Dear Team Richmond,

As we begin the new year, I’d like to take a moment to look at our achievements in 2017. We set out with a plan based on six pillars. As a recap, they are:

  • Establishing a strong destination brand
  • Accelerating experience development
  • Pivoting to digital
  • Growing the business travel marketing
  • Improving operational efficiency
  • Build Team Richmond

We began executing on these priorities by laying the groundwork in 2017 and we’ll continue to build on them in 2018.

A Look Back at 2017

One of our key pillars – improve operational efficiency – is very much a behind-the-scenes priority, but it directly affects stakeholders like yourselves. As a not-for-profit organization, we must be able to successfully execute an ambitious agenda within the constraints of a realistic budget. In fact, if you look at the chart below, you’ll see that our marketing cost vs. industry is well in line with other DMOs of a similar size. These results would rank us in the top tier amongst Canadian DMOs in terms of efficiency.

Marketing Cost Vs. Industry

This is largely the result of having the right people in the right places executing the right strategy.

A key addition to the Tourism Richmond team was the selection and hiring of Allen Chen, our Chief Marketing Officer. Under his direction, we tackled one of the organization’s top priorities: Pivoting to Digital. Allen lives and breathes Digital Marketing, having led large-scale digital campaigns at Best Buy and Blast Radius. New team members also include Tim Jang, our marketing data & platforms architect, and Teresa Rempel, our new sales manager.

Another key pillar was to establish a strong destination brand. Over the summer season, we worked with creative agency C&B to produce our Brand Anthem video and also to refresh the destination brand. In fact, 98 per cent of our survey respondents felt Tourism Richmond was headed in the right strategic direction based off the destination brand reveal in November – which told us we were doing something right. The new destination brand is set to launch mid-February to consumers and we’d welcome your help in making this a successful brand launch.  Keep an eye on our social channels for shareable links, videos, and more – show your Richmond pride!

Looking Ahead to 2018

While our organization’s targets have been updated for the upcoming year, we’ll continue to use these six pillars as our top priorities. Running an efficient organization also means we need to continually sharpen our focus.

One of the decisions we made was to transfer the operations of the post office in the Steveston Museum back to the Steveston Historical Society by the end of April. The Board of Directors and Tourism Richmond undertook a detailed review of the operation last year, and determined that running the post office was no longer a core function of our mandate as a destination marketing organization. By doing this, we’re able to better focus on providing visitors with efficient and professional servicing so we can best represent our stakeholders in the city.

Another big change to the organization was our switch from a membership and fee-based organization to a free, subscription-based stakeholder model. Previously, we operated like many other destination marketing organizations – by  collecting membership fees from small businesses, hotels and attractions. At last year’s Annual General Meeting, both members and the Board of Directors voted for the change to a stakeholder model. To sum it up, this move allows us to embrace all tourism-primary businesses in the city without impacting your bottom line. If you aren’t a stakeholder of Tourism Richmond yet, or know of a business that would be a good fit, sign up now.

We have a big year ahead of us. 2018 is a year full of opportunities and growth, not only for us, but for you as well. I hope to see you at our future industry events and please don’t hesitate to continue to reach out to me directly at I always look forward to the thoughtful exchanges and feedback from the community.

Kindest regards,

Bruce Okabe, Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Richmond

Bruce Okabe
Tourism Richmond Team Member
Chief Executive Officer