European Cities Marketing: staying relevant by our members’ side

European Cities Marketing call for an open and permanent dialogue between European institutions and local destinations - Staying relevant by our members’ side
Digitalisation, relevance, resilience, recovery: during these unprecedented times, it is the association’s imperative to stay by its members’ side, adapting its strategy and being flexible. Since the beginning of the pandemic and the postponement of ECM conference, the network of 120+ European DMOs and CVBs, deployed full energy for its members with new digital initiatives and crucial support.

When hard times come, associations must respond to their members’ needs. Climate change, the need for sustainability, society transformation, unprecedented health crises, industry development, economic progress: we constantly need answers and tools to face our dynamic reality.

If there is one thing the COVID-19 crisis taught us about, it is the need and the benefits of improving digitalisation. In only three months, webinars, digital interviews, interactive online platforms have spread all over the world in all kinds of fields. In the meetings industry, we have seen digital conventions being organised, virtual conferences broadcast, keynote speakers talking from their living-room or digital courses on free-access: suddenly something very natural has been added to this, sometimes too conventional, world.


New digital communication content

At ECM, after the spread of the crisis, we immediately felt the need and the duty to be by our members’ side even when apart, supporting them and offering them new digital communication content through our latest initiative #aNewTomorrow. Our aim? Helping our members to keep on preparing a ‘new tomorrow’ for DMMOs and adapting our strategy (2019-2022) ‘Tomorrow Today’, and our brand. What is unique about ECM is actually this capacity to stay agile and tailor the association according to our members’ needs: ECM is made by DMMOs for DMMOs and this is our strength.



The purpose of the #aNewTomorrow initiative is to share ideas and challenges, and find inspiration in new practices and different approaches. How? Thanks to webinars, articles, collaborative dashboards, Zoom conversations and discussion groups, our COVID-19 resource centre forms a critical part of the capability and the potential of the association. In less than a month, we built an entire panel of digital communications with Group NAO.


Achieve mutual knowledge

We started with a discussion group and a collaborative platform in order to collect all available information together and achieve mutual knowledge on the COVID-19 crisis situation in our industry. Then, we launched our webinars series, offering our members insights on strategies for a sustainable recovery, tourism stigma, etc.


The DMMO COVID-19 Continuity Checklist

Our members’ response was really positive and we decided to push our analysis forward. Thus, we published, in collaboration with TOPOSOPHY, The DMMO COVID-19 Continuity Checklist – An ECM Guide for Sustainable Recovery, a relevant and lucid tool for DMMOs in this unprecedented time to face new challenges. The purpose of this paper is to share insights that will help our colleagues, local entrepreneurs, political decision makers, visitors and local communities.


This practical and pertinent tool for a sustainable recovery is presented in three stages: Response, Recovery and Resilience”. Petra Stušek, ECM president, declared.While keeping the dialogue, we want together as DMMOs to make the right decisions and learn from the experience of others. The Checklist spans an extensive period precisely because the process of recovery is expected to be long, uneven and unpredictable.”


Today, we’re still far from achieving a new normal reality and we want to continue empowering the conversation with our members on future challenges. With the aim to share knowledge and support each other, we have launched the Long Thinkers Panel as part of ECM #aNewTomorrow initiative. We identified some of the most experienced and bravest thinkers in their fields to decode what is happening now, what happened before and what might happen next. We are inviting each of the Long Thinkers to share their thoughts on specific topics such as innovation and marketing strategies during recovery, travel influencers’ key role during the crisis, tourism innovation, etc. Each of them is sharing their perspective on the long-term impact and how we can imagine the future of tourism.


Sharing perspectives

For instance, we recently published an article on The Future of the Experience Economy, written for ECM by B. Joseph Pine II, co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP and co-author of The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money. In this article, Pine explains that there will be a new tomorrow for the experience economy through transformation, digitalisation and experience platforms. Destinations have to change their perspective and transform their strategy in order to be relevant and attractive.

Following ECM General Assemblies on June 10, our members decided to adapt our strategy to the current situation approving a precise strategic action plan based on eight steps:


  • AGENDA SETTING: conferences calendar, trend observatory, strategy forum
  • ECM CO-LABS: new thematic knowledge groups, new syndicated studies, #aNewTomorrow future content
  • OPEN SOURCE PLATFORM: Summer School 2.0, communication strategy, improving of online discussions
  • ADVOCACY: strengthening relations with EU
  • RE-SCOPE: adapting partnerships, knowledge and resources beyond tourism according to the crisis, prepare ‘after tomorrow’
  • RE-BRAND: ECM rebranding in 2020-21 while making sure that ECM by name and fame is clearly identified in the global visitor economy
  • RECRUIT: inviting non-European cities to join our process to recovery together
  • RECHARGE: still strengthening #aNewTomorrow initiative



The ECM Summer School 2.0

ECM also proposes to bring the industry closer in those challenging times by giving advanced professionals the opportunity to interact on a more strategic level through a revisited version of the ECM Summer School, virtually, on August 24-26. This ECM Summer School 2.0 is a sort of executive dialogue for experienced professionals of the industry working in convention bureaux, hotels, PCOs, DMCs, airlines, conference venues, congress centres, convention centres, exhibition centres, suppliers of ancillary and other products…

Spread onto three days, sessions of 2 hours will be provided to discuss the unprecedented situation we are currently living in. After focused presentations and perspectives, our experts will dive deeper into their field of expertise during a live discussion.

The three sessions will be dedicated to strategic outlooks for the meetings industry, understanding the world of clients and suppliers, and moving towards a smart recovery. Presentations, panel discussions and breakout conversations… The participants will have the unique opportunity to exchange knowledge and converse with the faculty members and their fellow European peers during breakout sessions.


In conclusion, once again, ECM reveals itself to be relevant and to be a great help for its members. And an essential source of information for the industry. #WeAreECM!


Read the article on HQ Magazine!