Destination On The Left

Nicole Mahoney

A podcast focused on the travel and tourism industry that explores successful collaborations, creative marketing ideas and best practices. Interviews are a mix of Destination Marketers, Industry Leaders, Consultants and businesses in the industry. Learn from professionals in the travel & tourism industry to share what they have learned and successes that they have achieved.

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Greg was previously the CMO at LifeLock. He is a seasoned executive with a unique knowledge of start-ups and how to create an innovative strategy and align it with practical execution to achieve exceptional results. Greg possesses a progressive and diverse background in Marketing (brand management, digital and traditional marketing, business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing), Finance (budgeting, planning, debt & equity raise, IPO), and Operations (process improvement, risk management, call centers, and reporting & analytics). He has over 17 years of experience, ranging from Chief Marketing Officer of a $1B+ public company to the financial lead of a start-up that went public. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Greg Lim, who gives his actionable tips on ways you can create meaningful connections with prospective customers through personalization and data. He demystifies how to incorporate personalization into your marketing by sharing his crawl, walk, run approach to implementing new marketing tactics. Greg also highlights the importance of collaboration between destination marketing organizations and how personalization can boost the success of co-op programs. What You Will Learn: How to deliver different personalized experiences to help a wide range of audiences and potential visitors in their trip planning Why differentiate landing pages according to interest then extend the customer experience to your core website How we’ve normalized bad communication and bad behavior in marketing through the historical limitations of technology Using touchpoints to personalize a consumer experience to engage and delight virtual visitors Approaching marketing personalization from a crawl, walk, run perspective with regards to technology Technical solutions that allow marketers to take control of their campaigns and integrate their social media channels Prioritize Your Website Marketing Invest in your website — because that’s where all of your social channels and your marketing are sending everyone. So, if you invest in your website, your website performs better, and you’ll get a better conversion rate and return on your investment. You can also build new partnerships and add value to your existing partners with your destination marketing site. Personalization can empower your team to go out and find collaboration opportunities. With your destination marketing site, you can create an exciting way to expand your partnership inventory and serve the different audiences coming to your website. Personalization Shouldn’t Be Overwhelming Gregory shares the common-sense middle ground in marketing personalization. He gives his insights on how to deliver meaningful experiences to your consumers that delight them and do it in a way that is not invasive. You want to create a powerful experience for them that will ultimately drive your business results. The most significant opportunity for the travel and tourism industry is to take all the micro conversations and engagements that we already have with our visitors then carry that same conversation through to the website. To learn more about Gregory and his company, Persosa, please check out the contact links below: Website: https://www.persosa.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregorylim/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/persosa Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teampersosa/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/teampersosa

Dec 1

44 min 32 sec

With a talent for creating special events that blossomed while working for my dad’s car stereo shop, I got my start in marketing at Frontier Field in Rochester and began serving as the executive director of the internationally known Lilac Festival. Later on, I headed the Canandaigua, New York Business Improvement District while also performing projects for the tourism promotion agency Visit Rochester. In 2009, I founded Break the Ice Media, with more than 20 years of experience in tourism marketing. I now host “Destination on the Left,” a highly successful tourism marketing podcast. As a business owner, I know what it takes to be successful. I founded BTI to help businesses tell their brand story through public relations, digital and traditional channels. I have the ability to uncover unique marketing opportunities and develop marketing and public relations initiatives that help clients build long-term success. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I reflect on whether 2021 has been an easier year than 2020 and why the travel industry hasn’t been able to make up the lost ground that we had hoped. I share the key elements that make up our culture at Break the Ice Media and explore our seven essential core values and how we promote and live those values. One of the changes to our work environment that COVID-19 brought was the move from sharing an office to working 100% remotely — so I also want to take some time to discuss how we collaborate and stay connected as a team. What You Will Learn in This Episode: The seven core values at the heart of Break the Ice Media Why the travel industry is still having to make adjustments to welcome guests safely How employers in the industry have the power to change the culture of our organizations and create places of work that value and respect their employees Why we are so intentional about the culture at Break the Ice Media Communication tools we use to stay connected now that we are all working from home Ways that your employees can give you feedback and insight into what they enjoy and would change about the company Our Values and Mission In my opinion, one of the key reasons that Break the Ice Media has not only survived but thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic is that we have leaned on our values. Transparency was an essential feature of navigating the challenges of recent unprecedented events as a business owner. It was so important to me to be very transparent with our team members about where we were in the moment, what the choices were, and why those choices and decisions could change on a dime. As we head towards the end of 2021, we continue to weave our seven core values into our day-to-day practices to keep what it means to work at Break the Ice Media at the forefront of our minds. Collaboration and Respect Our core values give us a clear understanding of who we are as a company, and understanding what we value makes it easier to make decisions and navigate the challenges of the road ahead. As a team, we devoted a lot of time to thinking about our core values and ensuring that what we chose really embodied the company’s ethos. Collaboration is one of the values that resonates deeply with me (as you won’t be surprised to learn). We are collaborative — it is the bedrock of Break the Ice Media. In our team, everyone’s ideas, input, and talents are valued, and as a result, we all feel heard, valued, and respected. To learn more about Break the Ice Media, please head over to the contact links below: Email: nicole@breaktheicemedia.com Website: www.destinationontheleft.com/summit Website: https://breaktheicemedia.com/ Twitter: @Break_TheIce Facebook: @BreakTheIceMedia

Nov 17

23 min 54 sec

President and CEO of Synthesis Management Group (SMG) Roberta “Bobbie” Goheen is a resourceful and committed leadership expert and Fortune 100 executive coach who promotes positive growth and development environments for individuals, executives, and organizational teams. With more than 25 years of world-class experience, Bobbie is a motivational force who inspires her clients to steer their personal and professional lives in the direction of excellence. She has worked with companies worldwide and organizations ranging in size from five employees to 80,000. Clients include international, national, and local C-suite executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and professionals looking for curated, practical tools to match their desire to lead others with greater ease and agility. Bobbie offers a multi-dimensional approach for successful business leaders and their workforce to achieve results through experimental learning and development. She utilizes researched and proven methodology combined with a style that is fresh, dynamic, and inspirational. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Bobbie Goheen about why following your dreams and passions leads to enjoying a more fulfilling life. She shares her insights and strategies on how leaders can enhance their skills using a build, measure, learn framework and how using this model can also help you stay motivated during challenging times. Bobbie also gives us the benefit of her leadership experience on how to prepare your team members to be future leaders and the importance of trusting your instincts and prioritizing your wellbeing so you can move forward with a positive mindset. What You Will Learn: Bobbie’s advice for leaders keen to maintain focus and keep motivation levels high moving through this challenging and disruptive period of time When you’re committed to finding a way forward, it doesn’t mean that you can’t change course once you start down your path — you can measure it and then learn, then adjust if necessary Why leaders need to stay focused on the possibilities, the opportunities and cultivate a willingness to go into the unknown, be uncomfortable, and learn something new How we can prepare our team to be future leaders, and why we need to reframe the process from delegation to development Bobbie’s wisdom on what we should be doing to maintain a better work-life balance Key takeaways that professionals should be taking forward with them from the disruption of the last 18 months Why the most straightforward way companies can grow leaders is to have very clear goals and be specific on the ‘what’ of the goal, but be less specific on how they’re going to get there The Call for Leadership Bobbie Goheen is a resourceful and committed leadership expert and Fortune 100 executive coach whose company Synthesis Management Group promotes positive growth and inspires her clients to steer their personal and professional lives in the direction of excellence. In this episode of Destination On The Left, Bobbie shares why she believes that leaders right now need courage, passion, and the drive to step up to the consistent atmosphere of change and challenge that we live in today. Bobbie notes that before the COVID-19 pandemic, if you were willing to put in the hard work and effort, then you had a good chance of achieving your dreams. But now, we know that we aren’t always in control of the changes in life, which is why we need to step up as leaders and trust that even when we’re not in control of external factors, we are in control of our choices. Leaders should follow a path of build, measure, and learn, testing the terrain as they go to ensure they are on the right track, and making adjustments to continue to move forward. Trust Yourself and Your Team As Bobbie says, having the confidence to trust yourself, block out the external chatter, and measure what is happening in your environment is crucial when navigating uncertainty. It’s also essential to build a trusted group around you, gain their insight and input, and use the ideas that resonate with you. Leadership is all about recognizing the possibilities and opportunities and being willing to go into the unknown, be uncomfortable, and learn something new. To learn more about Bobbie and her company, Synthesis Management Group, please check out the contact links below: Website: www.getsynthesis.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbiegoheen/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/getSynthesis Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/synthesismanagementgroup/

Nov 10

45 min 52 sec

For this second episode in a special two part series of Destination on the Left episodes, I visited the 2021 eTourism Summit held in Las Vegas, Nevada from September 20-22. At the summit, I was privileged to speak with fourteen attendees who are experts in the field of digital marketing for travel and tourism. In my conversations with today’s guest experts, I asked them to each answer one question: “Looking into the future, what innovations are happening now that you think will impact digital marketing for your organization or destination?” I’m so delighted to share their insightful and sometimes surprising answers with you in this week’s special podcast episode. In this episode of Destination On The Left, you’ll hear from these fourteen extraordinary digital marketing experts:   Chris Lukenbill – Co-Founder, Shrpa Ed Harris – CEO, Discover Lancaster Emilie Harris – Director of Marketing Operations, Bandwango Jake Brown – Content Manager, Visit South Bend Jason Holic – Vice President of Business Applications & Insights, Experience Kissimmee Kyle Johnson – Digital Strategy Manager, Indiana Destination Development Corporation Leena Riggs – Director of Marketing & Partnerships, Visit Rancho Cordova Marc Garcia – President & CEO, Visit Mesa Maria Skrzynski – Marketing Coordinator/Office Manager, Destination Ann Arbor Mark Romig – Chief Marketing Officer & Senior Vice President, New Orleans & Co. Nicole Stacey – Director of Marketing Communications, Visit Pensacola Ralph Thompson – Executive Director Travel & Tourism, Streetsense Tim Ash – Marketing Keynote, Trainer & Advisor Victoria Simmons – Senior Vice President of Travel, BVK Innovative Digital Marketing Experts at the 2021 eTourism Summit The eTourism Summit is a one-of-a-kind conference that exists at the intersection of destination travel and tourism with cutting edge digital marketing. It’s a unique opportunity for industry leaders, marketers, and destinations to come together and exchange ideas, collaborate, and brainstorm new solutions together. This year’s eTourism Summit was held in Las Vegas from September 20-22 and offered insights into digital marketing trends, advertising innovations and new ways to connect travelers with incredible experiences. I asked each of these experts the same question: “Looking into the future, what innovations are happening now that you think will impact digital marketing for your organization or destination?” Here are the insightful answers they gave me: Chris Lukenbill from Shrpa Chris discusses how the many disruptions our industry is facing create new opportunities for Shrpa’s clients to tell their stories within their own communities. He discusses why an increased focus on local communities has moved from “nice to have” to necessary to navigate the pandemic. He talks about why stronger communication is going to be an increasingly critical component of travel and tourism marketing going forward. Ed Harris from Discover Lancaster Ed talks about the juxtaposition of digitally marketing the simple life of the local Amish communities through modern technology and social media, and he discusses why innovations in technology like AI and machine learning are transformative tools that will reshape digital marketing in the future. He talks about the power of data in informing what content destinations and marketers share, and he discusses the importance of adapting to and embracing these emerging technologies to help meet travelers where they are. Emilie Harris from Bandwango Emilie talks about how the industry’s broad focus on innovation is creating new opportunities to integrate various products, experiences and locations into full experience packages. She discusses how important it is for marketers to understand how the process of booking travel is changing as consumer expectations are shifting. She shares how the “niche” audiences of the past are dissolving and how authentic, unique experiences are becoming the cornerstone of travel and tourism marketing. Jake Brown from Visit South Bend Jake talks about the role of data in travel and tourism digital marketing, and he shares why being able to track the success of campaigns by how much revenue they have generated for the area is going to be a sea change for digital marketers going forward. Jason Holic from Experience Kissimmee Jason explains a calculator tool his organization developed to help track key data metrics that they have made available to other DMOs, and he shares how it helps track media impact of your messaging through transparency and the dynamic narratives it can create. He explains how the tool uses 30 different data points to fine tune visibility over your metrics and help you communicate with four key stakeholder groups using language they themselves use to help you demonstrate the value you’re driving to them. Kyle Johnson from Indiana Destination Development Corporation Kyle shares how his organization’s transition from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development to the Indiana Destination Development Corporation has allowed the organization to expand their goals and cast a wider net. He shares why their goal isn’t just to attract visitors but to also attract talent to the state. He discusses the important role location tracking serves for the organization, allowing for targeted messaging. He talks about how Indiana has seen big success bringing corporations to the state, and he shares how the next goal is to bring more workers to the state as well. Leena Riggs from Visit Rancho Cordova Leena shares how her organization is focused on more and stronger data collection, and she shares how Visit Rancho Cordova is exploring options for engaging with and messaging in-market. She shares how the data is powerfully informing how Rancho Cordova plans their future growth. Marc Garcia from Visit Mesa Marc shares how his organization is focused on accessibility in travel as part of Visit Mesa’s larger Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. He shares how Mesa, Arizona has worked hard to become the nation’s first Autism-certified City and is now seeking to become a city known for its accessibility programs and initiatives. He shares how Visit Mesa has recently established the Mesa Regional Foundation for Accessibility, Diversity and Inclusion, which will be used to purchase accessibility technologies. He also talks about how his city is building what will be the largest youth and amateur sports complex in the country. Maria Skrzynski from Destination Ann Arbor Maria shares how her organization is working to strengthen its local partnerships and collaboration with other organizations and sectors to elevate the energy of the community. She also discusses the importance of unity within Ann Arbor. Mark Romig from New Orleans & Company Mark discusses how people are using handheld devices far more than tablets, desktops and other large devices, and he shares how his organization is focused on developing their integration with phones and other handhelds. He talks about the importance of focusing on the consumer’s needs and obstacles and staying ahead of the curve by meeting them where they are. Nicole Stacey from Visit Pensacola Nicole talks about how Visit Pensacola is reallocating their budget to use connected TVs to better reach people. She talks about the importance of transparency and honesty in messaging, and she shares how Visit Pensacola is utilizing targeted marketing strategies and messages to reach niche traveler groups. Ralph Thompson from Streetsense Ralph talks about how Streetsense is creatively using podcasts to build relationships with travelers in a more casual way than traditional messaging. He explains how even smaller, resource-challenged DMOs can take advantage of established podcasts to amplify their message. Tim Ash, Marketing Keynote Speaker, Trainer and Advisor Tim discusses how travel planning can take advantage of Alexa, Siri and other voice assistants and the casual, conversational way they work. He shares why it is important to understand the psychology behind how people make decisions, and he explains how evolutionary psychology can be the key to anticipating and guiding people’s decision-making processes. Victoria Simmons from BVK Victoria talks about how DMOs and destinations are becoming better at having in-market conversations with travelers and connecting them directly to travel partners. She shares how geolocation data is becoming a powerful resource for enhancing this connection with travelers. Technological Innovations and the Role of Data As you can see, many of the leaders I spoke with hit upon recurring themes around emerging technologies and new ways of collecting, collating and analyzing data. The outbreak of the global pandemic has created major strains and challenges on travel and tourism, but it has also given us a unique opportunity to reevaluate how we market destinations to travelers and how we can share our messages in more targeted ways and with larger, more diverse audiences. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing insights from the 2021 eTourism Summit and from these extraordinary travel and tourism marketing experts and leaders. As our world slowly begins to turn the tide against the pandemic, one thing is certain: by embracing new innovations and outside-the-box ideas, the future of travel and tourism looks bright! We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes! https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Nov 3

