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.

ECM also has a CITY MARKETING KNOWLEDGE GROUP.

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.

MANAGING TOURISM GROWTH IN EUROPE

Why managing tourism growth responsibly matters to us all?

Traditionally, tourism’s contribution to job creation, economic growth and inward investment has made it an industry to be celebrated and supported, with little thought to the consequences that might come with continual growth. However, at a time of growing demand and rising visitor numbers (with yet more forecasted for the future), serious questions are being asked about tourism’s real contribution to city life, and whether the net impact on cities and their residents is indeed always positive.

Confronting this situation is not an easy task, since what is frequently referred to as ‘overtourism’ or ‘overcrowding’ is, in fact a much more complex issue than is often portrayed in the media. Urbanisation, globalisation, migration, digitalisation, the environment and even peoples’ perception of place and identity are all pressing issues and are all interlinked with tourism growth. Cities are complex places, where these issues are concentrated; where global trends meet local character. While tourism can help cities to become more outward-looking, welcoming and prosperous, this process doesn’t happen automatically, and it doesn’t always benefit everyone equally. Tourism in some European cities has become highly unbalanced, and urgent action is required to correct it, by a wide range of stakeholders.

“With growth, comes responsibility”
– UNWTO

Set against this background, it is logical that attention should turn towards the very organisations -destination marketing organisations (DMOs) that exist to promote destinations and encourage people to visit from far and wide. The issues outlined above are, of course, too complex for any one organisation to solve single-handedly, and yet DMOs must find ways to play their part. As people who care about their cities, we want to protect and enhance all the elements that make our cities attractive places for people to live in, work in and visit.

However we have to be bold and recognise that change must start from the inside. This means changing the way we work: advocating for a greater role in decision-making, being at the heart of the dialogue between residents, city planners and the business community, taking a greater role in managing our destinations and adapting our marketing activities accordingly. In last year’s Manifest on the Future of DMOs, we described how ‘partnerships are pivotal’ and that forming them them is a sign of strength for DMOs. This has never been more true than it is today.

As an organisation that is dedicated to improving the performance and competitiveness of European cities, we wanted to provide our members and partners with practical advice on how to go about doing this. For this we are pleased to work again with TOPOSOPHY, a valued Industry Partner. We hope that this guide provides a solid basis for marketing and managing destinations in times of growth.

The report sets out a range of approaches that Destination Development, Marketing and Management Organisations (DDMMOs) can take to deal with the pressures of tourism growth.

THE FUTURE OF DMOs

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.

DMOs AND THE SHARING ECONOMY

Today the sharing economy in tourism has come to represent a lively marketplace for goods and services exchanged between local people who own useful assets and travellers who seek them.
Apartments, cars, bicycles, boats, sports equipment, children’s toys and even people’s own time and skills are all up for grabs via a multitude P2P exchange platforms.

Over the past five years or so, the movement has really taken off thanks to the tech-savvy but asset-light Millennial generation; younger consumers who either don’t want to or can’t afford to buy luxury holidays or expensive cars, but are still looking for the experience. The truth is however, that the types of consumers who are attracted to use P2P exchange platforms are becoming more diverse every day.

While greater numbers of local residents and visitors are engaging in the sharing economy, it’s probably true to say that destination authorities haven’t caught up yet.
When it comes to laws concerning the use of personal property for commercial use, many cities in Europe are still using regulations from decades ago. Others are struggling to find the right balance between giving visitors the experiences that they’re looking for and protecting quality and safety for consumers, as well as ensuring maintaining quality of life and an affordable cost of living for local people.

Today, DMOs in Europe are under pressure to do more with less, and this comes at a time when tourist arrivals are increasing, in some places putting pressure on local infrastructure, and the patience of local residents. This makes it even more urgent to find innovative, cost-effective solutions and redirect funding towards them. One such solution can be the sharing economy. While it’s easy for DMOs to see the sharing economy as just a cluster of challenges, if managed effectively, destination authorities can turn the tables and make the most of what the sharing economy offers; an opportunity to become more sustainable, leverage local assets to generate revenue and connect visitors with local people in a more authentic and natural way.

The time has now come for DMOs to thoroughly examine both the positive and negative effects of the sharing economy for their destinations, understand the tensions that it generates and recommend solutions. By adopting an informed, balanced approach, they can bridge the gap between traditional and new stakeholders and efficiently manage the transition to a new economic model within the destination.
Accordingly, in this paper ECM and TOPOSOPHY offer their vision on how Europe’s destinations take the leap, and engage with the sharing economy for the benefit of all their stakeholders.

The report discusses the role of the sharing economy in city tourism. While it’s easy to see the sharing economy as a cluster of challenges, in reality it can be a useful tool for city authorities to manage destinations effectively, connect visitors with local experiences and bring economic benefits to local people. However it also has to be regulated in a way that is fair to all stakeholders.