Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) serve local communities to drive tourism to the area. Many Hill Country communities have these organizations known as “convention and visitors bureaus” that have been instrumental to making this area a popular tourist destination. Many of these organizations are funded by hotel/motel taxes and with Covid-19, have seen reduced revenues.
Recently an article published in Skift, an industry website for the travel industry, that outlines what some DMOs around the world are doing to fill the gap in funding caused by Covid-19. Some innovative approaches include:
- Diversifying funding sources to other industries – Many industries outside of hotels benefit from tourism, so some DMOs are reaching out to restaurant associations, construction organizations, large employers, airports, and other industry segments.
- Partnering with economic development organizations – Economic development corporations (EDCs) are tasked with bring new businesses to the area. DMOs that partner with EDCs can pool marketing efforts to get the most bang for the buck. Promoting an area for both business and tourism makes a lot of sense.
- Corporate partnerships – The article gives an example of Cabo partnering with American Express to sponsor a virtual concert to market the Mexican tourist destination. Many large local corporations may be open to the idea is partnering with DMOs.
- Outreach to local residents – The pandemic has affected everyone’s travel and vacation plans. Studies have shown that more people are staying close to home for their “staycations”. DMOs that reach out to the local region can still bring in the local tourists. Targeting marketing efforts to nearby cities such as San Antonio and Austin can be effective.
The Texas Hill Country can continue to thrive during the pandemic if convention and visitor bureaus get creative for their funding sources, partner with other business organizations, and adjust their marketing strategies. There is some more good information in the Skift piece, click here to read the entire article.