43 min 57 sec

For this first episode in a special two part series of Destination on the Left episodes, I visited the 2021 eTourism Summit held in Las Vegas, Nevada from September 20-22. At the summit, I was privileged to have the chance to interview fourteen attendees who are experts in the field of digital marketing for travel and tourism. In my conversations with today’s guest experts, I asked them to each answer one question: “What has been the biggest change in your digital strategy that has resulted in big wins for your organization or destination?” I’m so delighted to share their insightful and sometimes surprising answers with you in this week’s special podcast episode. In this episode of Destination On The Left, you’ll hear from these fourteen extraordinary digital marketing experts: Chris Lukenbill – Co-Founder, Shrpa Ed Harris – CEO, Discover Lancaster Emilie Harris – Director of Marketing Operations, Bandwango Jake Brown – Content Manager, Visit South Bend Jason Holic – Vice President of Business Applications & Insights, Experience Kissimmee Kyle Johnson – Digital Strategy Manager, Indiana Destination Development Corporation Leena Riggs – Director of Marketing & Partnerships, Visit Rancho Cordova Marc Garcia – President & CEO, Visit Mesa Maria Skrzynski – Marketing Coordinator/Office Manager, Destination Ann Arbor Mark Romig – Chief Marketing Officer & Senior Vice President, New Orleans & Co. Nicole Stacey – Director of Marketing Communications, Visit Pensacola Ralph Thompson – Executive Director Travel & Tourism, Streetsense Tim Ash – Marketing Keynote, Trainer & Advisor Victoria Simmons – Senior Vice President of Travel, BVK Innovative Digital Marketing Experts at the 2021 eTourism Summit The eTourism Summit is a one-of-a-kind conference that exists at the intersection of destination travel and tourism with cutting edge digital marketing. It’s a unique opportunity for industry leaders, marketers, and destinations to come together and exchange ideas, collaborate, and brainstorm new solutions together. This year’s eTourism Summit was held in Las Vegas from September 20-22 and offered insights into digital marketing trends, advertising innovations and new ways to connect travelers with incredible experiences. I asked each of these experts the same question: “What has been the biggest change in your digital strategy that has resulted in big wins for your organization or destination?” Here are the insightful answers they gave me: Chris Lukenbill from Shrpa Chris shares how the industry-wide disruption of the global pandemic has created a unique opportunity to share experiences and user-generated content. He discusses the challenge of creating and sharing great itineraries that go beyond a single viewpoint and that are available “where the visitors are”, whether that’s Shrpa’s website or elsewhere. He explains why it’s easy to find directories of information but it is often difficult to get a good understanding of the full experience a destination offers, and he shares how Shrpa is working to bridge that gap for travelers. Ed Harris from Discover Lancaster Ed shares how Discover Lancaster has focused on making greater, more meaningful investments in social media over the pandemic, and he shares how experimenting with alternative information vehicles like video has helped significantly increase Discover Lancaster’s social media engagement and following. He discusses why content centered on the local Amish community has been a big driver in this stronger engagement as people learn more about the Amish lifestyle. He discusses how the pandemic has highlighted a new level of desire from travelers to find unique escapes from our modern lives and challenges. He discusses how his team created five video ads highlighting activities that can be done in a pandemic-safe way in the area, and he shares the big results these videos have generated. Emilie Harris from Bandwango Emilie discusses how the biggest shift she has experienced working with clients has been greater focus on tracking bottom-of-funnel conversions rather than top-of-funnel inspiration-focused marketing. She explains how this information has helped many clients transition their websites into e-commerce engines, and she talks about how the integration of new website strategies and new tools has created exciting opportunities for clients. She discusses Bandwango’s work connecting communities with local businesses and crafting engaging experiences, through web-based free and paid “passports” that highlight client offerings while allowing Bandwango to collect invaluable data and traveler insights. Jake Brown from Visit South Bend Jake describes how Visit South Bend has been experimenting with and collecting data on a variety of ideas, such as advertising through Expedia. He discusses why Visit South Bend’s focus has shifted from inspirational top-of-funnel campaigns to the actual booking process, and he explains why the global pandemic has created new opportunities farther down the sales funnel. He discusses how the content his organization is creating integrates with their paid campaign efforts, and he explains why Visit South Bend is layering content to help guide traveler choices at all levels of the funnel. Jason Holic from Experience Kissimmee Jason discusses how he and his team have shifted their focus to in-state marketing targeting Florida residents and drawing them to the many experiences available in the Kissimmee, Florida area. He talks about using data to help the team reprioritize which markets they are advertising in. He explains why the goal has been to drive knowledge of the impact of the global pandemic on travelers, and he shares how leveraging the area’s unique ability to handle high volumes of traveler traffic has been an invaluable asset. Kyle Johnson from Indiana Destination Development Corporation Kyle shares how he was introduced to the concept of “bricks and feathers”, including heavy pieces of major content called “bricks” that can be sliced into smaller pieces of “feather” content. He shares how his team put together a scavenger hunt list of “stranger things” travelers can find in Indiana that connect to the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana featured in the Netflix series “Stranger Things”. He describes how that list became 12 separate social posts over 14 days that generated more than 250,000 organic social channel impressions. He shares how the pandemic put all of the team’s initiatives on pause, and he talks about how the team navigated the challenges of the pandemic using their “bricks and feathers” content to empower their social media efforts and drive traffic to exciting, pandemic-safe outdoor destinations in every county in the state. Leena Riggs from Visit Rancho Cordova Leena shares how the pandemic has created a unique opportunity for her organization to shift to user-generated content, and she shares how this has allowed Visit Rancho Cordova an opportunity to partner with local residents in a unique way. She shares how residents are creating unique hashtags and amplifying the organization’s message. Marc Garcia from Visit Mesa Marc shares how the pandemic pushed Visit Mesa to turn inward and form a steering committee made up of Mesa residents that has advanced his organization’s digital strategies and social media outreach. He explains why the pandemic has given Visit Mesa an opportunity to inform locals of what their organization does to support the area. He shares how the steering committee came about and immediately assisted Visit Mesa in formulating a strategy to deal with the challenges of the pandemic by marrying songs with photos of the region. Maria Skrzynski from Destination Ann Arbor Maria discusses how one of the big changes Destination Ann Arbor has made has been collaborating with residents and supporting local business through stronger connections. She explains how user-generated content has become a backbone of her organization’s marketing efforts and social media outreach. She shares how Destination Ann Arbor has been exploring new ways and channels to connect with local residents, and she explains why these collaborations are a win-win-win for everyone involved. She shares how her organization reaches out to highlight how they can be of assistance to local businesses and destinations. Mark Romig from New Orleans & Company Mark discusses how his organization worked to shift the perception of New Orleans as an “adult playground” and highlight how it’s an extremely family-friendly destination, by partnering with a group of “mommy bloggers” to share their travel experiences. He shares how leveraging influencers and social media can be an extraordinary way to connect with niche markets and get the message out. He also shares how Instagram has been a key platform to share the exciting sights in New Orleans, and he discusses how merging two competing websites into a single “one stop shop” internet address has helped travelers find information more easily. Nicole Stacey from Visit Pensacola Nicole talks about how “pivot” has been the key word through the pandemic for so many organizations in travel and tourism, and she shares how Visit Pensacola has used a multi-channel strategy throughout the full funnel to dig deeper into the “why” of the destination. She shares how sharing an authentic experience that goes beyond Pensacola’s famous beaches has been transformative for the organization. She describes how connecting with audiences and the things that inspire them has gotten easier through the use of real-time data. She discusses how the agility of digital marketing has been crucial for navigating the challenges of the pandemic. Ralph Thompson from Streetsense Ralph talks about how Streetsense leverages its experience in digital marketing to reach audiences and deliver measurable results. He discusses how the evolution of data collection has been an extraordinary asset for his organization. He talks about the importance of building relationships and engaging consumers both logically and emotionally, and he talks about how video is becoming a crucial component of digital travel and tourism marketing. Tim Ash, Marketing Keynote Speaker, Trainer, and Advisor Tim explains why too many destinations are “in love with themselves” and are focusing too much on polished visuals and not enough on the process of planning for travel. He talks about why it’s crucial to focus on how you can be helpful to your audience, and he shares how our brains interpret text, graphics and motion to determine what we’re paying attention to. He shares why it’s important to be conscious about the elements of your digital marketing to ensure that a viewer’s attention is being drawn to the right elements. Victoria Simmons from BVK Victoria talks about how the pandemic has given BVK a new opportunity to help clients make better sense of data without feeling overloaded through creating a data dashboard and investing in analysts to help interpret the data and translate it into strategy. She shares how the greater access to data and the ability to target consumers individually has transformed interactions and empowered destination organizations to better reach their audiences. She talks about why personalized content isn’t necessarily about having something new to say all the time but is about delivering content that speaks to the listener. Collaboration and a Renewed Focus on Local Residents As these extraordinary leaders shared, a key recurring theme is that so many of their organizations found new life and new purpose through the pandemic by collaborating with local residents and “turning inward” to highlight why sometimes the most exciting and unique experiences happen in our own communities. Another common theme has been looking beyond the top of the funnel and exploring multi-channel initiatives that target people throughout the sales funnel across a diverse range of communications mediums. I hope you enjoy this first episode of this two-part 2021 eTourism Summit series. Next week, we’ll hear from even more remarkable digital travel and tourism marketing experts from the eTourism Summit to share their insights and experiences. We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes! https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Oct 27

1 hr 4 min

Karolina Guilcapi has managed private luxury tours since 2006, endlessly promoting a hands-on travel approach. With a background from Johnson & Wales University, a school dedicated to food and travel, she has been deeply involved in the growth of the tourism industry. Specializing in Latin America, Karolina represented her product at countless trade shows, organizations, and events around the world, inspiring travelers to become lifelong clients. She has tasted her way across 40 countries continuously inspecting services, meeting local foodies, and searching out the next morsel to offer in her itineraries. She treats food like she does travel – an experience that should utterly satisfy you. In this episode of Destination On The Left, Karolina shares why collaboration with chefs and organizations across the South American continent has allowed her to build a thriving travel business even during the global pandemic. Karolina also discusses why anticipating and addressing travelers’ concerns and needs has become a cornerstone of her work. What You Will Learn: How immigrating to New York from Poland at age ten sparked Karolina’s passion for travel and exploring new places, and why she focuses her work on Latin American travel Why Karolina chose to start her company, Sated Ventures, and how it has taken off even during the global pandemic How Sated Ventures has carved out a unique niche by focusing on local chefs as guides to the unique flavors, ingredients and culinary history of the region What new skills and talents Karolina has discovered since launching her business, and what challenges she has overcome during the pandemic Why collaboration and being active within the local community as a helpful partner can be a powerful organic way to grow your business What changes, new challenges and opportunities Karolina expects as we begin to return to global travel Why understanding and problem-solving for travelers is a key component of Karolina’s work, and why seeing things from the perspective of the traveler is vital Creating a Unique Travel Niche Through Collaboration Karolina Guilcapi is an innovative travel expert who has carved out a unique niche for her company, Sated Ventures, by focusing on the unique culinary adventures and flavors to be found in South America. In this episode of Destination On The Left, Karolina shares why collaboration with chefs and organizations across the South American continent has allowed her to build a thriving travel business even during the global pandemic. Karolina also discusses why anticipating and addressing travelers’ concerns and needs has become a cornerstone of her work. Transparency, Being Helpful, and Identifying Partnership Opportunities As Karolina said during our conversation, world travelers often save the South American experience for last, preferring to tour Europe and Asia. However, by leveraging creative partnerships, Karolina is working to change that. Karolina’s organization, Sated Ventures, focuses on the unique dining experiences available in South America and works closely with local chefs, restaurants and other food industry organizations to create unique, once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences for her clients. By maintaining a tight focus on this unique niche and by working tirelessly to be helpful to her clients and partners, Karolina has been able to organically grow her business even during the unique travel challenges of the global pandemic. This extends to anticipating and understanding traveler concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and working to address them in an empathetic way. Karolina is truly a facilitator whose specialized knowledge of South American cuisine has allowed her business to thrive even during these challenging times. To learn more about Karolina and her company, Sated Ventures, please check out the contact links below: Website: www.satedventures.com LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/karolina-guilcapi-15670066/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/satedventures Instagram: www.instagram.com/karo.travels.and.eats/ We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Oct 20

39 min 9 sec

Melanie Esterhuyse was initially employed as the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of De Doorns Cellar in 2000 when the winery joined hands with local DMO, Hex Valley Tourism Association. As the tourist association could not employ someone permanently at the time, Melanie volunteered to step up and assist them and developed a passion for this rapidly growing industry. Over the past 25 years, Hex Valley Tourism’s purpose has changed from only serving as an information desk to taking on the role of a true philanthropist and representing the community in a more diverse way. By managing sustainable programs that will successfully and responsibly contribute towards the growth of the local industry and economy, Melanie and the Hex Valley Tourism Association hope to leave a legacy of endurance and steadfastness. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Melanie Esterhuyse about how this podcast has sustained her creativity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She shares how the Hex Valley Tourism Association stepped up to the unexpected challenge and used it as an opportunity to move the organization forward into the future. We also discussed the evolution of the Hex Valley Tourism Association and how it has helped her region grow tourism to a meaningful economic contributor over the last 25 years through creative co-opetition. What You Will Learn: How the Hex Valley Tourism Association has developed from the three original tourism organizations to the 20 now involved The four central goals the Hex Valley Tourism Association is working towards and how they are faring The creative solutions that Melanie’s destination has used to help them stand out from the crowd How Hex Valley are identifying ways that they can position themselves as unique and different from other similar destinations How the Destination on the Left podcast has helped Melanie, and her team put together a marketing strategy plan for 2022 Creative Marketing The Hex Valley Tourism Association in South Africa is identifying ways that they can position themselves as unique and different from other similar destinations. PRO of the association, Melanie discusses how they worked on a creative marketing strategy that saw them partner with travel influencers to help their brand reach niche audiences and markets. Melanie also shares how her team created the amazing video content for their social media channels. Managing Expectations in Partnerships Managing expectations is critical in a partnership, but how do you set the groundwork for a successful partnership? Melanie explains why clear communication and giving back to the community supporting them is critical to achieving long-term buy-in. We discuss how the tourism association tapped into the community’s collective knowledge to promote their destination and how Melanie is leveraging the popularity of similar wine country destinations to build on recognition and broaden the experience for visitors and offer them even more. Website: https://www.hexrivervalley.co.za/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hex-valley-tourism-4b628338/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HexValleyTourism/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/hexvalley We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Oct 13

36 min 41 sec

Sherrif Karamat, CAE, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of PCMA. He also serves as President of the PCMA Foundation and Publisher of Convene magazine. As CEO, Sherrif leads the vision, mission, and promise for PCMA’s global family of brands. He serves the greater business events industry as a prominent business architect, enabling our community to become a catalyst for economic and social progress, organizational success, and personal and professional development. In his previous role as Chief Operating Officer, Sherrif led the development and implementation of PCMA’s new vision: driving global economic and social transformation through business events. In addition to his responsibilities at the executive level, Sherrif also directed streamlining of PCMA’s content creation and delivery channels into one organization. He oversaw partnership, business services, membership, business development, and technology teams. As part of PCMA’s growth strategy, Sherrif has led a major data intelligence program and played a key role in the 2017 acquisition of Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP). A leader in the business events industry, Sherrif previously served as Vice President of Business Sales and Services for Toronto Convention & Visitors (Tourism Toronto). He has served on various boards and is currently a director on the Destination International Board of Trustees. Sherrif is a life-long learner, and in addition to completing his bachelor’s degree and Masters of Business Administration from York University in Toronto, Canada; he has completed postgraduate certificate programs at Wharton School of Business at The University of Pennsylvania, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. At Harvard Business and Law School, he completed a program on strategic negotiations for senior executives and a program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one on data intelligence and big data. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Sherrif Karamat, who I met at the Destinations International annual convention in Baltimore, Maryland, and whose insights I hope will inspire you going forward. Sherrif shares his thoughts on the importance of face-to-face meetings and gives an overarching perspective of the business meetings industry’s impacts on a vast range of topics and industries. We discuss why when we meet in person, we solve complex issues faster, how those connections will help form and sustain the meetings industry of the future, and why disruption uncovers new value and brings us into focusing on outcomes rather than outputs. What You Will Learn: Why the events industry has been sadly missed over the last 18 months The critical flashes of brilliance that Sherrif has found during the COVID-19 pandemic Lessons learned on recovery and change and how Sherrif is taking some of them forward How do we create engaging experiences and broaden our reach with technology Sherrif’s thoughts on how disruption will shape the future of the travel industry Why it’s vital to be centered around the people we serve, so they will want to engage with us Lessons for the Future When humans are faced with roadblocks, we start to innovate — and COVID-19 certainly threw up a few obstacles! Sharrif and I discuss the lessons learned by the travel industry, including how we can leverage technology to broaden our reach and engage with more people. Sharrif also shares why he firmly believes that in-person events will see a resurgence in the future as people seek out opportunities to forge meaningful connections. Purpose Driven Outcomes Disruption can help us uncover added value by challenging the status quo. In the travel industry, we want to center our events and organizations around the customers we serve and how we are solving their issues or creating value for them that makes them want to engage with us. When we rethink that status quo and shift our mindset, we can bring people together and focus on positive outcomes, not merely outputs. Convening Leaders Registration Page: https://conveningleaders.org/ Website: https://www.pcma.org/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sherrif-karamat-822b821/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/pcma_2/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PCMAHQ/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/pcmahq We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/  

Oct 6

19 min 9 sec

Brian Applegarth is a strategic voice and leader in the advancement of cannabis-related travel and tourism. He is the founder of the Cannabis Travel Association – an international non-profit organization that is the united voice of cannabis tourism and travel, Cultivar Strategies – a cannabis-solutions provider for travel destinations, and The Cannabis Trail – a non-profit dedicated to preserving and celebrating cannabis history and culture in northern California. Brian serves as a subject matter expert for industry organizations like the California Travel Association, Destinations International, San Francisco Travel, Sonoma County Tourism, Visit Greater Palm Springs, Visit West Hollywood, and the Las Vegas Chamber of Cannabis. Holistic strategy, innovation, and thought leadership at the intersection of cannabis tourism are the signature of his work. Brian was the sole expert advisor for the first-ever national research on the Cannabis Travel Audience profile in the United States. He is known for creating the Cannabis Effect Pairing method, a proprietary consumption method for psychedelics in travel, serving the visitor profile in a safe and meaningful way while spreading visitor spend strategically throughout a destination by positioning cannabis as a tool for targeted sensory enhancement. A world traveler with an appreciation for culture, passion, and human rights – Brian brings a global, expansive perspective to his work. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Brian Applegarth about the cannabis travel trend, and he walks us through what cannabis experiences look like when embraced by a destination. He does a deep dive into the various facets of the cannabis market, including leisure, business, and medical, and describes how cannabis pairs perfectly with travel and tourism opportunities. Brian also discusses how destinations can respond to the growing appetite for cannabis-related experiences in a safe and informed way. What You Will Learn: Ways cannabis experiences are currently being delivered across the USA and the scope for innovating in the niche in your destination The foundational values of the Cannabis Travel Association International, including advocacy, education, and networking Why the type of visitors who are seeking out cannabis experiences aren’t necessarily who you would expect The options for educating visitors on the uses of hemp and cannabis and developing a product that travelers can experience when they’re visiting your destination Creative collaboration and partnership opportunities in the cannabis tourism industry Developing Cannabis Experiences Cannabis comes in many different forms or product categories, and Brian describes the sheer variety of experiences available within the cannabis niche. From CBD relaxation tea to a spa day complete with a topical cannabis oil massage, destinations can leverage many creative options as part of their cannabis experience offering. Wherever your destination, there are opportunities to breathe new life into a region’s signature crop to create a new product that attracts a new tranche of visitors. Values of the Cannabis Movement Brian describes why he feels an immense sense of responsibility to ensure that cannabis visitor experiences are done correctly. His ambition is to elevate all of the opportunities that show the positivity and the power of the plant and encourage destinations to explore all cannabis’ uses, from sustainable hemp products to its medicinal uses. Destinations have an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the niche and do it right — to ensure that visitors have a safe and meaningful experience. Cannabis Dosing Scale: https://breaktheicemedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Dosing-Scale_Final_Effect-Pairing.jpg Website: https://cultivarstrategies.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-applegarth/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/cannabis-travel-association/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/bapples2 We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Sep 29

46 min 22 sec

Clark Twiddy is the President of Twiddy & Company, an asset management and hospitality firm founded in 1978 along the North Carolina Outer Banks. He was raised in Duck, North Carolina, and is a combat veteran of the US Navy and an alumnus of several universities. Clark has served in numerous public, private, government, and non-profit capacities at various levels, from volunteer to Chair. He was selected as the FBLAs Business Person of the Year in North Carolina in 2019 and is currently the President of the Outer Banks Community Foundation. Married to a native Texan, he is the father of two young daughters and enjoys time on the water and the guitar in his spare time. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Clark Twiddy about leading effectively during a crisis. Clark reflects on how he worked to build a trusting relationship with his customers even during the lockdown and why that allowed him to reap the rewards once things reopened. We also discuss how Clark’s company built capacity and value through digital innovation and how they work in partnership with the University of North Carolina in the spirit of co-opetition. What You Will Learn: Clark reflects on his experience managing his vacation rental business through the pandemic The two reasons businesses in the travel industry can fail How showing vulnerability builds trust How Twiddy & Company built capacity and value by leveraging digital tools Why Clark was so keen to engage with the broader community on a sustainable tourism project The creative ways that Clark has guided his company through the last 18 months and the key lessons learned Maintaining Visitor Trust As the pandemic took hold, customer confidence in the possibility of future travel took a nosedive. Clark explores the lessons his company learned about maintaining visitors’ trust and why it was so important to be honest and transparent — and he shares the three key factors that comprised their covenant with their customers. We discuss why it is so powerful to acknowledge failures and how it allows community partners and stakeholders to have faith in your business. Leading in a Crisis Leaders in the hospitality industry are predisposed to want to give visitors a positive experience, but that desire was tested amid the COVID-19 crisis. Clark explains why he felt it was important to highlight to his team that it was ok to make mistakes but that the most important thing was to learn from those mistakes. He outlines how they built their founding principles of reflectiveness and transparency and how he sees them benefiting their partners in sustainable destination management in North Carolina. Book: Memories of the Currituck Outer Banks: As Told by Ernie Bowden by Clark Twiddy Website: https://www.twiddy.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clark-twiddy-3b61a7133 https://www.linkedin.com/company/twiddy-&-company-realtors/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TwiddyOuterBanks Twitter: https://twitter.com/clark_twiddy https://twitter.com/TwiddyOBX We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Sep 22

