If you’re reading this and wondering: “What is a DxO and how does it differ from a DMO?” then you need to know that the DxO model represents a shift in any organisation's focus that allows them to redefine themselves according to the trends that dictate change. Put simply, the x in DxO is interchangeable and replaces the M which traditionally stands for ‘destination marketing organisation’, though you’d be forgiven for thinking it was destination management organisation, depending on your overall strategy.
With that in mind, we couldn’t help but wonder if DMOs as we traditionally know are a bit outdated and perhaps, dare we say, even a bit obsolete? We spoke with Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism and got his take on the case, especially since he’s a massive advocate of the DxO model for driving his brand forward.
DxO: Realising the dream of the digital destination
By Enver Duminy, CEO, Cape Town Tourism
Hi Enver, firstly and foremost, we'd really love to know why being a DxO resonates with you so much; what does it mean to you and how has it empowered your organisation, brand or even your own role?
Organisationally, shifting to digital across all channels provides the opportunity for a more seamless workflow that facilitates what we’re doing when we’re working with visitors and offering a world-class visitor experience. International expectations demand a first-rate response. In terms of communication alone, it’s immediate, responsive and immersive. As CEO, I can have access to everyone, and, of course, they have access to me – it’s the ultimate in “open door” workflow, for all tiers of the organisation.
So, what wasn't working with the traditional DMO model and why do you feel the need to challenge it?
The traditional DMO model is static and limited in its ability to reach into the minds of visitors. Simply presenting information isn’t enough. The era of data analytics and the insights that go along with that provide a cohesive view of the visitor that allows you to offer more targeted product marketing in ways that are personalised, resulting in excellent visitor experiences. Customer Experience, CX, or, in the case of the DMO, Visitor Experience is all about matching expectations and preferences with products and services.
In that case, what does the DxO do to overcome this?
It’s imperative that you get to know the visitor, as well as those in the organisation. This requires listening through the feedback tools provided, and then responding. Listening offers the chance to overcome shortcomings and to enhance what you’re doing.
In a previous conversation, you mentioned to us that DxO allows you and your brand to redefine and reinvent who you are in order to remain relevant as well as allowing you to create and shape new relevance in the tourism space – what does 'redefine' and 'reinvent' look like to you? Are we talking about attitude or something physical like the brand or your content strategy?
Reinvention is about taking what works and enhancing it to remain relevant – as your market evolves, you do too, but at the same time, you have to stay ahead of the evolution to ensure that you’re competitive. That’s where redefining what’s top-of-class comes in – ideally, you want other organisations to view what you’re doing as best-practice, and to follow in your footsteps.
What steps are you taking to embrace this way of thinking?
We have taken a step back, analysing all of our processes; in this way, you get a macro perspective. The next step is to develop a digital transformation strategy that can be rolled out across all departments, bearing in mind that the entire organisation must be kept in the loop and made aware of the desired outcomes.
For Cape Town Tourism, this has meant the deployment of a new website, the first “mobile first” website for a DMO in Africa, and then concentrating on all of our channels, from social media to our internal comms.
How are you getting others within Cape Town Tourism to think and feel the same?
It’s important to highlight the benefits of becoming digital. There may be resistance to change from some quarters, so part of the challenge is bringing everyone on board by encouraging them to capture the vision.
What successes have you already achieved by adopting DxO and rejecting DMO?
The first year after launching our new website, it was included in a list of the top 25 DMO websites in the world by eminent travel publication Skift. The reasons for this included the fact that it was immersive and that the use of rich content such as video gives unique insights into our local neighbourhoods.
We’ve been asked to speak on the topic at industry events, so it’s safe to say that what we’re doing is changing the way the tourism sector expects to interact with the DMO and the destination itself.
Have you used any particular tools or implemented best practices that have aided your transition?
We have looked at what others are doing and then customised our own offering according to our unique destination. Channel integration is what brings all of our activities into a unified space, making it easier to get an idea of what the organisation as well as visitors are doing.
You also mentioned previously about wanting Cape Town Tourism to become the first self-funded DxO in the world by creating a benefit for society as a whole, through tourism. This also sounds like a really interesting idea; tell us more…
Part of the challenge of being a DMO is that typically you’re relying on funding, and this can create abnormal pressures on the organisation – you end up being more concerned about ensuring your funding than about attracting visitors, so your priorities become skewed. Our goal is to work towards being self-funded so as to take that pressure out of the loop, and to focus on our primary objective of ensuring that our destination is visitor-ready and offering the best possible visitor experience.
Since this interview, Enver has successfully convinced the Board to adopt the vision of shifting from DMO to DxO and is taking the necessary steps to become the first self-funded DxO in the world. If you want to hear more from Cape Town Tourism and the work they’ve been doing, join us for #DTTTCampus in Jersey between 20 – 21 September, where Leigh Dawber will be talking about how they shifted their content angle to focus on communities.
If you just can’t wait that long, Cape Town Tourism will be joining us for our next Circle meet-up at 3pm, 12th September to help us discuss: What does it mean to be a DxO? For details about joining, click here.
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