Stage 8. Performance & Measurement

Evaluating marketing performance, setting clear KPIs and a process of evaluation and iteration.

Stage 8 of the Transformation, Performance and Measurement, investigates one of the most debated topics in the DMO realm: how to effectively measure the performance of the organisation and how to set the key performance indicators to keep track of the activities that lead to the achievement of short and long-term goals.

Stage 8 of the Transformation, Performance and Measurement, investigates one of the most debated topics in the DMO realm: how to effectively measure the performance of the organisation and how to set the key performance indicators to keep track of the activities that lead to the achievement of short and long-term goals.

Performance refers to results and the outcomes of strategies, products, services and processes that allow for evaluation with regards to goals. Measurement refers to numerical information detailing input, output and the performance of these products, services and processes. Performance measurement really is one of the cornerstones of a successful organisation.

Measuring performance can be read from different perspectives. First of all, the DMO should be able to set their goals and establish KPIs to monitor the performance of the organisation in its multiple and various efforts to promote the destination. This means being able to understand the effectiveness of marketing and content through the use of analytics tools. But measuring performance can also refer to the evaluation of tourism in the destination, especially the impact of tourism on the destination system.

With this course, you can...

  • Explore the topic of performance measurement understanding the difference between organisational performance and destination performance.
  • Learn the 5 most common Goals for DMOs and their connected strategies, channels, budget, timeframe and KPIs to achieve them.
  • Understand how to set Key Performance Indicators to measure the performance of your DMO.
  • Learn tips and tricks to maximise the efficiency of your DMO's marketing activities through the use of analytics and insights tools.
  • Take inspiration from the Annual Reports of DMOs such as Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico and Cape Town.

We also provide examples from our Case Studies and Talks of

  • Brand USA
  • Destination Canada
  • Singapore Tourism
  • Visit California
  • Wonderful Copenhagen
  • Geneva Tourism
  • Dubai Tourism
  • San Diego Tourism Authority

The eighth stage pack of the Transformation Series comes with 4 Templates that we developed to help DMOs with their performance measurement:

  • Performance & Measurement Sprint
  • Setting goals, strategies & KPIs
  • Social media performance audit
  • Website Review & Benchmarking

Performance & Measurement - Sprint

With this Sprint, you will be able to kick-off your work on performance and measurement. You will be, in fact, able to organise a workshop for your team and brainstorm together around the topic. Sprints are good to gather initial ideas about certain themes, gathering the opinions and ideas of a variety of people involved.

Defining goals and setting KPIs is a crucial part of the work of every DMO, even if it is not always straightforward.

Unfortunately, there is no rule about how to set the 'right' KPIs; however, this means that there is no right or wrong and everything is established according to your DMO's needs and objectives. So, first of all, before deciding how to measure your performance, you need to set the right goals. It would be perfect, if, before running this workshop, you collected some insights about your performance.

This template is divided into four sections:

  1. Set your goals on the timeline, to define what to prioritise and what to schedule in a more long-term perspective.
  2. Assess how you currently measure your performance, the tools you use and what works the best for you
  3. Think about your methods: how do you usually set KPIs? How do you measure the relevance of your content and the value for your audience?
  4. Finally, think SMART! Discuss how to make your KPIs specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and Time-based.

Get started with the sprint 🏃🏾‍♀️

A sprint is a great way to rally all your teammates around a big idea or produce great results by concentrating the team on a specific need over a short period.

  1. Print the attached worksheet in large format (A1 is best!)
  2. Find a great communal space, such as the canteen, to stick it up (double-sided tape!)
  3. Invite team members to scribble their thoughts and ideas on the wall
  4. Organise a stand-up session, where several members can express their thoughts
  5. Take a snap, keep it posted or even better 'scan the wall' and digitise into Mural

Measuring the Performance of Destinations

Measuring Performance: Wonderful Copenhagen - 2020 Strategy

Measuring Performance: Destination Canada on Setting KPIs

Measuring Performance: Utilising performance data into strategies

Measuring Performance: Singapore Tourism - Measuring performance with data

Measuring Performance: Campaigns versus 365 marketing

Measuring Performance: Geneva Tourism - Global Inbound Marketing

Measuring Performance: San Diego Tourism

Measuring Performance: Measuring tourist satisfaction

Measuring Performance: Banff and Lake Louise - Using Pixelling data to improve visitor experience

Measuring Performance: Template: Social Media Performance Audit

Here you can find one of the templates that will help you access some of the digital assets of your DMO.

We start with a performance audit of three of the main social networks: YouTube, Facebook & Instagram.

On the left-hand side, you can find a breakdown of some of the metrics you should be measuring across your social media channels: Engagement, Reach, Impressions and Conversions.

In the second column of the template, you will be able to analyse how your content is performing on YouTube, paying particular attention to thumbnail, SEO and keywords.

