There are thousands of data points you could be tracking, but who has time to watch every needle? Instead, start the new year fresh with a data audit kicked off by identifying key stakeholder groups or individuals: the people who want to know about DMO performance.

For many DMOs, that list will include at a minimum:

  • Industry partners or members (general)
  • Hotel partners
  • City council, a board of directors or other governance body
  • Your DMO leadership
  • Yourself and your sales & marketing teams

For each item on the list, define what an ideal "annual report" would include. For example, an annual report to an industry partner might include impressions of website listings and banner ads, visitor guide circulation, media referrals, direct visitor referrals, mentions in auto-response emails, number of educational or professional events hosted, etc.

Note items you currently track and identify gaps, then for each data point ensure that you have a system in place for storing and managing information. Many can be tracked in Simpleview CRM, so as a first step, make sure you're maximizing your CRM investment. Do your visitor center staffers log their partner referrals correctly? Are you entering pick-ups as they come in so you have a rolling, up-to-date statistic on economic impact?

Last but not least, shore up the data you already have -- meeting planner contacts, recent event histories, industry partner contact and listings info -- by reviewing records and ensuring there are no major holes. For many DMOs, this could be a sizeable task, in which case consider setting the end of 2011 as a completion date, with defined sub-tasks scheduled monthly.