Are there any other models of different markets you are working off of as you make the switch to a DMMO? What specific marketing strategies are you hoping to adopt to revitalize the DMMO? Will planners notice much of a difference in working with Travel Portland?
We had to have education sessions for all of our internal teams because as we start to engage our teams we realized it was more of a mindset than a major change. There will be some new product development pieces that will be enhancing the delegate experience. We have been working for a long time on getting a convention center hotel. We would love to have another cool venue for off-site event space—we have been reaching out and talking to developers seeing who is interested in doing projects that are benefiting locals but also benefit meeting planners.
How will you see this plan specifically affect your role as VP of diversity and community relations?
The cultural diversity piece is something we have been very deliberate about for the meetings and conventions audience. We created Prosper Portland: My Peoples Market. It is a marketplace specifically for showcasing business owners and entrepreneurs of color, which we did locally first, but also offer to our business clients to build trust and relationships with diverse communities. Also, we did it to help and identify businesses that are ready to scale and that would be tourism-based businesses. By connecting them, we have been able to bring in our hotel partners and source them for them. We have been cognizant of Portland being a welcoming place for all communities, but we are also being intentional about how we drive economic impact through meetings and conventions so that we can ensure those dollars will support those businesses.
Will there be an effort toward making the marketing strategies/tourism plan a green one?
Sustainability is part of Portland’s DNA. One of the things we want to expand upon, because we have done environmental sustainability really well, was the social equity side of things. We want to be more centered around that third pillar of sustainability. We want to be sure that when meetings and conventions come here that everything is organic and sustainable, but that’s just how we work and we continue to tell that story. The experiential bucket of the plan is really all about our marketing strategy: to be authentic, to incorporate cultural diversity and community engagement. We focus on the neighborhood experience because we know that when people come here they want to go off into the different neighborhood districts and have these unique experiences, and we want to make sure that these districts are going to be ready for the audiences that are going to be coming out there.