New Insights from the Destination Organization Performance Reporting Platform

By: Stephanie Auslander, Destinations International

As part of being a destination organization member of Destinations International, we offer two complimentary report platforms for you to engage with. The premise is simple, as a member, as long as you participate annually, you gain access to the results. In addition, we pull out some key insights from the platforms to gain an understanding of how the data has changed. For today, we'd like to share some of our finds from our Destination Organization Performance Reporting platform. The Destination Organization Performance Reporting Platform is the most comprehensive benchmark on destination organization structures and organizational practices in the destination marketing sector today. Destinations International platforms: Destinations Organization Performance Reporting and Compensation and Benefits platform provide a benchmark for organizations to assess their ranking and evaluate their standing amongst peers at an industry wide level. An additional feature of the platform is the ability to compare budget, size, and geographic locations across other destinations. Comparison against your peers allows you to analyze current trends, data sets, and remains complimentary for our destination organization members. 
Areas of focus for the platform includes median operating budget, public and private funding sources, membership, board participation, and visitor economy numbers. Regarding public funding the categories include occupancy tax, sales tax, marketing charge and grants. For private sources the sources included Membership/partnership revenue, Marketing/Public relations, Building related revenue, and private grants & donations.
 
First the big picture:
  • Median operating budgets of destination organizations in the platform was 1,772,250 at the time of this posting
  • Regarding funding, public sources of revenue comprised of  92% of revenue generated with only private at 8%
  • Organizations full time equivalent median employees are 17, while part time came is 3 individuals.
  • The Median occupancy taxes and/or fees on occupancy was 13%

The following content provides some key highlights at an industry-wide level.

Median Operating Budget

median operating budget of $1,772,250

Public Funding Sources

Public funding remained the largest portion of revenue stream for destinations representing 92% while private funding represented 8% of all generated revenue. Below shows the breakdown of public funding through various sources including occupancy tax, sales tax, marketing, public grants, and short-term rentals.

Private Funding Sources

Although only 8% of funding comes from private sources, the majority comes from membership/partnership revenue and marketing/publication promotion. Additional Sources of funding derive from private grants, service fees, and private donations.

Allocation of Destination Occupancy Tax

Convention centers and municipal general funds received the majority of tax allocations, followed by Destination Organizations.

Organization Expense Allocations

Approximately 47% of the expenses were allocated to programs, compared to 40% for personnel and 13% for general. Program expenses comprise of sales and marketing promotions, public affairs, partnership, and membership. Personnel is comprised of compensation, payroll, benefits, and administrative tasks. General expenses include expenditures on public affairs and partnership/membership. 

Destination Organization Employees

Board Compensation

Board composition of destination organization represented various sectors including hotel, government, other hospitality, attractions, restaurant, sports arenas, and non-hospitality.

Additional key industry highlights include the following as referenced in the Destination Organization Reporting Platform.

Tourism Asset Management

Another highlight from the benchmarking study details Tourism assets that are managed by a destination. Visitor centers represent the most frequent assets by our members followed by convention centers, sports facilities, museums/cultural institutions, and parking.

tourism assets

Diversity Initiatives represent more of marketing budget allocations in the profile study.

marketing budget allocated to diversity initiatives

For a complete breakdown of other industry benchmarking metrics; revenues, expenses, and tax allocations we invite members of Destinations International to visit our platforms for further information.

Compensation & Benefits Platform         Destination Organization Reporting Platform

About the Author

Stephanie AuslanderAdvocacy and Data Coordinator

About the Author

Stephanie is a recent graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a Master’s Degree in Global Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development. Previously, she worked as an Intern with Solimar International assisting Destination Marketing Organizations in formulating Tourism Development strategies for the Samtskhe–Javakheti region in Republic Of Georgia and the Sisian region of Armenia. Additionally, she is the author of a Tourism Research Proposal detailing ways in which Destinations can promote the concept of Sustainability to its consumers for a lasting positive impact. With a background in Tourism Development she is confident in her ability to help Destinations innovate into the future.

More From This Author