"We are delighted to have played a role in helping DMAI break their attendance record and host more attendees in 2013 than at any other time in the association's history," said George Aguel, Visit Orlando president and CEO. "It's always fun to welcome our industry peers to the most visited destination in the nation."
Industry themes that caught attention of the record-breaking crowd included:
• Demonstrating the Value of a Mature Industry: DMAI announced that DMOs drive 1 in 5 group rooms in the U.S., generating nearly 40 million room nights in 2012. DMOs also served more than 10 million walk-in visitors through official visitor information centers in 2012.
• Evolving Role of DMOs in their Destination: Sessions addressed how DMOs are becoming more involved not only in the marketing but also in the management of their destinations, from creating destination master plans and influencing product development to partnering more closely with their traditional economic development counterparts.
• Globalization: From the Global All-Stars Marketing Institute to diversity training, education focused on how the industry needs to adapt to serve a global marketplace where more than 1 billion travelers now cross countr borders annually.
• Evolution of the Marketing Funnel and how DMOs adapt: Opening keynote speaker Rachel Botsman provided an eye-opening perspective on how the web is changing how people connect and purchase - from the impact of AirBnB in the lodging industry to liquidspace.com in the meetings market.
During the convention, DMAI recognized the largest graduating class of Certified Destination Marketing Executives (CDME), with 23 outstanding professionals receiving their certification, along with 30 future leaders of the destination marketing industry selected to DMAI's 30 Under 30 program. On an organizational level, 19 destinations earned accreditation through the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP), extending the global reach of the program with the accreditation of Guadalajara CVB and Leon CVB, Mexico, and Business Events Sydney, Australia.
2013 DMAI Convention Milestones:
• Largest Direct Impact: $2 million
• Most individual attendees: 1,325
• Most DMOs represented: 336
• Most CDME graduates in one class: 23
• Most ever raised at the Foundation Golf Tournament's Auction: $111,000+
• Most app downloads: 1,100
• Launched beta version of the Sports Module for the Event Impact Calculator
• First B2B Pavilion for scheduled one-on-one appointments with exhibitors
• First time free, bonus online content provided to attendees
"The record attendance and energy levels generated during the convention reflect the optimism within the DMO industry." said Gehrisch. "We had attendees from a record 336 destination marketing organizations at this year's convention. These organizations realized the value in being part of a community whose mission is to advocate for the professionalism, effectiveness, and significance of destination marketing organizations worldwide."
The localized spending impact was calculated using DMAI's Event Impact Calculator, which was developed in partnership with Tourism Economics (an Oxford Economics company). The calculator is a critical tool in quantifying the economic value of meetings at the destination level. Data from the report also shows that the convention supported more than 1,000 jobs in the local community and generated $172,000 in local tax receipts.