Our Strategy

Let’s prepare for tomorrow today!

Strategy 2019-2022

Tomorrow Today is the business strategy of European Cities Marketing (ECM) in an era when complex and long termed strategies are almost becoming obsolete as the future can no longer be determined by linear thinking or prudent planning.

Still, we proudly present the strategy as our sense of purpose and direction in a fast-changing visitor economy – and as a manifesto of our beliefs and values as a community of passionate professionals.

It is imperative for ECM to help members align their own strategic agenda with whatever demands, challenges and opportunities tomorrow will bring…

Strategy content

The new Paradigm





Breaking Agendas

Open Source Platform

Lead European Co-lab

Advocacy for Sustainable Growth




Visibility & Reputation

Hello Tomorrow ;–)

ECM welcomes a new paradigm for DMOs – also known as urban convention and visitor bureaux

It is a new paradigm where rapid change is the only constant.

As DMOs, we need to reinvent our role. Every day, we need to embrace new opportunities with playful curiosity.

The modern traveller is mobile, and empowered with navigation tools, digital references and resources that were unthinkable just a decade ago.

Similarly, today’s international conferences and events are powered by communication and network technologies, that radically expands the boundaries and resources of the meeting beyond its time and place. In the bigger picture, international meetings and events have become instrumental for destinations – cities and nations – to manifest their business clusters, their science and research communities and their cultural scene for global audiences.

It is no longer just about the hotel bednights that the meetings generate. It is about hosting the meetings with purpose and legacy. It is about connecting the destination to the world.

As ECM, we will explore a more sustainable tomorrow together with a great purpose and appetite for experimenting in the visitor economy that contributes to a better life in the city.

Our framework and point of departure are the development goals defined by The United Nations.

The 17 goals serve to demonstrate the broad scope and variety of urban activities and agendas where the visitor economy can have a positive impact as long as we are determined and focussed to make it happen. The 17 SDGs are depicted below.


Above all, European Cities Marketing is a member organization. We are for the members and by the members. Our core mission is to empower members to inspire, co-develop and promote a sustainable visitor economy for the city.

ECM Tomorrow

The power of ECM lies in the ability to share experiences, knowledge and ideas in a trustful and professional network.

We will continue to meet, share and grow together.

What’s new is this: we need to widen our scope and skills beyond destination marketing in order to stay relevant and capture the trends and driving forces that will determine our practice tomorrow…and that calls for a new identity.

 We see a bright new paradigm where the modern DMO can play a paramount role as (co-) innovator and facilitator of cross sector partnerships in the multidimensional cityscape of art and culture, education, science and research, creative industries, hospitality and local communities

Re-scope Come tomorrow, we will search for new relevant partnerships and resources beyond what we normally define as the visitor economy.

Re-brand European Cities Marketing (ECM) is our identity today. However, as professionals, we recognize that destination management is much more than marketing.

These are all reasons why ECM need to rebrand in the near future. We need to make sure that ECM by name and fame is clearly identified in the global visitor economy.

Recruit In order to realize ECM’s potential to the fullest, we also need to grow membership. More members are the hard prerequisite for achieving more financial resources, diversity in our membership and influence on the global scene.

Recharge Following a temporary down turn after the global financial crisis, the state of ECM is strong today with sound financials, a steady increase in membership and a membership satisfaction rate reflecting our retention rate of 100% (2017). Good governance and member-centric management will continue to be strong focal points of ECM in the future.

Activities for Tomorrow

Together as members, we will cement the four cornerstones with activities and initiatives – both new ones and old ones redefined.

We will build ECM for tomorrow on the four cornerstones listed earlier. ECM defined is…


Breaking Agendas

  • Two Annual Agenda Conferences
  • Trend Observatory
  • Strategy Forum


Open Source Platform

  • Summer School 2.0
  • Communications Strategy: Engage ECM!
  • Next Series
  • Future Skills Academy


Lead European Co-lab

  • New Thematic Knowledge Groups
  • ECM Urbanista Challenge
  • New Syndicated Studies


Advocacy for Sustainable Growth

  • Showcasing SDGs in Urban Travel & Tourism
  • European Council on Sustainable Urban Tourism

Members know best…

  • This is such an exciting time for ECM. Over the last few years, I have seen a very positive development of how the association delivers for it members through the range services offered and especially the quality of the conferences. Our new strategy is harnessing that dynamism to ensure ECM is at the forefront for city destinations in both marketing and management, it looks beyond our European borders and at how our world is ever-changing, ensuring that we are best placed for the challenges we all have ahead.
    Sam Johnston
    Manager | Convention Bureaux of Ireland
  • The ECM strategy paper "Tomorrow Today" to me is the roadmap to future. Our role as destination marketing organization and visitor bureau changes rapidly and we therefore need to be prepared. Trend observatory, research and statistics, knowledge exchange and new formates as the digital strategy forum will help us to design the future DMO. The new ECM strategy provides us with all all the necessary tools and strategic impact to continue to work successfully for our destinations.
    Yvonne Coulin
    CEO | Nuremberg Convention and Tourist Office
  • I am excited about developing and implementing ECM’s new strategic focus on relevance and alignment. This unified focus will harness the very best of our combined knowledge and expertise and create a powerful force to deliver sustainable growth for our cities. The needs of our citizens, clients and stake-holders has to shape our identity as we move forward within this “Age of the City”.
    Barbara Jamison
    Head of Business Development Europe | London & Partners
  • ECM strategic plan 2019- 2022, a holistic approach of a vigilant and forward-looking community aiming to inspire, develop and promote a sustainable visitor economy for a shared conscious future in European cities!
    Pier Paolo Mariotti
    Certified Meeting Manager | EURAC Research, Bolzano
  • With "Tomorrow Today", ECM takes a great and very important step forward towards becoming a stronger voice of the urban meetings - and visitors economy. The outcomes of a more powerful advocacy for sustainable growth, stronger global partnerships, knowledgesharing, collection of data, and being at the forefront of trends and innovation, will become a valuable support and contribution to Wonderful Copenhagen’s own strategies of developing sustainable solutions for the industry and citizens, both locally and globally.
    Bettina Reventlow-Mourier
    Deputy Convention Director - Head of Congress | Wonderful Copenhagen
  • We want our members to be ready for the future. That is only working if we, as ECM, are ready too. Therefore, it was about time to leave our comfort zone and to redefine ourselves.
    Dieter Hardt-Stremayr
    CEO | GrazTourismus

Goals Galore

It would be easy if ECM had only one simple goal – profit for instance – but we don’t.

ECM is a non-profit organization and a member driven organization. As such, we turn to our member base to determine if and when we are a success.

From today, we will ask members to evaluate ECM every 12 months and we will supplement the results with operational goals and key success indicators presented below – all to be periodically assessed by the Board of ECM and ECM’s General Assembly.


ONGOING STRATEGIC ACTIVITY: NEXT Level with Destinations International

STRATEGIC GOAL: MoU with the European Union


STRATEGIC GOAL: New Identity and Brand Name for ECM


STRATEGIC GOAL: Campaign for More Members – 199 by 2022



Operational Goals & KPIS


Keeping Happy Members


Growing Membership


Healthy Finances

Visibility & Reputation

Voice of Urban Visitor Economy