DMAP Accreditation Standards
The DMO or its parent organization has articles of incorporation (or similar legal documentation) filed with its government jurisdiction.
Description: Copy of current articles of incorporation or governing body approved document.
Guidelines: Articles of Incorporation: Also referred to as the Certificate of Incorporation or the Corporate Charter, are the primary rules governing the management of an organization in the United States and is generally are filed with a state, country or other regulatory agency. May also be a City or County Ordinance, Charter, Resolution or other official documents adopted by the governing body that outlines the way the DMO will operate. May also be a copy of the DMO's contract for services.
The DMO or its parent organization has bylaws.
Description: Current By-laws or similar legal documentation approved by DMO's governing body (with approval date).
Guidelines: By-laws: (sometimes also spelled bylaw, by law or byelaw) is a rule or law established by an organization or community to regulate itself, as allowed or provided for by some higher authority. The higher authority, generally a legislature or some other governmental body, establishes the degree of control that the by-laws may exercise. These should be reviewed regularly to assure they are still appropriate for the organization's priorities and/or contracted obligations. Note: We acknowledge that public/governmental entities may not have by-laws; in this case, please provide the Standard Operating Procedures or Policies for the governing entity.
The DMO shall follow an approved Board/governance policy.
Description: Copy of approved governance policy.
Guidelines: The organization should maintain a current written document specifying policies and procedures related to board/governance responsibilities. This may also be found within the organization's bylaws or new member orientation materials.
The DMO shall utilize a formal (documented) process for the orientation of new governing body members.
Description: Outline and table of contents for orientation process.
Guidelines: Governing body orientation serves as an introduction to the organization's policies and procedures and is designed to meet the information needs of new board members and/or elected or appointed officials. Should include:
- History, mission, current focus and services of the agency
- Identify roles and responsibilities of board/governing body members
- Review pertinent parts of the board manual to the organization's programs, services and personnel policies and procedures
- Review of committee descriptions as well as responsibilities for chairs and members of committees.
The DMO shall follow the recommended DMAP Organizational Code of Ethics.
Description: Documentation indicating approval/adoption of the Code of Ethics by DMO's governing body, and documentation showing how the Code is incorporated into the DMO's staff training.
Guidelines: All accredited DMOs are required to read and abide by this code of ethics as a condition for initial and continuing accreditation. Documentation for this may include: approved minutes by the DMO's governing body showing the approval/adoption of the Code; a signature by the DMO board chair (or government agency equivalent); inclusion in a staff orientation manual or policy handbook. The board's adoption is a critical component; the staff's adoption of same is equally critical.
The DMO shall develop and follow conflict-of-interest policy(ies) in governance and administration.
Description: Copy of approved policy(ies) as part of an employee handbook and any board governance documentation.
Guidelines: A conflict of interest exists when someone with a fiduciary responsibility is in a situation where their own self-interest and the interests of the organization might be in conflict. Organizations are often advised to have a written Conflict of Interest Policy that everyone who is in a position to experience such a conflict accepts, often by signing a pledge. To test whether a conflict exists, one can determine if the person or the company will benefit the action. The policy must address avenues for conflicts of interest to be reported, whether it is with management, staff, volunteer leadership, etc.
The DMO's governing body or its parent organization shall approve a budget on an annual basis.
Description: A copy of the portion of the approved minutes indicating approval of the most recent budget.
Guidelines: The approval must be for the overall annual budget of the organization. If the DMO operates on a multi-year structure (i.e., biennially), documentation for the current operating budget and its approval should be provided.
The DMO's governing body or its parent organization receives and reviews periodic financial reports including income and expense statements and a balance sheet.
Description: Copy of agenda and portion of board minutes indicating review of financial reports; minutes submitted should include documentation that those financial reports were approved/accepted by the board.
Guidelines: This entails a regular review of the organization's financials by the governing entity and is reflective of sound fiscal management.
The DMO employs or contracts with a chief staff executive with management experience/credentials and/or a background in destination marketing/management.
Description: Copy of CV or resume of CE or ED, credentials are optional.
Guidelines: A copy of the job description for the chief staff executive; the CV/resume of the chief staff executive also is acceptable.
The DMO's governing body or the designated authority in a parent organization shall conduct an annual evaluation of the chief staff executive.
Description: Blank template or description of the evaluation process signed by the board chair or the designated authority; any documentation necessary for same as provided by the chief staff executive to the governing body.
Guidelines: The chief executive of the organization is central to the success or failure of the organization. The executive acts both directly and indirectly through others to manage the organization. An annual evaluation of the executive director's performance is inevitably linked to the organization's performance as a whole and is an important component of the governing body's responsibilities. The process should also establish goals and priorities for the focus for the upcoming year, and clearly define expectations.
The DMO demonstrates accountability and transparency to its reporting/contracting entities in its use of public funds.
Description: Policy statement regarding transparency of expenditures of public funds, as it relates to any applicable laws; the distribution of financial statements to the board with contract or management oversight.
Guidelines: Transparency remains a primary issue for all organizations, and DMOs have a responsibility to remain in compliance with local requirements.
The DMO provides an annual report of its activities and achievements.
