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Fact-Checking Sedona’s Alternative Media

Pants_fireFor all the advantages the internet has brought us, the ability for the agenda-fueled among us to create web platforms that appear, to the unsophisticated, to be mainstream news sites has created a monster. One such site is read so widely in one destination that the spouse of a DMO Board Member there asked her partner why he served on that Board of "thieves." Oy!

What's happening in Sedona is a sad commentary on our times. Concerns of over-tourism are valid, to be sure, but placing the blame squarely on the DMO is neither fair nor productive to the conversation forward.

Yet, an alternative "news source," called the Sedona Eye, has been pounding the Sedona Chamber/DMO for months...most recently with a two-part treatise from a guy that clearly has an agenda...yet a vaporous bio. The problem is...the bots pick it up and repost it as news, giving validity to a lone man's rant.

Like the kid saving starfish, I'm not sure whether I can make a difference here...but when someone misrepresents the truth, I gotta give it a try, hoping someone will listen to reason.

Like many conspiracy theorists, the author buries the reader with so much content that they assume some of it must be true. But several of the rants are not:

"I’ve checked with the major Destination Traveler Industry ranking services known as Destination Market International (sic), BrandsUSA (sic), TripSavvy, The National Tour Association and the Destination Marketing Organization International (sic). They all rank DMO’s (Destination Marketing Organizations) and CVB’s (Convention Bureaus) up through the top 100 with some of them. Most of them rank the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp as the best in the United States last year.

Not so strangely, though, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce is not ranked by any of these rating services. Yet we keep hearing Council and Staff publicly distributed superlatives about our Chamber as a great DMO to support arguments as to why our Chamber shouldn’t be required to submit itself to competitive bidding through an RFP process.

This just doesn’t add up.

Ummm...this just isn't true. There are no "Destination Traveler Industry ranking services." Destinations International and BrandUSA do not rank the efficacy of DMOs. TripSavvy is a for-profit-business that highlights destinations where their business interests lie. And, the National Tour Association represents the motorcoach industry. One would think that the author wouldn't want to be on a list designed for value-oriented consumers. And, even if they did rate destinations, they wouldn't rate Destination Marketing Organizations.

Don't believe me? Click on the links and tell me if you can find "Destination Traveler Industry Rankings."

And, by the way, almost all the ranked DMO’s and CVB’s are managed and staffed by their own city governments whom they represent. Why isn’t our City Staff capable of doing what far lesser destination traveler resort towns accomplish with fewer employees relative to our City’s size.

Again...just not true. As there are no rankings...saying that "almost all" are city staffed is patently false. According to Destinations Internation (the sector's trade association), less than 10% of DMOs in this country are divisions of City government. Kinda far from "almost all," don'tcha think?

And, how do we know this?

23 years of being one of the top consultancies in this space in the Americas...and the author of Destination Leadership.

Any questions (mainstream media)?

Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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