2021 – our 20th birthday!
The Destination Marketing Group was formally launched on the 1st January 2000 and we have been trading successfully and profitably for the last twenty years!
It’s rather a strange coincidence that our first big contract was managing the Heart of England Tourist Board’s Foot and Mouth Disease Recovery Campaign and, here we are twenty years later, having to deal with another (but much more serious for us humans, at least) pandemic.
But we have survived and flourished and spread our wings from pure tourism out to related sectors, such as urban and rural regeneration and, of course, Business Improvement Districts.
Meanwhile, here’s some of the flagship global clients we’ve worked with over the past 20 years…
- Enterprise Europe Network
- National Liberation Museum (Holland)
- Sailing.hr (Croatia)
- Swiss Government Enterprise
- GURU Online (China)
- Hainan Province (China)
- Hunan Province (China)
- Red Dot (India)
- Sanya Tourism (China)
- Vesna (India)
North and South America
- British Tourist Authority, Toronto
- Cvent Inc. (Washington DC)
- Darwin’s Trails (Chile)
- Ferrocarriles Del Ecuador (Ecuador)
- Music Contact International (USA)
- Panorama Peru
- Passion Brazil
- PeruRail (Peru)
- South Expeditions (Galapagos)
- Termas de Papallacta (Galapagos)
And just a few of the UK tourism clients we’ve worked with since 2001…
- Advantage West Midlands
- East Midlands Tourism
- Birmingham Capital of Culture Bid
- British Tourist Authority
- Cheltenham Film Studios
- Dartmouth BID
- Devon and Cornwall Tourism
- English Partnerships
- England’s World Heritage Sites
- Gloucester BID
Meanwhile, who knows what lies ahead of us?
Published 21 April 2021
- Gloucester Cathedral
- Gloucester Rugby
- Homes England
- Heart of England Tourism
- London Boroughs of Brent & Southwark
- Rugby BID
- Rugby Football Union, Twickenham
- Somerset Tourism
- South West England Tourism
- Three Choirs Vineyard
Our post-Covid website upgrade!
Thanks to a successful Kick-starting Tourism Grant, we have redesigned our website and supporting company information in order to more clearly separated our UK activities from our overseas work.
This was done, and the grant awarded, because we know that the UK tourism and urban regeneration market will recover in advance of international markets, especially the many long-haul destinations and countries that we have been representing in the UK for the last 20 years. Hence the need to re-emphasise our UK ‘destination marketing’ capabilities and help these destinations recover from COVID-19.
Closer to home, we have just (a) completed our contribution to a ‘place branding’ project for a local authority in South West England and (b) just completed a year-long provision of interim management support for the Gloucester BID which has now been able to appoint a new manager and is moving forward again.
Published 26th March 2021
A busy December!
The Gloucester BID
December saw the end of a twelve-month-long contract as the Gloucester BID’s interim manager, helping it to emerge from a period of severe disruption and mismanagement.
Tasks included restructuring the BIDS’s revenue budget, the delivery of several half-completed projects, re-establishing good relationships with the city council and local organisations and the appointment of a new BID Manager to take the organisation through to the re-ballot in or around early 2022.
Taunton’s place marketing strategy
We were also appointed in October by an innovative Hampshire-based company – RegenCo – to help them develop and deliver a high-level ‘place marketing strategy’ for the town of Taunton in Somerset, looking across all sectors of the town’s economy.
Vesna Tours, India
Whilst most of our long-haul tourism marketing work has been suspended because of COVID-19, we are still retained by a New Delhi-based tour operator for India and the Indian Ocean, called Vesna Tours, providing them with a ‘man on the inside’ commentary on the impact of the pandemic on the UK outbound tourism sector.
We also gained good PR coverage for a company called Top Interim which provides public sector boardroom-level support to public sector organisations, as illustrated right.