In the third column, you will then focus on Facebook. You will be able to analyse the best performing activities on your channel, to find out what works the best for your audience.

In the last fourth column, on the right-hand side, you will work on your Instagram strategy. Take a look at your recent Instagram posts and analyse the performance of your content in terms of engagement, followers, traffic referral and overall strategy.

Setting and Achieving Goals: Setting goals for DMOs

Setting and Achieving Goals: Goal 1: Market increase

Setting and Achieving Goals: Brand USA - the importance of KPIs

Setting and Achieving Goals: Goal 2: Destination image and awareness

Setting and Achieving Goals: Visit California - measuring search results

Setting and Achieving Goals: Goal 3: Expenditure increase

Setting and Achieving Goals: Dubai Tourism - Adapting to the Chinese market

Setting and Achieving Goals: Goal 4: Sustainable development

Setting and Achieving Goals: Visit Finland and Visit Helsinki's Commitment to the Reduction of Emissions

On a national level, Visit Finland is committed to being a sustainable location and pushes sustainable tourism. Hence, Visit Finland and Visit Helsinki are fabulous examples of the various aims set out to achieve their sustainability. Visit Finland declares that they want tourism to have a positive impact on the county's nature, through the visitor's appreciation.

Visit Finland lays out the various aims they have from augmenting and maintaining their sustainability, in their 'Tips for Sustainability Communications'.  The document, also, divulges examples of companies, in the tourism, sphere who have become more sustainable and advise other business on how they can do so too.  The document thus simultaneously is to pressure other business into becoming more sustainable. One of the aims Visit Finland is dedicated to is the reduction of emissions. More specifically, they want to diminish the level of emissions to 50% of the level form 2005.

Finland is particularly proud of its air quality, so it is consistently measured and can be seen in real-time through the Finnish Meteorological Institute’sonline service. Furthermore, Finland is home to Pallas-Ylläs Natural Park, where the cleanest air was ever recorded. Hence, there has been an emphasis on alternative fuels. One key example, which the document elaborates on is the Harriniva Hotel and Spa.

The Harriniva Hotel and Spa used to burn 200,000 litres of fuel every year for heating their property in the intensely cold Finnish winters. Geothermal energy was identified as the most suitable replacement, despite the need to drill 14 kilometres into the ground. Also, the removal of oil has made the air cleaner.



Tourism is massive in Finland, particularly in Lapland, due to the beautiful forested surroundings. For instance, Lapland has nearly 3 million yearly visitors and this is estimated to rise by 15% annually. However, there is a concern about over-tourism. Hence, there is an initiative to calculate regional capacities and survey the locals on their perspectives of tourism.

Furthermore, there are targets put in place, in order to conserve the surrounding environment, maintaining their spot as the most densely forested country in the European Union. Hence 12% of Finland's forests are protected, meaning that there is a restriction on their commercial use. Another method Visit Finland has to maintain its forests is to encourage visitor is to take the Sustainable Finland Pledge. For instance, it reminds visitors to respect their surroundings and includes clauses like 'Its forests and lakes should remain plastic-free, so I will not leave any rubbish behind me'.



On a very regional level, Helsinki Marketing has set a very ambitious, but they needed a goal. They aim to be carbon neutral by the year 2035. In order to achieve this mammoth task, they have set other goals to facilitate their carbon neutrality.  Indeed the 'Carbon Neutral Helsinki 2035 programme' has monstrous 143 measures. One of the key cornerstones is to reduce emissions from cars, as over half of the emissions are from cars. Thus, Helsinki aims to emphasise the use of bikes, rail, electric vehicles and walking.

Helsinki Marketing hopes to reduce the emissions to 69% of the city's emissions in 2005, more than in Finland. One of the ways they will reduce emissions through their public transport, as buses will only use renewable fuels in 2020. One way they will measure the effectiveness of their discouragement of cars is the creation of follow-up surveys for the pricing system of vehicle traffic.

Helsinki measures their sustainable based goals using the GDS-Index, the Global destination sustainability index, in order to assess their performance. The index investigates the city's environmental performance within various areas, such as Climate, Emissions, Waste, Air Quality, Water, Transportation and Green Areas. Using these measures, Helsinki was listed 6th globally. Hence, the many measures that Visit Finland and Visit Helsinki are extensive and can be hard to implement on a local scale. Yet, they are highly successful with their battle for sustainability due to the clear way they have constructed aims to achieve their overall goal.

Setting and Achieving Goals: Goal 5: Vertical segment engagement

Setting and Achieving Goals: Visit Jersey & Visit Scotland

One key example of vertical segment engagement is Visit Jersey’s collaboration with Strava. The aim of the campaign was to raise awareness of Jersey and to encourage other people to take part in the Jersey Marathon Challenge. Hence, the campaign was to market Jersey to those who are highly health-driven and who participate in sporting events.