39 min 7 sec

Douglas Ralston is the President and CEO of True Omni. With over 20 years of expertise in the digital and technological industry, Doug is a digital experience expert who reinforces innovation. Equipped with an industry-wide background in omnichannel, eCommerce, social and interactive digital strategy, Ralston steered technology businesses from different Fortune 500 companies over the last ten years. Doug has a core focus on how traditional organizations can rethink their engagement strategies, utilize technology to increase efficiency, drive revenues and still provide memorable personal experiences. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Douglas Ralston, who describes why he sees the digital visitor experience as a way to open new channels for revenue, data, and engagement. We discuss the evolution of consumer behavior over the last 18 months and how it aligns with recent technological advances. Doug shares case studies of big brands that have added an omnichannel approach and how destinations of all sizes and budgets incorporate similar strategies into their visitor experience. What You Will Learn: How creativity and innovation combine when applying an omnichannel marketing strategy How large brands are fully developing this type of strategy Affordable ways to develop an omnichannel strategy for your destination Tactics that destinations can use to gather data that helps them better serve their visitors How to leverage your current technology to enter the omnichannel world Personalized Information Understanding and personalizing the customer experience is the future for the travel industry, and omnichannel communication allows you to meet your customers where they are most comfortable. When you’re developing technology, remember that the more value you give your visitor in the form of information, coupons, or tickets, the more value you will get back in the form of data that you can use to understand and improve the visitor experience. Enhancing Visitor Experience The omnichannel approach to the visitor experience is all about allowing your customer to access the content they want on a device of their choosing to enhance their experience of your destination. Smartphones and mobile devices have opened up a whole new medium of communication, and if destinations can evolve their marketing on a digital level, then they will be able to open up new channels for revenue and visitor engagement. Douglas Ralston, on behalf of True Omni, will be part of the upcoming Louisiana Governor’s Travel Summit (Aug 24-26), Alabama Governor’s Conference (Aug 28-31), and eTourism Summit Tourism (Sept 20-22) Website: https://www.trueomni.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglasralston/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trueomni Twitter: https://twitter.com/ddralston https://twitter.com/trueomni We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Sep 15

45 min 33 sec

Annette Rummel joined the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureaus as president and CEO in 2009. In her role as chief executive officer, Annette leads the individual Destination Marketing & Management Organizations (DMMOs) of Bay, Midland, and Saginaw Counties and the Great Lakes Bay Regional CVB. This has allowed Annette and her team to invite the world to visit a place they are proud to call home. Annette has led through times of calm and crisis, always focused on positioning this Pure Michigan destination as a great place to live, work, worship, and play. During calm times, Annette serves her team ensuring they have the tools needed to flourish, and during times of crisis, Annette leads the team relying on their support. Annette understands that the travel sector plays a key role in economic development, as a community shared value and that data-driven, creative cathedral thinking must be deployed throughout the organizations. In addition to her primary role, Annette leads the Great Lakes Bay Quality of Life Council where she pioneers and manages the new Go Great Foundation and its progressive vision for tourism, economic and experience development. Annette has served the Michigan travel and tourism industry for more than 40 years. Prior to her roles with the Great Lakes Bay Region, Annette served as the CEO of the Saginaw County Convention & Visitors Bureau and CEO of the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau – Michigan’s #1 community destination. Annette was the originator, organizer, and operator of the World Expo of Beer, Frankenmuth Oktoberfest, and Frankenmuth Big Block Party attracting more than 250,000 participants. She participated as a founder of Zehnder’s Snowfest and helped organize the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival attracting more than 200,000 participants. Annette is an advocate for tourism at the local, state, and federal levels. She participates annually in Destination Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., served on the Destinations International (DI) Board of Directors, the DI Foundation Board. She was Chairman of the Advocacy Committee for DI Foundation for several years, and consistently produces and shares advocacy materials and concepts, inspiring other DMMOs to enact powerful, measurable change for the tourism industry. Annette is a graduate of Delta College, Northwood University, Rochester Institute of Technology (Master of Science), and Michigan State University (Ph.D. in Park, Recreation, and Tourism Resource Studies). Annette’s Dissertation Titled: Travel by People With Disabilities: A Diffusion Study Focused on Opinion Leadership provided her with great insight on the disabled traveler and the opportunities associated with services geared toward these individuals. Recently, Annette was an international adjunct professor for Rochester Institute of Technology and completed the 3rd DestinationsNext Assessment for the destination. Residing in Frankenmuth Michigan, Annette is married to William Rummel and they are the proud parents of two daughters, Elizabeth (Brandon) and Sarah, and grandparents to one granddaughter. Annette and William are members of St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Annette Rummel, master collaborator, travel trailblazer, and CEO of Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. Annette gives her insights on finding the win-win in collaborative relationships and why she believes in actively seeking out collaborators rather than sitting by and passively waiting for them to find you. We also discuss the additional crisis that her destination faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and her team’s creative solutions to serve their community. What You Will Learn: What Annette has done to really help Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau stand out from the crowd The challenges that Annette faced in 2020 and some of the creative solutions that her team used to move through them How Annette and her colleagues created the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau from three county CVBs Annette’s advice for listeners who might want to start thinking about potential collaborations for their destination What cathedral thinking means to Annette and how it has helped her during her career An Innovative Approach Creativity is enhanced when people feel able to suggest new things, and Annette describes why she values innovation in her team. She shares how the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau try to open their eyes to everything in their destination and pass on their enthusiasm to their visitors. We also discuss Annette’s enthusiasm for collaboration and how she engineered the creation of a regional CVB in the Great Lakes region of Michigan that took three county CVBs under one successful umbrella organization. Crisis Management Annette shares the story of the crisis within a crisis in the Great Lakes region and how her team at the CVB was able to swing into action to help accommodate those left homeless by flooding. She describes why they were so grateful for the support of their partner organizations and why the disaster underlined the importance of having established collaborative relationships in place. GLBRCVB Tourism Economic Development Overview thru 2020 Go Great Collaboration Chart Website: https://www.gogreat.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/annette-rummel-16909633/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gogreatlakesbay/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/gogreatlakesbay/ We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Sep 8

52 min 35 sec

For the final episode in a special three part series of Destination on the Left episodes, I visited the Destinations International 2021 Annual Convention and spoke with several attendees who are experts in the travel and tourism industry. These guests shared remarkable insights in their mini-interviews, and our conversations were focused on learning to adapt to the challenges we’ve all faced through the global pandemic and even embracing the disruption by innovating and getting creative. The brilliance each of these leaders shared is certain to be invaluable as we continue to navigate the pandemic. In this episode, you’ll hear from these extraordinary leaders: Adam Johnson – Sales Manager at Zartico Annette Rummel – CEO of Great Lakes Bay CVB Michael Hensley – Travel Marketing Manager at Great Lakes CVB Greg DeShields – Executive Director of Tourism Diversity Matters Jim Walter – Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Visit Cheyenne Andi Jaspersen – Experience and Marketing Manager at Visit Cheyenne Melaine Rottkamp – President & CEO of Dutchess Tourism Inc. Steve Powell – CEO of Destination Services Tiffany Gallagher – Eastern US Branch Manager for Civitas Wes Rhea – CEO of Visit Stockton Visionary Travel and Tourism Leaders at the Destinations International 2021 Annual Convention The Destinations International Annual Convention is an incredible yearly event that brings together experts from both within and outside of the travel and tourism industry, to exchange ideas and collaborative solutions for the many challenges our industry faces today. This year’s convention was uniquely focused on the challenges and opportunities we have experienced over the past two years, and it was my honor to speak to some of the extraordinary guests to get their insights into where we started as the pandemic began, where we’ve been, and where we’re going in the future of our industry in a post-pandemic world. Adam Johnson from Zartico Adam explains why the pandemic has taught many of us to be more nimble and flexible and taught us to see beyond year-over-year KPIs. He shares why he believes staying nimble will be crucial going forward, and he explains why working collaboratively with residents and local organizations will be crucial going forward. Adam shares why now is the ideal time to rethink how we’ve traditionally done things and break out of our habits and rituals. Annette Rummel & Michael Hensley from Great Lakes Bay CVB Annette and Michael explain why “Semper Gumby” (forever flexible) has been the theme they’ve attempted to embrace throughout the pandemic. They share how being creative and tackling immediate challenges while remembering long-term goals has been key. They share how data has been central to their recovery strategy, and they discuss the importance of not viewing disruption as a “negative” but rather as an opportunity to realign, correct for vulnerabilities, and innovate. Greg DeShields from Tourism Diversity Matters Greg talks about how the biggest positive disruption he has experienced has been seeing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) moving to the forefront of the industry in the last 18 months. He shares why every level of the industry needs to consider their DEI position. He explains why this greater focus on DEI is beneficial for the entire industry and creates opportunities to broaden messages and reach more people. He shares how today’s customers have higher DEI expectations from the travel and tourism sector than ever before. Jim Walter & Andi Jaspersen from Visit Cheyenne Jim and Andi discuss how disruption lies at the core of the work they do. They explain how their duties have expanded to encompass the Downtown Development Authority as well. They talk about why standing still isn’t an option and always pushing and growing has been key to their success. They also share how partnerships in their community have been powerful, impactful and important. Melaine Rottkamp from Dutchess Tourism Melaine explains why your ability to embrace change is key to your success and survival, regardless of the industry you’re operating in. She highlights how organizations who have embraced new opportunities have survived and thrived through the pandemic crisis. She explains how outdoor experiences have become key attractions throughout the area during the pandemic, with outdoor trails and gardens being instrumental “hidden gems” and revenue generators even as the indoor spaces have remained closed. Steve Powell from Destination Services Steve shares his perspective that “disruption” is nothing more than the introduction of new generational cultures. He explains why technology is reshaping the industry and will be central to the “new norm”. He talks about how the pandemic has accelerated changes that were already coming, and how the things we’ve had to sacrifice through the pandemic have given us a new appreciation for life and work experiences. Tiffany Gallagher from Civitas Tiffany talks about how the disruption has created opportunities for a brighter future by shining a light on things we’ve ignored and neglected for too long. She shares how the loss of tourism income and other pandemic financial impacts have shown us how essential tourism is to the overall health of our economy. She believes leveraging this new level of attention and understanding will make the industry stronger in the long term. Wes Rhea from Visit Stockton Wes discusses why he believes examining data will be crucial moving forward, and he talks about how using geolocation data can answer a number of questions and give us new insights. He shares how collaboration with vendors has been key over the course of the pandemic. He also discusses the importance of rolling DEI efforts into our organizations. He celebrates Stockton being named the most diverse city in the nation, and he looks toward the future and even bigger DEI initiatives and efforts. Embracing Change and Welcoming Disruption Many of these leaders spoke of the importance of not becoming entrenched in our old ways of doing things and instead focusing on innovation, new solutions and flexibility. Greater diversity, equity and inclusion in our marketing efforts and outreach will be crucial moving forward. And, for all the chaos and turmoil the pandemic has caused, it has also given us a rare opportunity to reexamine how we do things and challenge our own assumptions. I want to thank all of the extraordinary travel and tourism experts who shared their wisdom with me over this three-part special series. These visionaries and trailblazers are finding solutions to the unprecedented challenges our industry faces today, and they are paving the way for a bright future for travel, tourism and hospitality in a post-pandemic world. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing the unique insights and perspectives all 26 of these leaders generously shared with me at the Destinations International 2021 Annual Convention. Thank you so much for joining the conversation! Together, we can apply the lessons we’ve learned during the pandemic to strengthen our industry as a whole. We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Sep 1

29 min 49 sec

For this second episode in a special three part series of Destination on the Left episodes, I visited the Destinations International 2021 Annual Convention and spoke with several attendees who are experts in the travel and tourism industry. These guests shared remarkable insights in their mini-interviews, and our conversations were focused on the bright spots and silver linings they were able to discover during this unprecedented and challenging period of global pandemic. The brilliance each of these leaders shared is certain to be invaluable as we continue to navigate the pandemic. In this episode, you’ll hear from these extraordinary leaders: Tammy Blount-Canavan – Executive Vice President, President and Principal at Fired-Up! Culture Gordon Taylor – Vice President of Convention Sales & Services at Destination Cleveland Greg LaDuca – Vice President of Industry Relations & Visitor Experience at Visit Rochester Jack Johnson – Chief Advocacy Officer at Destinations International Jill Delaney – President & CEO of Discover Albany Julie Gilbert – Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Destination Niagara USA Liz Fitzsimmons – Managing Director of the Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Tourism and Film Shannon Lowery – Content & Social Media Manager for Visit Savannah Visionary Travel and Tourism Leaders at the Destinations International 2021 Annual Convention The Destinations International Annual Convention is an incredible yearly event that brings together experts from both within and outside of the travel and tourism industry, to exchange ideas and collaborative solutions for the many challenges our industry faces today. This year’s convention was uniquely focused on the challenges and opportunities we have experienced over the past two years, and it was my honor to speak to some of the extraordinary guests to get their insights into where we started as the pandemic began, where we’ve been, and where we’re going in the future of our industry in a post-pandemic world. Tammy Blount-Canavan from Fired-Up! Culture Tammy shares why patience is such a crucial virtue when dealing with the unexpected and the uncertain. She explains how increased collaboration in her organization has helped them navigate this complexity. She also highlights how organizations are emerging leaner and more nimble than ever before, reexamining their goals and adapting to today’s challenges and opportunities. She explains how smaller teams filled with “cross-functional ninjas” are advancing travel and tourism organizations in this new era. Gordon Taylor from Destination Cleveland Gordon explains why focusing on and celebrating personal and professional wins has helped his team navigate the emotional challenges of the pandemic. He explains why it is crucial to create a culture where people know they’re loved and cared about. He talks about how this same degree of empathy is important to extend to clients, and he shares how this past year has helped Destination Cleveland better understand the needs and challenges of their clients. Greg LaDuca from Visit Rochester Greg talks about how Visit Rochester recognized a need for increased diversity within their membership, and he discusses how Destination International helped him navigate the complexities of the pandemic. He talks about how Visit Rochester has worked to reach out in partnership with local businesses owned by BIPOC business leaders to foster greater diversity within the organization and a stronger reflection of the community at large. He shares how flexibility and empathy have been crucial for helping members navigate the pandemic. Jack Johnson from Destinations International Jack shares how travel and tourism organizations have found new purpose by shifting their focus from attracting outside visitors to working to serve their local communities, and he explains why collaboration within local communities is the key to bringing value to those communities. He explains why it’s important for destination organizations to maintain that local focus even as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. Jill Delaney from Discover Albany Jill explains how Discover Albany has used the pandemic as an opportunity to break out of their old way of doing things and innovate new, more flexible solutions. Jill shares how the pandemic sped up the time table for these changes and created an opportunity even for people who typically aren’t comfortable with change to reflect and shake things up. Julie Gilbert from Destination Niagara USA Julie talks about the growing importance of personalization in messaging to audiences. She shares how Destination Niagara USA is focused on testing to help adapt to swiftly changing consumer expectations. She celebrates the travel trade returning in such a strong, healthy way, and she shares how her organization is preparing for the coming months with a “bucket list” campaign (and sub-campaigns) that her organization has utilized throughout the year. Liz Fitzsimmons from Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Tourism and Film Liz shares how trusting other organizations within the industry and being open to collaboration has been key, and she shares how working with a planning partner helped provide a roadmap to navigate the pandemic. She discusses how the blueprint her office was able to create with their planning partner’s help has served as a guiding star and a focus point throughout the pandemic. Shannon Lowery from Visit Savannah Shannon shares how increased accountability on social media platforms has given her a greater sense of empowerment in her role. She shares how this increased accountability and ability to push back against harmful narratives has created a positive impression that has resonated with many of Visit Savannah’s followers. Flexibility, Empathy, and Collaboration The pandemic has brought unprecedented levels of upheaval to virtually every aspect of our modern lives, but the destination travel and tourism industry has seen some of the biggest shifts. Adapting to these challenges has required innovative thinking, new approaches, and strengthened relationships. As you heard from many of the guests I interviewed in this episode, there have been some powerful silver linings and positive experiences that have come out of the pandemic, things that we can take forward into the future. Leaning into our local communities, listening and being empathetic, being flexible and ready to adapt, strengthening existing partnerships and creating new ones will continue to serve the destination travel and tourism industry long into the future, even after we emerge from the pandemic. If we embrace the lessons this chaotic period has taught us, our entire industry will be stronger for it. I’m so grateful for these remarkable experts and professionals who took the time to speak with me and share their insights. I hope you enjoyed their unique perspectives in this second episode in our three part series. We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Aug 25

