Destination Canada

Aligning operational reality with strategic vision.

The Client

Destination Canada are Canada’s national destination marketing organization, responsible for marketing Canada as a travel destination in 11 markets around the world. Their marketing department spans multiple regions and over 70 full-time staff, supported by over a dozen agencies and vendors.

The Challenge

The marketing leadership team realized that they were not properly organized to achieve the objectives outlined in a new 5-year corporate strategy. In particular, they recognized the need to add new capabilities, create greater focus and integration for teams and increase their ability to make timely decisions based on traveler data.

A series of underlying challenges were making it hard to engender a more nimble, focused way of working. For example, unclear roles and responsibilities were causing duplication of effort and an unwieldy approval process. This was compounded by structural misalignments. Some teams were organized based on the market they served, while others were grouped based on their functional speciality.

These conditions—coupled with a spike in the volume and complexity of ongoing work—were hampering progress towards the new strategy. Collaboration was harder than it needed to be. And speed and agility were a persistent challenge. As long as these barriers remained, the team wouldn’t be able to achieve the scale and impact they were after.

The Solution

Working closely with the executive team, we defined a new, customer-centric organizational model featuring cross-functional “squads” tied to geographical regions. Clear roles and responsibilities—defined via specific RACIs and well-defined workflows—were a cornerstone of the new model. The model also created structural alignment between in-region and head-office teams.

By embedding core functions in market-specific squads, we set the stage for a more proactive and data-driven approach to marketing. Squads were empowered to move quickly, with less explicit approvals required from senior leadership. The model preserved a set of global, functional leads at HQ to ensure quality and consistency.

This mixed-team model came with added bonuses: working closely together created more learning opportunities and deeper collaboration among team members that had previous worked in silos.

These changes were rolled out with a clear message: this change is about creating focus and alignment so we’re set up to bring our new strategy to life and achieve our collective goals.

The Results

Destination Canada are now set up to consistently accomplish more—creating and distributing higher quality marketing programs that attract travelers to Canada—without using more resources. The feedback from the tourism sector in Canada has been consistent: the marketing organizations and agencies that work with Destination Canada are finding it easier to work with them. In fact, many are adopting similar cross-functional organizational structures in an effort to obtain similar levels of focus, agility, and quality.

Destination Canada logo

Other work for this client has included:

  • Process mapping
  • Marketing technology infrastructure consulting
  • Improving the briefing process
  • Improving agency onboarding and management
“They’re not afraid of hard work and they’re flexible. I appreciate their willingness to change and pivot if necessary. And their determination to push for more impact. They’ve really helped us bring the spirit of continuous improvement to everything we do.”
Gloria Loree

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Further Reading