Regent’s University London
Driving the DMO brand and event experience forward - Marketing Challenges and Opportunities
The attraction of large MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, Exhibition) events to prominent global cities through effective destination marketing offers a multitude of potential economic and social benefits to many different stakeholder groups. In an increasingly competitive marketplace with the countless on-going addition of new locations, cities and their Destination Marketing Organisations (DMO) are having to employ increasingly effective strategic marketing activities which identify and promote the distinguishable event experience in the destination to both raise awareness and secure valuable contracts. Chacko and Fenich (2000, cited in Pike, 2016, p.126) note that: “Regression analysis identified promotional appeal as a significant predictor for overall convention destination attractiveness for most of the cities in the study. The most critical factor, they concluded, was the convention planner’s ability to sell the destination to potential delegates.” In a field with limited academic research in recent years, this working paper will generate new material focusing on the importance of the destination event experience in attracting MICE events, and the impactful role of strategic Destination Marketing Organisation campaigns and branding to deliver commercial success. Perspectives from key personnel in global Destination Marketing Organisations together with views from international event organisers will be gained through planned qualitative research to analyse the factors which affect the decision making process for international MICE event organisers, the challenges faced by DMO’s in a rapidly changing marketplace, and the strategic marketing of an attractive destination event experience. Initial findings from theoretical investigation into the subject matter are that DMO’s currently face a number of operational and administrative challenges in both creating strategic marketing activities and implementing them to set target audiences to achieve maximum gain. The proposition offered by the destination needs to be unique and clearly identifiable to international event planners potentially selecting from numerous global destinations, many with similar facilities and promises, therefore placing more emphasis on the role and impact of a destination brand created and managed by the DMO. The growing importance of user generated content over planned marketing material offers powerful feedback to MICE planners and a new challenge for the modern-day DMO to manage. Ultimately, the ability of the global DMO to drive MICE interest in its destination presents a set of new challenges which will test the strength of its brand and the power of its event experience like never before.