Description: Copy of annual report and narrative indicating how and to whom it is distributed.
Guidelines: An annual report provides a touch point for the board and stakeholders as to the organization's progress - and perhaps, challenges - in the year. This may be a simple report of data and statistics provided to the board and noted as such in the minutes; it may be delivered via video, website, power point, or a published document.
The DMO has a vision and mission statement.
Description: Vision and mission statement
Guidelines: Vision Statement: Outlines what the organization wants to be in the future. Mission Statement: Defines how the organization operates or promotes itself today ands the fundamental purpose of an organization. These may be published in a variety of places, including on the organization's website, within a strategic plan or marketing plan, etc. These should be reviewed regularly to assure they are still appropriate for the organization's priorities.
The DMO shall develop and maintain a current strategic plan.
Description: Copy of current strategic plan must include:
- vision statement
- formal mission statement
- long term strategies, goals and objectives for multiple years.
- provide evidence the governing body of the DMO has adopted and monitors the strategic plan.
- evidence that the strategic plan is connected to specific outcomes (e.g., budget, product development, marketing plan, sales plan, performance measures) as well as to destination ones.
Guidelines: Strategic Plan: Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. Various business analysis techniques can be used in strategic planning, most commonly used is SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats); "future maps" are also often used. A Strategic Plan should include more than one year of measurable goals, objectives, strategies and implementation of those strategies. A current plan is defined as one that is updated at least every three (3) years. These are more broad than a marketing and/or sales development plan; strategic plans serve as a roadmap for the entire organization, including the board, and will often focus on the destination's needs, as well as those of the organization. Evidence of the adoption of the place may be in the form of minutes, or a signature on the document by the board chairman (or the government agency equivalent of same).
The DMO's annual budget is linked to the goals of the strategic plan as approved by the DMO's governing body or its parent organization.
Description: Explanation of this budget process or other written evidence of compliance. Highlight the sections of the budget that reflect strategic plan objectives.
Guidelines: The strategic objectives of the organization outlined in the Strategic Plan, Marketing and Sales Plan should be clearly reflected in the organization's budget allocations. For example, If the strategic plan outlines conducting a feasibility study for a convention center expansion, funds for that study should be noted in the budget. Some initiatives may not require specific funding sources; please note if this is applicable.
Stakeholder Engagement / Advocacy
The DMO has an advocacy plan and is pro-actively involved in advocacy initiatives for issues impacting the destination and/or the DMO.
Description: Copy of a local advocacy or community relations plan or summary of same.
Guidelines: The local advocacy plan should involve more than just DMO staff members, and should incorporate members of the board and/or industry at a minimum. Plans may include educational outreach within the community to inform about the value and/or contributions of the industry (or the DMO) to the community's bottom line; speaker bureaus; specific initiatives tied to a referendum of interest; representation on key community organizations; etc.
The DMO demonstrates evidence of stakeholder relationships with critical community entities.
Description: Written statement describing the nature of relationships with multiple key stakeholders in the applicant's community.
Guidelines: Stakeholder relationships: Effective relationships with community stakeholders are critical for successful DMOs. These relationships can include serving on each other's respective boards, participation in coalitions, involvement in joint ventures, financial support, endorsements, regular communication, etc. Applicants should provide a brief description of the nature of the relationships with their key stakeholder groups to demonstrate compliance with this standard. Stakeholder groups usually include, but are not limited to:
- Government agency(ies)
- Business organization(s)/Chamber(s) of Commerce
- Economic development agency(ies)
- Airport authority(ies)
- Port authority(ies)
- Lodging association(s)
- Parks and recreation authority(ies)
- Community leadership organization(s)
- Convention center(s)
- Sports organization(s)
- Arts and cultural organization(s)
- Restaurant association(s)
The DMO demonstrates evidence of active involvement that advances the profession.
Description: Written statement discussing how the DMO actively participates in professional and industry associations. For example, participation in committees, boards, data sharing, education facilitation and mentoring.
Guidelines: Involvement may include the following organization types:
- Regional, state, national and international organizations.
- Education institutions
- Industry associations
The DMO has established and follows policies and procedures for the control of the financial operation of the organization.
Description: Copy of the financial policies and procedures
Guidelines: Policies for public entities typically are found in municipal or county ordinances or financial policies and procedures manual.
A formal annual audit is conducted by an independent auditor or a certified public accountant (CPA); a review of financial documents by a CPA may also qualify.
Description: Most recent audit and management letter (if available) and DMO's response to management letter if necessary
Guidelines: Annual audits are strongly recommended, however bi-annual audits may be recognized as compliant in some cases. At a minimum, a financial review by a certified professional should be conducted annually.
The DMO maintains insurance coverage to cover the potential estimated liabilities of its operations and services.
Description: Cover sheet from the insurance company summarizing all policies and amounts of coverage
Guidelines: NOTE: Many public entities are self-insured; in this case, please provide documentation that specifies this.
The DMO has appropriate avenues to report and document the misuse of funds to the proper level of management, volunteer leadership or outside sources.
Description: Policy and/or procedure
Guidelines: The documented reporting process ensures employees have avenues to report suspected misuse of funds. The process should also account for when/if the chief executive is the person suspected of misuse of funds.
