organization should consider their residents as their primary customers to
ensure their role as a public good and a true priority in their communities.
Jack Johnson, Chief
Advocacy Officer, Destinations International presented “The Community Shared
Value Roadmap and Workbook” session July 15 at the Destinations International Annual Conference in Baltimore.
Johnson said the long-term
effort to better understand its member organizations culminated in the
development of the workbook, released by Destinations International during the
session. Johnson provided a deep dive into the key values of a community shared
value or public good and provided insight as to how to create a roadmap for
organizations to follow.
International observed organizations that have built a solid base of support in
their community, as well as those who are less effective, a specific set of
core industry values emerges that are either present or lacking:
· Awareness – a well-informed
interest in the history, situation and people that is to be spread to and
generated in others.
· Collaboration – working
with customers and community stakeholders to reach our goals and help solve key
· Engagement – informing and
listening to groups within our destination to address issues affecting the
wellbeing and promotion of the community.
· Inclusiveness – welcoming
the entire community and visitors into the fold.
· Innovation – changing
something established with new ideas and methods, and fresh perspectives.
· Passion – intense
enthusiasm for our destination, our community and its people.
· Relevance – being closely
connected to what is being done or considered in our destination.
· Stewardship – Balancing
economic development, sustainable tourism, and quality of life.
· Transparency – proactively
open to stakeholder and public scrutiny.
The community shared value
roadmap then takes the application of assets of leadership, love, creative and
trust that wind their way through the desired values destinations – the data,
information, content, leadership, visitor and resident safety, master planning,
economic development and quality of life each destination needs to develop to
ensure their robust place in the workings of their communities.
“We found that destination
organizations were doomed to periodic political attacks, unstable resources and
potential failure, unless they focused on the ultimate customer: the residents
of the destination,” Johnson said.
Saying the industry’s arguments no longer resonate, he said the
civic and political ground on which we stand has shifted. “We talk to the
public, to elected officials and to the media about industry performance
measurements and return-on-investment that are often not understood or not
believed … We often don’t have a response to ‘I don’t believe you.’” Johnson
said there is a growing trend by those who seek to divert destination
organization funding to undermine the credibility of a destination
Johnson said destination organizations spend other people’s
money, promoting other people’s property by articulating, protecting and
promoting an abstract idea or brand that is owned collectively by all the
people of a destination. “Each of these carries a fiduciary responsibility that
must be acknowledged and fulfilled,” he said. But oftentimes, there is a
disconnect between the destination organization and the community it claims to
serve. There is no ownership of the destination organization or a narrative
about the shared value it represents within the community.
The Cornerstone Statement in the new workbook emphasizes that every
community has to compete for its share of the world’s attention, customers, and
investments. The communities which fail to compete will be left behind.
The solution lies with the organizations themselves, he said.
“It means that the mission is not to put ‘heads in beds’ … Why are
we the solution? It’s a no-brainer. It’s exactly what we do. We are the
experts. We know how to create a brand.” Destination organizations can bring
strategies to achieve awareness and positive impressions; management and
communication; promotion, marketing, sales and visitor engagement, all for the
common good of the community and its residents.
“The Community Shared Value Roadmap and Workbook” can be accessed
online at https://destinationsinternational.org/community-shared-value. ■