From July 14-17, the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) held their 101st Annual Convention in Austin, Texas. As the world’s largest resource for destination marketing organizations (DMOs), DMAI protects and advances the success of destination marketing around the globe. Recently, DMAI has taken a bold leadership step with the DestinationNEXT initiative. The vision is to provide DMOs with practical, clear actions and strategies for sustainable success in a dramatically changing world and this theme carried the day throughout the event.
Event attendees had access to an “on-the-go” DMAI Convention App, which included an activity feed as well as an agenda and other pertinent information relating to the event and topics discussed. This helped the attendees become more engaged and open to learning about new strategies and tools to promote economic impact in their areas. DMAI drove interaction between convention attendees through a combination of thought provoking presentations, scheduled exhibition hours coupled with lunches or evening meet and greets, and an exciting visit to Austin City Limits performing arts center with live music.
Visitors who stopped by the USI booth were all worked up about new database information set to be made available by DMAI. After speaking with more attendees and doing some digging of my own, I discovered that what everyone is talking about is the Event Room Demand data tracking that is currently in beta. The Event Room Demand is quantifying for the first-time the volume of rooms booked outside the contracted room block, which initial studies indicate is more than one out of every three rooms. This information has important implications for the ability to measure the impact that the new sharing economy-in this case, Airbnb-is having on the industry and how organizers might best be able to respond.
Coming out of the DMAI Annual Convention, I predict we’ll continue to see more DMOs with interest in new tools that could be beneficial, such as the Event Room Demand data. This will help DMOs be more productive and efficient through performance reporting, therefore adding value to their communities.