At the European Cities Marketing (ECM) Spring Meeting in Reykjavík, ECM followed the footsteps of the best of Jedi knights, looking towards the dark side to leverage and learn from a mindset that ignites innovation and disruption. Industry thought leaders challenged a record number of 179 delegates from European cities, while ideas and insights were shared on how DMOs all over Europe are morphing their business models, forming new partnerships out of the touristic marketing box and hacking innovative new solutions to problems which they all face.

Speaking about the meeting, Dieter Hardt-Stremayr, European Cities Marketing’s President, said: “Many DMOs have already recognised the need to disrupt their classic role and function beyond their tasks of city marketing, the meetings industry or tourism. DMOs tend to be the cities’ official marketing agencies, emphasizing the need for the DMO to add the destination management function as a core task. Yet, more and more DMOs are looking beyond management to leadership, taking on a new mission of leading their destination towards urban innovation, facilitating change and expanding horizons towards new value creation for the city and the many stakeholders of the visitor economy. Thanks to the inspiring presentations and the exchanges between ECM members, we have been able to see how to drive the innovative change that is reshaping the future of travel and urban space.“

“Even though there is not a fixed template for innovating the city, it is clear that many of Europe’s prominent urban destinations are looking beyond the bednights growths and working with new models of manifesting their cities with culture and urban entrepreneurships.” said Dieter Hardt-Stremayr, European Cities Marketing’s President

A diverse range of start-ups and travel tech entrepreneurs

London and Paris have set up incubator environments hosting a diverse range of start-ups and travel tech entrepreneurs to promote future job creation and growth. Also, the start-uppers are matched with more established players of the local travel economy for the ideation and projectizing of challenges and new ventures.

Mastercard is one of the big players in the urban travel industry, that sees the convergence of travel tech and financial tech, and benefits from a close cooperation with London Travel Tech Hub. Cities such as Leeds and Gothenburg are working with broader cultural projects striving to leverage public co-creation in the city’s cultural life and celebrations

Copenhagen and Berlin are engaging with hackathons and sprints as new methodologies useful for engaging with communities and partners over specific challenges such as how to spread tourism throughout the city.

nyhavn_copenhagen
Photo credits: Copenhagen Convention Bureau

The seminar was coordinated and moderated by Peter Rømer Hansen, Founder and CEO of Rømer Agency.

The next ECM meeting will for the first time be an International Conference, and will take place in Malmö, Sweden, on June 13-16, 2018. The general idea developed will be “don’t ask what your city can do for tourism, but what tourism can do for your city!”

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