A Call for Co-Creation

We need their approval, but not their opinion.

For too many of our DMO peers, strategy is designed in seclusion and shared only to gain tepid acceptance.

With more tourism destinations than ever searching for a place on the consumer bucket list, the disruption and general fragmentation of travel experience as well as increasing promotional opportunities for individual stakeholders, the future DMO must build a strategy of co-creation among all involved in the destination.

Titles and acronyms alone will not change the relevancy of your organization. Call it a DMO or DMMO; marketing, management or magic.

Call your organization whatever you like, just make sure your strategy is co-created.

Acknowledging The Silo

We talk with our stakeholders constantly. And just last year we surveyed our visitors.

Yes, some of your organizations do work closely with your stakeholders and perhaps your consumers.

But most of you do not.

While quantitative data on the subject would be preferred, we each have enough anecdotal evidence to realize that collaboration between DMOs, stakeholders and the consumer is often superficial.

A survey here, a strategy overview meeting there.

Just enough to receive buy-in. Never enough to achieve advancement.

By our nature and purpose, destination marketing organizations represent a variety of perspectives on the tourism experience. So why would we ignore them when developing a strategy to represent that experience?

Understanding Co-Creation

Co-creation is not crowd-sourcing. It is not a vote, nor a survey. It’s not a shortcut.

It is an opportunity to fundamentally change the way your organization, the way tourism organizations, develop and maintain relevancy across the tourism experience.

While definitions of the concept vary depending upon industry and perspective, it is often related to the development of product, service and brand ideas. But we use a more concise definition when introducing the concept to new clients:

Co-creation is building strategy with the people who are going to support it (stakeholders) and the consumers who are going to experience it (tourists).

It demands that we involve relevant groups during the development of the strategy (whether it is a brand strategy, marketing strategy or digital strategy) to be creative, share insights and discover their own ideas.

Not just at the end, but throughout the entire process.

Co-creation helps organizations replace fear with opportunity.

Transforming Tourism

Destination marketing organizations around the world are facing the challenge of relevancy. What is the value, role and responsibility of the future DMO? As mentioned, some are focused on adding letter to the acronym, while others are searching for a tactical solution to a larger issue of purpose.

The question of relevancy often results in a conversation around change and transformation.

But change does not develop as easily as conversation. For most tourism destinations, the solution to irrelevance is marginal adjustments made within the comfort and compliance of strategic insulation.

Doing the same things better will not transform your DMO.

An environment of co-creation will.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.