In this video from the Skift Meetings Forum 2023, we hear from Lorne Edwards, chief sales officer for Visit Phoenix, about the evolving role of destination marketing organizations (DMOs) in connecting growth industry sectors and research expertise to event organizers, in turn uplifting the local community and driving global innovation.
This content was created collaboratively by Visit Phoenix and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.
In this video:
- Identifying growth industry sectors that offer opportunities for conventions and events. As Edwards says, “By understanding where the city has said they want to be the best – whether that’s healthcare, STEM development, or something else – and talking to community development experts and economic councils, you can understand which industries to go after.” In Phoenix, its growing prominence in microchip manufacturing led to a successful effort to win Semicon West for multiple years in Downtown Phoenix. Similarly, the new Phoenix Bioscience Core (PBC) — already increasing healthcare business growth by 42 percent — is attracting medical research events to Phoenix.
- Leaving a legacy and uplifting the community. DMOs have a vital role to play in connecting underserved populations in the community with event initiatives in the city, elevating communities and making them better places to live, work, visit, and invest in. For example, the Diabetes Educators Association Conference partnered with the Phoenix Indian Medical Council to address diabetes education and testing in Native tribal populations. Similarly, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America convention will address water conservation, with Visit Phoenix playing a major role in coordination efforts.
- Tapping into the evolving role of DMOs in destination management. As Edwards says, the old adage of “putting heads on beds” is giving way to a new imperative for DMOs to become “destination stewards,” connecting meeting planners with elected officials, various stakeholder groups, academics, and thought leaders. By engaging with DMOs through early discovery calls and seeing them as community connectors, planners can discover local resources and opportunities. The forthcoming American Association for Microbiology event, for example, will bring 5,000 minority STEM students to Phoenix, opening up conversations on educational and career opportunities in the sector.
Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the United States, and among that top five, it’s the one that’s growing the fastest. This rapid development is attracting an increasing number of global visitors seeking authentic and varied experiences, as well as industrial growth in a number of emerging sectors like microchip manufacturing and bioscience. Its DMO, Visit Phoenix, is seizing the opportunity to redefine its role from merely filling hotel rooms to becoming destination stewards, creating a safe and welcoming community for visitors while aligning with economic development entities to increase its competitiveness.
In this video from the Skift Meetings Forum 2023, we hear from Lorne Edwards, chief sales officer for Visit Phoenix, in conversation with Skift Meetings branded content editor, Angela Tupper, about how DMOs can stay relevant by acting as a conduit between the community and meeting planners — identifying opportunities for growth and creating a positive impact for both visitors and those who live and work in the city.