37 min 12 sec

For this first episode in a special three part series of Destination on the Left episodes, I visited the Destinations International 2021 Annual Convention and spoke with several attendees who are experts in the travel and tourism industry. These guests shared remarkable insights in their mini-interviews, and our conversations were focused on the bright spots and silver linings they were able to discover during this unprecedented and challenging period of global pandemic. The brilliance each of these leaders shared is certain to be invaluable as we continue to navigate the pandemic. In this episode, you’ll hear from these extraordinary leaders: Andria Godfrey – Vice President, Longwoods International Bree Nidds – Vice President of Sales, Discover Lehigh Valley Brian Bossuyt – Executive Vice President and COO, Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau David Holder – CEO, Clarity of Place Jamie Furbush – President and CEO, Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau Josiah Brown – President, New York’s Best Experience (a division of Famous Destination Marketing) Kurt Krause – President and CEO, VisitNorfolk Valerie Knoblauch – President and CEO, Visit Finger Lakes Visionary Travel and Tourism Leaders at the Destinations International 2021 Annual Convention The Destinations International Annual Convention is an incredible yearly event that brings together experts from both within and outside of the travel and tourism industry, to exchange ideas and collaborative solutions for the many challenges our industry faces today. This year’s convention was uniquely focused on the challenges and opportunities we have experienced over the past two years, and it was my honor to speak to some of the extraordinary guests to get their insights into where we started as the pandemic began, where we’ve been, and where we’re going in the future of our industry in a post-pandemic world. Andria Godfrey from Longwoods International Andria shares some of the key statistics and insights Longwoods International has been able to gain from their American Travel Sentiment survey throughout the pandemic crisis. Respondents have reported a high pent-up demand to travel, even during the most difficult periods of the pandemic outbreak. Andria sees this as an opportunity as we navigate the pandemic and beyond. The younger traveler demographic is a growing segment that presents many new opportunities as we move forward, and our messaging should keep these younger travelers in mind. Bree Nidds from Discover Lehigh Valley Bree discusses the rapid changes affecting our industry, and she shares how the Discover Lehigh Valley team developed new skills and strategies to adapt to the speed of these changes. This team growth has allowed people to truly shine in new ways. Discover Lehigh Valley has made a conscious shift toward content creation, and as team members have honed their on-screen presentation and writing skills, this has created extraordinary new ways to highlight the destination. Brian Bossuyt from Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau Brian shares how close partnerships and collaborations with stakeholders and business leaders have been instrumental in his organization’s success and their strengthened messaging. By bringing together so many interested organizations, the Visitors Bureau has been able to amplify their message. And these collaborations have had a positive effect on the community as a whole, creating a powerful ripple effect. Brian also discusses how their TV station has proven to be a valuable asset and an extraordinary communication and education channel, both before and during the pandemic crisis. David Holder from Clarity of Place David shares how the key to this challenging period has been the opportunity it has presented to re-examine everything we do and innovate new solutions. David shares how the greatest destination leaders have used initiative, new content development strategies, and a different approach that goes beyond destination marketing to drive their organizations forward through the pandemic. He also shares how it has become important for organizations in our industry to become more than just cheerleaders for their communities but to serve as a bridge between the community and the destinations within it. David says it’s critical for us to develop a comprehensive and integrated approach to marketing as we move forward. Jamie Furbush from Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau Jamie discusses how even simple, little things have become necessities through the pandemic and its restrictions, and she shares how seeing our spaces in a new light and finding new uses for these spaces can become a powerful opportunity even after the pandemic. Jamie highlights the role that collaboration has played for Frankenmuth, and she discusses the stronger connections that facing the many challenges has allowed her community to forge. Josiah Brown from New York’s Best Experience (a division of Famous Destination Marketing) Josiah shares why the biggest lesson he has learned through the pandemic is how much we all truly need each other. He discusses how the pandemic has brought both times of clarity and times of confusion, and he explains why collaborations have been crucial for helping each other navigate the moments of fog and take advantage of the moments of brilliance. Josiah discusses how generosity and idea-sharing have been hallmarks of the pandemic that have served to universally strengthen the industry. He also discusses how video conferencing tools like Zoom may continue to be valuable even after the pandemic. He talks about how the tourism industry is shifting to a “play, live, work” economic development model for the first time. Kurt Krause from VisitNorfolk Kurt shares how the initial challenge for his organization was timing their programs without knowing how long restrictions would last or how long the pandemic would impact travel. He shares how focusing on Norfolk’s strengths and highlights has been key. He discusses the pent-up travel demands, and he shares how his community partnered with nearby Virginia Beach to create an outreach campaign to increase awareness of the area’s features and destinations. These two communities worked together and became stronger together than they would have been independently. He shares how $1 million in investment turned into $6 million in hotel room sales, and he highlights some of the other benefits this program provided to Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Valerie Knoblauch from Visit Finger Lakes Valerie shares how the pandemic created a unique opportunity to truly lean into the diverse skills of her staff, but also to “lend out” those skills where they were most needed. She shares how the county government needed help with their early pandemic safety messaging to travelers and residents, and she explains how helping the county with this messaging has created powerful new relationships and new opportunities for Visit Finger Lakes. Collaboration is Key As these extraordinary leaders shared, collaboration has been one of the key recurring themes that has helped each of these organizations chart a new path forward through uncertain waters. From working with other nearby destinations to coordinating their efforts with their larger community, collaboration has become a powerful resource for everyone involved. I hope you enjoy this first part of the three part Destinations International 2021 Annual Convention series. Next week, we’ll hear from even more remarkable leaders and we’ll take a look at more of the bright sides, silver linings and moments of brilliance that have helped our industry move forward through this challenging period.

Aug 18

40 min 14 sec

Will Seccombe is President of Connect Travel, a strategic marketing business that connects destination marketers with the products, services, people, and ideas that help them thrive in a rapidly evolving and highly competitive global marketplace. Prior to joining the tourism marketing company in May 2017, Will served four years as President and Chief Executive Officer for VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s destination marketing organization. He joined VISIT FLORIDA in March 2008 as Chief Marketing Officer, and International and out-of-state visitors to the Sunshine State increased from 80 million in 2009 to over 112 million in 2016, with an associated annual increase in visitor spending of over $30 billion. Will’s career began as regional sales manager with Vail Associates in 1989. He then moved on to Loveland Ski Areas in 1992 as director of marketing, vice president of marketing for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau in 1995, and vice president and chief operating officer with PRACO, LTD in 1999. In 2004, Seccombe founded Revolution Communications, LLC, a digital travel marketing firm. Will was named one of the Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing by HSMAI, Top 50 Global Marketers in Travel by Skift, and the 2014 Hospitality Legend of the Year by the South Florida HSMAI. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Will Seccombe, who joins me to share his perspective on creativity and collaboration in the travel industry. We discuss the upcoming eTourism Summit and the benefits that participants will get from the industry collaboration. Will also shares why he thinks that creativity is a critical skill for marketers and why building positive and productive relationships will push the industry forward over the coming months. What You Will Learn: Why Will made the leap from mountain destinations to beach destinations and his career trajectory so far Will’s insights into current innovation in the travel industry as a response to the events of the last 18 months How destination marketers can recognize and tell the story of their key differentiator Why traditional targeting is no longer working and what destination marketers can do instead How the eTourism Summit evolved and what participants will get from the collaboration Will’s insights on how collaboration is going to help carry the travel industry forward Innovations in Storytelling Creativity has never been a more important skill set than it is today. The travel industry as a whole in 2019 saw record visitor numbers, so there was no real incentive to innovate. The events of 2020 and the challenges the sector faced forced innovation and creativity and drove destinations to reevaluate their messaging. Will shares his thoughts on the new ways destination marketers are using social media to tell their stories and why he feels the playing field has been reset going forward. Capture the Authenticity The concept of branding is to tell our stories, and the best way to get to the heart of a destination is to leverage feedback from visitors and community experiences to tell that story. We discuss why hearing about lived experiences captures the genuine authenticity of a place and why the voices of the people who are passionate about your destination are so powerful in attracting new visitors. Website: https://connecttravel.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/seccombe/ Twitter: @troutline

Aug 11

38 min 27 sec

Kurian Mathew Tharakan is the founder of the sales and marketing strategy firm StrategyPeak Sales & Marketing Advisors and a 27-year sales and marketing industry veteran. He has consulted for companies in numerous sectors. Mr. Tharakan is also the author of the Amazon Bestseller, “The 7 Essential Stories Charismatic Leaders Tell,” which details how anyone can move people and mountains with the power of story. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Kurian Tharakan about the importance of storytelling as a tool for sales and marketing. He shares the seven stories that every leader should tell and how stories make activities and destinations come alive for the listener. Kurian also shares case studies of how destinations can leverage collaboration and community relationships to tell their authentic stories and attract more visitors. What You Will Learn: The importance of creating curiosity with a relatable story What an ‘idea stack’ is and how it can help build your authentic story How to develop your marketing to make value propositions Why collaboration is so beneficial when you’re telling your destination story How destinations can embrace the diversity and equity and inclusion movement in the stories they tell Tell Your Authentic Story If you have an authentic story, you’re more likely to engage people’s imagination. Take control of the narrative by using stories to lead your teams internally and to lead markets externally. You’re not focusing on a single idea, but rather an ‘idea stack’ that appeals to different audiences and sets you apart from your competitors. Kurain shares his seven essential stories and describes why every marketer needs to create a Venn diagram for their central story. Engage Attention Stories begin with intrigue and curiosity, and whatever you want the customer to hear should be functionally relevant and emotionally significant. Collaboration is important when telling your story; you can engage the whole tourism ecosystem — from boutique hotels to niche activities — to create curiosity in potential visitors. By thinking broadly about your destination, you can create a story that engages a range of audiences. Book: The 7 Essential Stories Charismatic Leaders Tell Infographic: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uavv5hi1u8izn1d/The%207%20Essential_Stories%20Infographic.pdf?dl=0 Website: https://strategypeak.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kuriantharakan/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/strategypeak-sales-&-marketing-advisors/about/ Twitter: @KurianTharakan Email: kurian@strategypeak.com We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Aug 4

51 min 44 sec

Mike Testa is the President and CEO of Visit Sacramento & the Sacramento Sports Commission, leading a team dedicated to promoting Sacramento as an attractive travel destination while enhancing Sacramentos image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, Mike and his team strengthen Sacramento’s economic position, grow the region’s economy, attract development investment, and improve the quality of life for the people who call Sacramento home. In just three years as the CEO of Visit Sacramento, Mike has generated new streams of visitors to the region by investing in and promoting Sacramento’s arts community and creating and expanding music and food festivals. He has also focused on growing and securing new and diverse sporting events and advocating for, and ultimately securing, the expansion of the Sacramento Convention Center. Visit California Travel & Tourism data shows that Mike’s vision of diversifying Sacramento’s visitor platform is working. In 2019, Sacramento generated record revenues from tourism, as visitors spent more than $3 billion into the regional economy. In 2021, Visit Sacramento will help further elevate the Aftershock Music Festival (the largest hard rock festival on the West Coast) into a four-day, 120,000-person music event. Later that same month, Sacramento will host its first Ironman competition. Through Mike’s vision, commitment to community collaboration, and consistent innovation, Sacramentos identity has evolved from a sleepy State Capital to a relevant food destination, recognized nationally as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital. Through creating the Tower Bridge Dinner and events like the Farm-to-Fork Festival, Mike’s ability to see Sacramento’s heritage and reimagine its identity as a food and agriculture leader has brought millions of dollars in revenue to local businesses national earned media to Sacramento. Additionally, Mike Testa is responsible for initiating and creating the relationship with the Paris-based Michelin Guide to generate a California dining guide that spotlighted 14 of Sacramento’s restaurants and earned the city its first Michelin-starred restaurant in its inaugural year of publication. Mike is a graduate of St. Mary’s College and has spent his career promoting, connecting, and developing relationships to elevate organizational goals. As an expert communicator and seasoned destination marketing executive, he is highly sought after to speak at CEO forums, participate in panel discussions, serve as an event emcee, and facilitate conversations around marketing, tourism development, and community economic creation and development. Mike is also widely known as a thought leader in economic development through festivals and events. In 2017 he was hand-picked to participate in a panel discussion at Austins SXSW about building successful special events and the intricate components of forming relationships between host cities and festival producers. In 2008, Mike was named as a ‘40 under 40 leader’ and in 2014 was awarded the Vibe Award from the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, which recognized ‘Visionary Innovators in Building Excellence.’ He is active on the boards of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, Sacramento Zoo, Midtown Association, and Downtown Sacramento Partnership. Mike is an educator and enjoys sharing his knowledge as a former media relations instructor for the Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus and the UC Davis Extension. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Mike Testa, who shares his passion for the city of Sacramento and details how Visit Sacramento built a brand as the Farm-to-Fork capital of America. We discuss Sacramento’s challenges as a city in California, where there are many bucket list cities, and creative ways his team has carved out positioning that Sacramento can own. Mike also highlights how his organization has creatively collaborated to successfully produce events for the city that are now attracting a vast number of visitors every year. What You Will Learn: All the exciting events that Visit Sacramento has created with its partners to attract visitors to the city, including the Farm-to-Fork Festival Why Mike focuses on building a brand to seek out national and international opportunities, including their collaboration with the Michelin Guides Visit Sacramento’s creative plans for the future and how the COVID-19 pandemic has made them reflect on how they attract visitors to the city Why it’s so critical to build partnerships during challenging times How Mike approaches destination marketing within the local community Leadership in Adversity In times of adversity, we often see that team members find the strength and confidence to step up to lead and are keen to take on challenges that benefit the whole community. Mike’s leadership skills are shaped by his previous experience in a wide range of roles in marketing and community relationship development, and he fosters that ethos in his team. Mike also shares his insights on connecting with organizations in your area and why building deeper bonds ultimately helps you move forward to achieve your goals. Partnership Events With the Farm-to-Fork initiative, Mike and Visit Sacramento designed a 360-degree celebration of what the region had to offer and worked hard to get community and local media buy-in to the event, which has subsequently gone from strength to strength. Mike shares the most significant lessons he learned from building the festival gradually and candidly describes some of the valuable partnerships and collaborations they rely on to attract visitors to their destination. Website: https://www.visitsacramento.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-testa-1082673/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/sacramento-convention-&-visitors-bureau Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VisitSacramento/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/visitsacramento We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jul 28

47 min 50 sec

Paula White is a globally recognized sales leader with experience in scaling Inside Sales Teams into multi-million stand-alone sales channels. Using unique perspectives and a forward-thinking approach, she achieves 8% – 10% compounded yearly growth leading from a foundation of heart and mind. Her passion for people, purpose, and results has lent itself to experience in various industries: travel and tourism, investments, veterinary and healthcare distribution. Paula began a consulting business in 2021 to bring a new innovative way to explore leadership legacies and knowing each leadership style is as unique as one of your music playlists. She uses music as a metaphor and tool to enhance your experience through her company, Side B Consulting. Paula currently serves as a member of the AA-ISP Advisory Board and has been recognized as a Top 25 Most Influential Sales Leader for three consecutive years by AA-ISP. She was the award winner of ‘Excellence in Execution’ in 2017, ranked amongst the ‘Top 100 Coaches to Watch’ for two consecutive years by Ambition, and has been honored with the 2020 Mentor of the Summer for #GirlsClub. Paula served as President of the AA-ISP Columbus Ohio Chapter from 2015 – 2018 and is currently a mentor for #GirlsClub and a SalesClass.ai Contributor. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Paula White, who discusses the human side of the sales process and where she believes current problems lie. She shares some of the details of her new company, Side B Consulting, and why and how she uses music as a motivator and a tool to help clients understand their leadership style. Paula also provides some actionable tips for keeping the human connection in sales and outlines her approach to understanding and stepping into your legacy behaviors. What You Will Learn: Why we should re-humanize the sales process Actionable tips on how to connect with potential clients How to use music as a leadership tool How to understand a walk in your legacy behavior How putting together the right playlist can shift your mindset Humanize the Sales Process Travel professionals love what they do because they’re helping people by serving the communities they work in and the visitors who spend time with them — which is why it’s much more helpful to be a consultative salesperson than a purely transactional one. Sales is a process, but it is also a very human experience. Paula shares her philosophy on why we need to re-humanize sales and describes the rule of three by three by three that helps her connect with clients. Legacy Behavior Music is a potent leadership tool — if you’re stressed out, you can quickly change your mindset by playing the right songs to get you in the correct headspace for the task ahead. Paula explains why after 30 years working in corporate America, she was inspired to use music to motivate herself and her team and why she decided to help leaders figure out and walk into their legacy behavior and exemplify their ideal qualities through the metaphor of music. YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_xkbbpzjHaNghE5e3U6x6w Website: www.paulaswhite.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paula-pw-white-344a8611/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/side-b-consulting Twitter: @pswhite00 We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jul 21

34 min 51 sec

Pamela Brooks Williams is a Huntsville native who is passionate about her city and sharing its highlights with anyone she can. She has been with the Huntsville/Madison County CVB for 16 years. As Tourism Sales Manager, she works to bring groups of all types and leisure travelers to our community and especially enjoys working with student groups taking advantage of the unique offerings available exclusively through the Educational Escapes program, which she coordinates. Pam is responsible for implementing new products and events in Huntsville, such as Huntsville Restaurant Week, the Lucky Duck Scavenger Hunt, and Trains on Main Scavenger Hunt. In addition, she currently serves on the board for the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association. Before joining the Bureau, Pam worked at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, serving in various roles and was active in the local hospitality industry. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama Huntsville with a degree in history and political science. Pam enjoys travel and is frequently on the go. She has three talented, intelligent, and very busy children. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Pam Williams about her love of the diversity, the variety, and the incredible experiences that working with the DMO offers, and she shares why she is so passionate about the travel industry. We discuss why Huntsville is perfectly positioned as Rocket City, USA, and Pam describes some of the amazing attractions on offer, including their Space and Aviation Camps. Pam also gives her expert advice on creating successful collaborations, including details of Huntsville’s new initiative. Finally, she shares the new messaging that they are using as we head towards recovery. What You Will Learn: How Pam and her team manage the growth and the infrastructure of their expanding destination to ensure that visitors have a great experience in Huntsville What the Huntsville CVB has done to help it stand out in the crowd. The Attractions Week initiative — how it works, similarities and differences from Restaurant Week, and how they are promoting it Unexpected opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic has given them to be creative when evolving to meet whatever the future brings How Pam has been able to leverage ‘coop-etition’ to join with competitors to collaborate on projects over the last 12 months Keeping It Fresh We discuss the pivots that the CVB has made over the last year to showcase its range of attractions, and Pam outlines how Huntsville creatively shines a light on each sector with the new initiative Attractions Week. Reimagining annual events to ensure they stay fresh and exciting for repeat visitors is a priority for the destination, and Pam also describes how they let people know what’s going on in the area using social media and their website. Supporting the Community Huntsville has been encouraging people to support local businesses more than ever, and in addition to inviting in visitors, they have focused on promotions that help local residents shop locally. Pam describes the I Heart Huntsville campaign, how inviting visitors, influencers, and locals to share what they love about the community works, and why they’re showing their love and appreciation for their hospitality heroes this year. Website: https://www.huntsville.org/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pam-williams-tmp-ctp-6270b67/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HuntsvilleCVB Twitter: https://twitter.com/go2huntsvilleal We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/  

Jul 14

41 min 35 sec

Named one of the 11 Influential Black Women in Travel You Should Know by Travel Noire, Rachel Hill is a trailblazing Travelpreneur, Speaker, and Published Author. With a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing, she has merged her Tech and Digital Marketing expertise and passion for travel into a global brand. Her engaged audience of over 30,000 sees her as a leader in both the travel and tourism space and the Digital Marketing industry. Utilizing her marketing and Influencer expertise, Rachel coaches new and aspiring Travel Brand Business creators and on how to build successful online brands, how to create valuable content, and how to monetize their brands. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Rachel Hill about how travel influencers can help brands reach niche markets. She shares her insights on demystifying travel in the Black community and gives an example of a successful creative influencer campaign she worked on to flip the narrative on cold-weather destinations. Rachel also breaks down the KPIs that she thinks are most important for influencer marketing and why it’s much more valuable to focus on the impact of a campaign rather than how many likes you get. What You Will Learn: The best ways for destinations to approach influencers Why it’s critical to have a coherent strategy when working with travel influencers How to measure interest and conversion rates from campaigns with influencers Best practices for influencer marketing to niche audiences How destinations can ensure they are open, authentic, and diverse in their marketing materials Why Rachel believes this is the perfect time for organizations and travel brands to be innovative and creative to attract visitors Engaging Your Audience When travel destinations approach influencers, it is important that they really understand whether that influencer’s values and content align with theirs. There is no point in pursuing influencers with huge follower numbers if their audience doesn’t connect to your purpose. A recent shift in destination marketing has seen a move towards micro-influencers who have engaged audiences who trust their opinion and direction. Don’t focus on the numbers — focus on the impact. Niche Audiences If a destination wants to tap into a new niche audience, it’s essential to be authentic by working with someone who can represent that niche audience well. You can shift the narrative and open up your region to travelers who had not previously considered it a place to visit by asking for the feedback of an influencer in that niche group. Rachel Hill gives her perspective on approaching influencers in a specific niche and outlines the best practices for influencer marketing to niche audiences. Quiz: https://www.rachelvhill.com/quiz Websites: https://www.racheltravels.com/ https://www.rachelvhill.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachelvhill Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheRachelVHill Twitter: https://twitter.com/Therachelvhill

