Why Forward-Looking Organizations Go Through DMAP

By: Jack Wert, FCDME, Executive Director, Naples, Macro Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau

The globally recognized Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) serves as a visible industry distinction that defines quality and performance standards in destination marketing and management. Achieving DMAP accreditation positions a destination organization or CVB as a valued and respected organization in a community and increases credibility among stakeholders.

Bill Malone, President & CEO of Park City Chamber/Convention & Visitors Bureau says it best:

“We initially undertook the program to get a better understanding of where we stood as an organization as to best practices. Since that time we (and through subsequent renewals of the process) we have been able to fine tune our operations as a result of DMAP suggestions. We are now confident that we are working as a “high standards” player in the industry and share it every month by proudly placing our DMAP accreditation logo on our Board of Directors packet front page.”

Pamala Johnson of Ft. Myers Beach (Florida) had a magical moment when she realized County auditors looked favorably upon her organizational achievement. Hear her story here. 

So, should you complete the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) through Destinations International?

Yes! Because DMAP is living proof that your organization complies with the highest and best standards of destination marketing and management.

  • DMAP is an elite group of just over 200 destination marketing organizations having met the rigorous standards of industry accreditation.
  • To become accredited, organization must successfully complete a comprehensive application process, requiring evidence of compliance with mandatory industry standards for policies, procedures and practices.
  • DMAP is an independent global accreditation body and a leader in defining quality and performance issues in destination marketing.

Standards cover a wide variety of topics including governance, finance, management, human resources, technology, visitor services, group services, sales, communications, membership, brand management, destination development, research/market intelligence, innovation and stakeholder relationships.

Accreditation is NOT:

  • Just for the “big boys”
  • Just for the “little guys”
  • Going to reveal all your secret stuff
  • Something you can throw together in a week or two
  • Something to designate to one staff member

Biggest Misconceptions about DMAP

  • It won’t make us any more/less effective.
  • We are purely a leisure destination. [This is] directed toward urban DMOs that cater to business, group travel.
  • I have a feeling travel is involved and we have travel restrictions right now.
  • You need to be a member of Destinations International to do it.
  • You need to subscribe to empowerMINT to do it.
  • It doesn’t apply to us because we are:
    • Part of a Chamber of Commerce
    • Part of a City or County Government
    • Part of an independent organization
  • We might be embarrassed by the scrutiny of everything we do.
  • It costs a lot of money.
  • We don’t have the staff resources to do it.

Still on the fence about the benefits of DMAP?  Nancy Goode in Des Moines explains, “We have always been very involved with Destinations International and our CEO is a past chair of Destinations International. When he heard about the accreditation program in its infancy, he immediately wanted us to go through this process. He was excited for us to be the first group to apply for accreditation. I think he wanted to support the program itself, and I think he wanted to see how we stacked up on our policies, etc. We represent 15 different communities and each community has a seat on our board so, as you can imagine, we have quite a few stakeholders and the municipalities are always very concerned about how “their” tax dollars are being spent. We felt that receiving accreditation would be another assurance for our board that we were good stewards of the money and were doing things “the right way”. We also wanted to show meeting planners that we were a destination where they could feel comfortable in their dealings with us."

We learned that we were doing quite a few things right, but that we had some room to approve. For example, we were doing things right as far as finances, but we needed to get our processes formalized into a policy. The process helped us work together across departments and gave the staff a good look at areas where they wouldn’t normally have experience. We were proud of how well we stacked up to the standards, both mandatory and voluntary.

Get started today to see if you’re eligible, contact Brian London, Accreditation Program Manager, [email protected].

About Jack Wert:

Jack has dedicated over 25 years to destination marketing. He has created and managed two destination organizations in Florida, and holds the designations of Certified Destination Management Executive (FCDME) and Professional Destination Manager (PDM). He is a Past Chair of the Destinations International Accreditation Board and is a member of the Destinations International Advocacy Committee. He is a Past Chair of the Florida CVB Association, former VISIT FLORIDA Executive Committee member and current member of their International Committee. In Naples Jack serves on the Florida Gulf Coast University Resort & Hospitality School and Collier United Arts Council Advisory Boards. He is a graduate of Miami University, Oxford, OH and appears frequently as a presenter and guest lecturer nationwide on destination marketing, advocacy and accreditation