The DMO adopts and utilizes a Uniform System of Accounting and Uniform Chart of Accounts.
Description: Applicant Chart of Accounts
Guidelines: Establishing a consistent uniform System of Accounting and Uniform Chart of Accounts allows DMOs to identify operational strengths and weaknesses as well as to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness. The Chart of Accounts should be compliant with the AICPA requirements/recommendations, or those of similar international accounting standards. NOTE: In public DMO's, the chart of accounts is often established by the municipality or county finance department.
The DMO maintains a reserve/contingency fund.
Description: Reserve/contingency fund policy and statement of fund balance
The DMO develops and follows a capital and equipment replacement policy.
Description: Policy and/or plan
Guidelines: Capital and equipment replacement policies serve as both budgeting and financial planning tools to allow the organization to forecast its future needs for what can be significant expenditures. Policies should outline schedules for updating and/or replacing vehicles, servers, furniture, etc.
The DMO complies with all applicable labor and employment laws.
Description: Statement from applicant verifying compliance
The DMO conducts periodic and consistent formal performance reviews of all regular staff.
Description: Performance review policy or procedure; template of the review document
The DMO maintains current job descriptions for all paid positions, which are reviewed regularly by the staff members holding the positions, as well as by their supervisors.
Description: Samples of job descriptions representing management and support staff positions (regular and part-time) and a statement verifying the existence of current job descriptions for all paid positions, and the process by which they are routinely reviewed and updated.
One or more of the management staff has active (current) designations in DMO management, association management, closely related disciplines and/or their particular profession.
Description: List of management staff with current credentials and identification of these designations These would include such designations as: CDME, CPA, CMP, CAE, aPHR, SHRM-CP, PDM, etc.
The DMO maintains a human resources (personnel) manual that is provided to all employees.
Description: Copy of table of contents page (chapter headings) from current human resources (personnel) manual
Guidelines: All organizations should maintain a current written document specifying policies and procedures related to topics such as employment, leave, benefits, safety, ethics, general codes of conduct and similar or related topics. DMAP does not require any specific content to demonstrate compliance with this standard, but all applicants are expected to maintain a written manual dealing with human resource needs specific to their employees. "Manual" does not have to refer to a formally "published" handbook, but instead may be a digital resource to which all employees have access.
The DMO has appropriate avenues for employees to report and document prohibited activities.
Description: Provide a copy of the policy/ies.
Guidelines: The policy must address avenues for staff to report prohibited activities attributed to management, the DMO executive, volunteer leadership and outside sources. Prohibited activities include discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile conduct or oppression against any employee for any reason. This also may be referred to as a "whistle blower" policy, or a retaliation policy.
The DMO has a policy that prohibits retaliation against any employee who files a complaint regarding prohibited activities or participates in any investigation.
Description: Provide a copy of the policy/ies.
Guidelines: The policy must protect employees who report or provide documentation of prohibited activities from any retaliation.
The DMO conducts or participates in periodic compensation studies to determine the competitiveness of salaries.
Description: Description of the process used to determine competitiveness of salaries.
Guidelines: Confirmation of participation in Destinations International's bi-ennial salary surveys, or a sample of a peer set salary survey and most recent dates for its conduct. If you are a government agency and are tied to a government-led compensation study, please provide documentation that specifies that and any detail about the frequency of the process and how the DMO's data is incorporated.
The DMO offers a specified program of benefits for employees and these benefits are reviewed by management on a periodic basis.
Description: List of current employee benefits, policies and plans.
* A description of process utilized to periodically review and update the employee benefits.
* A description of the frequency of the benefit review
Guidelines: Benefits include but are not limited to: time away from office/paid time off, retirement plans, healthcare coverage, flex time, continuing education, etc.
The DMO provides formal training and professional development for regular staff.
Description: Provide a description of the types of training and professional development opportunities provided.
Guidelines: Training and development typically refers to formal training/education programs. That said, some DMOs utilize staff meeting settings to provide a schedule of training as well.
The DMO maintains employee relations and communications through regular department/staff meetings, employee recognition and activities.
Description: Description of process/policy
Guidelines: DMO leadership maintains regular communications with staff and offers programs to acknowledge the contributions and accomplishments of employees.
If the DMO has authorized remote work and/or operates satellite offices, policies and procedures are in place to manage these operations.
Description: Provide a copy of the policies and procedures. If you do not offer these employee options, please indicate so in your response.
Guidelines: While flexibility may be a tool in employee recruitment and retention, it is important that any remote work options and/or satellite offices provide structured operating environments and specified expectations. Remote work options may be available as a full-time option, an occasional one, or not at all.
Management and Operations
The DMO has a management structure that shows clear lines of reporting responsibility.
Description: Organizational staffing chart listing all current regular positions and the reporting responsibility
Guidelines: Clear lines of reporting reflects employee reporting hierarchy illustrating the relations between people within an organization. Such relations might include managers to sub-workers, directors to managing directors, chief executive officer to various departments.
The DMO maintains a current policy and procedures manual specifying standard operating procedures for the various services and programs provided.