Strava is an app that tracks the athletic activity of the user with GPS, enabling the user to analyse their workout, for cycling and jogging. The app is also quite highly used, with around 12% of adults in the UK. In Visit Jersey’s partnership with Strava, they launched the Jersey Runcation challenge.

The challenge consisted of the user running 26 miles in 26 days. If they completed the challenge then they would get discounted hotel and entry into the Jersey marathon and the chance to win a ‘runcation’ for two people for two days in a four-star hotel and free entrance into the jersey marathon. The competition also introduces to those interested in the ‘runcation’ other sport orientated activities that take place.

The performance of the collaboration between Strava and Visit Jersey and thus the niche tourism can be easily monitored. The engagement of the consumers with the 'runcation' will be shown with the proportion of those who completed the 26-mile challenge and filled in the form to get the promotional offer, regarding the jersey marathon and the Seymour Hotel. Although, this is not a very streamlined process as it requires the consumer to fill the survey out when optimally the consumer would be given the code on the completion of the challenge.  



Another key example of niche tourism that could be set as a goal is an emphasis on ancestry tourism, utilised by Visit Scotland. Ancestry tourism can be seen as a heart-felt reason for travel and is a consequence of the popularity of DNA sequencing services. Ancestral tourism is a good example of niche tourism, as although this is a very specific need, it can have quite a large appeal. To elaborate, with the case of Scotland over 50 million people potentially have Scottish ancestry. Thus this establishes that ‘niche tourism’ actually has quite a large appeal.

The ancestral form of vertical engagement is highly lucrative; those influenced by ancestral motivation are very significant for various economic reasons. For example, Visit Scotland found that these customers are more likely to stay longer than average. Ancestral tourism is also appropriate for DMOs who operate on a more local level Visit Scotland also found that emphasis on familial connections ensured that visitors not only stayed in the cities. But they were also more likely to visit various destinations around Scotland, revolving around their family’s history or the ancient clan land. For example, the Visit Scotland has twenty-two tours around Scotland for the most common clan names.

The ancestry tourism goal can be monitored through visitor surveys to understand the motivation of the individual. Unfortunately, Analytic tools such as google analytics cannot assess the delicate balance of the individual's motivation to travel or their genetic makeup! In 2015-2016, the Visit Scotland Visitor Survey demonstrated that over a quarter of the respondents from the United States, Canada and Australia listed Scottish ancestry as a key motivation for their trip. Furthermore, more than a third stated they had Scottish descendants.

Visit Scotland also produces highly informative reports based on their visitor surveys. Based on the positive reaction, regarding genealogy, Visit Scotland drew the conclusion that Scotland's history culture was an integral part of all of the visitor's decision to visit Scotland. Furthermore, one of the key recommendations was to continue 'to build tailored marketing messages to specific markets with scenery, landscape, history and culture as core elements'.

Setting and Achieving Goals: Template: Setting Goals, Strategies & KPIs

This template is a guide to understanding the 5 Goals explained earlier in this report:

  1. Market Increase
  2. Destination Image & Awareness
  3. Expenditure Increase
  4. Sustainable Development
  5. Vertical Segment Engagement

For each of these 5 Goals, we defined 5 elements that characterise them: Strategy, Channels, Budget, Timeframe and KPIs. These elements need to be set by the DMO in order to achieve the goals.

In this board, we summarised the most common tips and options that can help the DMO set the strategy to achieve the 5 Goals. Use it as a guide to define your own short-and long-term goals. At the bottom of the canvas, you can see a blank space where you can organise your ideas and think about the goal for your DMO and the connected strategy, channels, budget, timeframe and KPIs.


Reporting on Performance: Annual Reporting

Whether your DMO is an NTO or a city-based organisation, it’s important to create performance reports to show the results of your activities to internal and external stakeholders.

Reporting is the outcome of the DMO’s performance measurement that is usually created monthly, quarterly or annually.

Every DMO has their specific needs in terms of reporting, but all of them, especially public-funded organisations, have to create periodical reports, to sum up, the performance of the DMO’s promotional activity and the destination’s tourism industry.

DMOs’ annual reports are publicly available for consultation. Some organisations are more innovative in this regard, others more creative. In this chapter, we provide a few of the best and most innovative examples of DMO annual reports to take inspiration from, three NTOs, one regional and one city DMO.

Switzerland Tourism Board

The Swiss national tourism board has embraced digital 100% when it comes to reporting. The annual report is a website on its own that is built around some very important principles of user experience, such as easing the fruition of content and making the research of topics a central function of the site. In this way, the navigation of the various sections is much clearer than usual pdf reports and users can browse through the content by themes and keywords.

The report is divided into 11 themes - In focus 2018, All contributions, Challenges, Test your knowledge, Organisation, Network, Financial statements, Marketing strategy, Campaigns, Markets, Projects - and 25 keywords that help you navigate the content. Each section is represented as an online article with thorough explanations and interactive content such as videos, charts or infographics and external links.

