by Lisa A. Grimaldi | July 13, 2017
Destination Marketing Association International officially launched its new moniker -- Destinations International -- at the opening session of the group's annual conference, taking place now through Friday in Montreal. The organization's new logo and branding also were unveiled and prominently displayed throughout the Palais des Congrès de Montréal, where the event is being held; also, a new website debuted.
 
Richard St.-Pierre, CEO of C2, the unique Montreal-based annual meeting, kicked off the opening session by sharing his brand of "transformation and disruption"; the 6-year-old show continues to push boundaries by offering such fare as meetings 20 feet off the floor, where seated participants are lifted and dangled from a huge "disco ball," to classes where top CEOs learn what the art of cake-making has in common with management.
 
The DI gathering offers a total of 77 breakout sessions this year. Among them was a session on DMOs and the future of the meetings industry, where Erin Francis-Cummings, president and CEO of Destination Analysts, shared results of a study of 569 planners. Her research revealed that about half the planners surveyed were aware of what destination marketing organizations offer. The DMO service they were most aware of was printed materials; the least-known services were attendance-building tools and pre- and post-tour suggestions. When asked the biggest failure of DMOs, a slow response time to RFPs was the top issue cited.
 
Results from another industry study -- Defining the Impact of the Weaponization -- conducted by APCO Insights for the Destinations International Foundation and the PCMA Foundation, explores whether travel boycotts and bans work to effect political change, what the long-term damage to a destination's brand is from a boycott and what the life cycle of a boycott is. That study can be viewed here.
 
This year's convention has attracted more than 1,400 attendees from 16 countries.