Description: Insert a copy of the current policy and procedures manual; samples of "desk manuals" for positions within the organization are acceptable as well.
Guidelines: Standard operating procedures (SOP) are a detailed explanation of how the DMO manages its programs and services.
Purpose of SOP:
- Serve as framework for organizational policy _ provide direction and structure
- Written documentation of best practice
- Tells what, how, when, why, and who
- Provide foundation for:
- job descriptions,
- employee training,
- corrective action and discipline, and
- performance review.
For government based DMO's these policies and procedures will often be found in the city or county policies and procedures manual and will apply to all of that government entity's employees.
The DMO utilizes specific policies and procedures for the management and supervision of contractors or outsourced service providers.
Description: Provide a highlighted copy of policies and procedures for the management and supervision of contractors or outsourced providers of services or a section of a contract which states the policies and procedures.
Guidelines: Detailed outline of how the DMO manages and monitors the activities of third party service providers. This standard only applies to DMOs that utilize contractors or outsource services. This is more than just procurement procedures; it ensures that management is tracking performance and any performance issues so that in the event of a contract dispute, documentation is readily available. Samples of contracts typically managed by the DMO may include: advertising agency, public relations firm, visitor guide publisher, technology support, office janitorial, convention center operations, etc.
The DMO has an Emergency Operations Plan should the physical location be damaged.
Description: Copy of Emergency Operations Plan that details how information may be accessed remotely, and how technology processes may continue with minimal interruption.
Guidelines: This plan outlines the course of action developed to mitigate the damage of potential events that could endanger an organization's ability to function. Such a plan should include measures that provide for the safety of personnel and, if possible, property and facilities. This is different than the Crisis Communications plan and deals with operational issues, not communications. This plan may also include any required or defined interaction with a local Office of Emergency Management.
The DMO maintains a Business Continuity Plan specifying how the organization will continue to conduct business in an emergency situation.
Description: Copy of the Business Continuity Plan for continuing operations in the case of an emergency, e.g., earthquake, tornado, flood, etc.
Guidelines: Business Continuity Plan: details how the organization will continue its business operations in the event of a disaster or emergency, such as a fire or natural disaster. It should include items such as: how in-town groups will be communicated with and/or serviced, how staff members will "report" when the office is not accessible, how staff members will continue to get paid if the payroll system is not available, etc.
The DMO practices sustainable office operations to make as low an impact to the environment as possible.
Description: Written description of office practices that are environmentally responsible.
Guidelines: Some fundamental approaches to workplace sustainability include setting the default on printers to print on both sides, utilizing light switches that automatically dim when there is no activity, recycling office papers, composting coffee grinds, etc. Some organizations may implement changes to work schedules to reduce the number of days staff members are required to be in the office, so as to reduce the number of vehicles on the road; mass transit discounts may also be utilized.
The DMO follows an information technology/network security policy.
- Copy of policy and description of secure transactions offered
- Copy of current internet usage policy
- Copy of current email usage policy
- Statement of how data is backed up, the frequency of backups and where the data is stored
Guidelines: The technology/network security policy outlines how the DMO will respond to potential network security risk and also evolves a process for assessing the risk to the network and building a team to respond. Continuation of the policy requires implementing a security change management practice and monitoring the network for security violations.
The DMO has a technology plan.
Description: Copy of technology plan
Guidelines: A technology plan directs where an organization is currently and maps out where it needs to be in the future with regard to the technology and its infrastructure in the organization. It is particularly helpful in planning for what can be significant expenditures for certain investments, such as customer relationship management systems or content management systems. The plan should also include procurement policies and replacement strategies.
The DMO has established a policy and a dedicated funding stream for the replacement of computer equipment.
Description: Copy of the policy and budget detail or computer replacement fund balance statement.
The DMO has an integrated database system.
Description: Statement of the integration capabilities and status of the database system
Guidelines: An integrated database combines multiple forms of data that may reside at one or multiple sources and provides the user with a unified view of this information. For example, an integrated database could combine membership, marketing and research data in a format that facilitates combined search and report capabilities. For DMOs that are singularly leisure-traveler-focused, this may be the inquiry database.
The DMO has a policy regarding "take-home" computer equipment.
Description: Copy of the policy. If the organization does not allow employees to utilize the DMO's equipment away from the office, please state so on your application.
Guidelines: Workforce flexibility is a key, and providing employees the tools necessary to remain productive away from the office is an important asset. However, the organization's physical and fiscal assets must also be protected and maintained.
Research & Marketing Intelligence
The DMO demonstrates a commitment to customer research.
- Evidence of customer research report (published or unpublished) including interpretation of findings;
- Evidence of a visitor tracking process;
- Evidence of inquiry tracking and analysis of tracking data.
Customer Research: An organized effort to gather information about current or potential customers. It is a very important component of any business strategy. Customer research provides important information to identify and analyze the customer needs, preferences and opinions.
This does not need to be expensive, outsourced research data. This data may be collected by the DMO internally or through a local educational facility and reported to stakeholders on a regular basis.
The DMO uses standard business return on investment (ROI) approaches or Destinations International's ROI form to quantify the financial impact on its local community for convention/group and/or leisure travel.