The style and readability in this type of annual report appeared to us as the best possible way to report performance to an audience of different background. Financial statements are easily accessible showing the exact numbers of STD’s financial performance, while at the same time they are meant to be easily understandable for people with a less financial eye.

Access Switzerland Tourism's annual report here


Tourism Australia

The Australian NTO is one of the most recognised destination organisations in terms of marketing for their beautiful and very well performing campaigns and organic content, which is loved by worldwide consumers because very appealing and genuine. All the channels of Tourism Australia always show appealing visuals and imagery and this is also reflected in their annual reports.

The report shows the strategy and review of performance against the objectives and goals set out in the Tourism Australia Corporate Plan 2017 to 2021, including the NTO’s marketing activities across the globe. When portraying numbers and figures it is very important to make them easy to understand. Therefore, Tourism Australia’s annual report shows the key stats and successes achieved through very appealing visual charts and infographics.  

What we particularly liked is the combination of imagery and the graphic representation of data throughout the report, because it helps the reader easily get all the information. The annual report focuses very much on the organisational goals and values and it explains very well how all these goals are achieved through which measures and KPIs. The report is not only meant to highlight goals and KPIs, as well as tourism, spend and increase, but it is also used to state who are the target consumers, the channels used for the marketing campaigns and the events held throughout the year.

Tourism Australia performance and reporting


Destination Canada

The 2018 annual report of the Canadian NTO is very clear and it highlights different objectives of the DMO and their results in a very transparent way. Transparency is key throughout the annual report, with very brief and clear explanations of the activities carried out by the DMO to reach the foreseen targets. The Canadian tourism organisation highlighted 3 main objectives for 2018: 1. Increase demand for Canada with innovative marketing; 2. Advance the commercial competitiveness of the tourism sector; 3. Increase corporate efficiency and effectiveness.

What we really appreciated of this annual report is a section that we didn’t notice in any other report, namely an analysis of risks and mitigation activities for each of the three objectives with the description of specific measures that were carried out for every identified risk. An example is Objective 2 “Advance the commercial competitiveness of the tourism sector” and its connected risk of performance measurement - “There is a risk that we will be unable to measure the impact, effectiveness and attributable results of our marketing efforts, including the use of new marketing communications technologies in a manner that is meaningful to our stakeholders.” - which was mitigated through the use of third party tools to measure the results of the marketing efforts, including attribution models and proprietary surveys of target audiences in their markets.

Download Destination Canada’s 2018 Annual Report


Discover Puerto Rico



As a regional DMO, we found the recently privatised DMO of Puerto Rico to be one of the best examples for yearly performance reporting. As in the case of Australia, also here we see very appealing graphics and imagery but also very clear and concise explanations of the short and long-term goals and objectives of the organisation. In the 2018/2019 annual report, we appreciated the use of timelines as the first section, which permits the reader to have an understanding of all the actions of the DMO in chronological order.

The DMO was founded in 2017 when it became a privatised organisation with the objective of promoting the Caribbean island, therefore elements like the organisational structure or financial statements appear at the beginning of the report, whereas other reports leave the numbers and financial stats at the bottom of the report. Nonetheless, they clearly stated the key milestones for the first year of the organisation to lay the foundation for future results and productivity and they set their performance goals very clearly with foreseen percentage increase for each sector. What we also appreciated of this annual report is a final part called “Looking Ahead” which is meant to provide an overview of the upcoming activities carried out by the DMO.


Cape Town Tourism


The city DMO that we found to be one of the best examples for annual reports is Cape Town. The South-African city is a very strong player in tourism, welcoming every year more than 5 million visitors from all over the world. Cape Town Tourism’s website was chosen by Skift among the 25 best tourism board websites in 2017.

The 2017 annual report is a good example because they created both a PDF and a website version of the report, making it more enjoyable and interactive than traditional PDF reports. This allowed them to include interactive charts and also show their brand content, which makes up their activities. Moreover, we appreciated the choice to not include financial statements in the web version but nonetheless including a strong call to action to download them, for those who are interested in more detail.

Download the PDF version of the 2017/208 Annual Report

Reporting on performance: Template: Website Review & Benchmarking

This template will allow you to evaluate your website and compare it to other DMOs' ones. You will be able to gather insights, views and ideas all on the same worksheet.

There are many things you need to take care of when you create the best user experience for the visitors to your website. We will guide you through some of the most relevant ones, leaving you the space to collect ideas and considerations.

We suggest you take a full-page screenshot of your website and try to think about what you want your website to look like and what it does look like.

Then you can have a look at a quick analysis of the content of Visit Finland's website, just to have an idea of what a good website in 2019 is.

After this, the stage is yours! You can add up to 4 further websites and analyse their content, taking notes in the dedicated space.

