Zeitgeist Consulting
23 June 2010 by Bill Geist

There’s an exchange in the movie “The Replacements” when the climactic football game is on the line. It’s win or go home. The Sentinels are down 17-0 going into the second half and washed-up QB Keanu Reeves gets his last shot to turn the game around.

“It’s nasty out there,” warns Head Coach Gene Hackman. “That’s why girls don’t play the game,” Keanu shoots back.

Of course, a year after this movie was released, girls did play the game, including my favorite women’s pro team, the Pensacola Power.

My point? Times change. And, it’s nastier than ever this week out there in the world of Destination Marketing. And the attacks are coming from every direction.

In Boise ID, veteran Bureau CEO Bobbie Patterson finds herself up against a facility manager that is clear in his intention to withhold over a million dollars from her organization, which will effectively shutter the award-winning CVB within months. 

In Fresno CA, the Mayor has announced his intention to cut all funding for his Bureau. CEO Jeff Eben is putting on his game face, saying that the CVB will survive. But, he and his Board have less than six months to identify sufficient new revenue streams...or face the same fate as Bobbie’s Bureau.

And, in Joplin MO, the threat comes from hoteliers that are looking for a scapegoat after a year or two of lackluster business. Sadly, a member of the Joplin CVB Board is a participant in the move to affect significant changes in CVB programming (which, in any book on governance, should be immediate grounds for dismissal). If they don’t get satisfaction, the hoteliers claim they will petition the City to kill the Room Tax.

That’s just stoopid. You don’t think the CVB is getting the job done so you intend to eliminate the only source of funding for a CVB that can?

And, if you have the time and interest to follow the above links to the stories, you’ll be amazed at why the fights are happening. How minutes are taken, what staff makes...stuff like that. I might give the Fresno Mayor a day pass because he’s facing a $30 million deficit, if killing the CVB wasn’t so back assward for a community’s vital need for tax revenues.

It all showcases the still alarming lack of sophistication that community leaders across this land have for what Destination Marketing Organizations mean to their economies. And, as the U.S. Travel Association’s Roger Dow has told crowd after crowd over the past year, it’s time to take the gloves off.

If we don’t...we won’t be talking about relevance. We’ll be watching the economies of our hometowns suffer at the hands of petty political forces that have an agenda that is not community-focused...but power-centric. Because in each of these cases, that’s what it is about...power. Not what’s best for the community.

If you’re planning to attend the Annual Convention of Destination Marketing Association International next month, DMAI’s Advocacy Committee will be opening its Tuesday afternoon meeting to all attendees to participate in a candid discussion on relevancy. I hope you’ll make plans to attend...and channel Roger Dow. The time for kid gloves and political correctness is over.

The concept of “The Replacements” (oh, admit it...it’s a guilty pleasure for you too) is that, during an NFL Strike, teams hire replacement players. But, the strike ends during the final game before the playoffs and the replacement players, win or lose, are facing their final game.

As Gene Hackman attempts to rally his troops back from an impossible deficit, he tells them that Dallas has made a mistake. They have underestimated the Sentinels. The reason:

“There is no tomorrow for you...and that makes you very dangerous people.”

It’s time to understand that tomorrow isn’t a given anymore. It’s time for DMO pros to get dangerous.

Til next time,

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