The Smart DMO: A new step in the digital transformation of destination management organizations


  • Ulrike Gretzel University of Southern California, 3502 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA. E-mail:


smart tourism; destination marketing organization; digital transformation; tourism marketing; destination governance


Smart tourism development has been adopted by destinations around the world to strengthen their long-term competitiveness in light of rapid technological, societal and environmental change. Destination management organizations (DMOs) are generally endowed with smart tourism governance at the destination-level and typically see it as a great opportunity to prove their relevance. However, these organizations also face enormous challenges and often lack the capacities and competencies needed to successfully govern smart destinations. While recent literature highlights the importance of smart destination governance, it does not provide much guidance in terms of the functions and roles of smart DMOs. This paper presents a preliminary conceptualization of six smart DMO functions that support smart governance roles, namely mobilizing, match-making, managing, sensing, shapeshifting and stewardship. As such, it presents practical guidance for DMOs trying to implement smart destination governance and outlines the need for research on smart DMOs.




How to Cite

Gretzel, U. . (2021). The Smart DMO: A new step in the digital transformation of destination management organizations. European Journal of Tourism Research, 30, 3002. Retrieved from