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From Destination Marketing to Destination Leadership, with Bill Geist

Episode 115:

Bill Geist is the Chief Instigator at DMOproZ, a firm specializing in strategic planning, governance, marketing, and legislative issues for convention and visitor bureaus, tourism-focused chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and communities. Prior to forming DMOproZ, Bill served as the President/CEO of the Greater Madison (WI) Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Bill is the author of Destination Leadership and a contributor to Fundamentals in Destination Marketing. He has provided consulting services to over 200 DMOs since 1995 and is a popular speaker on marketing trends and destination development across North America.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I speak with Bill about the shifting role of the DMO. Marketing is just the tip of the iceberg. DMOs have a larger leadership role to play in the economic fortunes of the communities they serve. It starts with an attitude of service, of giving back.

What You Will Learn on this Episode:

  • Why DMOs need to speak up on economic development issues in your communities
  • The role of advocacy in DMO work
  • What DMOs can do better than the internet
  • Why understanding who you don’t appeal to is as important as understanding who you do appeal to
  • Why storytelling is only going to become more important in the work of DMOs
  • How to connect more with the community you serve as a DMO

Destination Leadership Organizations

Recently, we have begun discussing the expanding role that DMOs are playing and should play in their communities and now we’re thrilled to welcome a guest who has been promoting this conversation for a long time. Talk about great timing.

Bill talks with us about the evolution of destination marketing over the past decades, and the need for destination leadership. He relates some stories of economic development missteps that could have been avoided if DMOs has raised their voice – but they thought it wasn’t their place.

DMOs can be a critical conduit of information and stories that will help communities flourish and visitors fall in love and return again and again. This is a wonderful conversation on the leadership role DMOs can and should play.

It’s Not About Heads in Beds

Bill believes DMOs have often done a poor job of telling the story of their value to a community. At the end of the day, it’s not about heads in beds – what DMOs do is improve quality of life. They make their destination a better place to live.

It comes down to communication. DMO directors would love to hear from you, and the community is waiting for leaders to sit down and talk about what’s happening, what they can promote and what stories they can tell on your behalf. It’s a two-way street, but Bill Geist is encouraging DMOs to take the lead!

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Episode Transcript

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