So goes the classic song from the Glimmer Twins...which is how many in Florida (and the Destination Marketing world at large) felt earlier this month when the Broward County Administrator selected a sitting County Commissioner for the top spot at the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, instead of someone with DMO experience.
Most of us don't live in Broward County. Thus, while we may think they need an accomplished Destination Sales and Marketing pro, the truth is that they may not. Maybe they needed someone at the helm who could continue to steer the organization and the industry through the shark-infested waters of County politics...something her predecessor did exceptionally well.
It's a highly politicized world in which DMO pros must navigate, something I shouldn't have to remind anybody in this space. Indeed, I was selected to lead the Greater Madison CVB 26 years ago, not for my knowledge of convention sales but, for my ability to get bills passed in the State Legislature. Madison was approaching a referendum fight to build a convention center and they needed someone with political experience to help guide the process from the DMO side.
Stacy Ritter may be exactly what is needed in Fort Lauderdale and, as the Sun Sentinel said, "We wish Stacy success in her new role. We count on her to deliver results."
Depending upon the way you look at the research surrounding Airbnb, you either see them as wildly disruptive or nothing to get too worked up about (or something in between). For, as revealed in a recent edition of Skift, the statistics (even from the same study) are all over the place. Take the recent Pew research on the sharing economy:
OMG! 72% of Americans have used a shared economy service!
But, only 11% have used Airbnb...while 53% have never even heard of it.
Which begs the question: How can the street value a company at $25.5 billion when the majority of us, confronted with its name, say "huh?"
In 1984, Journey was one of the biggest stadium acts on the planet. Keyboardist Jonathan Cain was basking in the success of "Faithfully." And, the Purple One was on the phone...asking Jonathan to listen to a track he had just completed. He was concerned that his song borrowed too heavily from Jonathan's and didn't want to go forward with it if Jonathan didn't approve.
After listening to the song, Jonathan said, "Man, I'm just super-flattered that you even called. It shows you're that classy of a guy. Good luck with the song. I know it's gonna be a hit."
It was "Purple Rain."
I was in radio at that time and, frankly, I never made the connection, despite hearing both songs every day and, very likely, sometimes playing them back to back. That Prince did, shows an amazing awareness and deference to artists around him whom he respected.
There may have been a time when the direct linkages between economic development, tourism and non-resident tax generation weren't as stone cold obvious as they are today. So I guess I could give some old school economist a day pass if they'd call tourism promotion a "non-essential" service of State government.
"The Nebraska Tourism Commission is, by definition, a non-essential agency engaged in non-essential, and recently, wasteful spending...NTC’s functions are not in the same universe of importance as education, criminal justice, roads or elections."
Hey, Sparky(s)? How do you plan to pay for those essential functions like education, criminal justice and roads (I'll pass on calling elections essential, thank you)? With the very resident taxes your website claims you are trying to reduce through your "research?"
Another familiar complaint in Destination Marketing (see yesterday's post) is that an "out of town" (or out of country) firm or CEO can't possibly know how to market a region.
This, of course, assumes that someone who lives in a place can be objective about what will attract a visitor to that place.
While this is, by no means, a criticism of homegrown talent...there is a certain logic to having someone from your target market (let's say America) lead the resurrection of a Destination Marketing effort in a nearby country (such as Bermuda). Without deep research, most resident marketers wouldn't know what motivates an American to choose one island over another. Bill Hanbury and Vicki Isley, of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, do (and, his recent podcast explanation on how they are developing Bermudian talent to one day take the reigns is sensational).
Local talent is critical for content creation and storytelling. But, just because someone isn't from your town, state or country is no reason to disqualify them from working on your destination's behalf. They might just see things that a local doesn't.
It doesn't happen often...but, when it does, a lot of the public criticism of Destination Marketing Organizations is based on a perceived lack of transparency.
We don't know how much the staff makes. We don't know how they select their target markets. We don't know how much they spent on their website. We don't know how much they paid a spokesmodel to tweet.
That's what we hear from the whiners. Thinly veiled suggestions that something nefarious is going on...and innuendo is a powerful tool.
What these individuals would do with this information, however, is unclear. Unless they were accomplished destination marketers, they wouldn't know what markets held the highest ROI. Nor would they know how much an effective online presence costs.
It's rare to hear people suggest that they want more transparency from the folks running public works (except maybe in Flint) or Parks and Rec. Why does everyone think they know how to do destination marketing?