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The New Way to Negatively Position DMOs

MoneyblogAs we've noted previously, Destinations International's white paper on The New Tourism Lexicon is a critical guide on how those of us in the Destination Marketing should explain our work and defend against unsophisticated and agenda-fueled attacks.

Over the past couple weeks, I've been picking up on a new tactic being used by those that seek to redirect tourism taxes to other uses. Instead of referring to a DMO's annual budget, they are beginning to utilize cumulative totals to encourage outrage among a populace that can be goaded into anger over the most minor of slights.

While I've seen it in no less than 5 destinations over the past three months, I'll direct you to Stillwater OK, where the City has recently put its Destination Marketing contract up for RFQ. After suffering the slings and arrows of community discontent with that decision, the Mayor there wrote an op-ed piece to defend the City's action. And, rather than saying that the City invests an annual sum each year into its award-winning DMO, he doubles down and says "Visit Stillwater has received more than $3.5 million in fees to provide marketing services (at least he didn't say "give," which we normally see).

This is an intentional move on the part of public officials to cause Joe and Jill Public to respond, "Say what? The City is giving an organization millions of dollars for something I don't care about?" Joe and Jill wouldn't be outraged at $800,000...but millions? Now you have their attention.

If critics begin quoting cumulative numbers in your town, your response need be swift and direct. And, the necessity to establish more effective ROI measurements has never been more immediate.

Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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