Description: Copy/summary of findings and summary of process that quantifies the financial impact of the DMO on its local community for convention/group and/or leisure travel
Guidelines: ROI is used to determine whether the return to the community or region is directly attributable to destination marketing activities and is greater than the costs represented by the DMO. To determine the ROI of a DMO the following are typically quantified:
Meetings booked; Visitor receipts generated through marketing and media relations programs (based on conversion analysis outlined below); hotel or attraction bookings that directly can be traced to the DMO's activities. ROI reporting can be done inexpensively using internal sources, gathered informally and calculated using a contracted source or educational facility utilizing nationally acceptable statistical models.
The DMO demonstrates development of a brand strategy.
Description: Copy of brand strategy
Guidelines: A long-term plan for the development of a successful brand is necessary in order to achieve specific goals. A well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments.
The DMO has protected its brand, and the usage of it by others.
Description: The DMO owns the trademark for the brand, and/or is able to encourage, regulate or control the usage of the brand by other parties in the destination.
The DMO engages stakeholders and customers in the development of its brand.
Description: A description of the process that is used to engage stakeholders in the development of the brand.
Guidelines: The adoption and culturalization of a brand depends heavily on many entities outside of the DMO. Engaging these in the process on the front end of the process should allow for greater success in the implementation of the brand strategy and the delivery of the brand promise.
The DMO has developed a brand promise or commitment.
Description: Copy of brand promise statement or commitment.
Guidelines: A brand promise or commitment sets the consumer's expectations for the brand. Customers can trust that the brand will deliver on those in every interaction.
The DMO conducts a brand review at a minimum of every five years.
Description: Documentation of brand review process (date, scope, etc.)
Guidelines: A brand review provides an opportunity to evaluate the strength of a brand, to underscore the value of the brand with its customer base, and to reposition the brand, if necessary, to reflect changes in the marketplace. Documentation should include narrative that shows how the brand position was determined and what methods the DMO uses to reinforce and manage that brand. The result of the review could also be a reaffirmation of the current brand position.
The DMO has a comprehensive marketing plan that is consistent with its current budget cycle. The marketing plan includes strategies and goals for key market segments and is updated on a regular basis.
Description: Highlight the sections and provide the pages that identify strategies and goals for key market segments.
Guidelines: This is often a one-year document for the current or upcoming budget year. Within this domain, the plan should speak specifically to marketing objectives (although it may also incorporate sales and communications objectives). In some organizations, this may be delivered as an annual Business Plan or Program of Work.
The marketing plan can be a distinct part of the multi-year strategic plan, but must cover measurable marketing objectives and specific strategies tied to departments within the DMO and outcomes.
The DMO complies with applicable Destinations International Performance Reporting Marketing definitions.
Description: Copy of the applicant reports incorporating use of 2 or more Destinations International Performance Reporting Marketing definitions
Guidelines: Compliance with this standard may be demonstrated by submitting examples of monthly reports showing results on the advertising or Internet activity utilizing the applicable Destinations International Performance Reporting marketing definitions. Link to document when finalized.
The DMO maintains a comprehensive website with content aligned with identified requirements of key market segments and a statement demonstrating the alignment of the content; the site is frequently updated and revised.
- Identification of Web address
- Outline/statement of plan for content management and site revisions.
- Statement demonstrating the alignment of content with requirements of key market segments
The DMO provides printed or digitally updated collateral materials to meet the needs of visitors and/or meeting professional/travel trade.
Description: A link to written or digital samples including: Visitor Guide and other materials; may also include samples of advertising.
Guidelines: Examples include: meeting planner guide, online advertising, visitor guide, etc.
The DMO has a policy which offers its customers (e.g., convention planners, travel/tour trade) the option to opt out of communications (e.g., newsletters, news blasts, faxes) from the DMO.
Description: Provide written policy and/or procedures and example of its use.
The DMO provides destination information formatted for a mobile platform.
Description: A screen shot of an application or mobile optimized website.
Guidelines: Whether the destination chooses to implement responsive design in its website, or has created a destination-specific app, the DMO must strive to make its information easily accessible on a wide range of formats.
The DMO has a documented communications strategy.
Description: Copy of the documented communications strategy
Guidelines: A DMO communications strategy should include an internal (organization, community and members) component as well as an external (in sync with primary market segments) component. This plan may be a separate part of the annual marketing plan dealing with Public Relations and Communications to internal staff, media and community and industry stakeholders.
The DMO maintains an updated crisis communications plan.
Description: Copy of crisis communications plan
Guidelines: This plan should outline what the DMO will do to communicate with its customers and stakeholders before, during and after a crisis situation. It should indicate who the DMO spokesperson is and how the messaging will be delivered if normal channels are disrupted. This plan can be a separate part of the DMO's Communications plan, but must specifically address procedures when communications channels are interrupted due to a crisis situation.
The DMO complies with applicable Destinations International Performance Reporting Public Relations definitions.
Description: Copies of reports delineating use of two or more Destinations International Performance Reporting definitions
Guidelines: Compliance with this standard can be demonstrated by submitting examples of advertising equivalency, circulation or impression reports utilizing the applicable Destinations International Performance Reporting definitions. Link to document when finalized.
