It's no secret that the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, responding to a changing industry dynamic, has been undergoing an identity crisis in the last two years. So it was not a surprise that the association, after a review of its brand and with the approval of its members, recently changed its name to the Destination Marketing Association International.

The name change became official in July when 80 percent of member organizations that voted elected to change the IACVB to DMAI. Seventy-four percent of DMAI's member organizations voted during the 30-day period ending June 30. Approval of two-thirds of returned ballots was required for the name change.

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

The name change was long in coming. Two years ago, the organization embarked on a “Brand Leadership Campaign” in an effort 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 published Destination Brand Science, a branding guidebook for CVBs.

In March, IACVB leaders proposed a name change to DMAI, 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 they should change their names. “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.

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