USA. Destination professionals from 72 DMOs gathered in Indianapolis, Indiana on 11-13 November for three days of interactive learning at Destination Management & Marketing Institute (DMMI). Geared towards entry- and mid-level DMO professionals, DMMI attendees explored the latest emerging industry trends and took part in a multitude of tourism-focused internet marketing sessions where they learned about: the importance of knowing your blog niche, handling negative comments, tools and strategies for effective social media measurement, and more.
Attendees were reminded by event keynote and leading industry mind Bill Geist that tourism is "more than just heads in beds. It's cheeks in seats, feet in the street, and fans in the stands." Making destination marketing about more than just the sell was also a key idea carried throughout the conference, with speaker Matt Carter of the Indianapolis CVA encouraging attendees to pay attention to the greater role they play within their communities. Carter spoke of a 'sustainable community table' whose metaphorical legs (representing education, economy, environment, and social issues) all play an important role in creating and maintaining a balanced destination.
This year's event saw an increase in intraconference chatter as attendees took to Twitter, tweeting hot topics, ideas, and takeaways throughout their stay in Indy, simultaneously enabling those individuals unable to attend to stay looped in by following the event hashtag #dmmi09. Also new this year, Gammet Interactive's own David Serino ranked the 72 DMOs in attendance on their social media efforts , with Lehigh Valley (PA) CVB, Columbus (OH) CVB, and Newport Beach (CA) CVB taking the top spots.
Ten students from Purdue University were in attendance, providing many with their first exposure to the industry. "The participation at DMMI is one of the highlights of our year and is an example of Purdue's committed to nurturing the next generation of leaders in the tourism and hospitality industry," said Dr. Jonathon Day, from Purdue's Hospitality and Tourism Management program. "By listening to the issues of the day and better understanding the challenges they will be facing in just a couple of years, these students will have a "running start" on their careers."
"It was so interesting to speak to real people working in the industry and begin to understand the challenges they are facing. It was really energizing!" said Megan Champion, co-president of the Purdue Tourism Association and one of the student organizers for the day.