In the final part, you can carry out a final evaluation, summing up the features you liked the most and that you would consider integrating into your DMO's website.



Stage 8 of the Transformation, Performance and Measurement, investigates one of the most debated topics in the DMO realm: how to effectively measure the performance of the organisation and how to set the key performance indicators to keep track of the activities that lead to the achievement of short and long-term goals.

Stage 8 of the Transformation, Performance and Measurement, investigates one of the most debated topics in the DMO realm: how to effectively measure the performance of the organisation and how to set the key performance indicators to keep track of the activities that lead to the achievement of short and long-term goals.

Performance refers to results and the outcomes of strategies, products, services and processes that allow for evaluation with regards to goals. Measurement refers to numerical information detailing input, output and the performance of these products, services and processes. Performance measurement really is one of the cornerstones of a successful organisation.

Measuring performance can be read from different perspectives. First of all, the DMO should be able to set their goals and establish KPIs to monitor the performance of the organisation in its multiple and various efforts to promote the destination. This means being able to understand the effectiveness of marketing and content through the use of analytics tools. But measuring performance can also refer to the evaluation of tourism in the destination, especially the impact of tourism on the destination system.

With this course, you can...

  • Explore the topic of performance measurement understanding the difference between organisational performance and destination performance.
  • Learn the 5 most common Goals for DMOs and their connected strategies, channels, budget, timeframe and KPIs to achieve them.
  • Understand how to set Key Performance Indicators to measure the performance of your DMO.
  • Learn tips and tricks to maximise the efficiency of your DMO's marketing activities through the use of analytics and insights tools.
  • Take inspiration from the Annual Reports of DMOs such as Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico and Cape Town.

We also provide examples from our Case Studies and Talks of

  • Brand USA
  • Destination Canada
  • Singapore Tourism
  • Visit California
  • Wonderful Copenhagen
  • Geneva Tourism
  • Dubai Tourism
  • San Diego Tourism Authority

The eighth stage pack of the Transformation Series comes with 4 Templates that we developed to help DMOs with their performance measurement:

  • Performance & Measurement Sprint
  • Setting goals, strategies & KPIs
  • Social media performance audit
  • Website Review & Benchmarking

Performance & Measurement - Sprint

With this Sprint, you will be able to kick-off your work on performance and measurement. You will be, in fact, able to organise a workshop for your team and brainstorm together around the topic. Sprints are good to gather initial ideas about certain themes, gathering the opinions and ideas of a variety of people involved.

Defining goals and setting KPIs is a crucial part of the work of every DMO, even if it is not always straightforward.

Unfortunately, there is no rule about how to set the 'right' KPIs; however, this means that there is no right or wrong and everything is established according to your DMO's needs and objectives. So, first of all, before deciding how to measure your performance, you need to set the right goals. It would be perfect, if, before running this workshop, you collected some insights about your performance.

This template is divided into four sections:

  1. Set your goals on the timeline, to define what to prioritise and what to schedule in a more long-term perspective.
  2. Assess how you currently measure your performance, the tools you use and what works the best for you
  3. Think about your methods: how do you usually set KPIs? How do you measure the relevance of your content and the value for your audience?
  4. Finally, think SMART! Discuss how to make your KPIs specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and Time-based.

Get started with the sprint 🏃🏾‍♀️

A sprint is a great way to rally all your teammates around a big idea or produce great results by concentrating the team on a specific need over a short period.

  1. Print the attached worksheet in large format (A1 is best!)
  2. Find a great communal space, such as the canteen, to stick it up (double-sided tape!)
  3. Invite team members to scribble their thoughts and ideas on the wall
  4. Organise a stand-up session, where several members can express their thoughts
  5. Take a snap, keep it posted or even better 'scan the wall' and digitise into Mural

Measuring the Performance of Destinations

Measuring Performance: Wonderful Copenhagen - 2020 Strategy

Measuring Performance: Destination Canada on Setting KPIs

Measuring Performance: Utilising performance data into strategies

Measuring Performance: Singapore Tourism - Measuring performance with data

Measuring Performance: Campaigns versus 365 marketing

Measuring Performance: Geneva Tourism - Global Inbound Marketing

Measuring Performance: San Diego Tourism

Measuring Performance: Measuring tourist satisfaction

Measuring Performance: Banff and Lake Louise - Using Pixelling data to improve visitor experience

Measuring Performance: Template: Social Media Performance Audit

Here you can find one of the templates that will help you access some of the digital assets of your DMO.

We start with a performance audit of three of the main social networks: YouTube, Facebook & Instagram.

On the left-hand side, you can find a breakdown of some of the metrics you should be measuring across your social media channels: Engagement, Reach, Impressions and Conversions.

In the second column of the template, you will be able to analyse how your content is performing on YouTube, paying particular attention to thumbnail, SEO and keywords.

In the third column, you will then focus on Facebook. You will be able to analyse the best performing activities on your channel, to find out what works the best for your audience.

