May 20, 2024

White Paper Series Brings Together Leaders in Academia, Tourism, and Data for First Initiative from Travel and Tourism Research Association Think Tank DMO Data Toolbox

(LAPEER, MI: JANUARY 11, 2024) – Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA), the travel industry’s go-to source for travel and tourism research, announced the upcoming launch of its new DMO Data Toolbox White Paper Series on January 11, 2024. The first-of-its-kind white paper series brings together leaders in academia, travel research, and destination marketing to create a standard of best practices on how DMOs can effectively utilize data and research tools to produce impactful and cost-efficient destination marketing strategies. The series is the inaugural product of TTRA’s new Think Tank initiative, at a time when DMO decision-makers have access to more data and research tools than ever before. “There has never been a time where more types of data and market research have been available for the travel industry,” said Amir Eylon, President & CEO of Longwoods International, a market research consultancy. “We’re excited to support this initiative to bring education and unbiased insights as to when and how to use this information strategically in the destination space.”

The DMO Data Toolbox will be published electronically in a series of white papers by North Carolina State University (NCSU) and is authored by Dr. Whitney Knollenberg, professor at NCSU’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.

The first white paper in this series is: 

Destination leaders have access to more data and research products than ever before. DMO Data Toolbox gives them a growing array of options to make decisions and inform their destination marketing and management strategies. Yet, as the tools available continue to evolve, it can be challenging to know which ones best inform each decision. At the same time, the decisions that destination leaders must make are changing, requiring them to be innovative in how they use the data they have access to. As the data landscape becomes increasingly complex, it is vital for destination leaders to have a future-ready destination data toolbox – a set of data tools that they can feel confident in reaching for when they need to make decisions to guide their destination strategy.

“This strategic alliance between academia and travel professionals generates reliable and innovative strategies that DMOs can utilize for making data-driven decisions,” said Dr. Knollenberg. “The pairing of academia with this group of industry leaders has been pivotal in creating an informative and unbiased resource that will benefit the tourism sector as a whole.”

New data and research products are emerging and evolving daily, providing DMOs new opportunities to make effective decisions. “This is such an exciting time in the data and research space – and we want DMOs to be empowered, rather than intimidated, by the increasing availability and diversity of new tools within the industry,” noted Candie Perkins, CEO of Datafy, a key vendor partner of the DMO Data Toolbox White Paper Series and a leader in big data within the tourism industry. “We’re thrilled to play a part in equipping DMOs on the tactics and approaches that can be best utilized from this data through visitation and stakeholder reports, economic impact insights, as well as advertising audiences and attribution metrics.” 

Several different topics and types of data will be covered throughout the series, including survey data, geolocation/credit card data, interviews and focus groups, accommodations and booking data, and future data sources for evidence-based marketing decisions. Further insights will equip DMOs to feel confident about choosing the right data tools to inform evidence-based marketing strategy.

This approach was carefully curated by collaborating with several experts in the travel and tourism and data and research sectors:

Members of the DMO editorial board:

  • Michael Rudowski, President of TTRA International, VP of Research & Insights at Visit Dallas
  • Stephanie Pace Brown, President at Visit Winston-Salem
  • Cody Gray, President & CEO at Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism
  • Lauren Phillips, Former Director of Research at Visit Fort Worth 
  • Nathan Kelley, Director of Research at San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Ashley Barfield, Director of Tourism Research at Georgia Departments of Economic Development, Tourism Division
  • Conrad Braganza, Senior Research Manager at Sonoma County Tourism
  • Lisa France, Director of Market Research at Meet Minneapolis
  • Gretchen Nussbaum, Senior Research Analyst, Explore Minnesota
  • Hailey Post, Destination Data Manager, Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Neha Shah, Director at Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Julie Gilbert, President & CEO at Destination Door County

Partner Vendors:

Media Contacts:

Mike Kierstead 
Associate Executive Director 
[email protected]

Jackie McLafferty
Director of Public Relations
[email protected]

About TTRA

The Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) is a global non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the travel and tourism industry through impactful research, education, and collaboration. Comprised of a diverse community of professionals, academics, and industry leaders, TTRA provides a platform for networking, knowledge sharing, and fostering innovation. With a commitment to driving sustainable growth and excellence in travel and tourism, TTRA continually strives to advance insights and best practices, shaping the industry’s future. TTRA members collaborate to advance the strategic use of research to provide leading-edge travel and tourism solutions that create a positive impact on people, places, and society. For more information, visit

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