wrote an article about a new definition for the word 'Destination' – a most worthy word in our world of Hospitality and Tourism.

LRA Worldwide Well over a month ago I wrote an article about a new definition for the word “Destination” – a most worthy word in our world of Hospitality and Tourism. Another sector had spirited away our unique and ever present raison d’etre, where DMO’s (Destination Marketing Organizations) present our various locations and enhance the tourism effort through involvement with the stakeholders. The Automotive Industry has tread upon our path, heavily. It started with the Lexus, identifying itself as a luxury destination (opulent interior, very smooth ride, all the gadgets in the world, etc.).

Well, another luxury brand has joined the party – the Infiniti, where for them, the “journey is the destination”. Here we see a stylish couple plan their vacation travels, from a desert isle to a grand, verdant concourse, with them naturally ensconced in the finest trappings of transport.

So, now I am really confused – is it the trip, where I stop, sightsee and scan the horizon or is it the transport which moves me about? It must be all transitory and sensory. Assume the lotus position and repeat after me...

Automotive has never been shy about spending the big marketing bucks, and their advertising is usually quite memorable, sometimes cutting-edge. You might recall that Super Bowl ad of 2011 which effectively rebranded both Chrysler and gave some heft to the City of Detroit (which sadly is still reeling as a municipality).

If Automotive can create a whole new sensation and definition, where are the best and the brightest of our DMO’s – tasked to sell and market our cities, regions, locales, states, our collective Brands and stand-alones? I would think the stakeholders are beside themselves with wonder. Where is the delivery?

It certainly is not easy in this economy to pull together a campaign which richly represents our diverse hospitality destination to those Visitors. Budgets are shot, slashed, smoked. Staff has been reduced; member participation pared. Yet, we stakeholders want something that shakes the visitor consciousness and sensibility.

We used to do it, but it seems now we are in a funk. But, just remember where Automotive was a mere few years ago. We can do better! Think out of that box.

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