Destination Innovate Blog

Why is Destination Innovate revamping AMP CAMP?

Summer is almost over and that means product development time for us. What’s working, what needs evolution, what problems do our clients need solved? I love this time of year, when the long days give way to innovation. What’s been on my mind the most is the ongoing pain points of DMOs, specifically the smaller destinations in the U.S. It’s the kind of pain that looks and feels like prevention, so many take no action until it’s just too late.

I’m not giving up on this, though. I can’t give up on my family. There’s an unhealthy situation and I’m going to keep cooking healthy meals until our industry problems are industry solutions.

There is one product/service in particular that I am doubling down on for the remainder of the year and into 2020. You might say, I’m betting the farm on it. 😉

But, let me back up a min before I lay out my beautiful, beautiful pitch.

As many have reported, there is strong evidence of a softening tourism demand in 2020.

An economic downturn is not an if, but a when.

Many (so many I’ve stopped counting) tourism boards have been de-funded, under funded or threatened to justify their existence. And, the mass-hysteria continues.

It’s a fact that budgets across the board (DMOs and partners) are strained or less than last year.

The increasing cost to market a destination and for partners to market themselves is a never-ending trajectory. What are cheaper tools give way to an increase in man-power to use them properly.

There’s a common thread of the solutions available to combat a compressed marketplace. It’s pretty obvious to me, but think about it a sec. Tell me what you think it is. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…..

Yep. It’s right there in your back yard. Together, you and your stakeholders can mitigate and alleviate any outside threats to your community and it’s tourism business. I truly believe this is the final frontier of DMO relevancy and business model. But, I’m also hearing these types of comments:

“The CVB in [redacted] only wanted to sell me co-op, which I couldn’t afford. They gave special attention to the partners who paid. Though my [redacted] business was an experience that no one else in the state offered, it unfortunately failed. I know that with the help of the CVB it would still be open.”

-Small Florida Businessman

“Stakeholders just don’t show up. We brought the Google event in, we’ve had the state bring in education and we hold rallies. Sometimes it’s only 4 or 5 people at the [event]. I don’t know how to get them to participate.”

Small DMO Executive Director

There’s a divide. There always has been. The DMO feels hostage. The partner feels used. The community has their own set of challenges (that’s for another post). It’s time for some strong therapy and a new look at how the conversation restarts.

Initially, I created AMP CAMP to be an intensive three-day, “Tony Robbins” style immersion on how stakeholders can market themselves. That’s cool and all, but I now admit what I didn’t see.

No one has time for 3 days and nights. If they aren’t showing up for Google, are they going to show up for a destination marketing veteran with less cache. I was trying to give them tools and not really solving problems.

Pivoting back to the need for the destination and partners to work together in more than marketing and advertising, has inspired me to go smaller. It’s a 5 hour mini camp that lasers in on workshop, role building, education that is not a vendor pitch and collaboration stations. It’s also allowed me to offer this really cool program at a reservation fee any size DMO can afford.

It’s our “road show”. Our first tour, so to speak. Tour dates to be announced based on how many DMOs really want to AMP up their market.

To download the marketing deck, click here.

To book your destination on our tour, email me.

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