Destination Innovate Blog

Is it time to ‘Marie Kondo’ your DMO?

Just in case you haven’t turned on the television, the KonMari Method™ by Marie Kondo has blown up in popularity with the Netflix show, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo”. Her method is about extreme cleaning/organizing based on what brings you joy. It makes me wonder (because I’m always thinking about you, dear DMO)…is it time to “Marie Kondo” your DMO?

In a world where new marketing avenues are birthed daily, vendors increase and it’s easy to overload your DMO with programs and keep older programs/vendors way past their expiration date. More is not necessarily more effective. In working with DMOs of all sizes as a consultant, there’s definitely common questions to ask yourselves when auditing your spend.

First, let’s talk about effectively reducing quantity. Ask yourself:

  • Does it make your destination money? Pretty simple. It’s easy to get focused on awareness as a success. Even easier to ignore this first critical piece if occupancy and tax impact is on par or increasing. With a closer look, you should be able to draw a straight line to every effort and the money/impact it creates.
  • Where are you choosing struggle? Let’s face it, some efforts have diminishing results. But, they are legacy programs and fear of cleaning this up usually keeps us from being honest. Look at these and ask, “How can I choose ease?” Easy means effective, operationalized strategy that serves impact.
  • Is it just shiny object syndrome? You’ve just been to an industry conference and discovered a new program or service that promises to alleviate a whole bunch of your problems. And, hey, your competition is doing it. So, fear of missing out kicks in and you buy buy buy. Could work for your DMO, might not. It’s worth a closer look.
  • Have you really dialed into what you need, objectively? This really speaks to the RFPs circling around. They tell me, you know what you want, but might be misguided as to what you need to ensure impact. I’ve found that a pre-session with a DMO before writing an RFP can greatly improve results and allow the DMO to ask the right questions, instead of checking boxes.
  • Where are you choosing quantity? Quantity over quality has a bad rap in advertising. There is, however, a serious mitigating factor that’s overlooked. Creative. One campaign creative (or even slight versioning) will not resonate with your differing cohorts. Prescriptive creative that speaks to the soul of your cohort is where good, strong creative has a great return. People only visit your destination AFTER they’ve visited in their minds. I’m a fan of creative quantity with narrative psychology at the heart.
  • Have you evaluated your insourcing/outsourcing cleanup? This can certainly go lots of ways. Bigger DMOs tend to insource quite a bit, but still outsource a lot of service and thinking work. Smaller DMOs just don’t have the bandwidth, so they rely on agencies, etc for all of the service work. In this case, it’s important to look at roles and impact. You could have several vendors with cross-over. You might have an incredible staff member who is just in the wrong role for maximum benefit.
  • Can you serve every partner? I’m not talking about offering your partners co-op advertising opportunities. I mean are you treating them like your clients on all scales (even Joe’s coffee shop)? Where this can be cleaned up is to closely evaluate your programs for partners and re-develop in a way that has a nice, tidy impact. BONUS: This is insurance for your relevancy.

There are so many more areas of evaluation that I recommend. But, I’m trying not to turn this post into an academic paper..(yet). I just want to get you thinking about running the leanest, meanest destination machine that you can. It’s sometimes easy to get stuck “breathing our own exhaust” and dealing with whatever new problem is at hand. This is why I provide DMOs with solid coaching and consulting from a business impact scenario. If you want an unvarnished evaluation of how you can be as relevant and strong as possible without alienating your staff or vendors, I’m happy to talk. Very often, it’s just small, surgical tweaks that make everything better.

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