• Kay Walten

Small Business Make a Destination Great

Since tourism and travel have come to a standstill, I have been thinking outside the box, exploring employment opportunities with destination marketing organizations (DMO) and chambers of commerce. What drives me to look into these arenas was my past experience in the Riviera Maya.


Loco Gringo was started well before the Riviera Maya was born and its DMO. I like to think we were the unofficial DMO of the area promoting the destinations, business, community, culture, and environment. What irks me even today is that the DMO never embraced the company or many, if any, small and mediums size businesses in the area. The DMO focused its efforts and support on the more prominent large companies, national and international. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME's) are an essential part of a destination's ability to adapt to the individual tourist's ever-changing requirements and desires. I understand that DMO's and chambers often have a membership, "pay-to-play" business model. Still, this model excludes the bulk of small and medium businesses that deliver much of the visitors' service and experience.


It would behoove regional/local business associations and marketing groups to offer options to assist small and medium-sized businesses, be it training, area events, and information, disaster protocols, and marketing opportunities. As smaller businesses grow, they can then afford to join or contribute financially. Destination marketing organizations should look for ways to provide value to small and medium-sized business owners, helping them succeed and deliver a quality experience to the people visiting the area. Now more than ever, businesses need the assistance of regional organizations. With COVID-19, business associations can provide value helping small companies pivot to a new normal through training in health and safety, quality service, and maximizing revenues.