Best Practices in Destination Management

Head of Research and Insights
Published 11/20/19
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Global Lessons from the Front Lines of Destination Management

This blog summarizes presentations from four leaders in destination management from the Global All-Stars breakout session at Destinations International Conference in 2019.

  • Watch the breakout session presentations here
  • View the presentation slides here
  • See the mainstage Global All-Stars 2019 presentations here

At the Destinations International Annual Convention in St Louis, we brought together four leaders in destination management from around the world. This breakout session offered critical insights on best practices for Destination Marketing (and/or Management) Organizations in handling the challenges of tourism growth. 

Copenhagen 10x, Driving Dispersal – Wonderful Copenhagen

Signe Jungersted, former Director of Development at Wonderful Copenhagen, built on her mainstage presentation (see a summary and video here) by highlighting the city’s latest work in understanding and managing what visitor dispersal means.

Through a range of research studies with both visitors and locals, Copenhagen demonstrated that not only do over three-quarters of locals want more dispersal of visitors, but those travelers who visited 5+ Copenhagen neighborhoods were the most satisfied in their visit to the city.

Recent work in Copenhagen has focused on the importance of ensuring that tourism investment and city infrastructure matches this objective of visitor dispersal. As of 2019, less than half of all new hotel rooms are being built in the city’s center with a far greater focus on surrounding neighborhoods, areas suitable for tourism growth based on public transport and growing range of restaurants, retail and activities.

  • See Signe’s 7-minute breakout presentation here.
  • See Signe’s mainstage presentation on Copenhagen’s tourism strategy here.
  • For more on the ‘Copenhagen10x’ research and strategy project, visit www.10xcopenhagen.com.

Managing the Crowds at Chautauqua – Boulder CVB

Boulder, Colorado’s remarkable Chautauqua Park is one of the most spectacular urban parks anywhere in the world. Framed by the Flatirons, usage of the park has boomed in recent years, from both a growing city population and increasing number of visitors. Congestion, crowding, parking issues – all were creating significant resident concerns for the Boulder City Government and Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).  Kim Farin, Director of Marketing at Boulder CVB, outlined their response plan to tackle these problems. This included a range of initiatives to handle these increased numbers and educate visitors and locals on visiting the park. Efforts included the introduction of paid peak time parking fees for those visiting the park by car, offset by a free park and ride bus service to the park, a mobile visitor center in the park (pictured above), staff at peak times to facilitate these transportation options, and a communication and marketing plan to let locals and visitors know about these options.

The program made an impact. From rising resident complaints and criticism, the Boulder CVB and City Government started receiving compliments:
“Thank you Boulder for giving us our neighborhood back. It’s night and day. The weekends are now so lovely. We can’t believe the peacefulness.” – Sandy, Boulder, Colorado resident.

Responding to Global Growth – Destination Queenstown

Queenstown, New Zealand is one of the most spectacular alpine destinations on the planet, framed by the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu, pictured below.

The alpine community in the South of New Zealand’s South Island has benefited from increasing international tourism to New Zealand – as well as rapid growth in its resident population, both domestic and international. This includes an increasing number of billionaires who have made the region home. This means that a community of just 25,000 now hosts over 3.3 million visitor nights per annum. Graham Budd, CEO of Destination Queenstown, outlined how their DMO responded to this growth with a range of destination management initiatives outlined in its expanded principles (above) which more strongly recognized the role of Destination Management in their responsibilities.  This was spurred by increasing concerns from residents, illustrated in the word cloud below.

Destination Queenstown’s response has included working closely with local government on infrastructure improvements including expanded investments in roading, parking and public transport, which is partly funded by New Zealand’s first bed tax. Destination Queenstown also introduced a “Care for Queenstown” Visitor Care Code to help educate visitors on how to travel responsibility in the destination. All this work is in close collaboration with the critical stakeholders – local tourism businesses, community groups – Graham notes in keeping broad support for tourism, which underpins the region’s economy.

Local Heroes – Conde Nast Traveler

Mark Ellwood, Contributing Editor of Conde Nast Traveler, highlighted five tourism leaders who are helping create a tourism industry in their destination that works for everyone. One of the leaders Mark highlighted was Daniele Kihlgren who discovered and then transformed the medieval town of Santo Stefano di Sessanio in Italy, which was all but abandoned when its inhabitants scattered to the cities for work. Within its stone-walled houses and crooked alleyways, he recognized the opportunity to save and restore its unique heritage through tourism.  With a $5 million investment, Daniele transformed the hamlet into an “albergo diffuso,” or a “dispersed hotel,” carved out of existing houses and filled with impeccable period homages (creaking wooden doors, uneven floors, rough-hewn tables—all modern tech tucked out of sight) pictured below. He did the same in the southern village of Matera, restoring dozens of ancient sassi cave dwellings. These initiatives have not only revived the local economy through tourism but help redefine the concept of luxury travel in Italy.