Destination Ready Timeline & FAQ
2021-22 APPLICATION TIMELINE
- October 25: Applications Open
- October 26 at 1:30 p.m. PST: Destination Ready 2021-22 Information Session
- November 15 9 a.m. PST: Applications Due
- November 19: Destination Selection Announcements
2021-22 PROGRAM ACTIVITIES & TIMELINE
- December-January: Destination baseline report (consultant led)
- January-March: Destination assessment (community + consultant)
- March-June: Destination Ready project proposal(s) development (community + consultant)
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org will be posted here.
Q: Who is this program for?
A: This program is geared towards destinations seeking technical assistance to identify strategic tourism product development opportunities and consultant support to develop competitive funding proposals and assist in implementation of awarded projects. Destination Marketing/Management Organizations, Chambers of Commerce and Oregon’s nine federally-recognized tribal governments are the only entities eligible to apply on behalf of a destination.
Q: What is the scope of the Destination Ready Assessment?
A: The assessment will give destinations the opportunity to review its primary visitor experiences (things that motivate people to visit the community). The assessment will inform the identification of priority projects that can enhance and bolster these key visitor experience areas.
Q: If our community already knows our priorities and just needs funding for specific shovel-ready projects, would this be a good program to apply for?
A: No. One of the main benefits of this cycle is the added support and technical assistance around determining strategic priorities. If your area has already done this work, it would be duplicative process & excessive use of potentially limited capacity. Please consider waiting for other opportunities, including grant programs, that provide funding without additional process.
Q: If our community already has a primary project in mind, but wants to complete this process to determine other connecting potential projects, would this be a good program to apply for?
A: It depends. This program will help your destination evaluate the primary visitor experiences or attractions. And if the project aligns with the findings and is the priority focus to move forward, this is excellent synergy. However, if the project does not align, the use of this assessment process may create a divergent pathway tapping capacity and will not lead to further bolstering success of funding that initial project. This assessment is not intended to lead to a predetermined outcome since this would be likely duplicative of efforts your destination has already been through.
Q: Are applications prioritized on a first come, first served basis?
A: No, all applications will be reviewed at the same time following the close of the application period on Nov. 15.
Q: If our community applies, does that prevent another destination in our region from receiving this support too?
A: While this is a competitive process, there is not a set number of destination awards per region. We expect applications from all across the state – the more applications, the more competitive the process. That said, we will not award the same destination twice in the same cycle due to the duplicative nature (such as a Destination Ready award for all of the Southern Oregon Coast as well as an award to the Bandon Chamber of Commerce).
Q: Regarding the geographic design of the destination in the application, can we focus just on our community’s main street area?
A: This program is tooled to provide support from a holistic lens around the destination – which would include all key product development areas. Instead of focusing the geography and assessment on only the Main Street area, focus on the community and all key assets quintessential to the visitor experience. Your downtown core or business district will likely be one key pillar of the assessment – but it would be a disservice to the greater area to have it be the only focus. You would also want to consider how your other key products (like culinary/ag or outdoor recreation) tie to your downtown and/or commerce areas since that is often where economic impact occurs.
Q: Is there a way to preview the questions included in the Foundant application for this program?
A: Yes. You can preview the questions included in the application in this PDF for planning purposes. Note that the PDF is not an alternate method to apply. Only submissions through the Foundant system will be considered.
Q: Can private/for-profit business apply to the program?
A: For-profits may be supported by Destination Ready projects and funding, but the applicant/fiscal agent for the destination must be one of the following organization types:
- Destination Marketing/Management Organization or Chamber of Commerce
- Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribal governments
Q: Our community isn’t represented by a Destination Marketing/Management Organization or Chamber of Commerce. What now?
A: If your community is not represented by one of these types of organizations, it’s likely that there is more foundational work that could happen to support the destination in advance of pursing this program. We recommend connecting with the Oregon Destination Association and/or your Regional Destination Marketing/Management Organization to discuss how to engage as a community in the tourism ecosystem.
Q: What if our community has been through a recent Oregon Tourism Studio (OTS) program? How does that impact our submission?
A: If you have participated in an Oregon Tourism Studio recently, or even not-so-recently, this program could still be for you. Destinations have been dramatically impacted in the last couple years by COVID-19, wildfires, and political unrest. This impact to communities has altered the tourism landscape. While there is no preference given to OTS communities, destinations demonstrating staff capacity and experience in implementing development and management projects are more competitive.
