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July 21, 2009

Corporates are working more closely with destination marketers on events, says survey

Companies in the private sector are playing an increasingly important role in the work of destination marketing organisations (DMOs) in the UK, according to recent research by meetings and events industry association Eventia.

Although the study showed that public sector funding streams (especially local authorities and regional development agencies) remain fundamental to the work of many DMOs, respondents said the private sector has an increasingly important part to play in their operations. In fact, one in three DMOs describes themselves as public/private partnerships.

The in-depth survey was conducted among Eventia’s British destination marketing organisation (DMO) members. Carried out in conjunction with specialist consultancy The Right Solution, it examined the structure, roles and responsibilities, staffing and budgetary resources, marketing priorities, services and key performance indicators of these DMOs, many of which trade as convention bureaus or convention and visitor bureaus.

While it was found that the remit of all the DMOs embraces business visits and events (business tourism), over half (53%) also have responsibility for leisure tourism promotion and management.

Some 90% of respondents said that national (UK) associations were a main focus of their sales and marketing activity, with 80% also identifying national corporates as a priority. Meanwhile, 70% focused additionally on government and public sector events. Under half (40%) saw the attraction of international association conventions as a key objective.

The prime services provided by DMOs, according to the research, are (in order): destination marketing, venue finding, organisation of familiarisation and site inspections, and accommodation booking.

Other services offered by respondents included co-ordination of bids for major events, administration of subvention funding, co-ordination of destination support, ambassador programme administration, and a range of destination management services (such as training and information provision).

Unsurprisingly in the current climate, 87% of DMO’s responding to the survey listed “limited resources” as the biggest challenge faced, followed by economic and competition issues.

“We continue to invest in research to support and inform our members and to add to the range of available industry data and intelligence,” said Eventia chief executive Izania Downie.

“This latest research project provides an invaluable insight into the activities, resources, challenges and opportunities British DMOs are experiencing in 2009, plus crucial benchmarks for their own performance measurement.”

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