In the last fourth column, on the right-hand side, you will work on your Instagram strategy. Take a look at your recent Instagram posts and analyse the performance of your content in terms of engagement, followers, traffic referral and overall strategy.

Setting and Achieving Goals: Setting goals for DMOs

Setting and Achieving Goals: Goal 1: Market increase

Setting and Achieving Goals: Brand USA - the importance of KPIs

Setting and Achieving Goals: Goal 2: Destination image and awareness

Setting and Achieving Goals: Visit California - measuring search results

Setting and Achieving Goals: Goal 3: Expenditure increase

Setting and Achieving Goals: Dubai Tourism - Adapting to the Chinese market

Setting and Achieving Goals: Goal 4: Sustainable development

Setting and Achieving Goals: Visit Finland and Visit Helsinki's Commitment to the Reduction of Emissions

On a national level, Visit Finland is committed to being a sustainable location and pushes sustainable tourism. Hence, Visit Finland and Visit Helsinki are fabulous examples of the various aims set out to achieve their sustainability. Visit Finland declares that they want tourism to have a positive impact on the county's nature, through the visitor's appreciation.

Visit Finland lays out the various aims they have from augmenting and maintaining their sustainability, in their 'Tips for Sustainability Communications'.  The document, also, divulges examples of companies, in the tourism, sphere who have become more sustainable and advise other business on how they can do so too.  The document thus simultaneously is to pressure other business into becoming more sustainable. One of the aims Visit Finland is dedicated to is the reduction of emissions. More specifically, they want to diminish the level of emissions to 50% of the level form 2005.

Finland is particularly proud of its air quality, so it is consistently measured and can be seen in real-time through the Finnish Meteorological Institute’sonline service. Furthermore, Finland is home to Pallas-Ylläs Natural Park, where the cleanest air was ever recorded. Hence, there has been an emphasis on alternative fuels. One key example, which the document elaborates on is the Harriniva Hotel and Spa.

The Harriniva Hotel and Spa used to burn 200,000 litres of fuel every year for heating their property in the intensely cold Finnish winters. Geothermal energy was identified as the most suitable replacement, despite the need to drill 14 kilometres into the ground. Also, the removal of oil has made the air cleaner.



Tourism is massive in Finland, particularly in Lapland, due to the beautiful forested surroundings. For instance, Lapland has nearly 3 million yearly visitors and this is estimated to rise by 15% annually. However, there is a concern about over-tourism. Hence, there is an initiative to calculate regional capacities and survey the locals on their perspectives of tourism.

Furthermore, there are targets put in place, in order to conserve the surrounding environment, maintaining their spot as the most densely forested country in the European Union. Hence 12% of Finland's forests are protected, meaning that there is a restriction on their commercial use. Another method Visit Finland has to maintain its forests is to encourage visitor is to take the Sustainable Finland Pledge. For instance, it reminds visitors to respect their surroundings and includes clauses like 'Its forests and lakes should remain plastic-free, so I will not leave any rubbish behind me'.



On a very regional level, Helsinki Marketing has set a very ambitious, but they needed a goal. They aim to be carbon neutral by the year 2035. In order to achieve this mammoth task, they have set other goals to facilitate their carbon neutrality.  Indeed the 'Carbon Neutral Helsinki 2035 programme' has monstrous 143 measures. One of the key cornerstones is to reduce emissions from cars, as over half of the emissions are from cars. Thus, Helsinki aims to emphasise the use of bikes, rail, electric vehicles and walking.

Helsinki Marketing hopes to reduce the emissions to 69% of the city's emissions in 2005, more than in Finland. One of the ways they will reduce emissions through their public transport, as buses will only use renewable fuels in 2020. One way they will measure the effectiveness of their discouragement of cars is the creation of follow-up surveys for the pricing system of vehicle traffic.

Helsinki measures their sustainable based goals using the GDS-Index, the Global destination sustainability index, in order to assess their performance. The index investigates the city's environmental performance within various areas, such as Climate, Emissions, Waste, Air Quality, Water, Transportation and Green Areas. Using these measures, Helsinki was listed 6th globally. Hence, the many measures that Visit Finland and Visit Helsinki are extensive and can be hard to implement on a local scale. Yet, they are highly successful with their battle for sustainability due to the clear way they have constructed aims to achieve their overall goal.

Setting and Achieving Goals: Goal 5: Vertical segment engagement

Setting and Achieving Goals: Visit Jersey & Visit Scotland

One key example of vertical segment engagement is Visit Jersey’s collaboration with Strava. The aim of the campaign was to raise awareness of Jersey and to encourage other people to take part in the Jersey Marathon Challenge. Hence, the campaign was to market Jersey to those who are highly health-driven and who participate in sporting events.

