Implementing the Total Engagement Model in DMOs

We all know that a business in the time that we live in now, has to do better than just offer a great product for a good price. Everywhere you look, you can see companies making an effort to target and engage every single customer individually in order to persuade them to buy their product, and, most importantly, to make them fall in love with the product or service they provide. But in the midst of all the enormous amounts of strategies that are available, which one works? Well, the Total Engagement Model does.

According to Frank Alpert (2010), there are only two demands in order to create the ultimate customer engagement and ‘level-5 customers’, which are that your brand should consistently communicate your value proposition, and your internal culture should be used as a tool to deliver a distinct value proposition and planned customer experience. Though this might sound easy enough, it is very difficult to make your message sound through each time you connect with a customer. This does not only mean that every commercial you make should include your slogan, no, also every employee – customer moment, every email, every letter and whatnot should come back to that one message you want to send out to all your clients.

This automatically indicates that you should be very meticulous about recruiting new employees and training the employees you already have. It is not just about them needing a particular skillset to work for your company, your employees themselves should also be enthusiastic, engaged to the brand you are selling and fully comprehend the company’s strategy to get that brand out in the world. The best way to accomplish this kind of employee engagement is by creating a transparent work environment, where their opinions matter and they are not just a disposable piece of the company. A specific company that has great employee engagement, is Google. According to Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith (2013), Google “communicates an environment of playfulness from whimsical doodles to April Fool’s Day jokes”.

In order to implement the Total Customer Engagement Model into destination management, you will need a clear customer value proposition, one of which the core will be used in every aspect of the customer engagement strategy. In addition, as stated before, you will need a good internal culture with engaged employees. The pitfalls you will have to be aware of include creating all the key elements as one, in order to create a working message, lack of consistency in the customer engagement journey, and to never lose focus of the customer’s satisfaction (F. Alpert, 2010).

Some of the challenges that DMOs face when it comes to customer engagement, is the fact that customers are now, according to Marketo (2014), more empowered than ever. Because of the internet, customers are now able to gather extensive information about anything they want, including your company, its culture and strategy, but also other competitors and of course, customer’s reviews.This development allows your customers to already form an opinion about your products or services, without even having experienced it for themselves.

Overall, the journey to a perfect customer engagement strategy is a difficult one, but it can be done, especially in the destination management branch. By creating a transparent work environment, for both your customers as well as your employees, in addition to consistently communicating your value proposition and utilizing your company culture for every step of the way, you can gain a customer’s trust, and most importantly, loyalty.


Alpert, F. (2010, June) Total customer engagement: Designing and aligning key strategic elements to achieve growth. Retrieved September 17, 2016.

Marketo. (2014, September 29). The 5 Principles of Engagement Marketing. Retrieved September 17, 2016.

Vorhauser-Smith, S. (2013, August 14). How the Best Places to Work are Nailing Employee Engagement. Retrieved September 17, 2016, from

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