by Deanna Ting | October 29, 2013
During a recent visit to the Successful Meetings and Incentive magazines’ office in New York City, Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) chair Martha J. Sheridan, CMP, sat down for a chat to discuss DMAI’s upcoming plans as it approaches its 100th anniversary in 2014. Sheridan, who also serves as the president and CEO of the Providence-Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, said that DMAI is very focused on helping its members provide “a different level of service” to their customers, especially meeting and incentive groups.

“You really need to know your customer now,” Sheridan said. “It’s not cookie cutter anymore. DMAI, as an industry, is going to address this need for [better service from destination marketing organizations (DMOs)].”

To help its member organizations better serve meeting and incentive planners, DMAI has also recently launched a request for proposal for a brand-new research study called “Generation Next,” Sheridan said. “We want to know what the DMO of tomorrow looks like, and we’ll release the findings from that research in July at our next convention.”

DMAI’s next annual convention, which coincides with the organization’s 100th anniversary, will take place in Las Vegas from July 21-24. 

In addition to planning for the organization’s centennial celebration, Sheridan says that she and her fellow Board of Directors members are also partnering with industry partners to develop a more comprehensive benchmarking system for individual DMOs to compare themselves to other DMOS in specific areas such as social media, convention sales, and electronic media.

DMAI is also focusing on attracting more members from around the world. Sheridan added, “It’s important for us to be global. We want to serve the needs of all of our members and we are seeing a lot of interest from DMOs in Europe, Asia, and South America.”

Sheridan also noted that the future of travel and tourism promotion looks bright. She said that reinvestments by DMOs into meetings and tourism promotion has increased significantly within the last year, with an estimated $2.5 billion invested by DMAI member DMOs in 2012. “Every DMO’s budget is growing, and that $2.5 billion was an all-time record.”