The DMO has a documented media protocol.
Description: Copy of written media protocol
Guidelines: A media protocol designates who in the organization will communicate to the press/media on behalf of the organization, and specifically outlines the escalation levels (PR director vs. DMO Executive), depending on the sensitivity of the messaging.
The DMO maintains an updated media/press kit.
Description: Copy or description of contents of media/press kit
The DMO has formalized procedures for responding to User Generated Content.
Description: Copy of procedures.
Guidelines: Procedures define who is designated to "officially" respond to user-generated content regarding the destination, whether on sites managed by the DMO or on third-party sites.
Sales & Services
The DMO has a comprehensive sales plan, with specific goals and strategies that is updated at least every two years and is consistent with the budget cycle.
Description: Copy of sales plan and description of goals and strategies
Guidelines: The sales plan details the way the DMO will allocate its people and resources to achieve sales goals that are connected to its marketing plan and, consequently, its overall strategy. It must have its own measurable objectives, strategies and implementation plan. The document itself may be a stand-alone document, or may be delivered as part of an overall annual business plan, or marketing plan.
The DMO complies with applicable Destinations International performance reporting definitions for convention/group sales and travel trade as applicable.
Description: Copies of recent reports delineating use of two or more Destinations International performance reporting definitions.
Guidelines: Compliance may be demonstrated by including examples of lead reports, cancellation reports, lost business, bookings or other monthly reports utilizing the applicable Destinations International Performance Reporting marketing definitions. Smaller destinations that may serve smaller groups may provide a statement that indicates where they vary from the Destinations International performance definitions and why that variation is necessary. Link to document when finalized.
The DMO provides trained staff with destination and customer service expertise to meet the needs of the meetings market.
Description: List of staff serving the needs of the group market and their respective training/expertise
Guidelines: Include examples of training completed/educational credentials earned by staff members.
The DMO has one (1) or more sales position(s).
Description: Title and job description for sales position(s)
The DMO provides its sales staff continual destination product training opportunities.
- Description of process and
- Identification of sales staff destination training opportunities.
Guidelines: A continual and organized process for educating sales staff on the destination's attractions, venues, and offerings.
The DMO solicits feedback from its hotel community on sales priorities for the short- and long-term
Description: Description of methods used to elicit input from hotel community regarding market needs and sales priorities.
Guidelines: May be conducted through regularly scheduled meetings with hotel sales personnel/directors of sales, annual needs surveys, etc.
The DMO maintains a qualified lead distribution and referral system and policy based on customer needs.
- A sample of a lead
- A written policy on the qualified lead and referral system
The DMO has a policy or procedure that offers any customer the choice to receive or not receive communication from the recipient of DMO leads.
Description: Provide written policy and example of its use (This would be a policy and/or procedure that ensures that this is followed throughout the DMOs operations).
Guidelines: This policy states how the DMO will work with convention/meeting planners to determine what parameters are important to selecting a hotel or service for their meeting purposes. It explicitly states how leads are distributed based on the parameters requested and that blanket leads are not acceptable and are not a practice of the DMO at any time. This is often called a "blind lead." This opt-out policy is different than the consumer opt-out policy.
The DMO conducts and/or facilitates a proposal/bid fulfillment process at no charge to the client.
Description: Sample letter or table of contents of bid document
The DMO has a policy(ies) for and facilitates site/fam inspections, sales (pre-sale) and convention services (post-sale).
- Copy of written policy(ies)
- A sample itinerary for a site visit
The DMO offers meetings and/or convention services for meeting planners and event organizers.
Description: Description of meeting and/or convention services offered for meeting planners which may include:
- Registration/staffing assistance
- Housing coordination
- Lead distribution
- Destination information
- Site inspections facilitation based on customer need
- Business referral services
The DMO solicits continual customer feedback on its sales process.
Description: Description of process used to collect customer feedback on the sales process
Guidelines: Should include a comprehensive process to collect feedback from customers (i.e., hotels, attractions, etc.) on the effectiveness of the destination sales process. May include web-based surveys, focus groups, and customer interviews.
The DMO solicits feedback on the group experience in the destination.
Description: Description of process used to collect customer feedback on the experience in the destination.
Guidelines: Post-event surveys of the customer may be used to elicit feedback regarding the overall destination experience. This may also be done through a customer advisory board.
The DMO has procedures to respond to visitor inquiries in a timely manner.
Description: Copy of written procedures for responding to visitor inquiries
The DMO provides trained staff with destination and customer service expertise to meet the needs of the leisure market.
Description: Identification of one (1) or more staff serving the leisure market and their respective training/expertise
The DMO makes information readily available for the visitor once in the destination.
- Address(es) of Visitor Information Center(s), Kiosks, or Ambassador stations. Hours for same.
- Description of services offered
- Rules and operating procedures for any of the above Visitor Information Services
Guidelines: Information is easily available to visitors through any of these means: a visitor center with regular hours; mobile Visitor Information Vehicles; responsive web design or a destination app; visitor kiosks with published locations; or an ambassador program. Information may also be made available through partnerships within the destination, i.e., airport, chamber of commerce, third-party brochure distribution systems, etc.
