Bloomberg Associates has created a tactical guide on new sources of operating funding for economic development programming, some of which may be relevant for programming to support your tourism economy.
Cities may also want to look at alternative DMO funding models, which do not rely on hotel or sales tax.
For example, Julie Heart from CFO by Design has suggested a shared-services model between local convention bureaus, Chambers of Commerce and economic development councils.
Under this model, the convention bureau would develop branding and creative services for the city, the Chamber would educate local businesses on the value that tourism and meetings bring to the destination, and the economic development council would work with the convention bureau to attract industry, businesses and talent to the city.
Other cities, such as London (UK) have gone further, merging their agencies to better promote the city with one voice while achieving significant cost savings. In 2011, London merged its tourism and convention bureau with its business attraction, international student attention, and small business support programs, generating more than £2m initial savings.
A similar model was followed in Topeka, Kansas. The Greater Topeka Partnership combined the economic development agency, Chamber of Commerce, BID and tourism agency, which combined office space and eliminated redundancies (such as multiple contracts with the same vendor). The organizations also coordinated their plans and activities to create jobs and attract visitors.
We are also seeing more partnership working between local and state/national DMOs. For example, Destination Canada and Destination BC announced a partnership last year to help local DMOs market domestically.