Global DMOs: Communications Will Play Crucial Role in Recovery

Frances Ferrante - Senior Editor
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LONDON—Destinations executives from Scotland, London, Barcelona and Washington, D.C. came together online this week to discuss the results of the new Global Destinations Marketing Report from davies tanner, in partnership with IBTM Events.

Taking part in the research launch were Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events, VisitScotland; Tracy Halliwell MBE, Director of Tourism, Conventions & Major Events, London & Partners; Melissa A. Riley, Vice President of Convention Sales & Services, Destination DC; and Christoph Tessmar, Director, Barcelona Convention Bureau. They were joined by Claude Blanc, Portfolio Director, WTM & IBTM Events; and Robert Wright, Managing Director at davies tanner.

As different as their destinations are, the group shares a strong sense of adaptability and optimism, and are eager to see meetings return later this year.

Halliwell described herself as “cautiously optimistic” about the coming year. “We now have a roadmap and the industry is so happy to have a sight line. Starting in June, we will see domestic events, and international will return next year. Meanwhile, our venues have been preparing so we’re ready for the omnichannel events of the future.”

Riley conveyed a sense of optimism in the U.S., thanks to the new Biden-Harris Administration and the vaccine rollouts. “People are feeling very positive and, just like our European counterparts, we are seeing demand return.” In Barcelona, which is awaiting the arrival of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in June, the convention bureau is behind the launch of backtoevents.org, an initiative to restart live events by implementing rapid antigen testing.

Behind all these initiatives — and during the dark days of the past year — these DMOs, like 89% of the survey respondents, found ways to stay in communication with their target audiences, relying heavily on social media because of greatly reduced budgets, and as the channel that delivers the highest engagement, according to 92% of survey respondents.

“As we all look to the future, marketing and communications will be so crucial in building global demand, but also to underline confidence and highlight the value and importance of business events of all kinds,” said IBTM’s Blanc.

Related. IBTM Research Breaks Down the Pandemic’s Far-Reaching Impact on the Industry; Trade Show Organizers Outline Post-Pandemic Growth Strategies; Trade Fairs Make Their Return to Europe

Among the other highlights from the survey of 224 global DMOs:

  • PR & media relations use increased to 68%, underlining the need for trusted news to grow confidence.
  • 51% of destinations say they are planning to either launch or enhance Ambassador Programs.
  • 34% say they expect to receive a short-term increase in funding to stimulate demand.

Download the full report here.

Reach Claude Blanc at claude.blanc@reedexpo.co.uk or +44 20 8271 2134