Services Minimize
Zeitgeist Consulting is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and impact of Destination Marketing Organizations across North America. Since 1995, we've worked with over 180 Destination Marketing Organizations, with a keen eye trained on identifying strategic opportunities to increase our clients' ability to leave a mark. We closely monitor the ever-changing landscape of destination marketing and leadership so that we can bring tomorrow's solutions to the table...not warmed over tactics from yesterday.

We invite you to browse our services and offerings through the nav bar on the left. Then, contact us to discuss how we might be able to assist you in the months ahead.

Strategic Planning Minimize

Board Strategic Planning

As Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else." That’s why Strategic Planning is critical for DMO & CVB Boards. 

Fast-paced, inclusive, entertaining and educational...just some of the adjectives that clients have used to describe Zeitgeist Strategic Planning sessions for Destination Marketing Organizations and other economic development entities. Zeitgeist specializes in one-day planning sessions that get to the core visions of organization stakeholders and create actionable plans for future success. Just as important, the sessions are designed to engender a real level of excitement and enthusiasm for participants about their role in the future of the organization.

What separates a Zeitgeist session for CVBs & DMOs from other strategic planners is based in decades of industry-specific experience combined with advanced training in organizational structure and growth. And, as we have hands-on experience in tourism and economic development, participants won't spend the first three hours bringing their facilitator up to speed on issues, politics or industry-specific lingo. Decision making can begin by 9:30, consensus on directions achieved by lunch and a roadmap established by the close of the day.

Our service includes pre-session interviews with organizational leadership, pre-session questionnaire to participants and stakeholders and an extensive follow-up document that includes Goals, Objectives, Suggested Strategies and Recommendations for implementation. 

Coming to grips with the rapidly evolving nature of Destination Marketing has never been more critical. As DMOs re-assess their roles and responsibilities in their destinations, a Zeitgeist led Strategic Planning process will position your Board to leave a mark.

RESEARCH Minimize

Understanding the thoughts, desires and beliefs of your target markets has never been more crucial to the success of today's Destination Marketing Organization. And, understanding what your industry partners, community leaders and elected officials believe can, often times, be even more important to your relevancy in the marketplace.

Zeitgeist understands how critical actionable intel is in the DMO world…and offers four ways we can help:

DMO Research

While studies from DMAI and the availability of Destination Arena provide a sensational basis of knowledge on the state of destinations and their DMOs, there may arise a need for a more customized approach. Zeitgeist maintains professional relationships with hundreds of DMOs and can often develop comparative data through our networks. Our peers know that we maintain the highest level of anonymity with their survey responses and can be trusted not to inadvertently throw a DMO under the proverbial bus.


From customized governance studies to funding and compensation reviews, we can normally have the answers you need within weeks. Just don't ask us to compare sales and marketing productivity between destinations. That's what Destination Arena is for.

Stakeholder Research

Zeitgeist boasts almost twenty years of getting to the core of what a DMO's stakeholders are thinking and saying. Whether it's about a new destination development proposal (and the role the DMO is expected to play) or whether its about how the DMO is perceived by its investors and partners, DMO pros need to know the lay of the land. Bill Geist and Terri White have interviewed hundreds of community leaders
and led scores of industry Focus Groups across North America  in order to better understand those perceptions and guide the DMO in its next moves. Like our work with DMO Surveys, we guarantee everyone with who we talk that our reports back to our client will be only in the aggregate, helping put those with critical comments at easy that there won't be retribution for sharing their truth. 
We are also adept at online stakeholder surveys and include one or both of these options in virtually every Strategic Planning process we lead. 

The other advantage of the face-to-face meetings in the ability for Bill and Terri to share case studies and generally accepted DMO best practices with your community leaders. We know its not logical but, sometimes, it takes someone from another town to encourage a bigger vision or rebut an erroneous belief. That's the added benefit of having someone with decades of DMO experience leading the interviews.

Consumer Research

We work with a handful of highly respected tourism-centric research firms to offer cutting-edge intel gathering from leisure consumers, meeting and event planners and sports tournament directors. We often include these strategic partners in our Destination Assessment work to provide the DMO and the destination with core understandings about the consumer in addition to our multi-generational view of how the destination can enhance its desirability.

Why work through Zeitgeist when you can contract with these firms direct? Because we don't mark-up their fees…and you get the advantage of two respected firms analyzing and ideating on your behalf, instead of just one. That's what they call a "Win-Win."

DMOvizion


And, then…there is our latest offering for the DMO and Tourism field. With every marketing dollar on the line, you have to know how to make them count. As someone once said, "it doesn't matter how well you say the wrong thing." To design the right message, you have to understand today's unique and diverse consumer. And that's where DMOvizion comes in...

DMOvizion allows marketing professionals a moment-to-moment window into their target markets' psyches. Using the Perception Analyzer system, we can reveal frame-by-frame and word-by-word what parts of your video and message resonate...and which ones leave your target flat. Thus, you can be assured that your videos and TV spots will rock, right out of the box.

For more on DMOvizion, click here.

ASSESSMENTS Minimize

 

Destination Assessment

What next? Many Boards and Destination Leaders ask that question. What does this destination need to compete in the coming years? And, for many, their view is clouded by their history and familiarity within the community.

