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A Lack of Foresight

AxI'm no longer surprised at such stories...but, continually bemused when I watch a government axe its contract for Destination Marketing services, only to be shocked when, a couple months later, the website is out of date and its social media channels have gone dark.

It's happening again, this time in Solvang CA. This summer, the City Council there terminated its 33-year contract with its Destination Marketing Organization. A few months later, it has occurred to them that they didn't have a Plan B. The City's Public Information Officer said, “We’ve made a request to the CVB repeatedly as well as the city attorney and have not received (online) assets or, frankly, information about where these assets live currently. So we’re waiting on that, and while we wait for that, we’d like to correct information (online) that isn’t correct and also get information about businesses and what there is to do in Solvang on the internet,” said Fleckenstein.

Ya think?

The City has directed staff to find a "public relations contractor," and "marketing contractor" and a "sales consultant." One Council member rightly doubts if this approach will save the City money. But, one thing's for sure: if the DMO isn't handing over its online and Social assets, it likely won't share the meeting planner database it has cultivated for decades. And, that will take years to rebuild.

Governments are free to change direction whenever they want; I have no argument with that. But, would a government kill a contract for telecommunications, healthcare or social services without having a replacement teed up to replace it? So, why do an increasing number think they can get away with such a cavalier approach when it comes to Destination Marketing?

It's because Destination Marketing has yet to be viewed as a Community Shared Value...which will be one of several topics that will be explored at Destinations International's Advocacy Summit next month in Madison. If you are from the DMO-world, I hope to see you there. 


Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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