Jul 7

45 min 24 sec

As Account Manager – Leisure Trade & Product Structure with Destination Sherbrooke for the past five years, William Hogg has developed and deepened key relationships with tourism partners and travel buyers from the region, across Canada, and around the world. The instigator of the Sherbrooke – Heart of the Townships brand, he continues to strategically develop products and position the city, partners, and the region in Canadian, American, and international (Asian and European) leisure and tour & travel markets. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with William Hogg about how he has kept his Canadian destination Sherbrooke, near the U.S. border in Quebec, at the forefront of travelers’ minds over the past year. He shares his most creative ideas – from hosting frequent virtual familiarization (FAM) tours for operators in the travel trade to creating an award-winning Local Flavors Road Trip. William also shares why he sees collaboration as the key to successfully navigating the changes in a post-pandemic travel industry. What You Will Learn: What the closure of travel and tourism due to the pandemic has meant for Canadian destinations Creative elements incorporated in Sherbrooke’s strategy to move through the challenges of 2020/21 and beyond How William collaborated with neighboring municipal organizations to find ways of attracting hyper-local tourism What Destination Sherbrooke is doing to support their local community Why William is currently seeing more interest from U.S. tour operators than Canadian operators for Summer 2021 Collaborate for Success In the current climate, sharing wealth and resources is the key to success, and collaborations between destinations don’t need to be completely equal for them to be successful. Smaller communities can collaborate with larger ones to work together to both draw visitors to their attractions and offer them a range of places to eat and sleep, leading to a win-win outcome for everyone. COVID-19 Friendly Attractions Being COVID-friendly is vital in the post-pandemic recovery period and promoting outdoor attractions that visitors feel comfortable with as they ease back into tourism is very important in the rejuvenation of the industry. William discusses why the attractions that Destination Sherbrooke is focusing on are centered around agri-tourism. He also describes how Sherbrooke won international recognition for the pivots they have made during the pandemic and the continued creativity they have shown in drawing people to the area. Website: https://www.destinationsherbrooke.com/en/visitors LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-hogg-94b24326/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/destinationsherbrooke Twitter: https://twitter.com/DSherbrooke

Jun 30

39 min 22 sec

Carole Stizza is a Professionally Certified ICF Executive Coach, a SeniorHR Professional, and has a background in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. She has also survived 3 different car accidents (all stopped while turning left) and stage 3 cancer. Resilience, grit, and impatience for life have all been constant companions as she has supported her Air Force Husband and moved her family around the U.S. for 26 years and traveled the world. Her ability to help clients navigate change, clarify what is important, and step into better conversations have led her to be a contributing author in two books and now releasing her own called: The ASK Framework, questions that elevate your Influence, Performance, and Leadership. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Carole Stizza about the power of self-awareness that comes when you ask for positive feedback. It may seem counterintuitive to ask people to tell you what you are doing right — but that is exactly what Carol suggests doing. Carole also discusses the framework for how to have those professional conversations that she created to help people understand the idea of self-leadership, and why she decided to expand her ideas into a book. What You Will Learn: What it means to use self-leadership How Carole is seeing people apply self-leadership as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic How Carole helps her clients learn how to celebrate and realize self-leadership The importance of taking curiosity in a more strategic, actionable direction by giving context in conversations How to use Carole’s framework to introduce a sense of positivity and collaboration one-to-one or within a team How to remind people what they should celebrate about themselves when home or hybrid working You Are Already Your Best Self The first step of self-leadership is to recognize that you are already positioned to be your best self. We’re all unique — so start to embrace how you uniquely think and move away from comparing yourself with others. Adopting what makes you unique and what sets you apart, then starting to appreciate and embrace those things ensures that you understand how to put yourself out in the world. Framework for Feedback As leaders and individuals we are always evolving, learning, and growing, so the idea that you are already your best self can be overwhelming. And that’s because we don’t always know what to celebrate about ourselves, we need a framework for feedback about what other people appreciate about the gifts they see in us. Keep growing and keep changing but also make the choice to enjoy who you are in the moment. Website: https://relevant-insight.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolestizza/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/relevant4you Twitter: https://twitter.com/relevant4you Book: https://resources.relevant-insight.com/ASKFramework986140 We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jun 23

42 min 17 sec

Jim is the President & CEO of Response Marketing Group, a consumer-data-focused marketing agency in Richmond, Va. As such, he is responsible for relationship development and account strategy at the independent agency, which offers data analytics, predictive modeling, and multi-channel services. The agency serves several clients in the financial services, travel/tourism, and insurance sectors. With over 30+ years of experience in the marketing and advertising industry, Jim is a nationally recognized speaker at conferences and events such as the Forrester Marketing Conference, Direct Marketing Association, Public Relations Society of America, and the Southeast Tourism Society. Jim is considered a thought-leader on the value of data insights married to relevant messaging to the target audience. Jim also leads the Travel and Tourism practice for RMG, which includes clients such as Arkansas Tourism, Georgia Tourism, Visit Jacksonville, St Tammany Parish, The Ritz Carlton, and Marriott International among others. Prior to Response Marketing Group, Jim was Senior Vice President at The Allant Group in Chicago, IL from 2010-2014. He led the Strategic Consulting practice that delivered marketing strategy and high-level research to CMOs and brand managers at clients such as GM, Comcast, Nationwide Insurance, US Tennis Association, US Cellular, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Wells Fargo. From 1999-2010, Jim was an agency partner in RightMinds a strategic consultancy in Richmond, VA serving national brands and emerging growth brands. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk all things data with James Harenchar. Jim clarifies the types of data that are available, and how they help build predictive models and analytics that deliver a reduced cost per acquisition. He demonstrates how data has helped tourism marketers achieve better results with some recent case studies. Jim also walks us through the evolving nature of the direct response marketing industry, and how response attribution works in the digital world. What You Will Learn: How Jim leverages data analytics, predictive modeling for clients in the travel and tourism sector Where Jim finds the data that we don’t have and the ‘secret sauce’ of matching it to messaging How building relationships translates into better, more effective marketing Why and how you should be differentiating your messaging for different audiences Why consistency across your messaging, imagery, and CTA considerably boosts your advertising response rate Engaging the Audience In the travel and tourism industry, we are always looking to marry customer insights with marketing strategy and use the data we have more effectively. But in some cases, it’s the data we don’t have that would help me gain greater insight into what individuals are looking for from a destination or experience. It’s great if you have a first name and last name and an email address but if you don’t have any detail on gender, income, whether they have children or are an empty nester then it’s much more difficult to tailor your messaging and engage that individual that’s already in your database in a meaningful way. Personalized Messaging The relevance of digital marketing is more important than ever, so the more data you have on your client base the more likely it is that you will be able to personalize your ads. The direct marketing industry has evolved to where potential visitors expect the images and ads that they’re seeing to be focused on their interests. This is where data, analysis, and segmentation can help professionals in the destination marketing world achieve personalization more quickly and efficiently. Website: https://rmg-usa.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jharenchar/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rmgusallc/ We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/  

Jun 16

48 min 40 sec

Andy McNeill is a travel and hospitality entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in his profession. He is the CEO and founder of American Meetings, Inc., an industry-leading meetings and events agency that produces thousands of live and virtual meetings annually for Fortune 500 clients. He is also the co-host of the Destination Everywhere Podcast, top travel and hospitality podcast that highlights bucket-list destinations, luxury hotels, local cuisine, and must-do activities. Andy is a significant voice in the hospitality, meeting, and travel industries. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Andy McNeill about how the travel industry has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Andy shares his thoughts on the hybrid event model and how destinations and suppliers can benefit from this new approach to meetings. We also discuss creative ways that destinations can take their experiences and products virtual to support both online and in-person attendees. What You Will Learn: Key lessons learned during the last year on how the travel industry is evolving Why Andy McNeill believes the hybrid-event model is here to stay How destinations can make their virtual event component creative How in-person events are making attendees feel safe How Conventions and Visitors Bureau (CVB) staff can innovate to promote their destination Creative Hybrid Events The travel and tourism industry has fundamentally changed over the last year, but we can adapt and grow with the changes. With a few creative tweaks, you can tailor your offering to what visitors are looking for both in-person and for virtual tourists. Andy describes some of the most creative online and hybrid events that he has seen in the past 12 months and gives listeners some inspiration for planning their own engaging events to attract visitors. Technology and Collaboration We dig into the specifics of how to leverage the spirit of ‘coop-etition’ the blend of collaboration and competition if you are part of the CVB community. Andy shares his experience of using technology to promote visitor destinations and how to ensure your region is still an attractive prospect in the new normal world of safety protocols and flexible booking policies. Collaboration is going to be key to enhancing the online event experience so we also explore the key lessons learned, and how the industry will evolve as we come out of the pandemic. Hotel Negotiating Tip in the New Normal: https://americanmeetings.com/tips-for-negotiating-in-the-new-normal/ Cleaning Requirements Interview with Shari Cedar: https://americanmeetings.com/venue-cleaning-requirements/ Safety Guideline Digital Booklet: https://americanmeetings.com/wp-content/uploads/AMI-Safety-Sanitation-Resource-Guide-for-Live-Meetings.pdf Destination Everywhere Podcast: https://americanmeetings.com/podcast/ Website: https://americanmeetings.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andy-mcneill/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmericanMeetings/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/andymcneill https://twitter.com/amermeetings We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jun 9

35 min 32 sec

A seasoned tourism executive with over 35 years of experience in the industry, Don Welsh serves as the President and CEO of Destinations International. Since joining the association in March 2016, Welsh has implemented a strategic realignment for the association through a renewed commitment to focus on member needs to deliver the resources members have determined to be essential to the success of their organizations. Prior to joining Destinations International, Welsh served as the President and CEO of Choose Chicago. Welsh also held the CEO position at the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association and the Seattle Convention & Visitors Bureau. Prior to joining the destination marketing industry, Welsh served as senior vice president for Westin Hotels at its corporate headquarters and has also held senior leadership positions in sales and marketing for Westin Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I welcome President and CEO of Destinations International, Don Welsh back and we dive into what the travel industry has learned from the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 12 months. We discuss the various opportunities for the industry to drive home the importance of adopting tourism as a community shared value and how we can promote this mindset. Don also gives us his insights into sustainable tourism, the changing meetings industry and the adoption of equity, diversity and inclusion principles. What You Will Learn: The silver linings hidden in the COVID-19 pandemic The importance of our networks and why we need to work together to move forward How the links between Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) and local communities have been cemented during the last 12 months What Destinations International has planned for their next program and how they are developing for the future What the travel industry should do to position themselves for successfully moving forward over the next five to 10 years Collaboration in Recovery The travel industry has been in crisis mode but now we are moving slowly towards recovery. There are certain destinations that are almost in full recovery mode, such as beach, mountains, or lake resorts and there are also many areas that are still at the beginning of their recovery process, such as urban destinations. The key factor for successfully returning to normality is that we maintain this hyper communication that has taken place this past year, so more people are aware of what destination organizations do and the contributions they make. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Besides the increase in community shared-value work we need to change our vocabulary around how the travel industry can benefit communities, through the recovery and into the good times ahead. There have also been silver linings to the pandemic, and one such positive change was the increased adoption of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) principles and their heightened visibility during challenging times. Website: destinationsinternational.org LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/destintl/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/don-welsh-76520b1a8/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/destintl/ Twitter: @destintl We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jun 2

38 min 26 sec

Carol Lempert supercharges executive presence and careers with the performance secrets actors use to light up the screen. She is a sought-after leadership expert quoted in Forbes, Financial Post, National Post, The Reader’s Digest, and Thrive Global. Typically companies bring her in to help them fill their leadership pipelines. She teaches executives to tell better business stories, increase their executive presence, improve their personal brand and build more resilience. Carol’s clients include Google, Marriott, American Express, Travelers, and the Harvard Executive Education program (yes, THAT Harvard. Her Mom is too proud). On this episode of Destination on the Left, Carol Lempert discusses how to better communicate and engage with others as part of a collaborative team. Carol shares her expertise as an actress with listeners and gives actionable tips and techniques on how to sound and look confident when pitching an idea and how to use high gain questions to make stronger connections and create better collaborations. We also do a live exercise that demonstrates how effective listening leads to a deeper understanding of what’s really important to others in your sphere. What You Will Learn: The performance secrets that Carol uses to supercharge executive presence The four dimensions of executive presence Carol’s insights as an actress, on communication, and how that supports effective teamwork and collaboration How to effectively pitch ideas The importance of asking open-ended questions to deepen understanding of a topic How to break through roadblocks to positive collaboration Essential Dimensions of Executive Presence Many of us in the world of travel, tourism, and hospitality have experience with booking or promoting theatre and live performance. Still, we don’t often get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what we can learn from actors about collaboration. Carol Lempert guides us through the four dimensions of executive presence and how she works with business people to help them communicate and pitch their ideas, so audiences listen. Collaborating Successfully Carol shares her insights on effective communication skills and how they can impact both in-house teams and teams of collaborators across various organizations. Collaboration and communication are closely tethered and both are vital for creating and bringing a successful project to fruition. Carol explains why leading cross-industry projects need to be open and transparent with the expectations from the off and aware of how to break down any roadblocks by listening and communicating productively. Website: https://carollempert.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carollempert/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolLempertSpeaking Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarolLempert

May 26

52 min 36 sec

Michael is a native of the Finger Lakes region. He was born in Rochester, NY but enjoyed an early childhood upbringing in Newport, RI (“America’s First Tourism Town”) to which he attributes his passion for hospitality. Over his thirty-five-year career, he has had the pleasure and honor to serve as a Convention Sales Manager, Director of both Convention Services and Visitor Services for Visit Rochester (twice), sell and market to domestic and international groups for the Corning Museum of Glass, Top of The Rock at Rockefeller Center and as a VP for Group Sales Box Office/Broadway.com (both in NY, NY). His earliest accomplishments as a Patient Unit Secretary at Strong Hospital, Front Office Supervisor for Stouffer Hotels, and Event Manager for Casa Larga Vineyards are where he believes his desire to serve, delight, and exceed expectations for guests, people, peers, and friends-alike was crafted. Recently, Michael continued his two-decade-long consulting business offerings to museums, attractions, municipalities, artists, and other family-owned and corporate clients as a resident in Chicago, IL. Just last year, in 2019, he went back to complete his Bachelor’s Degree from Rochester Institute of Technology finishing on the Dean’s List with 10 A’s for 5 in-class subjects and 5 online, a feat he is extremely proud of and happy to have finished (as were his mom and RIT friends, favorite faculty members, and fellow alum). Destination on the Left is joined by Michael Hardy, the Executive Director of Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. On our podcast, Michael shares the key takeaways from his experience in the tourism and hospitality industry. He talks about how the “no-event events” helped his community draw attention and visitors during the holidays. Michael also dives into the concept of “return on involvement” and explains why that is the best measurement for success in any organization. No matter what we have experienced thus far, there are many silver linings, and our conversation highlights some of them. What You Will Learn: The insights Michael has gleaned from his experience working in the tourism and hospitality industry Watkins Glen’s “no-event event” concept and how it drove visitor traffic during the holidays Why “return on involvement” is the best measure of success in any organization The silver linings that have come out of the pandemic thus far How Watkins Glen has used creativity and collaboration to stand out from the crowd What tourism businesses can do to put together a more impactful guest experience Watkins Glen, NY Michael Hardy is the Executive Director of Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. On our podcast, Michael shares the key takeaways from his experience in the tourism and hospitality industry. He talks about how the “no-event events” helped his community draw attention and visitors during the holidays. Michael also dives into the concept of “return on involvement” and explains why that is the best measurement for success in any organization. No matter what we have experienced thus far, there are many silver linings, and our conversation highlights some of the victories and struggles in Watkins Glen, NY. The Many Faces of ROI Michael has built an exemplary career in the travel and hospitality industry. He used each experience as a springboard to another, picking up a vast array of different skills along the way. From marketing and event planning to operations and customer experience design, Michael gained exposure to all facets of the industry, leading him to develop the idea of return on involvement. This concept is about identifying what visitors are getting for their time and money, then figuring out what you can do to add even more value to that experience through your involvement. In doing so, you will have yet another tool to separate your destination from the pack. No-Event Events The pandemic is waning, consumer confidence is increasing, and the tourism industry is rebounding. This leaves us with a unique problem that we haven’t had in quite some time—too many destinations to choose from. For destinations to compete in such a high-stakes arena, they have to reach deep within their ranks to find a sense of creativity and collaboration. One of the ways Michael and his team achieved this was through their Holiday Happenings campaign. This was the birth of their “no-event event” concept where destinations can build an event framework and fill it in with an agenda that meets the CDC and local government restrictions at the time the event takes place. Through this type of modular event planning, DMOs can stay light on their feet and adapt in real-time as health guidelines change. Phone: 607-535-4300 Cell: 585-721-6032 Email: michael@watkinsglenchamber.com Website: www.watkinsglenchamber.com We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

