With the constant pressure to know more and do more, new DMO managers are overwhelmed. I heard this repeatedly at the PACE Partnership and Community Engagement Forum for DMO Membership and Partnership leaders hosted by Visit Madison in February. The struggles of new managers set off alarm bells for me because the visitor experience suffers when employees are stressed out. The managers told me about five common pain points. In this blog post, find out how to help them move past the pain and succeed in their roles.

NEW DMO MANAGERS AGREE ON FIVE PAIN POINTS

You hired your team members because they are adaptable, committed, and creative. Still, they might be wondering whether this job is for them. New DMO managers I talked to at the PACE forum want help with five issues:

  1. Feeling overwhelmed because they have too much to do.
  2. Keeping members engaged and retaining them.
  3. Providing value to the community.
  4. Navigating their new roles.
  5. Training and coaching teams.

Treat ’em Right helps managers solve these problems and more with coaching, group training, and online courses customized for individual DMOs. If you have a new manager on your team and think they will benefit from one of our services give us a call. 

TIP ONE: PRIORITIZE AND DELEGATE

New DMO managers joined an industry that values rest, relaxation, and recreation, but they are working long hours! And they are overwhelmed by what seems like three jobs in one. It’s not just DMO managers – a 2023 Gallup survey found 46% of Gen Z workers feel anxious and stressed at work most of the time. Help them feel more at ease with guidance on prioritization.

Put tasks in order based on 1) your deadlines and 2) which will have the most impact. Note: something due today is not necessarily more important than something due next week. Keep goals in mind and prioritize what matters most. 

  • Delegate non-essential tasks to team members, empowering them to take ownership. Effective delegation reduces stress and fosters collaboration.

If you’re not using project management software find one that works for your team. Putting tasks in the system reduces stress because you don’t have to try to remember 10 deadlines in your head. You might think you don’t have the money. One of the top project management software systems, Monday.com, has free subscriptions for one or two users. Other plans start at $20 a month. 

TIP TWO: MAKE A MEMBERSHIP PLAN 

New managers believe in your organization’s mission and want to help keep it strong. Retaining members is one of your top goals (and their stressors). Yes, building and maintaining relationships with members is time-consuming. Tell your team that you know cannot do everything at the same time, so plan to meet some people and find other ways to connect with all your members regularly. That means planning. 

Direct your team to The Center for Association Leadership’s Guide to Membership Strategy to see what is working for others. The guide includes a self-assessment with questions like:

  • How are you engaging members and prospects who are in their 20s and 30s?
  • Is your online membership platform easy to use? Does it solve members’ problems?
  • Are you fostering collaboration that benefits members? For example, 

DMOs offer visitor experience education to members’ employees and many others who interact with guests. 

TIP THREE: FOCUS ON THE VISITOR EXPERIENCE

The constant pressure to provide value can keep new DMO managers up at night. Ease their pain by focusing on what matters most – the visitor experience. DMOs have become experts in visitor experience education (VXE) with help from Treat ‘em Right. We customize VXE based on the needs of your members. Examples of successful VXE programs include: 

We have received dozens of positive reviews on our VXE video series. We believe in video because people retain 95% of what they learn while watching a training video, compared to 10% of what they read. However, for some learners, our hybrid live sessions are best. It’s all about the learner.

TIP FOUR: CONNECT WITH OTHERS IN THE INDUSTRY

In a 2023 survey, 40% of recent graduates said they had no training, onboarding, or support from their managers. Remedy this issue at your organization. Start with communicating clear expectations on work hours, deadlines, and what it will take to advance in your position. 

Other solutions for navigating new roles include:

  • Connecting with experienced managers in the industry. 
  • Attending workshops, conferences, and webinars to learn from others’ successes and failures. 

Look into Destinations International’s Young Professional Development Program and its 30 Under 30 program – a year-long networking and learning experience for emerging leaders. In an article on the DI website, a past 30 Under 30 participant says the program gave her purpose and a sense of belonging. 

Having peers who share similar struggles and passions has been transformative,” Juliet Velasquez, manager of client relationships and insights, Tourism Economics. “Through them, I’ve gleaned insights into leadership, skill development, and discovering my true calling. 

Sign up to get notified when DI opens the next round of applications for 30 Under 30. 

TIP FIVE: FIND A COACH

Many DMOs do not have structured management training programs. That makes it more difficult for a new manager to learn their job. So, smart DMO executives invest in expert training, coaching, and consulting. Treat ’em Right supports success with:  

  • Skill Enhancement: Training programs improve managers’ skills, from leadership to communication. Our offerings include custom workshops and online courses tailored to the needs of each DMO needs. We start with helping teams get to know each other by taking an Insight Inventory
  • Team Performance: Coaching helps managers motivate and guide their teams. Treat ‘em Right uses tools like the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team training to help new DMO managers become more productive and aligned with organizational goals. 
  • Strategic Planning: We work with DMO managers who want a Visitor Experience Strategy that supports their goals.

With the right training, coaching, and consulting you will have the confidence to lead with passion. Contact Phil at Treat ‘em Right or call 314-221-6037 to discuss getting the support you want.