Q: Our area just completed an extensive strategic plan on tourism – are we the right fit for this next cycle of Destination Ready?
A: If you’ve recently gone through an extensive strategic plan, this process is likely not necessary for your area. This program is geared towards destinations seeking technical assistance to identify strategic product development opportunities and consultant support to develop competitive funding proposals. If you’ve already developed an extensive plan, much of this could be duplicative.
Q: Our destination has a collaborative tourism alliance representing multiple communities in our county. We have a DMO for one of those communities but their jurisdiction is only that one community – we also have a multi-county DMO that could choose us as a subset of their jurisdiction but that isn’t the best fit either. How should we move forward as a lead applicant?
A: Great question – and challenging when you have formal DMOs operating at a ‘too small’ and ‘too large’ option. You do have a subregional alliance effectively operating as a destination management and marketing organization – this middle size is inclusive of the communities that are seen as a destination from the visitor perspective. In your specific case, you also have history & experience implementing tourism projects. We would recommend that you apply as the alliance with those defined boundaries. Additionally, we would encourage your alliance to formalize the function of a DMO by communicating with the Oregon Destination Association as well.
Q: Is it okay if your DMO is part of a city or county government office? (e.g. Explore Troutdale managed by the city of Troutdale)
A: Yes, DMOs that are led by municipal governments are permitted to apply.
Q: What if we are both a DMO and a Chamber? Which entity would be best to use?
A: This depends on the capacity and scope of the entities. This program is focused primarily on tourism destination development and stewardship, so that organization that most commonly addresses these issues and that has capacity to do so should apply.
Q: Our DMO is relatively new and has not gone through the Oregon Tourism Studio process, nor have we completed any tourism development projects. Our city did develop a Strategic Tourism Plan in 2016 and is in the process of sourcing a contractor to update the plan. Would we be eligible to apply for this program and possibly connect it with the city’s contractor?
A: Regarding eligibility, yes – it sounds as though you have a functioning DMO that has received it’s designated 501-c-3 tax status and is connected to the Oregon Destination Association. Please consider the capacity that the DMO staff can allocate to see whether this would be a good fit – having capacity to implement does make an application more competitive. Travel Oregon is offering a small stipend to support this process – that could be potentially used toward the contractor used in the 2016 plan rather than the DMO itself.
CAPACITY & PARTNER ENGAGEMENT
Q: Is it a requirement to get letter of support from RDMO?
A: No, RDMO support and/or collaboration is encouraged but not required.
Q: Is there a recommended minimum for organization capacity in terms of paid ?
A: While every organization is different, it’s recommended to have at least two staff who can dedicate some time to this project. Work plans and capacity certainly come into play. The more staff who are able to share the weight of time investment in this process, the better, but we have intentionally built this program with fortified capacity though external contractors to support destinations in successfully completing this cycle of Destination Ready.
Q: In determining org capacity…do you have sense of the hours per week needed to make participation successful?
A: Related to the question above, we anticipate this project to take approximately 5 hours per week of paid staff time between January 3 and the end of March.
Q: Will destinations that go through this program receive funding to implement destination projects?
A: Travel Oregon has designed this program to support communities in both identifying priority visitor experience areas and securing funding for high-quality, achievable projects in alignment with those priority experiences.
Travel Oregon has multiple potential pathways for funding destination projects. Destinations that successfully complete a Destination Ready Assessment and develop achievable project proposals will be very competitive applicants for these funding streams. As part of the Destination Ready program, Travel Oregon will work with selected destinations to successfully complete funding requests and applications.
Q: Does the organization that leads the Destination Ready Assessment process need to be the same one to apply for project implementation funds?
A: No. Any eligible entity or organization in the destination geography can apply for project funding, but should do so in a manner informed by the destination assessment. For example, if the assessment points toward the need to complete important hiking trails, a stewardship non-profit or land management agency can reference that finding in their application for funding to complete that project.
Q: Will future 2022 Travel Oregon grant funding be limited to the 12 selected teams from this Destination Ready process?
A: No. Any eligible organization can apply for Travel Oregon grants. The 10-12 destinations that complete the Destination Ready assessment process will be able to reference assessment findings to develop and submit competitive applications to all funding opportunities internally and otherwise.