May 19

50 min 3 sec

Lisa Berger, Director of Tourism for Ulster County, has more than twenty years of government experience, starting at Ulster County Tourism as the Director of Marketing and Group Sales. She was promoted to Deputy Director in four years, and from there, was asked to lead the county’s Office of Employment and Training and Workforce Development Board. Over the next six years, Lisa worked with businesses, economic development, and education leaders to create policies and programs that help ensure that the labor force meets the needs of local businesses and industry. Berger became the Director of Ulster County’s Department of Economic Development in September 0f 2019, where she developed strategies that promote sustainable economic growth, which will help all Ulster County residents. In November 2020, Lisa found herself back at the county’s Tourism Department, this time as the Director. She brings an innovative, creative flair for robust partnerships and original promotional campaigns. Berger is currently looking at reinventing the standard travel guide, making it a meaningful touchstone for the creation of authentic experiences. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Lisa Berger about transferable skills and why it’s so critical to spread the word about various routes into a successful career in the tourism industry. As Lisa explains, we need to show people the path to follow and where being a travel and tourism professional could lead them. We also dive deep into Lisa’s plans for Ulster County to lead recovery in the tourism sector – including expanding the visitor base, building partnerships, and helping travelers make a deeper connection with the experiences available in the area. What You Will Learn: How transferable skills and the ability to use previous experience and a passion for helping your community can lead to a successful career in tourism Why the tourism industry needs to promote the principles of diversity, equality, and inclusion Some of the things that Lisa is working on to help Ulster County lead the way into recovery Lisa’s new travel guide project with curated experiences that will help expand their visitor base How Lisa is making partnerships work for businesses, communities, and visitors and why they are stronger together Why building deeper connections through partnerships and with their visitors is driving Lisa’s approach to recovery Making Deeper Connections Lisa shares her passion for finding and fostering deeper connections between visitors and what Ulster County offers in terms of local activities, arts, and experiences. She shares the region’s plans for expanding their visitor base by shifting the focus onto the cultural heritage traveler and looking at their history as a center for art and music. The county’s plan to really speak to a diverse audience in a welcoming way, to let them know that they’re going to feel comfortable, is at the heart of Lisa’s plans for moving forward into the future. A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats Cooperation is also one of the key principles of Lisa’s roadmap to leading recovery in the tourist centers of her region. Integral to their plans to build partnerships and find ways for visitors to connect with the region is their carefully curated travel guide — complete with COVID-safe QR codes — which will showcase the unique partnerships that the county has built so they can offer visitors more recreation opportunities than ever before. Lisa also outlines her philosophy of creating connections by asking businesses in the tourism sector what they feel they need from her department, listening, and working to give them what will help them most. Website: https://ulstercountyalive.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-berger-she-her-hers-75997b8/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.berger.710 Instagram: Ulster County Tourism We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/  

May 12

49 min 41 sec

Debra E. Ross is the founder, publisher, and CEO of Kids Out And About, LLC. The company publishes KidsOutAndAbout.com, launched in 2001, and BeyondTheNest.com, launched in 2016. The sites, which are presented under the umbrella of EntertainmentCalendar.com, provide comprehensive calendar and resource lists celebrating each of 45 local regions across the U.S. and Canada. Kids Out And About’s focus is on activities for kids, teens, and families; its readers are 85% parents and the remaining 15% are grandparents. Beyond The Nest focuses on arts, culture, and recreation for grownups. Originally founded in 2001 as a community website for parents in Rochester, NY, KidsOutAndAbout.com started expanding out of Western New York in late 2010. The combined sites currently attract 6 million unique visitors per year, and over 400,000 opt-in readers receive a weekly e-newsletter filled with things to do both in their local area and virtually. Deb’s weekly “Notes from Deb” column at the top of the KidsOutAndAbout.com newsletters is celebrating its 20th year of publication in 2021. As publisher, Deb leads a team of content managers whose mission is to celebrate each local region’s best opportunities and thereby help sustain communities. Destination on the Left is joined by Debra Ross, the founder, publisher, and CEO of Kids Out And About, LLC. On our podcast, Debra shares her passion for celebrating local regions across the U.S. and Canada. She talks about the importance of selling both the residents and outsiders on tourism in smaller communities. And she also discusses her experience with coopetition, as well as the big plans communities are working on to prepare for the 2024 eclipse. What You Will Learn: Debra’s journey into the travel and tourism industry What Debra is doing to celebrate local regions across the U.S. and Canada Debra’s role as the publisher and CEO of Kids Out and About, LLC. The importance of selling both the residents and outsiders on tourism in smaller communities Debra’s experience with the power of coopetition in local regions The big plans communities are working on to prepare for the 2024 eclipse Kids Out and About Debra Ross is the founder, publisher, and CEO of Kids Out And About, LLC., a media network that provides a comprehensive calendar and resource lists celebrating each of 45 local regions across the U.S. and Canada. On our podcast, Debra shares her passion for celebrating local regions across the U.S. and Canada. She talks about the importance of selling both the residents and outsiders on tourism in smaller communities. And she also discusses her experience with coopetition, as well as the big plans communities are working on to prepare for the 2024 eclipse. Connecting Travelers, Community Members, and Destinations Kids Out and About generates almost all of its revenue through local advertising. It is a predominantly mission-based organization, meaning that its fundamental purpose is to celebrate and nurture the communities it serves. With Debra at the helm, Kids Out and About has taken an approach that enables local businesses, CVBs, and DMOs to be more themselves—thus standing out from the crowd. It is about highlighting all of the ways in which local community members and outsiders can connect with them on a deeper level. First, they match travelers with the activities they are seeking already, then they offer a broad spectrum of other opportunities the travelers may have never even considered. Thriving Together In order to create deeper connections on a regional level, coopetition must become an integral part of the process. We are seeing tourism businesses work together despite nominally competing for the same tourism dollars under normal circumstances. If you zoom out and look at the bigger picture, success is often measured collectively. Large CVBs and DMOs are only interested in how tourism is performing at scale. By determining what metrics to measure and providing support to other destinations in your region, communities can grow stronger than ever before. With collective action, everyone has a chance to thrive. Website: www.kidsoutandabout.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DebraERoss LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/debra-ross-roc/ We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/  

May 5

44 min 22 sec

Roni Weiss was born in Long Island, New York, and grew up in Snohomish County, Washington, north of Seattle. At the age of 10, Roni began attending Edmonds Community College (now Edmonds College), receiving his Associates of Arts and Science with Honors at the age of 12. He graduated from Lynnwood High School at the age of 15, then attended the University of Washington, receiving double Bachelors of Arts degrees in Drama and English at the age of 18. Through years of world travels, Roni visited 70+ countries, including every country in Europe, six of seven continents, and taught English in Italy, France, Taiwan, and Chile, both to youth and professionals. In 2011, Roni founded RW Social, a marketing and consulting company for the travel industry and nonprofits. From 2011 to 2016, Roni worked with Africa Travel Association (now Africa Tourism Association), assisting with and speaking at ATAs events in NYC, DC, and multiple African countries. In 2013, RW Social launched the New York Travel Festival, an event focused on innovation and sustainability in the world of travel, which served as the genesis for Travel Unity, where he now serves as Executive Director. Roni lives in Westchester County, NY with his partner, Lauren, and their four children. Destination on the Left is joined by Roni Weiss, Executive Director of Travel Unity. On our podcast, Roni discusses his unique journey into the travel and tourism industry and the world of entrepreneurship. He explains how a broader view on community impact can create a win-win for both the tourism organization and the community it serves. In addition, Roni makes the case for why representation in marketing and PR needs to be executed thoughtfully and consistently with more depth. This conversation is the key to getting started or leveling up your focus on DEI, and Roni brings so much value to the table. What You Will Learn: Roni’s unique journey into the travel and tourism industry and the world of entrepreneurship How a broader view on community impact can create a win-win for both tourism organizations and the communities they serve Why representation in marketing and PR needs to be executed thoughtfully and consistently with more depth Personal vs. Organizational Development tactics in the travel and tourism industry Tips for finding the right candidates during the hiring process Travel Unity Roni Weiss is the Executive Director of Travel Unity, a non-profit focused on increasing diversity in the world of travel through individual and community empowerment. On our podcast, Roni discusses his unique journey into the travel and tourism industry and the world of entrepreneurship. He explains how a broader view on community impact can create a win-win for both the tourism organization and the community it serves. In addition, Roni makes the case for why representation in marketing and PR needs to be executed thoughtfully and consistently with more depth. This conversation is the key to getting started or leveling up your focus on DEI, and Roni brings so much value to the table. Overcoming Inequality in Travel and Tourism Travel Unity provided Roni with the opportunity to make an impact on both the personal development side and the business/organizational development side of the travel and tourism industry. The center circle of this ven diagram is the inequality in this world. Initially, that took the form of socioeconomic status in Roni’s work. But as he grew, Roni dove even deeper into the concept of cultural exchange, searching for new ways to bridge the gap between all types of people from different walks of life. When travel organizations adopt a similar perspective and focus on building connections in the communities they serve, it will help develop an environment where everyone thrives. Be Proactive in the Hiring Process Once a community has stitched the tears in its connective tissue, the travel and tourism sector can make a greater impact than ever before. Pushing for personal and organizational development in the community will create a future workforce that shares the same values. This is an ideal framework to work from as an organization grows. When adding new team members and filling existing roles, it is important to do everything in our power to build a team that supports our vision for diversity. Homogony doesn’t exist because we aren’t getting the candidates we need, it exists because we aren’t going out there to find them. This is something we have complete control over, and it will change the dynamic of our teams for years to come. Website: https://travelunity.org Facebook: https://facebook.com/officialroniweiss LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/roniweiss Twitter: https://twitter.com/roniweiss We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/  

Apr 28

50 min 30 sec

Jeff Gayduk is the president and publisher of Premier Travel Media (formerly known as Premier Tourism Marketing), a multi-faceted print and online publishing firm that specializes in the group travel industry. Our titles include Leisure Group Travel, Group Travel Directory, Sports Planning Guide, Reunions Workbook, Student Travel Planning Guide, Religious Travel Planning Guide, Snowbound and Ski & Ride. Destination on the Left is joined by Jeff Gayduk, president and publisher of Leisure Group Travel. On our podcast, Jeff discusses the framework and purpose of his new book, “Traveling Tribes: Your Next Gig as a Travel and Tourism Influencer.” He also shares his team’s insights on fueling recovery, which was recently published as a white paper to the benefit of everyone in the travel and tourism industry. Jeff brings so much value to the table in our discussion, providing tons of tips to help tourism organizations build momentum as the world reopens. What You Will Learn: Jeff’s journey into the travel and tourism industry The framework of Jeff’s new book, “Traveling Tribes: Your Next Gig as a Travel and Tourism Influencer” How Jeff’s book can shed light on this sector and drive demand for a new pipeline of customers Key insights Jeff and his team have gathered about the recovery of travel and tourism How the group travel industry is evolving, and what tour operators are doing to adapt Premier Travel Media Jeff Gayduk is the president and publisher of Leisure Group Travel, a multi-faceted print and online publishing firm that specializes in the group travel industry. On our podcast, Jeff discusses the framework and purpose of his new book, “Traveling Tribes: Your Next Gig as a Travel and Tourism Influencer.” He also shares his team’s insights on fueling recovery, which was recently published as a white paper to the benefit of everyone in the travel and tourism industry. Jeff brings so much value to the table in our discussion, providing tons of tips to help tourism organizations build momentum as the world reopens. Traveling Tribes ‘Traveling Tribes” is a prescription book on how to lead group travel. Tour operators and their direct markets are full of people from all walks of life. Many of them have unique backgrounds and amazing life stories that are completely independent of their role in travel and tourism. That notion makes it difficult to create a one-size-fits-all solution for developing strong leadership in group travel scenarios. Jeff started compiling all of these different backstories to find the through line and identify common ingredients in each experience. With this recipe, tour operators can adapt more easily as the group travel industry evolves. Keeping a Finger on the Pulse By establishing a baseline for leadership performance in “Travelling Tribes,” Jeff and his team have been able to offer more valuable resources and tips to tourism professionals throughout the pandemic. They have kept a finger on the pulse of major trends in the travel industry in order to come up with viable solutions for the recovery period. As a result, they have made it easier for tourism professionals to determine the next steps. Whether that means leveraging pent-up demand for travel, milestone birthdays, bolstered savings, or personal development, the data supports a dire need for the return of tourism. Website: LeisureGroupTravel.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeisureGroupTravel/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffgayduk/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/leisuregroup White Paper: https://leisuregrouptravel.com/tour-operators-react-to-covid-19-how-will-the-group-travel-recovery-look/ Book: https://leisuregrouptravel.com/travelingtribes/ We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Apr 21

39 min 46 sec

Amir Eylon is the President, CEO, and Partner of Longwoods International and a thirty-two-year veteran of the Travel & Tourism industry. Amir leads the entire team responsible for developing and executing all facets of the organization, from program development to customer acquisition and retention. He joined Longwoods in 2015 from his previous role as Vice President, Partner Engagement with Brand USA, the public-private partnership serving as the destination marketing organization dedicated to increasing international visitation to the US. He led the team responsible for increasing Brand USA’s partnership base and ensuring that participants received excellent service throughout Brand USA’s deployment of joint marketing programs. During his tenure, Brand USA grew its base to 475 partners, composed of destination marketing organizations, convention and visitor bureaus, attractions, travel brands, airlines, and tour operators. Prior to joining Brand USA, Amir served as Director of the Ohio Office of Tourism. Under his leadership, the state’s marketing programs realized a tremendous return on investment and contributed to the growth of the state’s $40 billion tourism economy. The programs he developed leveraged industry and nontraditional partnerships that generated $14 in new state and local taxes for every $1 invested and included active participation by thousands of Ohio’s tourism-related businesses. Amir has also served as Executive Vice President of the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, Assistant Director of the Ohio Tourism Division, and Sales & Marketing Manager with the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau. He has been recognized with a number of Industry honors, including Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing award (2014) by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI); The Ohio Tourism Industry’s Highest Honor, The Paul Sherlock Award; and The State of Ohio Distinguished Service Medal. Amir’s thought leadership in tourism is often quoted by media, and he has appeared in dozens of interviews among many national media outlets, including CNBC, MSNBC, Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, etc Amir holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Dayton. On this episode of Destination on the Left, we welcome back Amir Eylon, President, CEO, and Partner of Longwoods International, who first appeared on the podcast in April 2020. We reflect on the travel trends over the last 12 months, as revealed by research conducted by Longwood International’s Traveler Sentiment Trackers. Amir also speaks to the expectations of the newly conditioned traveler and what first trips will look like for many Americans after a year of shutdowns. He also explores the data on opportunities that can be found for DMOs with the return of day-trippers. What You Will Learn: What recent data from the Traveller Sentiment Trackers shows, and why the outlook for travel is optimistic Where and why people are traveling – including the most popular domestic destinations Traveler opinions on safety and cleanliness protocols in the communities they visit Why the resurgence of the day trip meant that overall volume wasn’t as low as expected over the last 12 months Newly conditioned traveler expectations and how DMOs can ensure they are catering to the increased desire to feel safe when making bookings Why it is essential to understand the importance of focusing on promotions rather than deep discounts Understanding Travel Plans in the New Normal Amir and Longwoods International were motivated to start their Travel Sentiment Trackers in March 2020 by a desire to help the entire travel industry. The data that their research has circulated has been invaluable in understanding how the American traveler feels about vacationing in this new normal and how DMOs can best serve them going forward. He discusses why overall volume in the US wasn’t as low as the travel industry expected and explains which domestic destinations have proved to be the most popular over the last year and why. Traveler Expectations in 2021 Amir digs into the expectations of newly conditioned travelers and why destinations need to be mindful not to roll back their cleanliness and flexibility protocols too quickly. He also addresses the new-found popularity of the day trip and how destination marketers can leverage those first visitors to promote their community and popularise short overnight breaks. The data shows that clarity will remain an important part of what visitors expect when researching destinations in the future and how communities can ensure that travelers feel safe by continuing to be transparent about precautions still in place to protect guests. Website: https://longwoods-intl.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amir-eylon-2242037/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/longwoods-international/about/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/longwoodsinternational Twitter: @AEylon @Lngwds  Episode 173: Market Research a Roadmap Through a Pandemic, with Amir Eylon We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/  

Apr 14

40 min 15 sec

Jennifer Wesselhoff is the President & CEO of the Park City Chamber of Commerce | Convention & Visitors Bureau (Chamber/Bureau). She has served in the position since October 2020. The Park City Chamber/Bureau is responsible for the marketing and management of Utah’s preeminent luxury tourism destination, driving revenues in excess of $1 billion annually. Park City is home to the Sundance Film Festival, the nation’s largest independent film event. The town’s two ski resorts served as major event sites for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games and the Utah Olympic Park continues to attract Olympians to Park City for high-altitude training. The town also is the headquarters for the US Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA). Park City hosts ski and snowboarding world championships on an annual basis and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has selected Utah for its next Winter Olympic bid in 2030. More than two million skiers hit the local slopes each year at both Park City Mountain, featuring the nation’s largest ski terrain, and Deer Valley Resort, consistently rated amongst the top ski resorts in North America. In summer months, more than one million visitors flock to Park City for hiking, blue-ribbon fly-fishing and biking on its 400-mile trail system. Prior to arriving in Park City, Jennifer was CEO/President of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, which she joined in 2007. During her tenure, she led Sedona, Arizona to national recognition as a destination. Jennifer guided the Sedona Chamber’s accreditation as a Destination Management Organization, led the development of Arizona’s first Sustainable Tourism Plan, and saw tourism grow to become Sedona’s largest industry, with a $1 billion annual impact and 10,000 tourism-related jobs. She most recently represented the region on the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force. Jennifer developed and launched successful brand strategies for Sedona, including the “Sedona, the Most Beautiful Place on Earth” campaign and the “Find Your Room to Play” campaign. Jennifer is a Certified Destination Management Executive with Destination Marketing Association International and is a frequent speaker and consultant on sustainable tourism best practices. She was the former Sedona Certified Film Commissioner with the Association of Film Commissioners International. Before joining the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, Jennifer taught English in Japan and spent three years in the hospitality industry in Interlaken, Switzerland. She is conversant in three foreign languages and holds bachelor’s degrees in French and Communications from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. When Jennifer and her husband Rick are not running, biking and hiking, they enjoy cooking and traveling with friends. Destination on the Left is joined by Jennifer Wesselhoff, the President and CEO of the Park City Chamber of Commerce, Convention, and Visitors Bureau. On our podcast, Jennifer shares her passion for sustainable tourism and talks about the steps you can take to implement it in your own community. She teaches us what DMOs can do to better communicate with their communities and grow the destination organically. And she also explains how the pandemic has provided destinations with an opportunity to rethink tourism for years to come. What You Will Learn: Jennifer’s journey into the travel and tourism industry Jennifer’s passion for sustainable tourism and the steps you can take to implement it in your own community How to balance the four pillars of sustainable tourism Why DMOs need to put more focus on communicating with their residents and local communities How the pandemic has provided destinations with an opportunity to rethink tourism Attracting quality vs. quantity when it comes to visitors The Park City Chamber of Commerce, Convention, and Visitors Bureau Destination on the Left is joined by Jennifer Wesselhoff, the President and CEO of the Park City Chamber of Commerce, Convention, and Visitors Bureau. On our podcast, Jennifer shares her passion for sustainable tourism and talks about the steps you can take to implement it in your own community. She teaches us what DMOs can do to better communicate with their communities and grow the destination organically. And she also explains how the pandemic has provided destinations with an opportunity to rethink tourism for years to come. Becoming a Leader in the Pandemic Jennifer started her journey in Park City in October of 2020—an interesting time to say the least. Starting a new position, with new people, in a new organization is enough to test any leader, let alone when it is taking place in a remote work environment. Jennifer, however, brings a ton of experience to the table, and she was able to find her stride quickly through the use of creativity and collaboration. Her passion for sustainable tourism has helped her develop those skills day in and day out, and it is a concept we can all benefit from exploring in our own organizations and communities. The Four Pillars of Community Jennifer defines sustainable tourism as a way to balance the four pillars of the community, and it lifts up everyone who is apart of it. The pillars are: creating and retaining a vibrant economy, the visitor experience, impact on quality of life, and protecting the environment. While Jennifer always took a data-driven approach to destination marketing, the four pillars of community helped her reshape the lens with which she looked at the data. It gave her a new perspective for addressing unique challenges within the community, and it provided her with an opportunity to partner with other organizations and businesses in the region to solve those challenges. Sustainable tourism is something any destination can adopt to transform the core principles of the community, and there is so much to gain from it. Website: https://www.visitparkcity.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-wesselhoff-8960599/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/park-city-chamberbureau/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VisitParkCity Twitter: @jennwesselhoff