Published 30th December 2020
Taunton, the Garden City
October marked the beginning of a project for the development of a marketing strategy for Taunton’s recently acquired Garden City status in which the DMG is part of a multi-disciplinary consultancy team led by East Hampshire’s RegenCo.
We also provided a Zoom training session on Business Improvement Districts for the staff of Sound Diplomacy, a London, Barcelona and Berlin-based strategic music and cultural events consultancy.
Published 3 November 2020
September was largely spent supporting the Gloucester Business Improve District (BID), acting in an interim manager role and helping this important organisation recover from a very difficult period.
We also continued our representation of overseas destination and travel companies, notably Vesna Tours in India and Tip Top Travel in the Galapagos Islands. We have been helping link up Vesna Tours with UK-based tour operators and travel companies, although the Covid 19 crisis is a big challenge for the Indian travel industry.
Published 5 October 2020
Investing in culture
Most of July was dedicated to our work for the Gloucester Business Improvement District (BID), including the development of this year’s important ‘Footfall Driving Events’ programme in partnership with the city council and the Gloucester Culture Trust.
The BID recognises the importance of these events to the city’s visitor, evening and retail economy and is prepared to dedicate around 20% of its operational budget to this important collaboration.
Published 5 September 2020
Under-pressure public sector managers turn to private sector boardroom expertise
Transformation-Leaders is a long-standing DMG client that specialises in providing hard-pressed local authorities and government agencies with boardroom-level, interim management support, as described in this article, written by Philip Cooke. The article appeared in a recent edition of the prestigious Government and Public Sector Journal.
Published 4 July 2020
The Gloucester Business Improvement District
Following the recent collapse of Marketing Gloucester, the Destination Marketing Group was appointed in early March to provide interim management support to the Gloucester Business Improvement District (BID).
This work is close to Philip Cooke’s heart as he has worked and lived in Gloucester for over 30 years and he has also previously provided marketing and PR support for the Dartmouth, Rugby and New West End Business Improvement Districts and has studied – and written about – BIDs in New York and the UK.
Read Philip’s articles:
Published 4 March 2020
One of our more unusual local clients is the Management Research Group: Gloucestershire, a business, academic and voluntary sector networking organisation dedicated to ‘making Gloucestershire a world-class business destination’. Take a look at the MRG Gloucestershire website.
This group meets six times a year, over a very nice dinner, at the Greenway Hotel in Cheltenham where VIP guest speakers and MRG members explore how to advance the economic and cultural wellbeing of the county of Gloucestershire.
The national MRG movement was established in 1926 by the social reformer and industrialist Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree and, whilst national membership has declined, MRG Gloucestershire continues to provide a unique forum for those who care about our county.
Published 17 December 2019
More media coverage for Terra Explorer
Following last month’s activity re Terra Explorer’s visit to the UK, see below, we also achieved the following coverage of their luxury adventure touring products in the November 2019 edition of Travel Bulletin, one of the UK’s top travel industry trade magazines.
Published 27 November 2019
Tip Top Travel:
The story of a famous Galapagos family
We have also been helping a Quito-based luxury yacht operator for the Galapagos Islands – Tip Top Travel – secure appointments at this year’s World Travel Market and, in doing so, uncovered an amazing piece of tourism heritage.
Tip Top Travel is owned by Enrique Wittmer, grandson of a husband and wife team who travelled half way around the world to these remote islands in 1932. They did not like what was happening in their native Germany and went to the Galapagos seeking a new and more meaningful life in harmony with nature.
They then became an important part of the Galapagos tourist industry and their amazing story is told by Enrique’s Grandmother, Margret Wittmer, in her acclaimed book, Floreana, and on the Wittmer Foundation’s website which is well worth a read.
Published 31 October 2019
An outline of Floreana – A Woman’s Pilgrimage to the Galapagos by Margaret Wittmer, first published in 1961, follows below:
In 1932, Margaret Wittmer leaves Germany with her husband and step-son and travels to Floreana, a small almost unpopulated island in the Galapagos chain, where they settle, clear land and, after five months of living in old pirates’ caves, move into the house they finish just in time for Margaret to have a baby.
