Destination Management Overview
What is it?
Destination management covers six main areas of work related to the visitor economy. They are listed below with a short explanation. All are interlinked and a destination is most successful when it has all six areas working well and in balance.
This function provides support to tourism businesses to help them improve performance and make them more profitable. The support ranges from business planning, human resources advice and accessing training to applying for grants, finding investment capital and helping businesses gain accreditation or a quality mark. Destination Management agencies also provide routes to market for small tourism businesses through their destination marketing role.
Visitors need information to get the most out of their visit both at the planning stage and while they are on a short break or holiday. They get their information from a wide variety of sources – the internet, guide books, travel supplements, travel agents, tourist information points, brochures, mobiles, recommendations from friends and family. Destination management agencies help the visitor in many of these areas either directly or by working with commercial and non commercial information providers.
This function lets customers know what a destination has to offer so that they decide to make a visit. Marketing activity aimed at the customer includes PR, direct marketing, advertising, campaigns, and customer relationship management. Destination management agencies are often involved in business to business marketing which aims to influence third parties such as tour operators, group organisers and meetings buyers.
The product is what a destination sells through marketing and what we tell visitors about through information services – the hotels, B&Bs, attractions, events, shops, restaurants, landscapes etc. Destination management agencies can work in a whole range of ways to develop the product or a place, from capital projects such as building a new hotel and raising standards through quality initiatives, to packaging up parts of a destination’s product so that it is easier to sell and developing events to attract visitors.
The environment of a destination must meet the expectations of visitors or they won’t return or recommend. Destination management agencies get involved in many ways including signage, visitor welcome and public realm – which means ensuring the streets are clean, the car parks and loos are up to scratch and musch more. The tourism suite of 'welcome host' programmes all fit under visitor experience.
It is important for visitors to have a good experience and that the people they meet, particularly in tourism businesses, are welcoming and professional. Destination management agencies can work both with employers to meet their training and skills needs, and with training and skills providers to ensure programmes they run meet employers’ needs, as well as take part in careers events and training activity.