DMOs Role in IT and Data Management, with Andreas Weissenborn

Episode 287

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Introduced to the industry by a random internship application to Visit Baltimore, Andreas Weissenborn began an unexpected career that left him with a continued passion for tourism. He is currently the Vice President of Research and Advocacy for Destinations International, and he leads the research and advocacy efforts of the entire organization with an eye toward developing data-driven tools to help destinations around the world tell their story.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Andreas Weissenborn, who shares his philosophy that DMOs are caretakers of the data and information in the visitor economy. He also dives into why tourism has become a community shared value and explains why DMOs should view their role as serving the people of their communities as a central priority.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Andreas shares a little about himself and the story of how he became interested in destination marketing
  • Andreas’ early role in information technology and database management and how that has an impact on his current work at Destinations International
  • How DMOs can be the primary steward of data for their community
  • What it means to be a community shared value, what Andreas’ vision for Destinations International was, and how the pandemic accelerated the concept
  • The importance of lexicon in how we describe things, why we need to change how we talk about ourselves to reframe our thinking around the role of the DMO
  • Why leading with emotion rather than facts and figures is critical
  • Where Andreas sees our most significant opportunities as destination marketing organizations in the post-pandemic world

Making Data Meaningful

The fundamental definition of effective research and analytics is taking massive swathes of data and making it comprehensible, easily understood, and applicable. Andreas shares his experience of working at Visit Baltimore and why he feels it was the start of the golden era of data analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations. He dives into why it is so critical to have individuals in the travel and tourism space who can help diagnose, dissect, and explain what this data does.

That ability to translate bookings, data, or visitor spending into understandable information that is meaningful to stakeholders was where Andreas found his niche in the industry. And those skills still feed into the broader and greater mission of Destination Marketing Organisations.

DMOs are Vital to the Community

Destination Marketing Organizations are the stewards of the visitor economy, but they also serve their community. This is why it’s so important to change how DMOs talk about themselves and how they get involved.

Destination organizations are the most uniquely qualified entity for the next normal in representing a brand because the brand transcends the physical and virtual realm. DMOs are uniquely qualified because they’re the only entity that can sit at the table with civic, social, cultural, and historical entities and bring everyone together.

Next Steps for DMOs

According to Andreas, destinations can take some tangible next steps to be successful. DMOs are often the most influential voice of a brand because of the reach of their website and their social media channels.

They need a mission or a vision statement that reads in an emotional, storied way so visitors don’t have to question who and what you are. DMOs also need to teach, train and advocate not only their entire staff but their entire membership so that everyone understands the value proposition and the work they do and is clear on why tourism matters for the community.


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