Over time, the Wittmers acquire a number of remarkable neighbours including convicts, military personnel and a mysterious baroness who aspires to build a hotel for millionaires. They receive visits from people as diverse as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thor Heyerdahl, who comes to investigate a reported head, much like the ones on Easter Island, only to find it was carved by Margaret’s husband.
There are wild bulls and boars, a dog named Lump that serves as a babysitter, a distant war, a daughter who would rather have a machete or a hoe than a doll, years of settled life, and finally grandchildren.
At times the entire situation borders on the unbelievable, but Margaret Wittmer provides equal measures of intrigue, fantasy, and common sense as she writes in her down-to-earth and often very humorous fashion about her years on Floreana.
‘Glamping it’ across Peru
Terra Explorer, a Peruvian travel company that specialises in luxury adventure travel recently asked the DMG to arrange a series of sales visits to UK-based tour operators that specialise in Latin American group tours.
Terra Explorer’s itineraries include trekking, birdwatching, helicopter rides, chartered flights, Amazon cruises, Peruvian gastronomy, rafting and sea kayaking, train journeys to Machu Pichu and Lake Titicaca and – a big favourite – glamping on the shores of Andean Lagoons.
Upon her return to Peru, Terra Explorer’s Sales Manager, Valerie Barton, emailed the DMG, saying: “Philip, I want to give you a big thanks… the tour operator meetings you arranged for us were spot on.”
Published 3 October 2019
Going global again!
Whilst the UK market is being stifled by Brexit and related political and economic uncertainties, business is currently coming in from many parts of the world, including Peru, Ecuador, China, Germany and India.
Representing overseas tourist destinations and travel companies in the UK is demanding work but, as many of these clients are relatively small, family-run and environmentally-friendly companies, bringing them (and their clients), new business is hard, but immensely rewarding work, and it creates friendships that reach out from the UK across the globe!
Published 31 August 2019
We are now a social enterprise!
The Destination Marketing Group is dedicated to helping communities grow and prosper, and we have just been accepted as a member of Social Enterprise UK, which describes its activities as follows…
“Social enterprise is about changing the world through business and Social Enterprises trade not to maximise private profit, but to further their social and environmental aims… and fostering diversity in business, growing local economies and at the forefront of economic recovery and the pursuit of social or environmental goals.”
Published 7 July 2019
My PechaKucha presentation!
In early May, Philip was invited by the Gloucester Cultural Trust to make a PechaKucha presentation to an audience of local businesses and organisations.
PechaKucha is a world-wide phenomenon that originated in Japan. It translates roughly as ‘chit-chat’ and the speaker has to work from a PowerPoint presentation comprising exactly 20 slides that are on view for only 20 seconds each!
The slides are automatically changed, whether the speaker is ready or not, so every presentation lasts exactly 400 seconds (6 mins, 40 seconds), with no overtime and no questions until it’s finished!
My topic was DIY PR for Small Businesses and I explained how professional / business magazines are the most trusted media and how to write and structure good corporate PR material.
My 400 seconds flew by, but it was both great fun and a very worthy challenge!
Published 31 May 2019
Illuminating the Tourist Visitor Tax debate
Having studied the workings of the Transient Visitor Tax (as Bed Tax is properly named) in the USA, Philip has written this wide-ranging article that explains the scope of these taxes and the many and different positive uses that they can be applied to.
With the unremitting pressure on local authority budgets across the UK, the need for non-public sector financing for local tourism marketing and infrastructure becomes daily more important.
This article is based on a study tour of American cities undertaken by Philip and it included visit to Miami, Hampton (Virginia), New York and Albany and he returned with copies of the enabling state legislation and other important documents.
Published 16 April 2019
Hunan Hits the Heights in London!
