GRCVB has long been an active and accredited member of Destinations International, the industry association for professional destination marketing organizations (DMOs). The association purposes to "make members and their destinations successful. As the world's largest and most reliable resource for destination organizations, we inform, connect, inspire and educate our members with the goal to drive destination economic impact, job creation, community sustainability and quality of life through travel."

Several members of the GRCVB staff play key roles for Destinations International and have helped to bolster Raleigh/Wake County's reputation within the CVB/tourism industry ranks. Here, they describe what those responsibilities are and how they impact the work they do locally in the Raleigh area.

Julie Brakenbury, CGSP®, director of destination services
I serve on the association's Professional Development Committee. Education is one of their four cornerstones, which includes being "the definitive resource for professional development and destination management." This committee is charged with recommending, designing and evaluating professional development programming. The current emphasis is on keynote, breakout and shirtsleeve sessions for Destinations International's Annual Convention, which will be hybrid for 2021.

I'm also part of the Convention Sales & Services Committee. This group "reviews, evaluates and develops strategies, best practices and resources that best position DMOs as the most relevant tourism, meeting and convention distribution channel." We just finished hosting Destinations International's virtual Convention Sales & Services Summit. Typically the committee's work is very sales-focused; my purpose there is to raise a level of awareness within DMOs for the value proposition that DMOs' Services teams bring, separate from but related to Sales.

I've experienced a perfect storm with these two committees and my role as president of the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA). Destinations International's Rori Ferensic invited ESPA to provide a breakout session/panel-style presentation for the summit earlier this month. Along with Tiffany Eck from VISIT DENVER and Kristen Turner from VisitPITTSBURGH, we presented how the event service professional's role in DMOs has changed due to COVID-19. ESPA will also present an ROI session at the Annual Convention or in one of Destinations International's bimonthly education webinars.

Jonathan Freeze, CDME, director of marketing and communications
With the association's Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) credential program, I have been an instructor for two courses, the elective courses on Destination Positioning and Branding and on Destination Information and Research. Participating in the courses as a student requires a significant level of thinking; preparing to teach the courses requires a level beyond! It really has allowed my understanding of these two topics to crystallize in a way that's beneficial to our continued/future dialogue with area partners around these (there will be more progress or updates needed around both subjects here in years to come). Then it's often said, but I've found it now myself to be very true that instructors can learn just as much from connecting with their students as vice versa, and in this case, the students/guest speakers/fellow instructors are executives from other DMOs around the country—great connections to make and to tap into when needed regarding our future work here.

Jonathan at Annual Meeting

Malinda Harrell, CMP, CASE, director of sales
I have worked with GRCVB's Destination Technology Department, executive leadership and our clients on data analysis to produce event impact reports for select conventions and public events using Destinations International's Overnight Room Demand Analyzer and Event Impact Calculator (EIC) tools. This year, I also joined the association's Membership Committee. We have had a focus on member retention by identifying important issues and promoting the resources, benefits and values to DMOs across the world. By serving on this committee, my goal is to be a voice that represents small-to-midsize DMOs and apply tactics to our strategic business plans moving forward. 

Scott Peacock, director of public relations and international tourism
As co-chair of Destinations International’s Public Relations & Communications Task Force, my role is to help the association achieve three key initiatives: 

  1. Establish an industry wide standard for measuring media value for a destination organization. 
  2. Collaborate on ideas for Destinations International to engage public relations/communications professionals across the industry.
  3. Curate public relations/communications content for Destinations International events.

My work for the association is greatly helpful to me in my role here as I’m able to network with my peers across the country and share best practices that I can apply to our PR strategies at the Bureau. It also helps GRCVB to have staff serve on boards and committees like this as it raises the profile of the Bureau as a thought-leader and innovator ourselves within the industry. Of all the work this committee is undertaking, establishing the first-ever industry standards for measuring and evaluating earned media coverage is what I’m most excited about; I’ve been working towards this my whole career and can’t wait to unveil it later this year.

Vimal Vyas, director of information, security and digital innovation
I have been a member of Destinations International's MINT+ Super User Group since 2019. In 2020 this evolved into a new committee called the MINT+ Steering Committee as a joint initiative with Destinations International and Simpleview.

The association's MINT+ database is a shared repository of information on organizations and their meetings and events. Sales teams use it to prospect intelligently for group business.

My role as a member of these committees was to understand the technology roadmap and provide feedback based on product improvements regarding data integrity and integrations. I also worked with our Sales team to gather feedback on improvements for research and development and prospecting data intelligence. I am looking forward to the bright future of MINT+.

GRCVB executive vice president Loren Gold and I were invited to speak at an EIC Bootcamp in Oct. 2020. This event was hosted by Destinations International and Tourism Economics. The EIC Bootcamp is a multi-part educational series designed to help its participants evaluate and elevate the value of events in their destination. The series includes the foundation of destination economics, breaking down the EIC output report, learning from EIC super users and sharing calculations with stakeholders.

We presented an overview of GRCVB's event economic impact analysis service and the custom-developed technology that managed the data process with reporting via our partner extranet (PIXL). This service is currently offered free of charge to any area partner that requests it for an event, series of events or venue.

Based on this Bootcamp series, Destinations International then asked us to put together a written case study on this service and technology used to power the process. This case study will be published next month in the association's newsletter.

Our work has raised the profile of our Bureau with other DMOs, showcasing our ability to innovate with Destinations International technology resources and as thought-leaders within our industry.

In addition to these roles serving the international association, Loren Gold also serves on the Convention Sales & Services, MINT+ Steering and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committees. GRCVB president and CEO Dennis Edwards is a current member of Destinations International's Advocacy Committee.