The New DMO / Agency Relationship

There were a few themes established at the E-Tourism Summit this week, but one of the most intriguing was a developing shift away from full-service agencies.

Partially due to economic factors (read, less money), but also a realization that some marketing initiatives can be addressed effectively with in-house resources in conjunction with niche consultants and perhaps a strategic agency.

So, if you are an agency…interactive, traditional, email, etc…how do you respond to a shift in client thinking?

5 Ways to Win and Retain DMO Clients:

  1. First, build a relationship. If you do not have an existing relationship, think twice about bidding for work.  Sure, you can still bid and perhaps win, but like most organizations, DMOs do have friends and connections who are also in the bidding process.
  2. Establish yourself or agency as an indispensable expert in your space. After you have established a relationship, it becomes much easier to secure and retain work if the DMO recognizes your expertise.
  3. Don’t give away your thinking for free. You are the expert, make sure the DMO understands that expert thinking requires dollars.
  4. Focus on your strengths…try not to compete on everything interactive for the DMO client.  If you are an expert at website development, do not stretch yourself thin by attempting to add SEO / SEM.
  5. Be willing to partner. DMOs are looking to save…and that might require 2 or 3 agencies / consultants to handle the full marketing campaign.  Again, if you have already established yourself as the expert, working with other agencies should not be a threat to your piece of the business.

The DMO / agency relationship is changing.  Is your agency prepared to adapt and continue winning DMO business?

Troy Thompson, a self-described technopologist, is a respected blogger, consultant and thought-leader in the Tourism / Travel industry. Owner and consultant at Travel 2.0 Consulting, Troy has been providing unique interactive and marketing solutions to a variety of clients for more than a decade.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.