A Bimonthly Briefing on Destination Organization Matters and DCG Activities.

Wilmington Riverwalk, NC

EDITORIAL: Destination Marketing, Management and Leadership Comes of Age

We've come a long way over the past 30 years since the introduction of Destination International's Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) program. Please note Destination Management, not Destination Marketing in the credential title. We knew then that our roles wouldn't just be destination promotion and "heads in beds" but a wider responsibility embracing visitor experience/tourism development, destination/community brand strategy and messaging, and tourism advocacy and community relations engagement. There are still naysayers out there especially within the ranks of the hospitality industry and purist academicians. However, solid recognition has been confirmed through the DestinationNEXT research and CVB/DMO application over the past eight years. Today we're beyond destination marketing and management, and fully vested in Destination Leadership, which is a relevant multi-functional discipline coined back in 1992 as one of the core CDME courses. It is holistically defined as follows.

Destination Leadership is the culmination of effectively marketing, managing and leading a visitor destination in a sustainable manner by key community and tourism industry proponents. The ability to lead a destination responsibly is based on a dedicated tourism and/or convention board or visitors bureau entity with efficient and well-performing promotion, sales/services, tourism development and advocacy, financial and people management strategies and practices. Leading a destination entails the shared formulation of a vision, brand experience and identity development, formation of beneficial partnerships, acquisition and use of appropriate financial and human resources, ongoing influential stakeholder relations, and seeking and capitalizing on lucrative visitor marketplace opportunities.

See the accompanying Destination Leadership Hierarchy which illustrates this evolutionary and multi-disciplinary approach to leading a successful destination. Your comments and/or questions are welcome.

Don Anderson |

DO CASE STUDY: A Destination Organization with Focused Visitor and Community / Industry Engagement.

Family Gras Event, Metairie, LA

Jefferson Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc.

Not-for-profit, member-based association with ten staff members and budget of $2.5 million.

Research and Planning Directing Effective Promotional and Experiential Programming

  • Rolling year strategic destination plans from 2010 to present

  • Aligned annual destination marketing and business plans from fiscal year 2010 to 2022

  • Five-year destination development strategy 2022-2026

  • Five, parish-wide district destination development plans in progress, with District 5 Metairie plan completed

Lessons Learned and Application Elsewhere

  • One page/two-sided strategic plan infographic summary prepared and used

  • Strong relationships with Parish Council members, Parish administrators and community leaders

  • Well-funded DO through hotel occupancy tax and supplementary hotel assessment

CAREER PROFILE: From Hotel Sales and Operations to Destination Management

Violet Peters, CDME

President/CEO,Visit Jefferson Parish

Followup Contact: - (504) 731-7083


Destination/DO SWOT Analysis

As a destination management research technique, a SWOT (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) or future map analysis or matrix, when conducted well provides identification and supportive background to critical issues and/or challenges (problems and/or opportunities) facing a destination and its destination organization (aka CVB or DMO). Originally SWOT analyses were used to detail market segments which are still relevant along with destination analysis by marketing, sales and services, product/visitor experience development and/or DO management/funding parameters. With a four quadrant framework, strengths and weaknesses are determined from a current and internal situation, while opportunities and threats from a future and external potential. Of prime importance, is the drawing of up to five conclusions in each respective SWOT analysis which assists in finalizing the destination and DO major challenges from a visitor/tourism perspective and highlighting noted competitive advantage. Advice to complete a SWOT analysis is typically received from visitor industry and community leaders, Boards of Directors, Managers or Commissioners and DO professional staff and related visitor and stakeholder opinion surveys.

View a Typical Destination/DO SWOT Analysis

Destination/Tourism Development Strategy (aka Tourism Master Plan)

Strategic plans for destinations or tourism jurisdictions under the lead of destination organizations (CVBs or DMOs) have typically covered destination marketing, sales and services, visitor product/experience development, tourism advocacy/stakeholder relations and organization resources. It should be noted that the majority of past strategic plans just focused on the former destination marketing and promotion function which made them more DMO plans, not destination plans. Recently, a deeper dive has been directed specifically on destination/tourism experience development, community relations/engagement, and the required resources to do so. This detailed assessment or audit with strategic initiatives have been identified as a tourism master plan or destination/tourism development strategy. These assessments can be predicated where needed on DestinationNEXT or LeadDO or LeadDESTINATION analysis. See below alternative Typical Components of a Destination/Tourism Development Strategy or Master Plan outlines.

From these development strategies or plans, destinations may want to undertake Community Tourism Action Plans (CTAPs) at the city/town/village or district level. Tourism master plans or destination development strategies are usually completed by credible advisory firms under contract but beware of costs that can range from US $25K to $150K depending on extent of primary research needed, onsite meetings and facilitation.

FYI TOURISM BOOKS, REPORTS, & ARTICLES: Preeminent Textbooks in Destination Marketing and Management

Marketing and Managing Tourism Destinations

Alastair M. Morrison, 2nd Edition 2018 Routledge Publisher, New York

A detailed research and rationale-based textbook by a well-respected academic in tourism/hospitality management. It is the first theoretical and application book in the destination management profession with the author well-versed in European, North American and Asian tourism understanding and experience. The book has four parts with 17 chapters with numerous sidebar examples and international case studies. It is a definite read to those actively engaged in destination marketing and management. Available from Amazon with softcover at $60-$75 and hardcover $215-$230.

Destination Marketing Essentials

Steven Pike, 3rd Edition 2020 Routledge Publisher, New York

A comprehensive overview of the destination marketing practice with primary focus on promotional functions and strategies, plan development and execution, and evaluation. Authored by an Australian/New Zealand academic with strong visitor industry credentials and with added coverage on destination marketing organization current challenges and future aspirations. The book has 14 chapters with diverse international case studies. It is a solid alternative read for those looking for specifics regarding successful marketing and promotion of destinations. Unfortunately the author isn't fully supportive of the evolution of DMOs to destination management organizations or destination organizations with further responsibilities in destination development, community engagement and tourism advocacy. Available from Amazon with softcover at $46 and hardcover $154-$168.

Of particular note, neither author cites the others’ research or writings, with Pike also unfortunately not recognizing Destination International’s influential DMO futures research and their CDME program contribution over the past 25 years.


Strategic/Operational Planning and Sustainable Tourism Development Strategies Consulting Services.

Numerous assignments mutually conducted over the years and most recently in Elkhart and Porter Counties (IN).

DCG, formed in 1996, is a boutique international advisory partnership of tourism/hospitality, entertainment and transportation professionals, providing services in Strategic Planning, Operational Productivity, Organizational and Marketing Management and Industry Development. With offices in the United States and Canada, it has performed 750 assignments under 10 advisory practices.

Client Promise

We commit to making communities, destination and tourism/hospitality and entertainment organizations and their leadership teams more brand effective and influential.