The DMO has a policy(ies) to ensure it is providing its visitors full destination information, regardless of membership/partnership.
Description: Provide written policy(ies).
Membership & Partnerships
The DMO establishes terms and conditions for membership/partnership and dues with specific categories.
- Description of one or more of DMO membership/partnership categories.
- Published terms and conditions for membership/partnership which includes categories, fees (if applicable), and benefits.
The DMO complies with applicable Destinations International performance reporting membership/partnership definitions.
Description: Copy of applicant reports delineating use of two or more Destinations International performance reporting membership definitions
Guidelines: Compliance with this standard can be demonstrated by submitting examples of the number of new, renewed and canceled members, utilizing the applicable Destinations International performance reporting membership definitions. Link to document when finalized.
The DMO maintains a statement of membership/partnership benefits.
Description: Published statement of membership benefits for one or more of membership categories
The DMO provides multiple opportunities annually for members/partners to be involved.
Description: Copy of calendar of events or sample of invitations offered for the DMOs membership, e.g. networking events, membership mixers, annual meeting
The DMO solicits periodic member/partner feedback.
Description: Description of the process and frequency for soliciting member/partner feedback.
Guidelines: Should include a comprehensive process to collect feedback from the membership/partnership in a simple and systematic manner. May include web-based surveys, focus groups, and CRM systems. Feedback should be requested at least every two years.
The DMO is actively engaged in leading and participating in the process to enhance the destination.
Description: Destination development is the continuous process of coordination and development of amenities, facilities, ordinances, policies, products and services that support host communities to deliver quality experiences for visitors and enhance residents well-being. Including but not limited to assessing infrastructure, new opportunity markets and/or community needs. This may be conducted through participation in the DestinationNEXT assessment process; it may also be conducted via customer surveys, post-event surveys, etc.
Guidelines: Submittal should note the detail of the DMO's active leadership in the development of the destination; this may include staff and/or board members serving on a destination development-related board, committee or task force. This may also include leadership in specific projects that enhance the destination's product offerings. This could also include a grant program led by the DMO that supports enhancements, improvements, amenities, activities, etc. that help develop the destination.
The DMO provides training for volunteers.
Description: Provide at least one of the following:
- Table of contents or description of volunteer training
- Review/evaluation of process of volunteer training.
Guidelines: A volunteer is a non-paid position; Destination Organizations often utilize volunteers as docents, tour guides, visitor/information center resources, etc.
The Destination Organization has conducted a broad-based assessment of the destination and has adopted a strategic plan and/or tourism master plan that addresses the needs and opportunities identified.
Description: Participation in a program such as DestinationNEXT or another program that provides a broadly-based assessment of the opportunities and issues facing the destination and/or the organization.
Guidelines: Broad-based assessments such as DestinationNEXT should provide Destination Organizations with practical actions and strategies for sustainable success in a dramatically changing world. A strategic plan is a likely outcome of such an assessment.
The Destination Organization shows a commitment to constant and never-ending improvement, and is actively engaged in non-industry learning, through membership or attendance in related but indirect organizations.
Description: Description of employee, board or organization engagement with atypical, non-industry organizations, conferences, etc.
Guidelines: The horizontal nature of the Destination Organization's efforts and impacts also allow Destination Organizations an opportunity to interact with and learn from a wide range of organizations, outside of our core industry. These may include, but are not limited to, groups such as: CEOs for Cities, CityNationPlace, American Planning Association, Americans for the Arts, UNESCO Creative Cities of Crafts & Folk Art, International Council of Shopping Centers, Urban Land Institute, Projects for Public Spaces, TED, Design Life Digital, OffGrid, South by Southwest, Cities for Tomorrow, Brand New Conference, International Economic Development Council, World Design Summit, Future of Places Conference, etc.
The Destination Organization demonstrates recent (within the past two (2) years) evidence of innovative practice(s) that improve the operation and/or performance of the organization.
Description: Written description of innovative practice(s) and a discussion of the related impact(s)/benefit(s)
Guidelines: Innovative Practices: include any new idea, device, or methods introduced to enhance the management and/or marketing of the destination.*Examples of innovative practices can include organizational, community, economic development and/or sustainable tourism initiatives.
The Destination Organization shows a commitment to inclusiveness.
Description: Description of efforts, policies or procedures that the Destination Organization undertakes to assure that its efforts are inclusive; samples of promotional materials, etc.
Guidelines: The Destination Organization seeks to make sure all of its efforts are seen as inclusive, whether it is in hiring, in recruiting volunteers, in identifying board members and in its promotional efforts
The Destination Organization's governing body or its parent organization shall conduct a formal (documented) and periodic self-evaluation process. This process shall include a review of individual and collective governing body performances.
Description: Evidence the self-evaluation was accomplished or a template of the process.
Guidelines: Evaluating the performance of the governing body is an important process to ensure members demonstrate a continued commitment to the governance and objectives of the organization. NOTE: The boards of some public entities may elect to make the board evaluation process a self-evaluation only, in order to not subject this information to open records requests. If the evaluation process directs board members who believe their own performance has room for improvement or who believe the board's performance as a whole has room for improvement, to meet individually with the board's leadership to discuss.