Strava is an app that tracks the athletic activity of the user with GPS, enabling the user to analyse their workout, for cycling and jogging. The app is also quite highly used, with around 12% of adults in the UK. In Visit Jersey’s partnership with Strava, they launched the Jersey Runcation challenge.

The challenge consisted of the user running 26 miles in 26 days. If they completed the challenge then they would get discounted hotel and entry into the Jersey marathon and the chance to win a ‘runcation’ for two people for two days in a four-star hotel and free entrance into the jersey marathon. The competition also introduces to those interested in the ‘runcation’ other sport orientated activities that take place.

The performance of the collaboration between Strava and Visit Jersey and thus the niche tourism can be easily monitored. The engagement of the consumers with the 'runcation' will be shown with the proportion of those who completed the 26-mile challenge and filled in the form to get the promotional offer, regarding the jersey marathon and the Seymour Hotel. Although, this is not a very streamlined process as it requires the consumer to fill the survey out when optimally the consumer would be given the code on the completion of the challenge.  



Another key example of niche tourism that could be set as a goal is an emphasis on ancestry tourism, utilised by Visit Scotland. Ancestry tourism can be seen as a heart-felt reason for travel and is a consequence of the popularity of DNA sequencing services. Ancestral tourism is a good example of niche tourism, as although this is a very specific need, it can have quite a large appeal. To elaborate, with the case of Scotland over 50 million people potentially have Scottish ancestry. Thus this establishes that ‘niche tourism’ actually has quite a large appeal.

The ancestral form of vertical engagement is highly lucrative; those influenced by ancestral motivation are very significant for various economic reasons. For example, Visit Scotland found that these customers are more likely to stay longer than average. Ancestral tourism is also appropriate for DMOs who operate on a more local level Visit Scotland also found that emphasis on familial connections ensured that visitors not only stayed in the cities. But they were also more likely to visit various destinations around Scotland, revolving around their family’s history or the ancient clan land. For example, the Visit Scotland has twenty-two tours around Scotland for the most common clan names.

The ancestry tourism goal can be monitored through visitor surveys to understand the motivation of the individual. Unfortunately, Analytic tools such as google analytics cannot assess the delicate balance of the individual's motivation to travel or their genetic makeup! In 2015-2016, the Visit Scotland Visitor Survey demonstrated that over a quarter of the respondents from the United States, Canada and Australia listed Scottish ancestry as a key motivation for their trip. Furthermore, more than a third stated they had Scottish descendants.

Visit Scotland also produces highly informative reports based on their visitor surveys. Based on the positive reaction, regarding genealogy, Visit Scotland drew the conclusion that Scotland's history culture was an integral part of all of the visitor's decision to visit Scotland. Furthermore, one of the key recommendations was to continue 'to build tailored marketing messages to specific markets with scenery, landscape, history and culture as core elements'.

Setting and Achieving Goals: Template: Setting Goals, Strategies & KPIs

This template is a guide to understanding the 5 Goals explained earlier in this report:

  1. Market Increase
  2. Destination Image & Awareness
  3. Expenditure Increase
  4. Sustainable Development
  5. Vertical Segment Engagement

For each of these 5 Goals, we defined 5 elements that characterise them: Strategy, Channels, Budget, Timeframe and KPIs. These elements need to be set by the DMO in order to achieve the goals.

In this board, we summarised the most common tips and options that can help the DMO set the strategy to achieve the 5 Goals. Use it as a guide to define your own short-and long-term goals. At the bottom of the canvas, you can see a blank space where you can organise your ideas and think about the goal for your DMO and the connected strategy, channels, budget, timeframe and KPIs.


Reporting on Performance: Annual Reporting

Whether your DMO is an NTO or a city-based organisation, it’s important to create performance reports to show the results of your activities to internal and external stakeholders.

Reporting is the outcome of the DMO’s performance measurement that is usually created monthly, quarterly or annually.

Every DMO has their specific needs in terms of reporting, but all of them, especially public-funded organisations, have to create periodical reports, to sum up, the performance of the DMO’s promotional activity and the destination’s tourism industry.

DMOs’ annual reports are publicly available for consultation. Some organisations are more innovative in this regard, others more creative. In this chapter, we provide a few of the best and most innovative examples of DMO annual reports to take inspiration from, three NTOs, one regional and one city DMO.

Switzerland Tourism Board

The Swiss national tourism board has embraced digital 100% when it comes to reporting. The annual report is a website on its own that is built around some very important principles of user experience, such as easing the fruition of content and making the research of topics a central function of the site. In this way, the navigation of the various sections is much clearer than usual pdf reports and users can browse through the content by themes and keywords.

The report is divided into 11 themes - In focus 2018, All contributions, Challenges, Test your knowledge, Organisation, Network, Financial statements, Marketing strategy, Campaigns, Markets, Projects - and 25 keywords that help you navigate the content. Each section is represented as an online article with thorough explanations and interactive content such as videos, charts or infographics and external links.

