Planners Seek Financial Help from DMOs

Facing more pressure to deliver but with fewer resources, conference and event organizers are looking to destination marketing organizations to provide them with more financial help and sponsorship opportunities, according to a survey released this month.

The Destination Marketing Insights from Meeting Executives survey, conducted by Fulcrum Marketing Company, included 398 meeting planners. The survey showed that 48 percent of them have worked more closely with DMOs during the past 12 months and that the two most appealing selling points for a destination are availability of financial incentives and broad meeting industry collaboration.

Driving these planner needs is the sharp rise in hotel, venue and food costs, among other things. This signals a need for DMOs to serve as strategic business partners with planners rather than to merely sell and market their destination.

DMOs in Denver, New Orleans, Melbourne and Vancouver, British Columbia and others have taken the lead in proactively differentiating their destinations by selling themselves as business partners to planners.

Fulcrum’s founders, David Kilman and Bruce MacMillan, contend that plenty of opportunities exist for DMOs and meeting planners to adopt new collaborative strategies by speaking the language of business rather than that of logistics and banquets.

MacMillan told Skift that if DMOs are either unwilling or unable to offer meeting planners increasing financial incentives, they can help to solicit in-destination sponsorship and industry-specific intelligence to add value to a business event, and assist planners in promoting conferences to potential attendees and exhibitors locally and worldwide.

Despite planners’ need for more support from DMOs, the hospitality industry, especially hotels in the upper-upscale segment, posted record numbers in 2015. STR hospitality analytics show that the average daily rate in that segment rose 4.3 percent in first 10 months of 2015. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) increased 5.2 percent, marking the 68th straight month that it showed positive gains.

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