Upcoming ACOM Event Calendar

June 2008

2008 Summer Education Conference
June 26-28, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Palmer House Hilton

July 2008

Idea Network
July 17, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Hotel / Center Track: Procedures from Start to Finish for CSMs
CVB Track: Procedures from Start to Finish for CSMs

August 2008

Webinar
August 21, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Revenue Management

September 2008

Idea Network
September 18, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Hotel / Center Track: Emergency Management
CVB Track: Housing Updates

October 2008

Webinar
October 16, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
APEX Update

November 2008

Idea Network
November 20, 2008
1:00 PM EST
All Tracks: Discussion on Industry Article

January 2009

2009 Annual Conference
January 9-11, 2009
New Orleans, Louisiana
Westin New Orleans


A special thank you to the Summer Conference Sponsors:



Don’t miss the opportunity to have your name listed above. If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring ACOM, please contact ACOM Headquarters.


CVB Update: Current Market Realities, Forces Shaping the Future

Excerpt reprinted with permission of Convene, the magazine of the Professional Convention Management Association. © 2008. www.pcma.org.

Michael Gehrisch, president and CEO of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), provides his perspective on the issues facing CVBs today and the opportunities they present.

The destination marketing industry is large, and it continues to evolve as travel and tourism do. There is a heck of a lot of change going on, and many challenges out there, but the opportunities have never been better.

Sure there's competition, but that creates the need for marketing. And that's the primary responsibility of DMAI's members - destination marketing organizations (DMOs) who number nearly 700 from around the world. Given this, we see DMOs playing an even more critical role over the next several years, making sure their destinations' attributes are marketed and sold appropriately.

DMAI is in the final stages of conducting its upcoming Futures Study, to be released mid-summer. We engaged Karl Albrecht International (KAI) to identify key trends, events, and developments that will shape the destination marketing sector over the next five to 10 years. The research team investigated a broad range of information sources, including KAI's TrendBank of more than 500 business trends, CEO working groups, expert interviews, and online surveys of more than 150 DMO CEOs, evenly spread from small to medium to large destinations.

The report identifies a number of challenges that are shaping the industry's future. I would like to comment on just a few.

Top Five Challenges - and Opportunities - for DMOs

1. Preserving destination marketing funding. In the United States, the majority of the funding - for our members, it's 85 percent - comes through the destination occupancy or marketing tax, also referred to as the hotel tax. There are different groups (within the government), particularly in times of weak economy, that want to use those monies collected for traditional purposes and other municipal activities, unrelated to tourism. It's a constant threat and the No. 1 issue for our members.
2. Enhancing Web site design and implementation, particularly for the leisure traveler. DMOs that have a great Web site design and implementation are ahead of their competitors.
3. Shifting content to the Internet. Traditionally DMOs would provide information via pamphlets and brochures. People now expect to go to the Internet and get that information immediately.
4. Adapting to the fact that consumers are comfortable ordering online, particularly for travel.
5. Removing the perceived barrier to entry into the United States for travel.

Looking Into the Future

Five or 10 years down the road, the DMO will have four core functions revolving around the visitor, who is either a leisure traveler, business traveler, or group meeting attendee. The functions include:

1. Informing, educating, and advising the visitor (through advertising, travel writers, and the like).
2. Delivering services to the visitor (through airlines, hotels, tour operators, attractions).
3. Marketing and selling the destination (this function is critical) to the visitor through convention centers, third-party event management firms, and the group tour packagers.
4. Development of the destination. This is truly one of the key areas of the future, and DMOs must be intricately involved with local government, community leaders, and supporting and developing the destination strategy.

The future of a destination is within the DMO's purview. DMOs must be at the table with the economic development group and the chambers of commerce to develop the products - from the local traffic infrastructure, metro service and bus services, to building a new arts center, or supporting the community - that add to the overall ambiance of the destination.

At this moment in history, DMOs have huge opportunities to solidify their value proposition, increase their visibility to the visitor and to their community (offline and online), and strengthen their relevancy within their communities - all important and interconnected undertakings.

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