The IACVB Legacy Website

What Is the DMO Gold Standard?

The Pinnacle of Success - The DMO Gold Standard

Gold Standard is much more than a means for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to become comprehensive travel information agencies which place the visitor assets of an entire city, county, state or nation at the fingertips of the public. It also packages a strategic combination of foundation marketing practices that, in an ideal world, would already
be in place before the first dollar is invested in advertising or sales. Thus, the Gold Standard allows these additional benefits to be realized:

  • Marketing resources are directed towards tourism assets in proportion to economic potential;

  • DMO effectiveness is tracked over time with public awareness and satisfaction benchmarks;

  • All communications are systematically reviewed to remain accurate, comprehensive and useful;

  • Cost effective communication lines are opened with visitors before, during and their visit; and 

  • A genuine, authentic brand identity is cultivated that not only resonates with visitors but also leverages the full backing and support of the business community and general public.
The strategic decision to become a Gold Standard compliant agency is best supported at the highest level. The Board of Directors or governing authority of the DMO ought to make a sustained financial commitment to providing continuous, comprehensive destination information and other Gold Standard requirements. The consumer travel market should be elevated to a top priority, at least equal to any other markets or objectives pursued in a program of work.

New destination marketing agencies, or major market DMOs with extensive visitor assets, may need to devote three to five years of sustained effort to achieve Gold Standard status. Mature DMOs in smaller markets, especially those with a leisure travel emphasis, may attain the gold standard much faster. Although most DMOs fulfill several Gold Standard tenants, there is not yet one DMO in the world today that reflects them all. (See the entire list of prioritized Gold Standard elements here.)

To learn how close your DMO comes to meeting Gold Standard protocol, a "Gold Standard Self Assessment for DMOs" can be downloaded hereBased on a scale of 1-100, users can rate each attribute and determine a score for the DMO being reviewed.