Tourism is a billion dollar industry. It is one of the strongest industries that funnel money into a country’s economy, providing jobs, building and supporting local businesses and creating numerous opportunities for growth, networking and international relations. Most countries prefer a more organised approach to tourism, using a well-designed, planned and executed campaign to bring visitors in while showcasing what their countries can offer. More than just harnessing a well-oiled PR campaign, many countries and businesses in the East turn to destination management companies to assist them in crafting a solid programme that will speak to the rest of the world on their behalf.
Destination management is nothing new and it does not necessarily have to involve a whole country. It could, for example, be utilised by smaller units, such as towns, cities or a potential tourist destination itself. One of the most successful products of destination management is Singapore. The city state, while wealthy and economically stable now was not exactly the prime destination for foreign visitors just 50 years ago. By building their own reputation and designing a very clever marketing spin on what the country can offer, Singapore has re-packaged itself to become one of the foremost destinations in Southeast Asia, enticing tourists from all over Asia, North America and Europe to come and visit. Singapore owes its success to its Singapore Tourist Promotion Board which was established in the mid-1960s by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The country’s very own destination management machine has since paved the way for a stronger tourism industry. Singapore had an estimated 8 million tourist/visitors in 2004 and their target number of visitors by 2015 is 17 million.
Singapore’s success is no accident. Its destination management plan was well-organised, ensuring that all involved sectors such as travel agents, tour guides, hotels, airline companies, builders and related government agencies were coordinated. It was during the preparatory stage of the tourism board when the famous Merlion was conceived. Now the symbol of Singapore, the iconic image proved pivotal in promoting Singapore to the world. Today, Singapore is not just a world-class city, it is also a world-class destination that offers a wide range of attractions and activities, ranging from first class parks to culturally open events and festivities.
How Can Destination Management Companies Help?
Destination management companies offer professional services that are designed to assist clients in utilising their resources for creating a programme that will present their clients to their target market in the best way possible. Destination management specialists possess local knowledge and have the experience and training to identify the strongest marketing advantages of their clients and using these to build an image that is the exact cultural and social fit.
There are many key benefits that destination management companies can offer that Eastern tourism can utilise to its advantage. With DMCs, it is possible to:
Build a Brand
In tourism, image is everything. A city or town that wants to attract visitors understands that they will need a strong image that sets them apart from the rest of the pack. It is this image that becomes the brand and the brand can either make or break a well-meaning programme. The goal of all destination management companies is to create an image that encompasses everything that a country, region or city stands for. Is it quirky, fun-loving, family-oriented, Nature-inspired, laid-back, irreverent, historical, romantic or adventurous? The client’s brand is instantly recognisable to its target market and readily identifiable. From colours to logos, a destination management company can help a client refine and promote an image that is as appropriate as it is unforgettable.
Evaluate and Analyse Their Client’s Resources
The goal of DMCs is to create activities and choose venues that will fit the demographics of the target market. The previous example, Singapore, built its reputation on its many attractions within an urban area. It even implemented measures to modify existing resources and make them more visitor-friendly. The famous Singapore River, for example, had to undergo a facelift in order to become the tourist destination it is now. DMCs can provide a fresh outlook and an objective point of view that can be invaluable for the programme.
Create a Specialised and Customised Programme
Eastern destinations hold a key advantage in many levels. For one, foreigners consider them exotic and mysterious and that alone provides an irresistible draw. However, not every Eastern destination has the same vibe or feel. Visiting Hong Kong, for example, is a different experience from visiting Singapore, India or Vietnam. All these cities may be found in one region but the cultures are not the same and the economic, social and political aspects of each destination cannot be more different. Clearly, what would work for one destination may not be as successful for another. The role of DMCs is to identify these key differences and use what is inherently special about a specific destination to create a programme that is truly one-of-a-kind.
Help Create a Practical Tourism Programme
A programme that is specifically designed to showcase the best of what a city, town, region or country can offer must be carefully put together in order to make it manageable and sustainable. As such, a programme has to work seamlessly with existing resources in order to be effective. It must define but not interfere with what is culturally inherent.
Assist Clients in Making Key Decisions About a Programme
In many cases, clients will have to design, create and execute events and build infrastructures to accommodate the requirements of their desired programme. For clients, the added cost in terms of funding, time and manpower can be risky, especially if they are treading on unexplored territory. Destination management companies have the experience and expertise to provide their clients with an objective assessment of the risks and benefits of a certain project based on its feasibility and continuity as an attraction. This is especially true for projects that are meant to be “evergreen” attractions. With the right information, clients can make better decisions based on known factors, the type of resources they have, their budget and their goals.
Set a Standard of Excellence For All Levels of Functions
Ultimately, tourism is all about customer service. From the brochures and TV ads to the quality of the tour experience and the souvenirs, destination management companies can set a level of service that not only meets the expectations of the target market but exceeds it as well.
For more information on Destination Management Companies, please contact us or complete a booking request form and upload your event enquiry brief, and we will be happy to send you a full destination proposal. Based in London UK, Located Locally!