HELLO DLO. DESTINATION LEARNING ORGANISATION: REPURPOSE AND RESKILL
For years now, we’ve talked about the shift from destination marketing to management. Discussed strategies, reasons and trends to support that shift in focus. Related that shift to digital trends of communication, innovation and then, later, overtourism. But perhaps, in our eager discussions and new strategic claims, we have forgotten to ask important questions like: what skills does this shift require? Are the DMOs currently staffed to manage – or better yet lead – destinations? Do you find that you yourself have future ready skills to address the challenges ahead for tourism and destinations? Looking around at your team and your colleagues, do they? And who are the best to learn from – in tourism or elsewhere?
Are you leaning back now, thinking: “Easy now, I got this! I’ve been doing this for the past 5 – 10 – 15 – 20 years, so I’ve seen it all and I know what I need to know”? Then, good for you. That’s probably more or less the same kind of confidence the people at Blockbuster, Kodak, Nokia and the yellow cabs of NYC armed themselves with as they encountered the newcomers from Netflix, new digital cameras, Apple’s iPhone and Uber.
Shifting from marketing to management is more than a strategic claim or slight refocus of your budgets. You can choose to either lean back – and very soon, risk becoming a relic of the past – or you can lean into the opportunities as they come and stay relevant!
This is your personal invitation to ECM Spring Conference in Graz March 11 – 14th 2020. A conference, where you will not be leaning back, but get your hands dirty and your heads spinning. Where you can review the future-readiness of your own skills and those of your team and find inspiration to the journey to become a real DLO – a destination organization that leads the urban habitat through continuous learning.
We take a deep dive into transformational leadership as well as up- and re-skilling with industry frontrunners, lead destinations and ECM knowledge partners. We will talk about co-creation and involvement, idea generation, fundraising, advocacy, innovation facilitation, stakeholder management, community engagement, integrated urban planning and how to go from management to leadership.
This, and much more, will happen in Graz, Austria, famous not only for its pumpkinseed oil, but also for one of Europe’s oldest universities, Graz University founded 1585, its UNESCO world heritage city centre and for its green and forested setting in the valley of river Mur. Graz is Austria, but has a lot of Slovenia, some of Germany, doses of Hungary and a little of a lot of other places as well. Graz is distinctly Europe. As is ECM.
See you in Graz!
POWERED BY CULTURE
FIRST, A PROPOSITION FOR YOU: Perhaps it is time we, as destinations, stop referring to certain groups of tourists as the cultural tourists as opposed to other groups of tourists. Maybe it is time to stop talking of culture as the fun side-event, as the offering outside meeting rooms or even as something that should be experienced in museums or art exhibitions.
As destinations, we should know better; culture is bigger than tourism. We know that tourists, whether for business or leisure, are not attracted by a simple offering of hotel room availability. What really matters is the luring promise of a distinct experience, of something that differs from the familiar and everyday. It is the mosaic of cultural narratives, ideas, promises, performances, arts and politics that empower our destinations with cultural attraction.
Culture is what tips the choice between one destination or another. It’s what shapes cities and destinations, forms urban identity and enforces reputative quality. Culture is our competitive advantage and the basis of a city’s global position of influence and power. From countries as the focus of Joseph Nye’s original concept of soft power, describing a country’s ability to influence others through persuasion, ideas and cultural attraction, to cities in focus as the core urban hubs of soft power through concentration of culture. A concentration, which in turn shapes distinct urban identity and stages the urban experience.
Culture in all its aspects is what gives your city a hard punch! Airports, cruise terminals, high rises and amusement parks may be the hardware to frame it, but culture fills it with experiential matter and meaning. Intangible by nature, the culture of a city can be manifested by empowering the city’s cultural scene, the arts, the innovative and creative communities.
So, this is your personal invitation to ECM Summer Conference in Poznan 2020, where we will unfold the soft power of cities as a hard core competitive factor in creating unique visitor experiences, in generating value beyond the city’s hardware, in creating legacy and building global influence, in sustaining community and collective identity.
We will take on the potential and challenge of the mutual relation between culture and tourism. We will seek inspiration and ideas when speakers of leading museums, global brands and experience economy experts share their take on why culture is more than an optional and time-limited amusement. Be prepared as we discuss how conventions are powerful levers of cultural influence and how cultural heritage will – or will not – make your business.
Join us for serious business and serious fun, as we meet in Poznan, a mix of historical and modern culture, where academia meets technology, industry, art and education. Poznan is the historical capital of the Greater Poland region, a welcoming city waiting to leave its cultural soft power mark on YOU as a very special guest.