You’d be forgiven for assuming this was a conference dedicated to the text speak acronym ‘TMI’ (too much information) but this is of course the much more valuable and super informative annual conference from the Tourism Management Institute. For us, this is one of the highlights of the annual event calendar; an opportunity to network with our clients as well as plenty of new faces, and to keep up with best practice to see how different Destinations are succeeding with attracting visitors. This year, it was held at the fabulous University of Chester which as well as having an exceptionally beautiful building, is set in some fantastically picturesque surroundings.
For us, the event started on Wednesday evening with a lovely drinks reception with a group of panellists debating the place of DMOs in the future and their evolving role in tourism. Next up was the big day itself, where the great and the good of industry were up on stage presenting and debating the finer points of Destination Management. Highlights for us were the best practice case studies from Chester Zoo and the Zip Company in Wales, the overview of DMOs as Community Interest Companies eloquently delivered by Malcolm Bell of Visit Cornwall, the debate on regulation of hotels, apartments and the sharing economy and the different methods for doing so, including Quality in Tourism on the panel, and finally the GDPR session which although not new was very entertaining for once!
There were several core topics for the day that kept coming up: how voice search affects your website (coincidentally for which we have just written a guide), how to regulate and manage the variety of accommodation providers in the region without stifling the service, how to manage commission from OTAs and the issue of ‘brandjacking’. We’ll be covering many of these in more detail over the coming weeks, so all that is left to say is thanks to TMI for hosting, thanks to Chester University for a fantastic venue and hospitality and thanks to all the speakers and fellow tourism enthusiasts for making it a thoroughly enjoyable event!