DMOs Today-A Model of Collaboration

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‘AModel of Collaboration’ Howplanners can leverage relationships with DMOs to create better meetings. By Jennifer N. Dienst

W hen Valarie Coyle, meetings director at Health Professions Network, startsmappingout her next event, adestinationmarketingorganiza- tion (DMO) isalwaysher first stop. “Theyhave everything right there at their fingertips,” she said. “They have the dates, the research, they havealltheinformationonthe[city’s]facilities. When I give themmy specs, I know I’mgoing to get just those hotels that I’mgoing to need, not every hotel under the sun, a place that won’t fit my meeting to begin with.” But DMOs offer event organizers more than the ability to narrow down hotels more quickly. They can be your social-media guru, local speaker bureau, or on-the-ground safety net. And if you invest time in nurtur- ing a deeper relationship with them, you’ll find that DMOs play a more significant role

in the success of yourmeeting than you ever thought possible. “Without question, the CVB is the desti- nation expert when it comes to planning meetings,” said Gary C. Sherwin, CDME, chair of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), and president andCEO of Visit Newport Beach. However, he added, the DMO’s role has “evolved dramatically in recent years. The primary function of the CVB today goes far beyond marketing. We are now destination architects, imagineers, culture cultivators, project engineers, as well as clever marketers. In many cases, the CVB is the destination’s greatest champion — the driving force in facilitating a dialogue between its community and the customer — to ensure the event is successful for both the host city and the customer’s stakeholders.”

BEYOND SPACE AND RATES In April 2017, Dude Solutions brought its professional-development conference, Dude University, to Raleigh, North Carolina, for the first time. Its attendees—around 1,000opera- tions professionals — were looking for a dif- ferent experience, said Nicholas Mirisis, vice president of marketing at Dude Solutions. “They were looking to be in a hub of activity, moreof anurbanenvironment.”Andbesides needing more physical space, Mirisis said they needed more of a “learning laboratory” environment, where they could tap into the intellectual capital of the local community. Out of 200 speakers at this year’s event, 50 were subject-matter experts from the Raleigh area. Mirisis enlisted the help of the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau to ensure that the range of

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