5 Ways DMOs and EDOs Should Streamline Efforts

July 21, 2022

Tourism marketing and economic development marketing are not the same – we know. DCI has built a reputation on uniquely understanding both spaces. But there are opportunities for synergy that are too often overlooked in communities worldwide – especially with new trends like bolder, more aggressive talent attraction efforts.

While this is not a brand new conversation, it’s one that’s worth repeating, especially as communities emerging from the global pandemic work diligently to rebuild their appeal for both visitors and new workers alike. As destinations are vying to attract new talent away from traditional cities and locations, there is ample opportunity to collaborate to achieve multiple goals all at the same time.

Both EDOs and DMOs work tirelessly to ensure their communities are welcoming to prospective targets and share the desire to enhance the quality of life for local residents. With such shared goals, it’s worth considering how DMOs and EDOs might work better together in this new era of prioritizing what’s best for residents – both current and prospective ones.

1. Working Toward Common Goals

Both ultimately serve local communities and should coordinate on how they are doing just that. Where is the synergy? Where are the gaps? Addressing these questions are wise ways forward to working together better.

By using tourism as a gateway to talent attraction, both DMOs and EDOs are essentially working toward the same outcome when they focus on local communities. Creating a welcoming place to live means attracting top-notch talent more easily. Serving on each other’s advisory boards, for example, is a great place to start. The goal is to ensure that both entities are in the know on the strengths of the other.

2. Branding the Destination

DMOs brand a destination for visitors and EDOs brand for businesses – but really, it’s key that these brands be similar, or at least complimentary. It’s important to make sure that those brands are helping each other and not actually contradicting each other so that today’s travelers can easily understand how they can become tomorrow’s residents in your destination.

If a DMO markets a destination in a certain way, it can potentially undermine EDO efforts to attract a different kind of investor or worker. Sure, “Virginia is for Lovers” does no disservice to anyone looking to start a business or live in Virginia, but both DMO and EDO efforts need to align to ensure that the way they brand the destination does not hinder, or worse, contradict, the approach of their counterpart.

If someone is turned away by a tourism slogan, chances are they won’t want to put down roots for business in the destination either.

3. Focusing on Infrastructure

DMOs and EDOs both rely on infrastructure to succeed. Remember, if travelers are complaining about a destination’s roads and crumbling infrastructure, it’ll make the quest for talent acquisition and attracting new residents that much harder. 

Working together to improve and maintain the basic elements of a destination is key. Functional, welcoming airports and other transportation hubs are good for both business and travel, but policy makers who control these things don’t always prioritize them. DMOs and EDOs working together, showing a united front, can better help bump infrastructure up on their lists.

4. Benefiting from Events and Innovation

Both DMOs and EDO benefit from events and innovation in the destination. Big events bring big ideas and prospective talent to the business community, but also big dollars to the tourism community. 

The events industry, so often falling under the DMO’s tourism umbrella, benefits from understanding which industry sectors are targets for inbound investment. They can then woo conferences and conventions – and all the prospective talent in those sectors who attend – to the community’s front door. It requires a bit of discussion, however, between the DMO and EDO teams to make this happen.

5. Using Storytelling to Promote Place

Marketing a destination, whether it’s for tourism or economic development, relies heavily on sharing the stories that make these places what they are. This is fundamental to generating interest in today’s oversaturation of media content and social networks.

Effective collaboration here helps ensure that DMOs and EDO teams are telling the best stories that encapsulate and support the destination’s brand essence. If done collaboratively and creatively, you’ll be showing visitors both why they should visit and, additionally, why they should consider relocating one day.

Considering how your DMO and EDO can work better together? DCI has been helping destinations elevate their tourism efforts for larger goals – including most recently talent acquisition – for more than 60 years. Get in touch with Karyl Leigh Barnes at [email protected] to learn more about how we can enhance your destination marketing practices.