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Words to Adopt and Drop

Ted Sullivan
Apr 21, 2021 11:07:57 AM

Spring is nature’s way of gently nudging us towards renewal and resetting ourselves for the year to come. Just like flowers peeking through the snow, there are new words and ways of communication that when used, improve the way tourism tells its story to the visitor and resident community. So let’s adopt some new words and drop a few old ones.

Let’s Embrace a New Tourism Language

Adopt: Meaningful Drop: Important


Challenges are what make work and life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes it all meaningful. The word meaningful, having a serious, important, or useful quality or purpose, goes beyond important and focuses on purpose. Purpose drives our action and gives us the fuel to work through the challenges. As tourism regains its footing we must focus on meaningful interactions, meaningful communication and meaningful results. As my old man used to say, “This isn’t a dress rehearsal, this is the real thing! You can do important things or you can live your life always trying to achieve meaning.”

Adopt: Operating System Drop: Platform


A Destination Operating System is an integrated system that combines technology, science and the human context to generate insights and intelligence for real-time decision making. An operating system facilitates proactive decisions whereas a platform has long been fueled by stale data focused on retrospective decisions.  

A Destination Operating System runs quietly in the background blending multiple data sources to derive insights to help the DMO achieve its goals of stewarding the visitor and resident economy. For DMO’s to truly communicate their entire contribution to a community, DMOs need a system that is embedded in tourism and lives and breathes the DMOs challenges, opportunities and mission.

Adopt: Resilience  Drop: Sustainability


This comeback is a setback that did its homework, learned the hard lesson and moved forward. Being just a ‘sustainable’ destination is saying that we are working on giving the destination just enough nourishment to sustain or survive, by definition “meet the needs of the present without compromising the future.” It is time to up the ante. The definition of resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. The world is evolving and so must tourism. We have proven our ability to endure, and now we need to embrace our resilience and adaptability to any adversary. The more scars the more character. We are not sustaining, we are resilient because we evolve and thrive.

Adopt: Intelligence Briefings Drop: Board Report


Since we’re “springing” out of our old industry cliches this quarter, let’s finally drop the 100-page board report. Our goal is a more transformative DMO, so let’s provide intelligence that is focused on outcomes for the betterment of the community. Inspired by the President's Daily Briefing, an all-source intelligence product summarized from all agencies within the government to provide the president with new intelligence warranting analysis of international situations, Intelligence Briefings are transformative intelligence that drives decision making, strategic discussion and problem solving. Imagine the transformation in your community when your board receives an “Intelligence Briefing from James Bond.”

Adopt: Agility Drop: Pivot


We have proven our ability to pivot and bravo for all of us who have survived the past year. But now it is time to progress because by definition, pivot simply means a turn of direction. So essentially, we can pivot a few times and be right back where we started. I don’t know about you but I’m done with travel guides, 800 numbers and welcome center surveys. Tourism’s resiliency is based on agility. Agility means that you are faster than your competition in an industry in which agile time frames are measured in seconds and hours, not months, or years.

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