DMAI is no longer. In Montreal at the association’s 2017 Annual Convention in July, its new name
— Destinations International — was unveiled along with a fresh look and new logo. President and
CEO Don Welsh spoke to Convene about how the new name helps to refocus the organization.
What was the thinking behind the
As a former member and currently in the job,
I never felt as though DMAI is a consumer-facing brand. Our brand is intended to be a
trade association and provide bene;its and
services for our members, which are CVBs.
The word “marketing” somehow implies that
you’re going to market either the product or
the services you have to an external audience.
As far as priorities for the organization, the
one thing we felt paralleled with our board’s
vision was to look at international opportunities. There are international audiences
who have an appetite for the research, education, products, and services we have. So
once there was a determination that we were
going to embark on an international growth
strategy for the organization, we needed to
do research, which our partners and friends
at Miles Partnership helped us conduct. We
looked internally, externally, we did surveys,
we had one-on-ones and group discussions
— all in terms of what is the most appropriate
naming for the organization.
We traveled internationally, meeting with
the ECM [European Cities Marketing] Group,
ICCA [International Congress and Convention Association], and some Asia-Paci;ic
groups, as well as in Canada and Mexico.
That all went into this research funnel. Miles
presented di;erent options to Melissa Cherry,
our chief marketing o;icer, who did a lot of
vetting herself with a small group. As things
became more ;ine-tuned in terms of options,
we engaged our board. And then, with a recommendation from our marketing group and
the Miles team, the board unanimously supported the name Destinations International.
When we presented it at the CEO Summit
in Nashville a few months ago, we were all
pleasantly surprised. When the brand was
announced, there was a standing ovation
from the 200 people in the room — which I
think was validation of the hard work that had
been done getting it to that point.
Beyond more fully engaging the
international audience, what will the
It more fully de;ines the focus of the organization, which is now education, research, advocacy, and community. Each of those will be
standards across the board, but each of those
can be adapted to the countries or the regions
that we are serving, which gives us a bit more
;lexibility. And we carried on some of the same
look and feel of the logo with very little deviation to the foundation to bring the two together.
It’s important to stress, however, that
we’re not taking our eye o; of the ball in
terms of the 80-plus-percent membership
makeup we have now in the U. S. It’s just a better platform not only to meet our members’
needs domestically but also globally.
What progress have you made
The Event Impact Calculator (EIC) broke
200 subscribers in the United States alone,
and now [we’re having conversations with
destinations in] Canada, Mexico, Colombia,
and Europe. Everybody now is focusing on
accountability — they need metrics. They need
something other than opinion or self-generated reports to validate the performance
of a meeting, event, or festival, and the EIC
has done that. We’re going through the exercise right now of taking Canadian economic
information and building that, and we’ll do the
same for the euro, the Mexican peso, and the
Colombian peso, because the demand’s there.
In addition to validating the economic
impact of events and destinations, what
are your members’ biggest challenges?
No matter whether you’re looking domestically or globally, funding to some degree
seems to be challenged in many cities, states,
or countries around the world, where traditional revenue sources back to the CVB are
being either questioned or they are being
redirected by the elected leaders in those
‘It’s our opinion that the
destination should be the
independent keeper of
knowledge for their city.
They are the authoritative
experts in their respective