The Destination Organization maintains a reserve/contingency fund, with a percentage identified by Board (or governing body) policy to be protected for emergency/catastrophic uses only.
Description: Reserve/contingency fund policy and statement of fund balance
Guidelines: Funding streams for Destination Organizations may be volatile. A policy that routinely sets aside funding to protect the organization in the event of an emergency/catastrophic situation is an important priority.
The Destination Organization has a written process for holding its membership/partnership to a code of ethics.
Description: Copy of the membership/partnership code of ethics, and detail of the policies and procedures in place to enforce it.
Guidelines: The Code of Ethics states the values to which the Destination Organization will expect its membership/partnership to commit to abide by.
The Destination Organization recognizes the value of social responsibility for its employees.
Description: Description of programs or policies supporting community engagement by employees
Guidelines: Destination Organization leadership encourages and supports staff engagement within the community as a means to develop and nurture staff, as well as to extend the organization's reach in to the community, as budget and resources allow. This may also be demonstrated through participation in events such as blood drives, school supply fundraisers, participation in youth leadership or mentoring programs, etc.
The Destination Organization recognizes the value of employee wellness.
Description: Description of programs or policies regarding employee wellness
Guidelines: The Destination Organization provides opportunities for the staff to maintain a healthy lifestyle, through such opportunities as "lunch and learn" programs, training, walking programs, etc, as resources allow. The Destination Organization encourages employees to sustain a work-life balance, through efforts such as supporting initiatives such as Project Time Off, that encourage employees to maximize the benefits available to them.
The Destination Organization utilizes workplace flexibility, or a "results-only work environment" (ROWE).
Description: Copy of the policy that allows employees to: have varying starting or quitting hours; work some hours remotely; take time off without loss pay during the workday to attend to important family or personal needs; or other similar flexible benefits.
Guidelines: Workplace flexibility is an effective employee recruitment and retention tool, making the work environment better for the both the Destination Organization and the employee. A "results-only work environment" keeps office productivity the main priority, and while not applicable all roles or positions, philosophically defines a different means of achieving the same organizational goals.
The Destination Organization conducts exit interviews with all employees departing voluntarily.
Description: Example of employee exit interview form or process.
Guidelines: The exit interview allows the employee to provide constructive feedback and leave on a positive note, and provides the opportunity to ask if there are any open issues of which the Destination Organization may need to be aware.
The Destination Organization creates opportunities for visitors and/or meeting planners and attendees to further contribute to the destination through volunteer efforts in the destination.
Description: Provide written evidence describing the volunteer information the Destination Organization provides and/or volunteer program(s) the Destination Organization recommends. *Examples include: volunteer match programs, lists of volunteer opportunities for meeting planners and/or leisure visitors, or participation with a "voluntourism" organization.
Guidelines: This is not meant to include volunteer efforts taken on by the Destination Organization staff. This is about opportunities provided to visitors to make an additional positive impact on the community by undertaking a community service initiative while they are in the destination. Food bank drives and programs such as Habitat for Humanity are typical examples. Participation by the Destination Organization in PCMA's Giving Good program is an example of ways the destination can support this standard.
The Destination Organization shows a commitment to active industry leadership and engagement.
Description: Describe how you or your Destination Organization routinely "gives back" to the industry, through mentoring, leading classes, contributing to resource libraries, etc.
Guidelines: The industry can be at its best when its leaders are actively and routinely engaged in its betterment.
The Destination Organization offers access to staff and/or resources with multiple language speaking capabilities and for visitors who may have hearing or sight challenges.
Description: List of current language speaking staff and/or resources offered for the leisure market
The Destination Organization participates in training with external partners in the destination.
Description: Examples of training programs the Destination Organization has participated in with external partners, such as hoteliers, attractions, front-line employees, convention center sales, other customer service positions, etc.
Guidelines: Collaborative training allows for a common mindset and approach in such things as customer service, sales, etc.
The Destination Organization participates in "mystery shopping" initiatives.
Description: Example of mystery shopping program that evaluates Destination Organization sales and/or customer service efforts.
The Destination Organization's community engagement has led to the inclusion of visitor needs and priorities in non-Destination Organization long-range community planning documents.
Description: Examples of visitor needs and/or priorities included in other community long-range planning documents, such as a comprehensive land plan, parks master plan, economic development strategic plan, community strategic plan, etc.
The Destination Organization has a collaborative relationship with its convention center and/or other key venues.
Description: Examples of ongoing interactions, formal or informal, between the Destination Organization and the convention center, civic center, arena, sports facility, fairgrounds, rodeo, performing arts hall, etc.
Guidelines: A collaborative relationship between the Destination Organization and the convention center, regardless of the facility's oversight or operating structure, should assure the facility remains focused on customer priorities.
The Destination Organization has established a succession plan for its chief staff officer.
Description: Description of the succession plan (names and timing details should not be published) and method for how it is communicated with the governing body.
Guidelines: The Accreditation Program strives to be as complete as possible, but it is also possible we missed something important to your destination. Here's your chance to offer a standard that may be unique to your situation but should not be overlooked in your Accreditation pursuit.