5 Things That Caught My Attention at City Nation Place Americas 2023

June 16, 2023

City Nation Place Americas brought together about 200 top economic development and destination marketing professionals from across North America in New Orleans to share best practices and insights with their peers on everything from branding to sustainability.

The speakers and roundtables were inspiring and thought provoking, but here are five topics that caught my attention:

Music Matters

We saw countless destination videos and while all were well done, the one that really sticks with me is one from Visit Louisiana set to a special recording of the state’s official song “You are My Sunshine” by Lauren Daigle for its Feed Your Soul campaign. There was barely a dry eye in the room because the lyrics spoke so eloquently to the imagery. Listen and weep!

Piggy-Back Relocation Guides

DCI’s 2023 Talent Wars research (which we unveiled at the conference) shows that 38% of talent consulted visitor websites, 37% consulted relocation guides and 35% consult visitors guides. Go Topeka had the brilliant idea to add a relocation guide to the back of the city’s visitors’ guide to get more band for the buck. As DCI always says “today’s visitor is tomorrow’s talent,” that makes total sense to us.

See Broader Relationships for Talent Attraction

As more economic development and destination marketing organizations wade into talent attraction marketing, it’s becoming clear that non-traditional relationships matter. Nurturing contacts at daycare facilities, K-12 schools and residential realtors, for example, are all important to provide a full and “real” picture of what’s available for talent considering a move.

Adversity Galvanizes Collaboration

As any region that has been hit by a natural disaster will tell you, partners will often come on board after adversity. Such was the case after back-to-back hurricanes hit St. Charles Parish in Louisiana, but Greater Minneapolis St Paul also experienced it after George Floyd’s death as did Louisville after the shooting of Breonna Taylor. Don’t let the tragedy paralyze the community; let it help bring the community and destination marketers come together in a big way to address change.

Humor Works, but Be Careful

When Visit Iceland decided it as time to get people thinking about travel again as the pandemic eased its grip on the world, it came up with a very funny campaign called “Let in Out” where people were encouraged to record a primal scream of frustration with being cooped up, share it with the DMO and it would be broadcast throughout the country via seven big yellow speakers in “big, beautiful and open” spaces across the country. The campaign got incredible press coverage, not to mention some 8 million views on YouTube.

But be careful. Humor can also backfire. We also heard a cautionary tale from one unnamed destination about a campaign that was supposed to be cheeky but was skewered as being sexist. So be sure to test the waters outside of your marketing bubble.

For more information about destination marketing and branding campaigns, contact Dariel Curren, Executive Vice President at DCI at [email protected].

Written by

Dariel Curren

Executive Vice President