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Emma Håkansson

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#DTTT Blog

We caught up with #DTTT Expert, Emma Håkansson to discuss her vision of destination management strategy and trends. Emma has more than 15 years experience in tourism and the travel industry. She started her career in marketing and sales but found her heart in the DMO’s complex world. Emma's work is focusing on leading the digital transformation, inspire and internationalise the destination. Her expertise is guidance on creating hands-on destination management strategies within product development, marketing, sales and visitor service.
What major trends are you seeing this year?
The whole industry is undergoing a major transformation and the global visitor economy is changing in how tourism is created, marketed and consumed, challenging DMO’s to transform their business models and deliver value not only to the visitors but also to their stakeholders and the local community. At the same time authenticity of the destination and the brand is more important than ever. Engaging the local community and supporting user-generated content is vital. DMO’s need to find their way in a disruptive industry without losing their credibility.
 How should destinations respond?
In challenging their way of thinking. What was right yesterday might not be the right thing tomorrow. DMO’s have to be curious about what the future holds and collaborate with others. They have to be willing to try new concepts and ideas without losing the long-term vision and goal for the destination.
What is the biggest challenge for destinations?
Trying to do everything at the same time. Building and maintaining a strong destination is visionary and strategic work. It takes years to build a strong brand, a solid product and a collaborative community. DMO’s need to have a strong vision of where they want to go and strategic roadmap. But the road is not always straight so DMO’s also need to create room for experiments and consider to kill their darlings along the way.
 What is disrupting destinations? 
All the megatrends have an impact on destinations such as sharing economy, digitalization, globalization but also climate change, political environment and world economics. But the biggest one, in my point of view, is new consumer power and the need for brand authenticity.
On average, 60% of consumers say content from a friend or family member influences their purchases decisions and 86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. So the visitor is the key to building the brand and only great experiences and excellent hospitality can build an authentic destination brand in the long run.
What is happening in your home country and what developments are you seeing?
The biggest change amongst DMO’s in Sweden right now is the way we meet and interact with visitors. Tourist Information Centers are closing and destinations are focusing on meeting their visitors in new channels and creating content in more channels. They are trying to meet the visitors where they are, instead of asking them to make a detour to a Tourist Information Center.
What are some best practices that you have seen?
Visit Philadelphia has won several prizes for their innovative social media program. Through the #visitphilly hashtag, the DMO finds people who are documenting their Philly trip and then surprises them with a Philly treat to inspire them to do more during their stays or to invite them to come back.
Another example of innovative thinking is Malmö, Sweden’s 3rd largest city, closed not only their Tourist Information Center last year but also their local tourism website. Instead, they curate and create content in different channels.
For more information about Emma's services or to get started with transformation, get in touch with our #DTTT Expert team. 

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