Apr 7

43 min 31 sec

As Founder and President, Jennifer Hawkins has overseen the growth of Hawkins International Public Relations from a one-woman start-up to a major player in public relations, media relations, and digital communications for the luxury travel and lifestyle industries. Yet even as the agency has grown to more than 30 employees, maintained a robust roster of world-class international clients, expanded with a Los Angeles office, and launched a new division focused on wellness and beauty, Jennifer remains committed to the boutique and approachable culture she first shaped at the start back in 2002. “I want to maintain our spirit of creativity and proactivity in everything we do,” she says, explaining that assembling diverse leadership and talent is key to Hawkins International’s ingenuity and maneuverability. Jennifer’s commitment to relevancy encompasses not just current trends in hospitality and wellness, but making certain that the agency is technologically on par and on top of the changing media landscape. She was behind the company’s embrace of social media that created a vibrant division offering influencer relations, social media activation and training, content strategy, and video integration services. “We celebrate luxury travel and wellness lifestyles through polished personalized attention to our clients and to the media alike,” Jennifer continues. “My role is to bring in interesting clients who are a pleasure for us to collaborate and do business with. That keeps our PR team inspired, our culture dynamic, and our clients squarely in the news.” Jennifer fell for travel as a girl traveling with a Eurail Pass through Europe with her father. A veritable globetrotter with more than 50 countries across 6 continents stamped on her passport, she long ago gleaned that travel isn’t just about the visitor’s experience – it’s also about providing a real economic impact to countless destinations. She never thought Hawkins International would grow as it has – “I call myself the accidental entrepreneur” – but she has enjoyed the journey. “I can honestly say the majority of clients we’ve signed have come because of our reputation, and they stay because they know we will innovate and deliver.” Destination on the Left is joined by Jennifer Hawkins, Founder and President of Hawkins international Public Relations and Maverick Creative. Jennifer is a self-proclaimed travel and tourism nerd, working with luxury hotels, spas, resorts, and start-ups through her agencies. On our podcast, Jennifer shares highlights from her recently released Trend Hawk Report. She explains what increased spending on social media means for our industry, how national brands are integrating with local communities, and what our industry can do to prepare for recovery. What You Will Learn: How Jennifer impacts the travel industry through Hawkins International and Maverick Creative Highlights from Jennifer’s recently released Trend Hawk Report What increased spending on social media means for the travel and tourism industry How national brands are integrating with the local community through the pandemic What businesses in the travel industry need to do to prepare for the recovery HIPR and Maverick Creative Destination on the Left is joined by Jennifer Hawkins, Founder and President of Hawkins international Public Relations and Maverick Creative. Jennifer is a self-proclaimed travel and tourism nerd, working with luxury hotels, spas, resorts, and start-ups through her agencies. On our podcast, Jennifer shares highlights from her recently released Trend Hawk Report. She explains what increased spending on social media means for our industry, how national brands are integrating with local communities, and what our industry can do to prepare for recovery. The Trend Hawk Report Continuing the theme of 2020, 2021 is already fairly unpredictable. In order to get a handle on what we can expect for this year, data collectors/aggregators like Jennifer have kept an eye on travel and tourism trends that best represent where the industry is headed. Jennifer and her team have measured the impact of social media use in the travel industry as it correlates to social media spend. They have explored the tangential spikes in local business as local travel takes precedence. And they have looked into the overall change in human behavior/communication in relation to travel. We need to keep tabs on all of these trends as the country continues to reopen, so click here for more information. Setting the Pace for 2021 From hi-tech wellness experiences to digital marketing strategy, there are a lot of trends surfacing in the pandemic that will be differentiators for years to come. Research shows that in times of crisis, companies that adapt, pivot, and invest in their employees tend to come out stronger when the economy returns. In addition, companies that create, innovate, and collaborate with other competitors in their verticals/regions finding tons of new ways to generate revenue and foot traffic during the pandemic. With vaccines being distributed and some semblance of normalcy in sight, it is important that we do everything we can, with everyone we can, to hit the ground running in the recovery phase. Report: trendhawk2021.com Website: https://www.hawkpr.com/ https://www.maverickcreative.us/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferhawkins2/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/hawkins-international-public-relations/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/maverick-creative-nyc/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hawkinsinternationalpr/ https://www.facebook.com/WeAreMaverickCreative/ Twitter: @HIPR  

Mar 31

40 min 44 sec

In retirement, Loren is privileged to be applying her experiences and skills to the most important and long-lasting project in which she ever has been involved: the development and construction of a nature trail designed specifically for visitors with autism spectrum disorder and related conditions — located in Letchworth State Park, recently voted the #1 state park in the country AND #1 attraction in New York State! Destination on the Left is joined by Loren Penman, a retired educator working full time to bring the Autism Nature Trail to fruition. Our agency, Break the Ice Media, is the marketing partner assisting with the public fundraising phase of the capital campaign, which will make the Autism Nature Trail a reality. On our podcast, Loren explains how the trail was first conceived, and how a volunteer group took it from concept to project. She also talks about how the campaign was able to reach its goals in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic. The story of the Autism Nature Trail is a perfect example of what can be accomplished with the use of collaboration and creativity. SPECIAL NOTE: Since the recording of this episode, Loren has shared some exciting news with us! The official, COVID-style groundbreaking for The Autism Nature Trail (The ANT) at Letchworth State Park took place on February 19, 2021, and the Trail is on schedule to open later this year. Also, the ANT has launched a two-month GoFundMe Charity Campaign to fund the Celebration Station — the last stop on the Trail — in honor of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (March) and Autism Awareness Month (April). Please consider contributing to this worthy cause! The link to make fully tax-deductible donations is: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/celebrate-inclusion-and-nature-for-all What You Will Learn: Loren’s background and involvement with the Autism Nature Trail What the Autism Nature Trail is, and how it got started How our team has been able to get involved with the public fundraising phase of the ANT How Loren and her team took the project from concept to reality How creativity and collaboration were used to help the campaign reach its goal in spite of challenges posed by the pandemic What Loren did to overcome the challenges of a public-private sector collaboration Where the project is now, and where it is heading The Autism Nature Trail Destination on the Left is joined by Loren Penman, a retired educator working full time to bring the Autism Nature Trail to fruition. Our agency, Break the Ice Media, is the marketing partner assisting with the public fundraising phase of the capital campaign, which will make the Autism Nature Trail a reality. On our podcast, Loren explains how the trail was first conceived, and how a volunteer group took it from concept to project. She also talks about how the campaign was able to reach its goals in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic. The story of the Autism Nature Trail is a perfect example of what can be accomplished with the use of collaboration and creativity. Broadening the Appeal Loren and her community are finally ready to construct a one-mile looped trail with eight sensory stations in Letchworth State Park—this is the Autism Nature Trail or ANT for short. The ANT is a first-of-its-kind experience that started with a singular slant toward individuals on the spectrum, but it has since expanded to become a totally ADA compliant nature trail for all to enjoy. The special characteristics that make this trail perfect for the original target have a broad appeal to everyone. Our team was lucky enough to help share that message with the surrounding community so Loren and her team could realize their dream. From Concept to Reality From a simple, inspirational conversation in Letchworth to a fully-funded private-public project, Loren had her work cut out for her from the start. In order to take this project from concept to reality, she had to address a number of different challenges that required support from the community and local government. Once she had the ear of the right people, Loren managed to raise every dollar they needed through private donations so the park could be operated safely and effectively. This was a $3.7M feat, and they structured the park with the future in mind. From design and build to maintenance and management, this project is blessed with the expertise of many different professionals. This is creativity and collaboration at its finest, and even a pandemic hasn’t been able to stop the momentum they’ve created. Website: https://autismnaturetrail.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/loren-penman-39632264/ Twitter: @autismnature We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Mar 24

39 min 54 sec

Kris Kelso is a keynote speaker, entrepreneur, and is the author of Overcoming The Impostor: Silence Your Inner Critic and Lead with Confidence. Trained and certified as an executive coach, Kris has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, business owners, and their leadership teams. He is an advisor and instructor at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, is a Facilitator / Coach with The Alternative Board, and is a contributing writer for The Nashville Business Journal. Kris has founded multiple companies and has served on the boards of directors of several non-profit organizations. He lives with his wife and three teenaged sons in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. Destination on the Left is joined by Kris Kelso, a keynote speaker, entrepreneur, and the author of “Overcoming the Imposter.” On our podcast, Kris discusses the topic of imposter syndrome, a complex causing you to believe you’re not good enough and that you’ll somehow be exposed as a fraud. Nicole covered this previously on Episode #141, but it is a topic that couldn’t possibly get enough airtime. During our conversation, Kris explains how to overcome insecurity and self-doubt so you can avoid the comparison trap that leads to imposter syndrome. Kris also provides practical examples and strategies for recognizing and stopping the imposter. What You Will Learn: What imposter syndrome is, and how it affects us as leaders The fundamental framework of Kris’s recent book, “Overcoming the Imposter” How to overcome insecurity and self-doubt so you can avoid the comparison trap that leads to imposter syndrome Practical examples and strategies for recognizing and stopping the imposter How to turn imposter syndrome from a liability to an asset The prevalence of imposter syndrome in the travel and tourism industry Insecurity and Self-Doubt in Leadership Destination on the Left is joined by Kris Kelso, a keynote speaker, entrepreneur, and the author of “Overcoming the Imposter.” On our podcast, Kris discusses the topic of imposter syndrome, a complex causing you to believe you’re not good enough and that you’ll somehow be exposed as a fraud. Nicole covered this previously on Episode #141, but it is a topic that couldn’t possibly get enough airtime. During our conversation, Kris explains how to overcome insecurity and self-doubt so you can avoid the comparison trap that leads to imposter syndrome. Kris also provides practical examples and strategies for recognizing and stopping the imposter. Overcoming the Imposter Kris was inspired to write his recent book, “Overcoming the Imposter,” because so many leaders struggle with imposter syndrome. He defines imposter syndrome as the tendency to overvalue the accomplishments of others and doubt the reality of your own accomplishments or success. Nearly 70% of the population experiences imposter syndrome at some point in their careers, and it is even more prevalent among high achievers. It is almost universal among entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t get talked about often because people are afraid to discuss their doubts and insecurities. Kris wrote his book to surface this conversation and show others how to turn imposter syndrome from a liability to an asset. From a Liability to an Asset Imposter syndrome is a psychological concept, which means it is largely something you can control. By shifting your perception around imposter syndrome, you can turn it into something beneficial. When you are in a situation where you’re surrounded by brilliant minds, take note of the thoughts and feelings that are coursing through your mind. Remember them, because they are signaling you’re in the right place. Remember the old saying that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re probably in the wrong room? The feelings of discomfort and doubt can be turned into excitement and anticipation depending on how you perceive them. Webiste: https://www.kriskelso.com/ https://www.overcomingtheimpostor.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kriskelso/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thekriskelso Twitter: @kriskelso We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Mar 17

36 min 31 sec

Michelle Carlen is the Founder & President of Alignment Advising. With over two decades of career experience, she is dedicated to helping businesses by creating long-term strategy, growing sales and revenue, implementing process improvements, developing organizational infrastructure, and improving the client and employee experience. She also helps individuals advance their professional development and gain clarity, confidence, and direction along their career paths. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. With professional experience in hospitality, travel, tourism, and property management, Carlen has cultivated a diverse expertise in representing and supporting a variety of business types and managing teams from: attractions, boutique inns, corporate brand hotels, destinations, museums, restaurants, small retail stores, travel agencies, tour companies, homeowner associations, and non-profit specialty organizations. Carlen applies her unique ability to dial into what prevents businesses and individuals from attaining optimum performance and has a passion for translating those findings into strategic planning and practical solutions. She quickly pulls direction and establishes order from parts that seemingly don’t connect and brings them into superior working alignment. Destination on the Left is joined by Michelle Carlen, the Founder & President of Alignment Advising. Michelle is dedicated to helping businesses with long term strategy, revenue growth, process improvements, and organizational infrastructure. On our podcast, Michelle talks about leadership development, transition management, and the importance of stepping back to gain a better understanding of the big picture. Michelle shares insights about adopting a growth mindset and leadership strategies that will help us excel. And she also shares specific examples of collaboration through her experience as the leader of a CVB. What You Will Learn: Michelle’s perspective on leadership development, transition management, and the importance of stepping back to gain a better understanding of the big picture Michelle’s experiences with collaboration as the leader of a CVB How Michelle helps travel businesses with long term strategy, revenue growth, process improvements, and organizational infrastructure Michelle’s insights about adopting a growth mindset and leadership strategies that will help us excel in 2021 Why adversity can often lead to opportunities Alignment Advising Destination on the Left is joined by Michelle Carlen, the Founder & President of Alignment Advising. Michelle is dedicated to helping businesses with long term strategy, revenue growth, process improvements, and organizational infrastructure. On our podcast, Michelle talks about leadership development, transition management, and the importance of stepping back to gain a better understanding of the big picture. Michelle shares insights about adopting a growth mindset and leadership strategies that will help us excel. And she also shares specific examples of collaboration through her experience as the leader of a CVB. Professional Development in the Travel Industry Whether you are apart of a DMO, a CVB, or one of the many businesses that make up the travel and tourism ecosystem, there are a number of different ways to approach professional development. First and foremost, you need to adopt a sense of vulnerability and humility. You don’t know everything, regardless of what your title says, and being vulnerable will earn the respect of your team members. In addition, you must work on being open-minded, improving your communication, and taking advantage of the many tools out there to hone your leadership skills. Keep Your Strategy Fresh As leaders in any type of travel-related organization, you are also responsible for making difficult decisions on a strategic level. One mistake that many leaders of DMOs CVBs make is repeating what they did the year before with minor changes. After making it through 2020, it goes without saying that the things that worked one year are not necessarily going to work the next. There are way too many undeveloped markets and untapped targets to go after to be using the same stale marketing strategy you’ve been using for years. Through innovation and collaboration, you can grow your destination to new heights regardless of how the circumstances change. Blog: https://www.alignmentadvising.com/blog Website: https://www.alignmentadvising.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michellecarlen/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/alignmentadvising/ We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Mar 10

40 min 32 sec

Heather Bagshaw joined Greene County Tourism over seven years ago and loves being back in her hometown sharing all the great things she adored growing up. Her role in the tourism industry fostered over the past five years, from being an active board participant and President of both the Catskills and Hudson Valley Regions to sitting on the Board of Directors for New York State Tourism Industry Association and now her recent position as a Board Member on the Wine Water and Wonders Board of Directors. Destination on the Left is joined by Heather Bagshaw, the Tourism Director of both Greene County and the Northern Catskills in New York State. On our podcast, Heather and I talk about how tourism can attract new residents and businesses to a community. We explore how Greene County positions itself within the Catskills region by highlighting its unique lodging properties and all-inclusive resorts. And we also talk about the silver linings in travel and tourism that came out of the global pandemic. What You Will Learn: Heather’s journey into travel and tourism How tourism can attract new residents and businesses for a community How Greene County positions itself within the Catskills region How Green County leverages its unique lodging and all-inclusive resorts The silver linings in travel and tourism that came out of the global pandemic How Heather has used creativity and collaboration to drive traffic to Green County and the Northern Catskills Greene County and the Northern Catskills Destination on the Left is joined by Heather Bagshaw, the Tourism Director of both Greene County and the Northern Catskills in New York State. On our podcast, Heather and I talk about how tourism can attract new residents and businesses to a community. We explore how Greene County positions itself within the Catskills region by highlighting its unique lodging properties and all-inclusive resorts. And we also talk about the silver linings in travel and tourism that came out of the global pandemic. Attracting Residents and Businesses Greene County and the Northern Catskills draw a lot of tourist traffic from the New York City Metro Area. In the last two years, however, there has been a surge of Brooklynites as well. City dwellers from the five boroughs are not only coming as visitors, but they are also opening businesses in the region as well. This has had a significant impact on both tourism and economic development. Residents of Greene County are embracing newcomers and the unique flavors they bring to the community, and this has played a significant role in the region’s growth. Create Unique Travel Experiences The organic traffic flow has transformed Greene County already, but Heather has also done a terrific job using creativity and collaboration to better position Greene County within the Catskills. All-inclusive family resorts are a major draw in Greene County, and these resorts continue to attract the same families for generations. But travelers also want to have travel experiences that no one else has had before. Greene County’s unique lodging such as the “Treetopia” RV ground and the tiny home resort offer tourists the opportunity to create a memorable travel experience, unlike any vacation they’ve had before. Website: www.greatnortherncatskills.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heatherbagshaw/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreatNorthernCatskills/ Twitter: @catskilltourism We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Mar 3

