PCMA.ORG SEPTEMBER 2014 PCMA CONVENE 25
CONVENE ON SITE
At the Century
Mark and at the
If an association makes it to its hun- dredth anniversary, it’s a good time to reflect on its history and look ahead
to its future. And that’s just what DMAI
(Destination Marketing Association
International) did at its 100th Annual
Convention, July 21–23, in Las Vegas.
As temperatures soared into the
triple digits in Las Vegas, a record number of attendees — 1,300 DMO professionals — poured into the Aria Resort
& Casino to kick off the convention on Monday afternoon.
Before graffiti artist Erik Wahl took the stage for the Opening
General Session, captivating the audience with what can be
best described as a bit of motivational performance art (see
our interview with Wahl at convn.org/ewahl), DMAI paid
tribute to its past.
Individuals who have shaped the DMO community over the
past 100 years were named into DMAI’s newly minted Hall of
Fame. A celebration of the inductees — “pioneers, champions,
and influencers” — began by acknowledging Milton J. Carmichael, president/CEO/founder of the Detroit Convention and
Tourists’ Bureau, who conceived of the idea of actively inviting
conventions to meet in Detroit at the turn of the 20th century.
Other inductees who were awarded posthumously
included Leonard Rolston, former president of the Greater
Houston CVB; Peggy Flower, former executive director of convention sales for the Greater Omaha CVB; and George Kirkland, former president of the Los Angeles CVB. Rounding out
the six awardees were Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of
the Las Vegas CVB, and Gary Grimmer, CEO of Gaining Edge.
In a nod to the future of the DMO industry, DMAI recognized its fourth list of “ 30 Under 30 Ambassadors” during the
convention. And while talented individuals will no doubt carry
the industry forward, an understanding of the trends that will
shape destination marketing in the near future is essential.
This milestone year was an apt time in the association’s history
to embark on a landmark research project: DestinationNEXT:
A Strategic Roadmap for the Next Generation of Global Destination Marketing, led by InterVISTAS and made possible by a
grant from the Destination & Travel Foundation.
Tuesday morning, InterVISTAS Executive Vice President
Paul Ouimet presented highlights from the survey, in which
327 DMOs from 36 countries across seven continents participated. Initial results indicate that DMOs face great transformational opportunities — and “there are three balls to keep
your eyes on,” Ouimet told the group. The first is moving from
broadcast to engagement — “from push [marketing] to pull,”
he said, which of course includes the use of social media. Second is brand building — “that will be the major responsibility
of the DMO of the future,” Ouimet said. The third element is
the evolution of the business model, which will include the
opportunity to play an expanded role in the community on
economic development issues. Full results of the study are
available on DMAI’s website at convn.org/destNEX T.
On the final day of the convention, DMAI took full advantage of its host venue by featuring general session speaker
Welby Altidor, executive director of creations, creative content division for Cirque du Soleil. Altidor talked about the
power of storytelling from the stage of Aria’s Zarkana Theater,
where Cirque du Soleil’s “Zarkana” is performed.
The closing general session later that afternoon carried
through on some of the themes from the DestinationNEXT
survey findings. Innovation expert and Leapfrogging author
Soren Kaplan spoke about reinvention and the need for busi-
nesses to recognize that “they are in the business of creating
DMAI members will continue learning about that evolving
business next year, July 15–17, in Austin, Texas. .
A Milestone Event High notes included a record number of attendees; the largest-ever
graduating class of CDMEs; and the largest group of DMAP certifications in its history.