Connect Travel’s virtual roundtable series recently conduct another in its series of virtual roundtables— “Think Differently: It is time for DMOs to work with Local Tours, Activities, Attractions & Experiences.”
Those comprising panelist for the event, which was co-produced with Arival Online, were:
—Robert Graff, vice president sales & marketing, Bindlestiff Tours- National Parks Adventures
—Maureen Haley, vice president of strategic tourism initiatives, Visit Houston
—Jay Judal, director of outside sales, San Diego Zoo
—Mo Parikh, CEO, Bandwango
—Eric Thompson, vice president of marketing, Visit Salt Lake
—Bruce Rosard, Co-founder & COO, Arival
—Will Seccombe, president, Connect Travel
• Smaller attractions should make sure to check out what DMO websites are providing to visitors and prospective visitors.
• Smaller attractions need to make sure that their information on a DMO site is up-to-date.
• Get involved with events on the DMO calendar by offering to host a fam tour or parts of a fam tour.
• With conventions and meetings DMOs should make sure, once they’ve booked them, to treat delegates like tourists by offering up services and experiences that leisure visitors are looking for—where to eat, what attractions and experiences to try, etc.
• Once the Covid-19 pandemic is behind us, be prepared for visitors seeking outdoor experiences and less crowded venues.
Eric Thompson: “Where we as DMOs have to step up and change how we are able to curate experiences … that are more attractive for operators and consumers to buy and sell.”
Jay Judal: “It’s really key that, as an operator, you make sure that your information is correct with the DMO. If your information is not updated, people won’t know what to do when they come to your destination.”
Robert Graff: “In Las Vegas has really stepped it up. It used to be all about hotels, the occupancy levels, how the town is doing. Of course, we’re still very much promoting the hotel component, but I would say that over the last several years, Vegas has dramatically changed to where they realize that you have gotta stay fresh and innovative … There’s been a fundamental change in how DMOs are looking at attractions. They’re still taking care of the very big boy players … but there’s a whole new trend now on smaller attractions wo are really the cutting edge of the foundation of what the city is going to be about.”
Mo Parikh: “DMOs are in a unique position. (They are) the glue that connects a community together …. In my opinion, the small businesses, the breweries, the mom and pop attractions, the restaurants, the coffee shops-those really comprise the culture, the local flavor of a city.”
Click here to watch and listen to a recording of the roundtable.