Destination management can play a vital role in helping to unlock the many benefits that are associated with tourism, while also ensuring that your destination delivers something unique for travellers. In this article, you will find out more about destination management and how it can help to make sure tourism adds real value to your destination.

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What is Destination Management?

Destination management is a coordinated process, where almost all aspects of a destination are managed, including marketing efforts, local resources, accommodation, activities, events, environmental concerns, tourist attractions and transportation. It is usually the responsibility of a destination management company (DMC).

They adopt a holistic approach to managing tourism for their destination and may offer additional services, like training. Destination management companies tend to be membership-based and their members and stakeholders may include governments, community leaders, local businesses, charities and others involved with travel and tourism.

Why is Destination Management Important?

Generally speaking, tourism can be extremely beneficial for an area or destination, bringing more money into the local economy, helping to attract investment from businesses and allowing existing businesses in the area to thrive. It can help to enrich and revitalise villages, towns, cities, resorts, regions and countries.

With that being said, tourism can potentially bring downsides too, such as damage to landscapes, extra pollution, more use of resources and traffic congestion. Tourism management is, therefore, essential, weighing up pros and cons, looking out for businesses and local residents, protecting the environment and balancing supply and demand.

Put simply, destination management involves taking the necessary steps to ensure tourism adds value to a destination.

How to Execute Destination Management

In terms of actually implementing a destination management plan, it is recommended to break your strategy down into four key steps, which can be defined as follows:

1. Place – What is the Destination?

When considering the issue of place, you need to consider what your destination actually is, how it can be defined and whether it requires destination management. In many cases, the destination is obvious, in that it is a city, a state, an island, or even a whole country. However, it could equally be defined by a mountain range, or a coastline.

One destination may be situated within another destination, which can also confuse matters. The Great Barrier Reef is considered a destination, but so is the state of Queensland and so is the town of Port Douglas, which both offer access to it. Why you are defining your destination as you are? Why does it make sense to manage it collectively?

2. People – Who Are the Visitors and Key Partners?

As you think about people, you should ponder who visits your destination and what their motivation for doing so might be. It may appeal to a number of different demographics, for different reasons, or it might primarily appeal for a single reason. Where are visitors coming from? What are they seeking? Are they families, groups or individuals?

You also need to give consideration to who makes up the local community, what their priorities are, as well as who the key stakeholders and partners from the travel industry are. These potential destination management partners may include local businesses, transport service providers, activity centres, tour operators and more.

3. Product – What Is On Offer?

Next, you need to be clear on what the destination has to offer tourists and other travellers. What are they buying? What will their experience be? What can you promise people through your marketing efforts? Accommodation, activities, attractions and transportation methods can all fall under the product umbrella.

Does your destination have the ability to provide tourists with a memorable or unique experience? Is your destination actually delivering this for people right now? If not, why not? You need to think about where tourists are likely to spend their time and money, and what their decisions mean for the area a whole.

4. Process – Destination Management in Action

Finally, when thinking about your process, you need to consider how you can actually make sure the product and experience you are offering connect with the people who will be travelling to your destination. Essentially, it means identifying precisely what needs to be done to manage the destination properly, for optimal results.

It is important that this step is done last, because it requires you to have an understanding of the other components. You need to already know how the place is defined, who the people involved will be and what the product is. Then you can start to think about the effects of tourism on your destination, where improvements are needed, and so on.

The section “How to Execute Destination Management” is a summary of the “The guide to best practice destination management” prepared by The Australian Regional Tourism Network. Click here to download the full report (downloads automatically)

What is a Destination Marketing Organisation?

A destination marketing organisation (DMO) is an organisation that is expressly concerned with promoting a destination to tourists, businesses, investors and others. In many ways, DMOs and DMCs are similar, in that they are made up of a number of stakeholders who all have a vested interest in the destination successfully appealing to travellers.

The main purpose of a destination marketing organisation is to create a broader marketing strategy, which helps to set your destination apart from the main alternatives. This may involve, for example, identifying unique selling points and highlighting them, advertising online and offline, collaborating with influencers, and branding the destination.

How Can a DMO Help With Destination Management?

A key part of destination management involves getting the most out of the local tourism industry and a destination marketing organisation can assist with this by increasing demand to travel to your destination in the first place. This is achieved by creating a comprehensive destination marketing strategy.

In addition to promoting the destination, a DMO can provide potential travellers with valuable information, direct travellers to hotels and other forms of accommodation, provide access to booking platforms and help tourists to plan their itinerary. They can also work with a DMC, in order to promote the right aspects of the destination, at the right time, to the right demographic, in order to ensure tourists are adding value to your destination.

Destination Marketing Strategies

Destination marketing goes hand-in-hand with a destination management strategy, highlighting to potential travellers the unique selling points and experiences your destination has to offer them.

In the article “Destination Marketing Strategies to Attract More Visitors”, you will find out more about what destination marketing involves. You will also find useful advice on some of the most effective techniques that can be used, in order to generate increased interest and encourage more visitors to travel to your destination.

Destination management can go a long way towards making sure tourism adds real value to a destination. By focusing on the ideas of place, people, product and process, it becomes easier to consider the interests of all stakeholders, adopt a holistic approach, promote your destination and come up with a coherent management strategy.

Want to Learn More About Management in Related Industries?

All hospitality, travel and tourism-related industries have commonalities, however, management in each industry is influenced by specific unique factors. In the following articles, you can learn more about management within related industries.

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