IT'S NO SECRET that the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus has been going through an identity crisis. So, after a review of its brand and with the overwhelming approval of its members, the association has changed its name to the Destination Marketing Association International.

The name change became official in July when 80 percent of member organizations voted in favor of the new moniker. (Only 66 percent approval was required). Seventy-four percent of DMAI's member organizations voted during the 30-day voting period ended June 30.

Organization leaders feel that the new name better represents the essence of what a CVB does: destination marketing. “It's simple and translatable,” says Maura Nelson, vice president of marketing and communications. They also believe that the name will have more appeal to potential members outside the United States, where the term CVB is not used or fully understood.

“In terms of our industry representation in Washington, research supports our belief that ‘Destination Marketing Association International’ is more contemporary and distinctive,” says Reint Reinders, president and chief executive officer of the San Diego CVB and chairman of the IACVB Brand Strategic Advisory Committee.

Two years ago, the organization embarked on a “Brand Leadership Campaign” to heighten the profile of CVBs — both inside and outside the hospitality and meeting industry — and promote their value to consumers, including meeting planners. Earlier this year, the organization even published Destination Brand Science, a branding guidebook for CVBs.

In March, the association proposed the name change, citing extensive brand research that showed that 70 percent of respondents had little or no recognition for the term “CVB” or “convention and visitor bureau.” Even meeting professionals had inconsistent experiences with bureaus, according to DMAI research.

Local tourism boards and CVBs will be able to decide for themselves whether to adopt a new handle. “We're doing it as a trade association, but if a CVB label works in a local community, by all means keep it,” says Nelson. However, now that the new name is approved, all convention bureaus in the association will carry an “official destination marketing organization of …” seal on their marketing materials. DMAI is encouraging every CVB to evaluate its brand in the community and determine if it is connecting with stakeholders, Nelson says.

The name went into effect at DMAI's 91st annual convention, which commenced August 2 in San Diego.