I was at an tourism industry event in my home region. I was having a great conversation with someone I hadn’t met before. This wasn’t at all unusual. The DMO has a pretty big member base, and you do tend to see new faces around.
Shortly after starting her small hand made chocolate/treats business in region, she told me how she quickly joined up at the local Chamber of Commerce.
This was nearly 2 years earlier.
What was unusual about the conversation was that the lady I was talking to hadn’t heard of the DMO or understood what they did, or stood for, prior to only very recently.
To be honest I can’t remember if it was her trigger for looking for a networking opportunity outside the Chamber of Commerce, but I do remember her talking about how disillusioned she was with her experience there.
She said everyone was ‘just service providers, there to make connections to sell to’.
She told me in the two years she’d been there, it had led to literally zero new business or opportunities.
I don’t tell this story to rag on Chamber’s of Commerce everywhere. I think there is a place for them and the relationships you can develop in that environment.
I tell this story because of what I found myself saying to her after she had expressed her discontentment with her membership there.
I told her, ‘You’ve found your tribe here. Collaboration is ridiculously important in tourism and the people in this room want to work with you as much as you want to work with them.’
The conversation continued with me, as anyone in the room would do (because that’s what tourism members do), considering who was in the room that could benefit from meeting this lady and her niche product.
This is the same language you want your members to be using to prospective members.
Those friends, connections and acquaintance they deal with in life and business.
A business so perfectly poised to benefit from the DMO and the network they’ll build through you shouldn’t be missing out because you haven’t trained members on how to talk about you.
Arming your current members with the language to use, may be as simple as making sure they know which website a new member needs to go to. Or making them feel part of the tribe. Giving that tribe a name. Reminding them of the value they get. Creating opportunities to bring others along and introduce them to your tribe.
Do not overcomplicate this. You just need to give them simple language and simple things they can do to communicate on behalf of you.
But you must give it to them. Your operators aren’t getting around thinking about you every moment of the day.
Teach them when to think about you. Who is right for you. And give them a reason to introduce you to a conversation, most importantly when you are not in the room.