The changing role of Destination Management Organisations

Karoline Wiegerink Lector in City Hospitality, and Jan Huizing worked in 2021 with a team of hospitality experts - the so-called hospitality makers - from (Destination Management Organisations) DMOs affiliated with Destination Netherlands on a toolkit for creating and sustaining welcoming destinations. The outcomes of this project have been published in English and Dutch*, and will be presented by the Hotelschool The Hague researchers to the European Cities Marketing Knowledge Group TIC on 2 December.

A welcoming destination is a place where visitors feel appreciated, residents enjoy living, and businesses can grow and flourish. Hospitality is a growing priority for many cities and regions. Increasingly, it has become a matter of balancing a wide variety of issues concerning living, working, and recreation. Truly welcoming places are the product of teamwork between all parties: valuable visitors, inclusive residents, and involved businesses.

Perspective 2030: Hospitality throughout the Netherlands

By definition, DMOs are all about hospitality – they are not just responsible for stimulating the visitor economy, but also, and most importantly, for providing a warm welcome to multiple stakeholders of the destination. As the playing field changes, DMOs will also need to change the way they fulfill this role. But no matter what, they will continue promoting welcoming destinations to potential visitors and ensuring they are met with a warm welcome. In ‘Perspective 2030’, the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions outlines its goal of making all of the Netherlands an attractive, welcoming destination. This offers a wonderful opportunity for DMOs to play a crucial role.

The changing roles of DMOs and Hospitality

The publication entitled ‘The changing role of the DMO’ addresses an important point when it comes to developing hospitality: ‘Drive the development of hospitality at the destination – not only at your DMO’s own touchpoints, but also in cooperation with businesses, local government, residents, and cultural institutions.’ Encouraging and promoting hospitality among all stakeholders is a role that is well suited to DMOs, thanks to their position and influence. In order to ensure a well-balanced hospitality experience for visitors, residents and businesses, the DMO can function as a linchpin, helping to drive the development of inclusive, welcoming communities.

Seven building blocks of welcoming communities

The guide outlines seven crucial building blocks for developing welcoming communities:

  1. Add value, as DMO, as hospitality expert, as a driver, connector, coordinator, and facilitator for partners, and as initiator, visionary, concept developer, and strategist from within the community.
  2. Create awareness about the value of hospitality.
  3. Know your stakeholders: visitors, residents, businesses.
  4. Set priorities: where can you create the most value?
  5. Implement an appealing hospitality programme.
  6. Connect: get involved in building and maintaining welcoming communities.
  7. Use the Dashboard to celebrate successes and share progress