The Changing Role of the DMO

At this year’s ITB Berlin Convention, Doug Lansky, International Tourism Thought Leader, Travel Journalist and Author, takes a closer look at the changing role of the DMO (and NTO and CVB) and explores what the future holds. We asked him to tell us more about recent changes.

The DMO has undergone a lot of change already. We’ve seen DMOs jump into search engine optimisation, social media, and data analytics. There are some things that they are currently doing that I believe are outdated and other new areas they would do well to enter.

What don’t they need to do any more?

I don’t think they need to spend time and money on Tourist Information offices. Just to be clear, I’m not saying these info offices are bad, but there are many more cost-effective replacements, from staff on bicycles or Segways deployed in tourist areas to offsite call centres. The fact is, with smartphone and helpful hotel desks, typically less than 2% of people visiting a city even enter the tourist office, and about half of those are only there for the toilet.

How do you believe larger destinations need to change?

Larger destinations don’t really need to own and maintain a website anymore. A city like London, New York, or Rome has thousands of blogs and hundreds of reliable, independent guidebook websites with dedicated pages and good, updated information, from Lonely Planet to The Guardian to TimeOut. What areas should DMOs be focusing on? A Smart Tourism Strategy is about maximising profit while maintaining a high-quality experience. This new DMO structure would cover everything from clean beaches to businessclass public toilets to over tourism to increasing the average visitor spend.

What about the leakages that are not being factored into the tourism business model?

Everything that doesn’t end up in the destination (or increases costs) needs to be counted. If we start looking at yield, destinations can start making smarter decisions.


  • Category: Future, Marketing
  • Date: March 8, 2018 Time: 5pm – 5.45pm
  • Location: Convention Hall 7.1b, Auditorium London

Photo : Doug Lansky International Tourism Thought Leader, Travel Journalist and Author