In many communities across the United States, local business and government leaders are becoming more sophisticated about the benefits of community marketing and visitor development. They may not know what Destination Marketing Organizations do exactly...but, at least there seems to be a growing appeciation that there is a benefit there.
But, not knowing what DMOs do can lead to some fairly backward decisions by policymakers. Take the unfortunate case of Oak Ridge TN. The Mayor has just released a budget that slashes his community's DMO budget by 25%, saying that the CVB should “concentrate on community events,” where sponsorship dollars from local businesses can make up the difference.
That's where failure to understand what DMOs do leads to pain for a destination. DMOs are not designed to put on "community events." The ROI that the City likely expects from its DMO will not be maximized through the development of "community events." As a rule, most "community events" are failures at drawing large numbers of visitors (and their dollars) to a destination. Unless enhanced Quality of Life is a primary marker for success, this doesn't get the City where it needs or wants to be.
I know it's an exhausting and never-ending challenge to keep telling our story. But, it's days like these that remind us that we must.