London’s luxurious Landmark Hotel provided the setting at the end of March for a series of presentations delivered by the Hunan Department of Culture and Tourism, the China National Tourist Office in London, and representatives from VisitBritain and the British Council.
Our job was to work with the organisers of the event, a Bristol-based company called Has To Be China, which also has offices in Shenzen, to attract a travel industry audience appropriate to such a high-level speakers’ programme.
After pulling out all the stops, the organisers and hosts were delighted when well over 100 UK tour operators and travel industry media representatives turned up to hear these distinguished speakers explain the wonders of Hunan Province and growth of leisure travel between the UK and China.
Published 2 April 2019
Big cat tourism with Vesna Tours
In early January, we posted some travel trade PR for our Indian client, Vesna Tours, which promoted their Big Cat India tours in which guests travelling in the safety of expertly-driven jeeps explore two large tiger reserves, whilst staying in the nearby historic city of Jabalpur.
These tours take place mainly in the Bandhavgarh National Park, which is home to the largest tiger population in all India.
Published 21 February 2019
A focus on China
Thanks to a grant from the Department of International Trade, the Destination Marketing Group is now equipped with a Chinese website, see www.thedmg.co.uk/China and a Chinese version of our company profile, shown here on the left (click on the image to download).
We are also building up an impressive list of important clients from China, including Hunan Province, Hainan Province and the historic cities of Hangzhou, Nanjing and Sanya, with more to come!
Published 8 January 2019
Product development with Vesna Tours
We are now working with our longstanding Indian DMC client, Vesna Tours, to launch a range of special interest tours and experiences, aimed at UK Tour Operators who specialise in selling Escorted Small Group tours to India and the Indian Ocean.
Published 8 December 2018
No. 3 College Green – the best office in Gloucester!
The Destination Marketing Group’s offices are located within a Georgian town house (built c.1740) which directly overlooks Gloucester Cathedral (built c.1100 by William the Conqueror!). No. 3 College Green is the three-storey building to the left of the white-painted building which is Bishop Rachel’s office.
Until this year, the frontage of the Cathedral was an unattractive car park but it is now a world-class ‘shared and sacred space’ and part of the Cathedral’s Heritage Lottery-Funded ‘Project Pilgrim’ see www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk/project-pilgrim
I feel very privileged, and extremely lucky, to have been welcomed so warmly and made to feel part of the College Green community since early 2000.
Published 4 November 2018
Termas Papallacta Spa featured in Travel Bulletin
This amazing spa and hotel resort is situated just one hour from Quito, high in the Andes, and it’s therapeutic waters and thermal caves are heated by still-active volcanoes!
Published 2 September 2018
The Management Research Group (MRG)
Philip recently took over the administration of MRG Gloucestershire – a local networking organisation which meets to explore topics of interest to the county’s business community whilst enjoying a gourmet meal at the Greenway Hotel, Cheltenham.
MRG’s mission is ‘to help make Gloucestershire a world-class business destination’ and the first of this season’s six presentations entitled ‘The Future of Gloucestershire’s Farmland and Farms’ was given by Henry Robinson, former National Chairman of the Country Land and Business Association on the 1st October.
The next MRG event takes place at the Greenway Hotel on the 5th November when James Freeman, MD First Bristol & West of England, will explore ‘Getting to and around Gloucestershire’ and the future of public transport and travel in Gloucestershire.
Published 7 October 2018
The Tourism Consultants’ Network
Philip has recently been invited to join the Executive Committee of the Tourism Society’s Tourism Consultants Network, the UK’s leading organisation for global travel industry consultants.
Published 17 August 2018
Philip Cooke, was invited, in early July, to give a training session to the members of a high-level delegation of government officials from Hainan Region in central China.
This group of travel industry VIPs were in the UK on a mission organised by the Department for International Trade to learn about how best to attract more visitors from the UK.
Philip emphasised the need to work with those UK tour operators who specialise in selling group travel to China. These travel companies include China Travel Services, Infinity Holidays, Insider Journeys, Jules Verne Travel, Saga, Thomas Cook and Wendy Wu.