The style and readability in this type of annual report appeared to us as the best possible way to report performance to an audience of different background. Financial statements are easily accessible showing the exact numbers of STD’s financial performance, while at the same time they are meant to be easily understandable for people with a less financial eye.

Access Switzerland Tourism's annual report here


Tourism Australia

The Australian NTO is one of the most recognised destination organisations in terms of marketing for their beautiful and very well performing campaigns and organic content, which is loved by worldwide consumers because very appealing and genuine. All the channels of Tourism Australia always show appealing visuals and imagery and this is also reflected in their annual reports.

The report shows the strategy and review of performance against the objectives and goals set out in the Tourism Australia Corporate Plan 2017 to 2021, including the NTO’s marketing activities across the globe. When portraying numbers and figures it is very important to make them easy to understand. Therefore, Tourism Australia’s annual report shows the key stats and successes achieved through very appealing visual charts and infographics.  

What we particularly liked is the combination of imagery and the graphic representation of data throughout the report, because it helps the reader easily get all the information. The annual report focuses very much on the organisational goals and values and it explains very well how all these goals are achieved through which measures and KPIs. The report is not only meant to highlight goals and KPIs, as well as tourism, spend and increase, but it is also used to state who are the target consumers, the channels used for the marketing campaigns and the events held throughout the year.

Tourism Australia performance and reporting


Destination Canada

The 2018 annual report of the Canadian NTO is very clear and it highlights different objectives of the DMO and their results in a very transparent way. Transparency is key throughout the annual report, with very brief and clear explanations of the activities carried out by the DMO to reach the foreseen targets. The Canadian tourism organisation highlighted 3 main objectives for 2018: 1. Increase demand for Canada with innovative marketing; 2. Advance the commercial competitiveness of the tourism sector; 3. Increase corporate efficiency and effectiveness.

What we really appreciated of this annual report is a section that we didn’t notice in any other report, namely an analysis of risks and mitigation activities for each of the three objectives with the description of specific measures that were carried out for every identified risk. An example is Objective 2 “Advance the commercial competitiveness of the tourism sector” and its connected risk of performance measurement - “There is a risk that we will be unable to measure the impact, effectiveness and attributable results of our marketing efforts, including the use of new marketing communications technologies in a manner that is meaningful to our stakeholders.” - which was mitigated through the use of third party tools to measure the results of the marketing efforts, including attribution models and proprietary surveys of target audiences in their markets.

Download Destination Canada’s 2018 Annual Report


Discover Puerto Rico



As a regional DMO, we found the recently privatised DMO of Puerto Rico to be one of the best examples for yearly performance reporting. As in the case of Australia, also here we see very appealing graphics and imagery but also very clear and concise explanations of the short and long-term goals and objectives of the organisation. In the 2018/2019 annual report, we appreciated the use of timelines as the first section, which permits the reader to have an understanding of all the actions of the DMO in chronological order.

The DMO was founded in 2017 when it became a privatised organisation with the objective of promoting the Caribbean island, therefore elements like the organisational structure or financial statements appear at the beginning of the report, whereas other reports leave the numbers and financial stats at the bottom of the report. Nonetheless, they clearly stated the key milestones for the first year of the organisation to lay the foundation for future results and productivity and they set their performance goals very clearly with foreseen percentage increase for each sector. What we also appreciated of this annual report is a final part called “Looking Ahead” which is meant to provide an overview of the upcoming activities carried out by the DMO.


Cape Town Tourism


The city DMO that we found to be one of the best examples for annual reports is Cape Town. The South-African city is a very strong player in tourism, welcoming every year more than 5 million visitors from all over the world. Cape Town Tourism’s website was chosen by Skift among the 25 best tourism board websites in 2017.

The 2017 annual report is a good example because they created both a PDF and a website version of the report, making it more enjoyable and interactive than traditional PDF reports. This allowed them to include interactive charts and also show their brand content, which makes up their activities. Moreover, we appreciated the choice to not include financial statements in the web version but nonetheless including a strong call to action to download them, for those who are interested in more detail.

Download the PDF version of the 2017/208 Annual Report

Reporting on performance: Template: Website Review & Benchmarking

This template will allow you to evaluate your website and compare it to other DMOs' ones. You will be able to gather insights, views and ideas all on the same worksheet.

There are many things you need to take care of when you create the best user experience for the visitors to your website. We will guide you through some of the most relevant ones, leaving you the space to collect ideas and considerations.

We suggest you take a full-page screenshot of your website and try to think about what you want your website to look like and what it does look like.

Then you can have a look at a quick analysis of the content of Visit Finland's website, just to have an idea of what a good website in 2019 is.

After this, the stage is yours! You can add up to 4 further websites and analyse their content, taking notes in the dedicated space.

In the final part, you can carry out a final evaluation, summing up the features you liked the most and that you would consider integrating into your DMO's website.