The Business of Meetings – Episode 126: The Role of a DMO with Junior Tauvaa
We are delighted to be speaking with another rock star in our industry today! Junior Tauvaa is the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Visit Anaheim.
Junior has had an amazing career! He shares some stories, ideas, and insights about how the CVB (Convention and Visitor Bureau) evolved to become the DMO (Destination Management Organization) and what today’s younger generation is looking for in terms of marketing. He also gets into sales, marketing, and influencers.
We hope you enjoy listening to our fascinating conversation with Junior Tauvaa today!
Junior Tauvaa: Chief Sales Officer, Visit Anaheim
Junior Tauvaa has served as Chief Sales Officer at Visit Anaheim since October 2013.
Tauvaa leads sales and marketing teams for Visit Anaheim to increase Anaheim’s market share and customer satisfaction in the meetings and leisure market. He also leads Orange County Sports Commission in positioning Anaheim/Orange County as a premier sports destination. Tauvaa is very involved with meetings and events industry on initiatives to ensure the Anaheim/Orange County brand continues to be a thought leader in the industry.
Tauvaa was previously Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships with Meeting Professional International (MPI) and the MPI Foundation, the largest global meeting and event industry association for seven years. He was previously with Los Angeles Tourism Board for more than ten years and held several key leadership roles.
Tauvaa held different volunteer leadership positions with Destination International (DI), Events Industry Council (EIC), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), and Meeting Professionals International Foundation (MPIF) as well as several technology companies throughout his career. He is currently serving in volunteer leadership positions at DI and EIC.
Tauvaa earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from California Polytechnic University.
Junior started his career in the world of business consulting. One of his clients was Hilton Hotels, and he got introduced to the meeting and events industry when he got hired by Bob Moore, who had been with Hilton Hotels before taking a job with the LA Convention and Visitors Bureau (now known as the LA Tourism Bureau).
LA Convention Bureau
When Junior started working at the LA Convention Bureau, he grew to understand what CVBs were about, who their clients were, and how they made money. He spent almost eleven years working there and then moved over to MPI.
He spent about seven years at MPI, growing and expanding their chapter and membership site into the European, Asia-Pacific, and Latin American markets. Through MPI, he got to understand the business from a global perspective.
Junior returned to California to head up the sales side of Visit Anaheim and eventually took on the marketing and sports commission sides too. He considered going to Visit Anaheim as coming home.
There are many professions within our industry, from the management side to sales, marketing, finance, communication, social, and technology.
Figuring things out
When Junior was in Los Angeles, he wanted to figure out what the industry and business were all about. He also wanted to find out where he fit in and what got him going.
Junior’s approach to sales is all about finding solutions. He loves to connect with people, figure out their challenges, and connect them with others to help them find solutions.
When trying to find solutions, it helps to have a variety of personalities and voices because they will offer diverse opinions and perspectives and make the conversation much richer.
When Junior joined the industry, they were known as CVB (Convention and Visitor Bureau). Back then, most DMOs focused on marketing their destination and bringing visitors, meetings, and events there.
Today, DMOs also look at destination development to make sure that their cities get developed in a way that works for both visitors and residents of the destination. Today’s DMOs also work with local communities to help them understand the economic impact of visitors, meetings, and events and rally their support.
The role of the DMO
The role of the DMO is to communicate the uniqueness of every hotel and venue in its destination and inform visitors about what locals do for leisure and business.
The role of DMOs
DMOs ensure that every organization coming to their destination has a successful event. Their biggest role is to support the organizers and business leaders that bring people to their destination. (That also includes supporting their staff and local communities.)
Since the pandemic, re-staffing has become a big issue for DMOs, hotels, and many other areas across the industry. The benefits employees are looking for today differ from what they wanted before the pandemic, and employers today require different skill sets.
Visit Anaheim is working with universities and using platforms like LinkedIn to promote the positions they are looking to fill. They understand that they need to work harder, from a management standpoint, to bring their teams together, communicate, and ensure that their culture and core values do not get lost when their team members work remotely.
A lot has changed when it comes to marketing. In the past, Visit Anaheim did a lot of advertising. Today, they do less advertising, they have shifted to using video as a marketing component, and their content is all digital. Social media and working with influencers to bring their message to different generations have also become parts of their current marketing strategy. They also strive to get their message out via traditional media and be a thought-leader in the industry by sponsoring various industry-associated organizations.
They select authentic people, people connected to their destination, or those who understand their destination or event design as their influencers.
Measuring the success of their influencers
They measure the success of their influencers by looking at everything from impressions to followers to referrals and bookings. The right metric to measure the success of their influencers is evolving as technology improves.
A vendor will soon be talking to them about the metaverse. After that, they will know more about where the industry is going. Then they will decide where to put their resources to get their message out to the marketplace.
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