Because of the value-added services they provide, destination marketing organizations, or DMOs, can be a meeting planner's best friend. Before you engage one of them to help you plan your meeting, however, you should do your homework.
"Planners and DMO staff … have different goals and ways they measure their success, and that can result in a failure to communicate. So the first step in this important partnership is making sure each understands the other's needs," says Successful Meetings Senior Editor Leo Jakobson.
According to Jakobson, planners doing their due diligence should start by researching a DMO's funding source.
"[An] important fact for planners to know is that there are two different types of DMOs: those that are funded by hotel taxes or other public sources, and those that are funded by their members -- the hotels, DMCs, and other vendors," Jakobson explains.
Both have a lot to offer planners, but it's important to know up front what's important to your DMO and how they can and can't assist you. "The latter group can only recommend members to planners," Jakobson continues, "so it behooves planners to know what type of DMO they are dealing with."