Destination Innovate Blog

Saving Destinations and Economic Development during the COVID crisis.

Let’s be honest. Even before this crisis, DMOs were facing major relevancy issues, de-funding and diminishing community support. Now, economists are calling for a change or die scenario. They aren’t wrong. While many DMOs have shifted focus to virtual experiences and partner support, that’s great. But it is NOT ENOUGH.

Now is the time to turn your marketing dollars into innovation dollars. Many are just waiting to see when the crisis eases and expecting to go back to their current structure.

That bed tax will not fix itself.

So, it’s not in our nature to doom and gloom it. Let’s move on to the positive in this scenario. Because your proverbial ass is on the proverbial line.

  • Cost of Marketing: As a sales organization, your marketing can shift to brand trust and direct digital ad costs are at an all time low. We are seeing direct spends for destinations reach 1,500% more people for only 4% of the budget pre-crisis ($1 CPC vs $.04 CPC). If you are “reserving media space” with an agency markup, you could be wasting an opportunity get your digital game on point.
  • Brick and Mortar: Infrastructure for the community will also serve travelers. In what ways can the DMO/EDC redirect investments to aid the community for our new normal? What do concert halls and recreational facilities look like after all of this?
  • New Revenue Sources: Perhaps one of the most important moves a DMO can make right now is to admit the model largely not changed since the 70s, is gone. BUT, this is a prime opportunity to reevaluate the role of fiscal opportunities for DMOs. Who will pay and for what? as you are building this side of the business model, I’d be remiss if I didn’t encourage a long-term plan for the income to be directed back to assisting your community and small businesses.

There are many innovative thinkers in our industry. I’m really impressed with the pivots made so far. But, there’s a bit to go. Every DMO is now a start up. Big to small, it’s time to get planing quietly and aggressively. Planning is valuable, don’t let the “plan” become useless. 😉

Yours in arms,


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