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Chris Pomeroy

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Last November, I was at the Digital Tourism Innovation Campus (#DTIC2015) in Barcelona, an event at which around 200 destination marketers from as far apart as Australia, South Africa, USA and Europe, gather to share digital best practice and to gaze, together into the crystal ball of innovation. Partly because it was a digital and innovation conference, but mostly because I left my pen in the hotel, I used my smartphone to take notes and Twitter to make sure they were succinct so I could share them with my colleagues at @MMGYGlobal.  There were some great insights and inspiring success stories so my thumbs were working like a court stenographer:

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How to Not Die of Success

As a destination, Amsterdam stands the risk of “dying of success”. The city center is so full of tourists that the locals are complaining it is no longer a good place to live and if the locals move out the city, it will lose its soul…and without soul, it will lose its appeal to tourists. So what is the DMO doing about it?

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The first thing was to redesign its destination marketing strategy and align its budget to their objectives. Instead of spending funds creating awareness and sales (as all DMOs tend to), they focused on the consideration stage where they can influence how and when people visit. Using social media check-ins, they have created a series of heat maps to show the agglomeration of tourists. In addition, they are now experimenting with iBeacon technology to help move tourists around and out of the city to avoid crowding.

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Austria Rebuilds Its Web Presence

The Austrian tourism board shared its process for rebuilding its website:

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I liked the Austrian’s organized, structured and pragmatic approach and thought their comment about not splitting a national website content into regional sections just to satisfy local political requirements was worth reiterating to the audience (with a high proportion of regional DMOs).

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Budget Comparisons

However innovative the event, whenever DMO’s gather one thing never changes…they will end up comparing their budgets! The debate started with the Geneva DMO explaining how they were forced, by lack of public funding, to make their website self-financing and take bookings. There then ensued a long debate, so I tried to find some middle ground between those in favor and against:

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Finally I had to step in and call for order:

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Conclusion

There were two full days of great insights and some truly inspiring presentations from the DMOs of Michigan (live, interactive virtual tours using Meerkat), Queensland (Geo fencing and iBeacons to improve tourist experience and increase spend), Estonia (a great social media ambassador campaign), and too many more to mention, let alone sum up. Amongst the many words of wisdom I have selected my favorite three quotes:

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