Destination marketing organizations (a.k.a. convention & visitor bureaus) are non-for-profit organizations that help promote and market local attractions, accommodation options, tourism services, transportation, associated retail stores, restaurants, events & more.

Their primary long-term objective is to attract visitors to relative destinations and develop local economies as a result of increased tourism.

According to Destination Marketing Association International, (now Destination International) “each $1 spent on destination marketing organizations generates $38 in visitor spending”. This is the basis for their existence.

Types of DMOs

Broadly speaking, “destination marketing organization” characterizes any entity that specializes in destination marketing. For example, in small cities where a considerable CVB is not present, a chamber of commerce could quality as a DMO. (By contrast, a DMO may not be a CVB).

Including differences based on funding (see below), DMOs can be segmented into: private vs public DMOs, national vs regional vs local DMOs, leisure x business x group travel DMOs, membership vs non-membership vs partnership DMOs, etc.

According to empowerMINT, only “50% of DMOs are membership-based and the other 50% are not”. The names of DMOs can range from words like “Experience”, “Go”, “Visit”, “Discover”. “Meet”, “Destination”, etc. followed by a city, state, province, region and country.

How DMOs Are Funded

DMOs usually raise funds via public channels but they can also be funded privately.

Among public channels, the most common way for DMOs to secure funding is via hotel occupancy tax and therefore local governments. In addition, DMOs can accrue government grants, membership dues, “premium listing” advertising revenue, marketplace revenue and other forms of public & private funding.

Find out how DMOs can generate revenue by becoming a marketplace

According to Destinations International, “42% of private funding comes from membership dues” but that being said, “this only represents 1-5% of total overall revenue”.

Although we try to assume DMOs take a universal approach, every DMO secures funding differently. It is difficult to generalize the sources for funding across DMOs on local, regional, and national scales, let alone on an international scale.

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