Published 27 July 2018
The Chartered Institute of Journalists
Managing Director, Philip Cooke, has recently been accepted as a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, one of only two professional associations that have been awarded a Royal Charter, the other being the Royal College of Nursing.
Membership of the CIoJ is primarily concerned with maintaining professional standards and ethics in journalism, and the CIoJ Press Card is recognised by all sections of the media and the travel industry.
Published 5 July 2018
Ecuador client nominated in World Travel Awards
We recently announced that one of our Latin American clients, the Termas de Papallacta Spa, Hotel and Resort, located high in the Andes and with warm and healing waters supplied by still active volcanoes, has been nominated for two categories in this year’s prestigious World Travel Awards 2018.
Located 3,000 metres above sea level (for comparison, the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, is just 1,340 metres), volcanic springs provide therapeutic and curative waters that also feed the hotel’s underfloor heating system and provide an ideal micro-climate and irrigation system that helps the centre’s eco-friendly restaurant provide guests with amazing organic vegetables and traditional Ecuadorian cuisine.
Published 31 May 2018
England’s World Heritage Sites
A VisitBritain Discover England Fund Project
Working as part of a high-level group of TEAM Tourism consultants, our Managing Director, Philip Cooke, recently helped deliver a World Heritage Site Product Audit which explored how England’s WHSs, such as Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey and, more recently, Liverpool and the Lake District, could develop more ‘bookable product’ and how they could be more effectively promoted to visitors from England’s most important overseas markets.
Published 30 April 2018
Training Chinese travel industry VIPs
On Saturday 5th April, at London’s Mayfair Hilton Hotel, Philip Cooke gave a training session to twenty members of the Hainan Tourism Development Commission who were in the UK to learn more about how the UK / China travel sector worked.
This presentation focussed on the need for emerging Chinese resorts and destinations, such as Hainan and Sanya, to develop close working relations with UK tour operators who specialise in promoting and selling small group escorted tours to China. These companies include Audley Travel, CTS London, Saga, Wendy Wu and Voyages Jules Verne among others.
It was a very positive event and China is fast becoming a potential growth area for the Destination Marketing Group as we are now helping Hainan, Hangzhou, Sanya and Nanjing develop the UK market.
Published 10 April 2018
Termas de Papallacta
Ecuador’s most elevated conference venue
Following our support for the amazing Andean Spa and Conference Centre at last year’s World Travel Market, we released a travel trade press release aimed at the UK’s conference and meetings sector, promoting its unique meeting facilities and emphasising the healing nature of its thermal pools and water caves, heated by nearby, but very safe, volcanic activity!
Published 2 January 2018
Nanjing Goodwill Ambassador appointment
Following the provision of recent travel trade PR and marketing support for the Chinese cities of Sanya and Hangzhou, Philip Cooke has been appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for Nanjing, a city of great heritage and commercial importance on China’s Eastern seaboard.
This appointment includes a strong connection with the Nanjing Tourism Commission, opportunities to attend Nanjing events, conference and exhibitions and to be a seminar speaker or travel industry mentor.
Published 21 December 2017
Music Contact International
2017 tour of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire
November 2017 saw Philip leading a 120-strong High School Choir from Atlanta, Georgia, on a tour of the UK that included concerts in St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh; St Patricks Cathedral, Armagh and St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin as well as visits to attractions such as Titanic Belfast, Edinburgh Castle and a very memorable paranormal tour of Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast!
Published 5 December 2017
The Sanya Tourism VIP Reception, London
For the third year running we organised a VIP travel industry reception at London’s Connaught Rooms on behalf of the Sanya Tourism Commission.
Sanya dominates the southern coastline of Hainan Island and is one of the world’s fastest growing tourist destinations, containing scores of 5-star hotels, a huge marina, championship golf courses and the world’s largest duty-free department store.
Published 14 November 2017