A qualitative inquiry of destination marketing organizations and hotels' business-to-business relationship
This study reports an investigation of the business-to-business (B2B) relationship between Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and hotels. Whereas it is clear that, by promoting the destination, DMOs bring business to hotels, the focus of the study drawn towards the different services that DMOs provide to hotels to support them in their ordinary activities. A qualitative approach was adopted to conduct the study, and primary data were collected through two-phase semi-structured interviews with industry practitioners. A preliminary list of services was identified from the literature review and then integrated with the responses from the DMOs representatives interviewed. The protocol, improved by DMOs’ inputs, was then used in the second phase of the research to learn the hotels’ perspectives on the services received, as well as the areas that may need improvement. The following services were in particular analyzed: membership management, training and education, data and research, lead generation, publication, networking opportunities, and cost sharing for trade shows participation. While overall the relationship between DMOs and hotels appears healthy and satisfying, some discrepancies were found between the two perspectives, with the main differences pertaining to the priorities given to some services (e.g.: lead generation and data) or in the awareness of what is available (e.g.: educational programs). Theoretical implications and practical recommendations are provided to improve the value of the relationship between DMOs and hotel partners.