In our first article about stakeholder collaboration, we discussed that the initial step is done through sharing the vision for the destination (read more about “Stakeholder Collaboration: From Chaos to Cooperation” here). We continue that series with this article where we discuss the followup step of coordinating research efforts.
“The role of a DMO is to engage and connect destination stakeholders through interactions so as to facilitate and direct a cooperative endeavor,” according to Meriläinen & Lammetyinen in the Tourism Review, 2011. Collecting opinions, input and information from stakeholders can facilitate product development, help a DMO refine their message and provide important resources to stakeholders, all with the goal of providing visitors authentic experiences (in what was packaged, marketed and ultimately delivered). By simply distributing a survey and scheduling a time to meet to report the findings from the survey, stakeholders will feel like they’re a part of the destination marketing process. They often will begin to think about product development, enhancing their organization, or how to improve services offered so that the visitor might have a better overall experience. Gathering input from attractions, meeting facilities, accommodations, event venues, and other partners can provide valuable insight and perspectives that can enhance the marketing message as well. The length of the survey doesn’t matter, however, the process of asking questions, reporting feedback, and sharing results will facilitate a dialog which will help lift the destination overall as each partner begins to collaborate. Hopefully all moving forward together with a similar mindset.
Stakeholder surveys can:
- Help the stakeholder feel engaged in marketing the destination
- Provide a method for communicating goals and beliefs
- Help communicate shared values
- Help encourage feedback to the DMO
- Increase stakeholder satisfaction
Question topics to focus on in your survey:
- Tourism as economic development which should relate to the mission of the DMO
- The role of visitors, meeting planners and external and internal target audiences
- Belief statements for visitors, meeting planners, external and internal target audiences
- Attributes of the destination
- Improvements needed in the destination
- General feedback
Lastly, try to lead with a strong economic development statement with actual tax revenue collected to show impact and state the mission of the CVB or DMO.