While on assignment in one community, we mentioned to the DMO Board that they had a signage problem at the airport. Specifically, we told them that there wasn’t a sign at the airport exit directing visitors to downtown. They told our reviewer he was crazy. Of course there was a sign at the exit, they said. And, of course, they assumed there was.But, they never noticed that there wasn’t because (unlike a visitor) they never needed to be told to turn left at the gate. They just did. 

That’s just an example of the eyes that we bring to a destination. Our review team can assess facets of a community that locals would never see…and, thus, offer compelling suggestions for infrastructure and visitor services development. Sometimes it's a radically new idea. More often, it's third-party validation of an idea that has been floating through the destination for a while. And, we're not just "yes men" (and women). If we believe that the development idea that has been floating around won't produce the ROI necessary for the resources that will need to be marshaled, we say so. Call or e-mail Terri to discuss your specific needs…and how Zeitgeist can help bring a visitors’ perspective to your destination planning.

Organizational Assessment

With government and media scrutiny at an all-time high, it's fairly clear that the DMO industry has done a lousy job communicating the critical importance of our work and why we do business the way we do. That said, we still need to be accountable. But, because DMOs and CVBs are such unique animals, how do we prove that we are “on the case” and producing a high ROI? It’s time to schedule an outside Organizational Review.

Zeitgeist combines a unique knowledge of how DMOs work with a keen understanding of how they are viewed by government and the media. We’ll examine the organizational structure, its management, its programming and its relationships throughout the community to provide the Board and Management a barometer of organizational excellence. Where we find aspects to crow about, we will. Where we find opportunities for enhancement, we’ll communicate those to Management. And, if we discover issues regarding personnel, we’ll communicate that in a private memo to management and/or the Board.

We're your partners in this process because we want you to succeed and be able to leave a mark on your destination and the people you serve. And, Zeitgeist only accepts Organizational Audits that are designed to improve the DMO. If the Audit is a designed to be thinly veiled hatchet job, we'll pass.To discuss our unique take on how Organizational Assessments can work for you, call or e-mail Terri White, our High Priestess of Client Relations.



ADVOCACY Minimize

Issue Advocacy

It’s not about red states or blue states. It’s about who’s got “the juice.” Or, as Tom Jones once said, “the lead and how to swing it.” A veteran of several successful legislative and public referendum initiatives, Bill Geist has been involved in swinging public and legislative opinion for over 25 years. From in-the-trenches lobbying to being part of the team that secured the public referendum win that resulted in the realization of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Monona Terrace, Bill has the background and experience to assist your destination in crafting the right messages to the right stakeholders.

We’ve been a part of the initiative to secure a September 1 school start date in Wisconsin, the rescue of the Illinois Tourism Budget from a Governor that wanted to slash it in half and increasing the investment of Room Tax revenues into DMO programming (see Mom, that Political Science degree did come in handy!). And now, with DMOvizion, we're able to test your messaging on focus groups to discover ways to energize your base or capture the imagination of fence-sitters to bring them over to the light.

PRESENTATIONS Minimize

Customized Presentations

You need a speaker who can inform, entertain and create a sense of purpose in your audience. A speaker who can combine real life success stories with compelling trend indicators to suggest winning strategies for the future.

Today’s audiences need a certain “immediance”… that cutting edge mix of entertainment and information. And, Bill Geist speaks the “Zeitgeist” (i.e., the spirit of the time, the essence of the moment) to audiences across North America.

The DMO world is evolving at break-neck pace…and Bill's on the case. His presentations identify the new paradigms in which destination marketing now resides, along with the disintermediation of disruptive technologies and services, and paint a bold new view of the future of Destination Marketing.

Just as important as giving your audience what they need, we also give you what you need...and that's not a hassle. You'll find Bill to be one of the easiest speakers with whom you'll ever work. No need to sort the m&ms for this guy. Plus, you automatically get another ace for your hand in Terri White...your confident confidant. A former meeting planner, she knows what used to bug the snot out of her with the prima donna speakers (and their assistants) she occassionally came across. And, you can rest assured she'll make sure your experience is a breeze. A presentation by Bill Geist makes you look good...and provides some fun for you along the way. 

To get the ball rolling, call or e Terri today at 608-819-6110 or e-mail her at terri@billgeist.com

WORKSHOPS Minimize


Board Leadership Workshops


Based on the book, Destination Leadership for Boards, author Bill Geist leads Boards through rapid-fire, half-day workshops to help redefine tomorrow's governance models for DMOs. From a fresh perspective on Board design and the nomination process to developing an understanding of the difference between the roles of Boards and Staff, Bill mixes compelling concepts from governance experts like John Carver and Doug Eadie with the political realities of today's Destination Marketing Organizations.

The first half of the workshop lays the groundwork for a wide open discussion of opportunities for Board enhancements during the second half. As no two DMOs are the same, there is no "one way" to approach CVB governance. Thus, we'll weigh the possibilities, opportunities and current political realities to develop guidelines and suggestions for Board consideration and approval.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Destination Leadership for Boards
CLICK HERE to buy Destination Leadership for Boards.


Staff Marketing Workshops

Sometimes, it's about jump starting the thought processes of your sales and marketing professionals. If so, a Zeitgeist Marketing Workshop is just what the doctor ordered. Bill Geist will spend a half or full day with your professional staff to serve as both a sounding board as well as an instigator of new ideas with which to power future marketing strategies. From reviewing online strategies to considering the future of time-tested tactics that may no longer be relevant, Bill will challenge your staff to focus on ROI and the best ways to connect with today's evolving clients and consumers.