City Marketing

ECM’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is that it is the only organisation to work with Leisure, Meetings Industry and City Marketing. This is undoubtedly a strength!

The “glue” that holds members and the association together is the dynamic of the City and we believe in the vision that “everyone in the city sells the city”.

This includes the meetings industry, the leisure industry, politicians and other parties. We are stronger by focusing on the city in a holistic manner and working together.

What is City Marketing?
“A shared and common strategy to reach economic development and welfare for inhabitants, visitors and companies within cities”. Reaching a balance between those three components determines the soul of the city.


This group is providing a platform for City Marketing destinations to exchange knowledge, best practice and widen their network to perform even better (positioning, branding, re-structuring, …).

Members share knowledge and bring their strategic overview and their daily challenges through best practices, benchmark and exchange of expertise.


The sector of Destination Marketing has undergone several identity crises, resulting in name changes. Thus, the “Destination Marketing Organisation” (DMO) is becoming “Destination Development, Management and Marketing Organisation” (DDMMO). Of course we do not want to come up with another acronym but this is a way of describing the changes occurring in both Tourism Industry and Meetings Industry. DMOs require a much fuller and deeper coalition of destination partnerships to maintain the visibility of their destination as a great place to live, work, study and visit. With this holistic approach, there is for sure room for DMOs to engage not only towards leisure travellers but also with meetings, incentives conferences and events industry in a targeted way that meets the wider policy objectives of their city.

The freshly published The Future of DMOs – The ECM Manifest produced by European Cities Marketing (ECM) in collaboration with Toposophy, gives 8 principles around which, it recommends Destination Marketing Organisations to take a chance on their future.

The leitmotiv of the Manifest is the radical switch from external to internal, from outbound to inbound, from focus on visitors to focus on locals. If destination marketing used to be about appealing tourists, it is now a more complex undertaking which consists in beginning with the locals, making sure they feel good in their city building a quality of life for them. People are now appealed to destinations by the genuineness of the accessible local experiences: “In communicating who you are to the outside world, what matters most is how local people live and what they think makes their city unique…”. (Source: ECM Manifest)

From DMO to DDMMO?

It not enough to only market your destination, DMOs should also play a role in developing and managing it. It’s what makes DMOs become DDMMOs (Destination Development, Management and Marketing Organisation).

“An extended horizon that includes destination development and management necessitates greater levels of alignment and partnership with other public and private enterprises within the destination.” (Source: ECM Manifest)


Building partnerships: a sign of strength

“Today, the most forward-thinking DDMMOs are re-inventing themselves primarily through building deep and meaningful partnerships. Whether it’s through teaming up with a local university to analyse data, rolling out a major campaign with an online travel agent, or building a political taskforce to tackle a specific issue, partnerships are essential for helping you get where you want to be.” (Source: ECM Manifest)

The report looks at the daily change and disruption occurring in European tourism; it sets out a vision on how Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) can empower to take on a leading role in city marketing and management.