Laura Plant Tourism Consulting
Laura has been fortunate enough to work in the tourism industry since 1999 (longer if you count her years on the front lines of customer service in Whistler). She enjoys seeing people recognize the role that tourism plays in improving the social, environmental and economic aspects of their communities. But even more she enjoys assisting organizations with delivering on the business of tourism.
While working with Destination British Columbia (formerly Tourism BC) for over 12 years, she managed the Community Tourism Foundations program that assisted in creating over 95 tourism plans in BC, many resulting in the creation of Destination Management Organizations (DMOs). The accompanying Community Tourism Opportunities cooperative marketing program assisted with hundreds of tourism destination marketing projects each year by matching funds with local projects.
Working with many DMOs provided insight into the successes and challenges and enabled her division to evolve and continue offering new programs. In 2011, her team introduced the Governing for Success: Enhancing Board Performance workshop to assist DMO boards and staff with the many activities of running a successful organization.
In addition, she managed the sport tourism program that worked with community DMOs in BC and assisted in growing the Tourism Business Essentials series of guides from two to over 10 titles. These guides, and some accompanying workshops, are aimed at tourism operators to assist them with learning more about the tourism industry and how to build their businesses.
Laura worked with government programs, researched grant opportunities and reviewed Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) applications and renewals.
In her current role, Laura maintains a part-time contract with the Tourism Industry Association of BC as Communications & Membership Support Manager; is a part-time contracted Advisor on the Destination BC team assisting the Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast and Sea to Sky planning areas with implementing their Destination Development Strategies; and assists DMOs with annual strategic planning and reporting.
Working in the tourism industry in British Columbia for over 20 years has provided Laura with the knowledge and experience to assist Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) and their stakeholders.
Laura has worked collaboratively with other consultants on projects, combining various skill sets to complete projects such as the Resort Municipality Initiative program review. Laura also assists DMOs and associations to activate projects that require temporary resourcing such as grant applications, funded programs with specific deliverables and timelines, etc.
DMOs act in a support role in communities, marketing the destination for the benefit of the tourism operators and all the residents and visitors. It is a role that requires a solid foundation beginning with board governance and clarity of roles. The logistics of running an organization include human resources and technology needs along with adequate sustainable funding. Finally, strategic annual planning and measurable results need be provided in an accountable and transparent manner to stakeholders and funders.
Creation/updating of tourism strategic plans
Facilitating annual strategic planning sessions
Assistance with plan implementation / project management
Laura has assisted numerous BC destinations with their Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT / aka “hotel tax”) applications and/or renewal processes, including creating five-year strategic plans and one-year tactical plans. With a background in reviewing MRDT applications for Destination BC, Laura is familiar with the MRDT process, understands the program requirements and can assist destinations to manage this process through to successful application and/or renewal submission.
Laura can assist in addressing the following tactics:
MRDT applications and/or renewals
MRDT annual reporting and annual tactic planning
Sport & Event Tourism
Sport Tourism has been a focus of Laura’s since working with 2010 Legacies Now and BC communities who were excited about pre-Olympic hosting opportunities. Laura was involved in co-developing programs for communities who were inventorying their hosting facilities and strategic planning their sport event calendars. A sport tourism guide, workshops and other strategic planning resources were developed for tourism industry stakeholders. Most recently Laura has worked with communities to develop sport/event tourism strategies that include tactics for bidding and hosting events and supporting local event hosts..
Tourism Dawson Creek
Tourism Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows
City of Langford
City of Merritt
City of Dawson Creek
Larose Research & Strategy / Fraser Valley Regional District
Destination British Columbia
Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC) – Manager, Communications & Membership Support (part-time contract)