Skift Take

The pandemic has been both a blessing and a curse for destination marketing with restricted budgets, a broadened scope of work, and a breather to rethink and restructure. This year will be pivotal for laying the groundwork to evolve nimbly in line with travel trends and to enhance organizational efficiencies.

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The scope of work for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) broadened massively to keep up with the changing trends and patterns owing to the pandemic. In this report we examine the pre-Covid setup of DMOs, how DMOs evolved during the pandemic and how they make sense of what the future holds. The overall goal of the report is to highlight the lessons learned through battling the crisis and the fundamental areas that can contribute to a sustainable recovery and growth.

We conducted a survey in December 2021 of about 100 professionals from destination management organizations (including convention visitors bureaus) globally to analyze the functioning of DMOs across five key facets: funding, revenue, expenses, staffing levels, and marketing. For each of the facets we have assessed the trend from the pre-Covid to the post-Covid phase.

We found that funding, revenue and expenses are expected to increase in 2022 compared to the last two years, in line with the macro-travel recovery trend. However, at this point it is crucial for DMOs to diversify their funding and revenue sources along with allocating their expenses in a targeted manner. Staffing levels are expected to more or less reach 2019 levels in 2022. Digital marketing is expected to remain the dominant marketing channel going forward, although marketing approaches like partnership marketing, cross-DMO collaborations and commun