49 min 6 sec

Taking an unusual path to the travel and tourism industry, Lisa’s background is in marketing and operations. Working for a large corporation in product marketing and then working as an Executive Director for a technology association set the groundwork for her current role as Executive Director for Travel Alliance Partners, a corporation owned by Tour Operators. Lisa leads the management team in developing operational and marketing strategies to help Travel Alliance Partners strengthen their partnerships, increase their business and expand their company tour portfolios. The past year has found Lisa and her team reimagining how they can deliver a quality travel industry conference to TAP’s audience of industry suppliers. Destination on the Left is joined by Lisa Doerner, Executive Director for Travel Alliance Partners. TAP is a North American corporation owned by tour operators from the U.S. and Canada, each with their own unique geographical expertise. On our podcast, Lisa joins us to talk about how TAP has been supporting its tour operators and PPTPs throughout the pandemic. She also discusses the creativity and collaboration behind the live event her team is producing in 2021, as well as how it will ignite travel this year and beyond. What You Will Learn: Lisa’s journey into travel and tourism What Lisa and her team have done to support tour operators throughout the pandemic How TAP maintains relationships with PPTPs or preferred, professional, travel providers How tap has used innovation and cutting edge thinking to help tourism professionals survive the pandemic How TAP’s virtual event platform has enabled tour operators and their partners to continue developing relationships The live event TAP is producing in 2021, and how it will ignite travel this year and beyond How we can work together during the recovery of the travel and tourism industry Travel Alliance Partners Destination on the Left is joined by Lisa Doerner, Executive Director for Travel Alliance Partners. TAP is a North American corporation owned by tour operators from the U.S. and Canada, each with their own unique geographical expertise. On our podcast, Lisa joins us to talk about how TAP has been supporting its tour operators and PPTPs throughout the pandemic. She also discusses the creativity and collaboration behind the live event her team is producing in 2021, as well as how it will ignite travel this year and beyond. TAP’s Coopetition Model As the travel and tourism industry starts to return from the pandemic, collaboration is a critical component of recovery. TAP has always been way ahead of its time with innovation and collaboration, as they have been a focus since the organization’s inception in 2001. Their original business model was designed to bring competitors together so that everyone’s business could grow. That mode of operation continues today as the 15-25 tour operators in TAP buy and sell each other’s products and services to generate more tourism dollars for everyone. Going Virtual Since TAP is a company of tour operators, many of its team members saw departures for 2020 halt entirely. As they manage rebookings and try to stay afloat until travel fully reopens again, TAP has done everything in its power to support them. Early on, Lisa made the decision to host one of the travel industry’s first virtual events. TAP brought together a broad spectrum of tour operators and the PPTPs to create a platform through which they could continue to develop relationships. It was met with some resistance at first, but virtual vents are now the gold standard for tourism professionals in all kinds of verticals. TAP’s approach to collaboration and innovation has helped many tour operators navigate the challenges of the pandemic, and there is a lot we can learn from it. Website: https://www.tapintotravel.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisadoerner/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/travel-alliance-partners-llc/about/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TravelAlliancePartnersTAP/ Twitter: @TAPIntoTravel We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/  

Feb 24

32 min 57 sec

Jennifer Lazarz has worked with the City of Gallup for over five years, four of which have been as the Tourism and Marketing Manager. Jennifer’s projects with the City of Gallup include the execution of the 2015 LEDA Grant for Historic Theatres at the historic El Morro Theatre, serving on the team for design and implementation of the GallupRealTrue tourism brand, coordinating the Gallup Native Arts Market with the Native Artists Commission, design of gallupnativeartsmarket.org. In addition, she manages the marketing, PR, sales, lodgers tax fund, and long-term tourism development of the City’s Tourism initiatives. COVID-19 mixed things up and Jennifer also acted as the Public Information Office for COVID and ran the CARES Small Business Grant Program for Gallup, New Mexico. Jennifer is currently the treasurer on the board of the Community Pantry, a local non-profit ensuring no mother’s child goes hungry in McKinley and Cibola Counties in New Mexico. Prior to her time in Gallup Jennifer worked in the arts as a professional opera singer for multiple companies and as an arts administrator for Chicago Dance, Land of Enchantment Opera, and Voicexperience/Savannah Voice Festival. She also served in the hospitality industry in food/beverage and as a tour guide in Winston Salem, NC. Destination on the Left is joined by Jennifer Lazarz, the Tourism and Marketing Manager for the City of Gallup, New Mexico. On our podcast, Jennifer talks about how her background as an opera singer helps her bring a unique lens to the travel and tourism industry. She also discusses the importance of building relationships within the industry to promote a destination, the value of ‘people’ in tourism marketing, and the upcoming centennial anniversary of Route 66. What You Will Learn: How Jennifer’s background as an opera singer helps her bring a unique lens to the travel and tourism industry The importance of building relationships within the industry to better promote your destination Why travel is about the people, not the experience, and how we can leverage that notion How Jennifer is preparing for the upcoming centennial anniversary of Route 66 How Jennifer has been able to capture the unique character of Gallup using creativity and collaboration What Jennifer has done to help Gallup stand out from the crowd The lessons Jennifer has taken away from the global pandemic, and how coopetition helped her through The City of Gallup Destination on the Left is joined by Jennifer Lazarz, the Tourism and Marketing Manager for the City of Gallup, New Mexico. On our podcast, Jennifer talks about how her background as an opera singer helps her bring a unique lens to the travel and tourism industry. She also discusses the importance of building relationships within the industry to promote a destination, the value of ‘people’ in tourism marketing, and the upcoming centennial anniversary of Route 66. Jennifer’s insights provide us with a great blueprint to approach our destination marketing strategy for 2021. Capturing the Character of Gallup Jennifer describes Gallup, NM as a city hiding in plain sight because it is a very substantial town despite what you might expect. Gallup is thirty miles east of the Arizona border on Interstate 40 and the Historic Route 66. It is surrounded by Native American populations and a significant amount of indigenous land, so Gallup has essentially become the economic hub of the entire region. There is an amazing culture derived from a combination of its coal mining roots and the influence of native cultural arts. Jennifer’s mission has been to capture this unique culture in her marketing efforts, and she has employed an incredible use of creativity and collaboration to do so. Opportunity Through Networking Throughout her tenure as the Tourism and Marketing Manager for Gallup, Jennifer has put a lot of effort into simply letting people know Gallup is there. Social media, digital marketing, and traditional out-of-home advertising have all played a major role in the growth of Gallup’s marketing platform. However, Jennifer’s approach to networking is what sets Gallup apart. She has spent a ton of time attending travel and tourism events and developing relationships with industry partners. Once they understood Jennifer’s vision and Gallup’s accessibility, they started providing her with resources to realize that vision. Don’t underestimate what your destination has to offer, there is always an atypical opportunity out there if you are willing to find it. Website: www.galluprealtrue.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-lazarz-ctis-a0909512a/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/city-of-gallup-new-mexico/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/galluprealtrue Twitter: @galluprealtrue We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Feb 17

45 min 58 sec

Kerri Green is the President & CEO of Commerce Chenango, beginning August 2019. She is a US Army Veteran and has a marketing degree from SUNY Delhi. Kerri has an extensive background in economic development, sales, and in administration. Her background includes a tenure at CDO Broadcasting as Sales Manager for over ten years, and five years in Higher Education working as the Senior Assistant to the President and Secretary to the Board of Trustees at Hartwick College as well as the Director of Admissions at USC (Oneonta). She has spent over twenty years working wit various economic development agencies and Chambers of Commerce (all-volunteer) before taking the helm at Commerce Chenango. Commerce Chenango houses the Chenango County Chamber of Commerce, operates at the Economic Development arm of Chenango County through the Development Chenango Corporation (DCC) as the Chenango County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) as well as the Chenango Foundation (501 C3). Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Green has been the lead contact for Chenango County through the Southern Tier Control Room as well as working closely with Empire State Development (ESD) by serving on multiple workgroups and working on the 2021 Strategic Plan for the Southern Tier. Green resides in Sidney with her husband and two daughters. Destination on the Left is joined by Kerri Green, the President & CEO of Commerce Chenango. Her organization houses the Chenango County Chamber of Commerce and operates at the Economic Development arm of Chenango County. During our conversation, Kerri talks about the importance of aligning tourism and economic development. She explains what that synergy looks like in Chenango County and how she is redesigning Commerce Chenango’s business model to maximize it. Kerri also discusses the evolution of her newsletter, “Keep Calm and Kerri On.” What You Will Learn: The importance of aligning tourism and economic development How Kerri is rebuilding Commerce Chenango’s business model from the ground up The evolution of Kerri’s “Keep Calm and Kerri On” newsletter How this year has taught us to be more resourceful and inquisitive about what our communities have to offer The different collaborations Kerri has initiated in an effort to drive visitor traffic in Chenango How Kerri is managing her own destination on top of building a regional support structure for other communities in the area Commerce Chenango Destination on the Left is joined by Kerri Green, the President & CEO of Commerce Chenango. Her organization houses the Chenango County Chamber of Commerce and operates at the Economic Development arm of Chenango County. During our conversation, Kerri talks about the importance of aligning tourism and economic development. She explains what that synergy looks like in Chenango County and how she is redesigning Commerce Chenango’s business model to maximize it. Kerri also discusses the evolution of her newsletter, “Keep Calm and Kerri On.” Rebranding from the Ground Up Whether you are trying to attract new residents/businesses or tourists, there is a lot of competition. It is important to differentiate your destination so it stands out from the crowd. Kerri has had a lot of success with this despite being thrown into the viper pit in the middle of a pandemic during her first year in charge. She has led the efforts of Commerce Chenango’s rebrand with a bottom-up approach. She has addressed their programs, initiatives, funding, and resources to make the greatest impact. Kerri also leveraged Chenango’s rural character to appeal to the shop local movement and attract people who are looking for a charming change of pace. Creativity in the Face of Adversity Adversity is no match for creativity, and one of the silver-linings of 2020 has been to watch creativity prevail in so many new ways. Aside from rebranding Commerce Chenango, Kerri has used creativity to engage the community in a bunch of other ways. Her team has produced a series of videos in-house to help people understand what is available in their community during the pandemic. They are also promoting safe events that are unique to Chenango County to drive visitor traffic going into 2021. This year has taught us to be more resourceful and more inquisitive about what our communities have to offer. Chenango is a great example of that. Website: https://commercechenango.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kerriinsinga/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/commerce-chenango-ny/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kerri.insinga/ Twitter: @kerri_grace28 Keep Calm and Kerri On: https://cca.commercechenango.com/NewsArticle.aspx?dbid2=NYCOCH&newsid=8015 We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/ FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestEmail

Feb 10

36 min 30 sec

Husband and wife team, Tim and Janine Caschette, own Avvino which opened in 2013. The restaurant focuses on seasonal, American cuisine with an International twist and is known for its expansive and highly-curated wine program. Destination on the Left is joined by the husband and wife team, Tim and Janine Caschette. They are the owners of Avvino, a contemporary American restaurant in Rochester New York boasting locally sourced ingredients and an eclectic, rotating seasonal menu. On our podcast, Tim and Janine share their stories and talk about how they found their passion in the restaurant industry. They also explain how their focus on food, service, and atmosphere combined with a highly-curated wine program helped them navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. What You Will Learn: How Tim and Janine came to find their passion in the restaurant industry How Tim and Janine’s focus on food, service, and atmosphere combined with a highly-curated wine program helped them navigate the lockdowns Different ways Tim and Janine use creativity and collaboration to stand out from the competition What Avvino has done to overcome the ever-changing lockdown restrictions How Avvino used creativity to bring the hospitality experience to people at home Avvino Destination on the Left is joined by the husband and wife team, Tim and Janine Caschette. They are the owners of Avvino, a contemporary American restaurant in Rochester New York boasting locally sourced ingredients and an eclectic, rotating seasonal menu. On our podcast, Tim and Janine share their stories and talk about how they found their passion in the restaurant industry. They also explain how their focus on food, service, and atmosphere combined with a highly-curated wine program helped them navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Food, Service, and Atmosphere Tim and Janine had vastly different introductions and pathways into the restaurant industry, but they found common ground in its opportunities to express creativity and passion. Creativity drives everything they do, and they are constantly looking for new ways to make their restaurant stand out from the competition. The triple threat of food, service, and atmosphere that we talked about is extremely important because many restaurants only check one or two of the boxes. Tim and Janine bring different perspectives to the table because of their unique backgrounds and experiences, and their complementary skillsets keep Avvino on the cutting-edge of all three categories. Overcoming Restrictions with Creativity In addition to helping Tim and Janine stay competitive when it counts, their approach to creativity also enables them to adapt to the ever-changing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. These restrictions are changing on what seems like a daily basis, and you have to be quick on your feet to stay compliant. Avvino revamped its menu to be takeout friendly, and takeout volume went from 1 order to almost 100 orders a night. They also found new ways to bring the hospitality experience to their customers at home by adding a personal touch to each order. As we finally put 2020 behind us, It is important to recognize the level of problem-solving restaurants like Avvino displayed. Restaurants that survived because of their creativity and quick thinking are going to bring a lot more to the table as the country begins to reopen. Website: https://www.avvinorochester.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/avvinorochester/ Twitter: @AvvinoRochester We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Feb 3

49 min 21 sec

Tim Midgley has over 15 years of technology strategy consulting experience in both corporate and startup environments. He enjoys working in a variety of roles that require modern knowledge of solution creation, business analysis, and product design. Tim is a highly sought after resource for friends and family when they are seeking motivation, guidance, or feedback across a variety of work-related or wellness-focused initiatives. Destination on the Left is joined by Tim Midgley, co-founder of Diemlife. Diemlife is a platform designed to build teams, create events, launch campaigns. They specialize in virtual and hybrid events that drive results and marketing goals. During our conversation, Tim explains how Diemlife helps communities and organizations mobilize their people. He also shares insights about his company’s new perspective on activation and engagement. And he discusses his philosophy on the 6 Pillars of Wellness. What You Will Learn: Tim’s journey into the travel and tourism industry How the Diemlife platform helps communities and organizations mobilize their people How a new perspective on activation can drive results and marketing goals Tim’s philosophy on the 6 Pillars of Wellness How Diemlife’s “quests” connect organizations with the resources they need to grow How you can get involved in the World’s Biggest Race for Wellness hosted by Diemlife How Diemlife has been able to accomplish incredible things with its partners in response to COVID Diemlife Destination on the Left is joined by Tim Midgley, co-founder of Diemlife. Diemlife is a platform designed to build teams, create events, launch campaigns. They specialize in virtual and hybrid events that drive results and marketing goals. During our conversation, Tim explains how Diemlife helps communities and organizations mobilize their people. He also shares insights about his company’s new perspective on activation and engagement. And he discusses his philosophy on the 6 Pillars of Wellness. Embarking on a Quest “Quests” are a core element of the Diemlife framework. They are a unique take on campaigns that connect organizations with the resources they need to accomplish their goals. Diemlife works with universities, cities, and other organizations to engage their customers in the unique quest platform that amplifies the brand journey. In the travel and tourism industry, however, the journey is literal, and it offers DMOs a bunch of tools to create stronger connections with the travelers who visit. What is Really Happening in Your Community? In addition to quests, Diemlife’s mission is largely driven by their 6 Pillars of Wellness: physical, mental, social, environmental, occupational, and financial. Not everyone thinks of these things when they think about their wellness journey, but they are important to consider as you pursue growth in your organization. When it comes to communities, tourism, and how these segments can get creative with the Diemlife platform, Tim and his team offer insights into the demographic composition of a community and the activities they are participating in. A quest can be anything, so it provides an organic look at what communities are up to. Destinations of all sizes need a partner that is creative and quick on their feet. Website: https://diem.life/ World’s Biggest Race for Wellness: https://quest.diem.life/wbrw

Jan 27

36 min 53 sec

Eric Patrick is a lifelong marketing professional earning a degree in Advertising from Washington State University. He spent the first 10 years of his career working for small advertising agencies in Portland, OR and central Washington State. Through that experience, he started marketing fruits and vegetables extensively around 2000 and has been at it ever since. Working for one of the largest shippers of apples/pears/cherries in the U.S. and currently at a large distributor based in Oakland, CA. He has traveled extensively during his fresh produce career and also started marketing for other companies such as Tajin Seasonings and about 5 years ago he was asked to pitch a tourism account with a friend. The account was Union Gap, WA Tourism, a small DMO in central Washington State and a small town in Yakima County. Eric also teaches an Intro to Advertising Class at Yakima Valley College. Destination on the Left is joined by Eric Patrick, the Marketing and Tourism Director for Union Gap, Washington. During our conversation, Eric discusses the different ways he is creatively generating awareness for Union Gap. He also explains how Asparafest—an asparagus-themed restaurant weekend—was dawned after one of Union Gap’s local restaurants was presented with the James Beard Award. Eric has been able to build a global network for his Twitter Chat called, #SmallTownTourismChat, and on our podcast, he shares insights about what small towns are doing to drive traffic as the travel industry returns. What You Will Learn: The different ways Eric is creatively promoting tourism in Union Gap, WA How Eric has generated awareness for Union Gap during the pandemic How Eric leveraged the James Beard Award won by a local restaurant to drive awareness The roles of creativity and collaboration in driving tourism for Union Gap Eric’s journey into the travel and tourism industry What opportunities lie ahead for small-town destinations in 2021 Union Gap, WA Destination on the Left is joined by Eric Patrick, the Marketing and Tourism Director for Union Gap, Washington. During our conversation, Eric discusses the different ways he is creatively generating awareness for Union Gap. He also explains how Asparafest—an asparagus-themed restaurant weekend—was dawned after one of Union Gap’s local restaurants was presented with the James Beard Award. Eric has been able to build a global network for his Twitter Chat called, #SmallTownTourismChat, and on our podcast, he shares insights about what small towns are doing to drive traffic as the travel industry returns. Putting Union Gap on the Map When most people think of Washington state, they think of destinations like Seattle and Spokane. Union Gap is not so familiar, but it has a flavor all its own. Located on the east side of the state, Union Gap is nestled in the agricultural belt of Washington which gets over 300 days of sun per year. It is only a half-hour from the mountains, with Mt. Rainier in plain view. Despite its small size, Union Gap offers an unparalleled charm that appeals to outdoor enthusiasts and wine/craft beer connoisseurs alike. Eric has been able to leverage all of these traits to put Union Gap on the map, and he is helping tons of other small-town destinations do the same. Finding Opportunity in 2021 2020 has obviously been a challenging year for everyone in every destination, but looking forward, Eric plans to continue what he started. Union, Gap was on the precipice of widespread recognition before the pandemic. They have tons of unique events, from the world’s largest sprint car show to the annual Pioneer Power show hosted every summer. Eric’s focus as the Marketing and Tourism Director has been to bring these events to the forefront and use them to define Union Gap. He has continued to do that virtually during the pandemic, and as things reopen, the physical events will re-emerge as well. 2021 has so much opportunity, and Union Gap will be positioning themselves as an essential stop in the year of the road trip, with tons of outdoor activities to keep you busy. There is opportunity for every small town destination out there, so join the conversation in Eric’s #SmallTownTourismChat on Twitter. #SmallTownTourismChat: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23smalltowntourismchat&src=typeahead_click Website: http://www.visituniongap.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-patrick-81b4ba20/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UnionGapTourism/ Twitter: @UnionGapWA We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jan 20

42 min 47 sec

A marketing strategist for over 30 years, Susan Baier founded Audience Audit in 2009 to help organizations understand their best audiences based on attitudes and needs rather than just demographics or purchase behavior. She develops custom segmentation research for marketers and agencies around the world, supporting their efforts to create marketing initiatives that are more relevant, more efficient, and more impactful. Destination on the Left is joined again by Susan Baier to discuss the impact collaboration has on the travel and tourism industry. Susan is the founder of Audience Audit, a research firm that studies the attitudes behind consumer behaviors and beliefs. Susan teamed up with our host Nicole Mahoney to conduct a study about the far-reaching effects of coopetition, where perceived competitors accomplish something bigger than themselves by coming together. What You Will Learn: An overview of the findings from Susan and Nicole’s research study on collaboration The impact collaboration has on the travel and tourism industry How perceived competitors can use coopetition to accomplish something bigger than themselves by coming together How attitudinal research works, and why it is more effective in our industry The industry-wide sentiment toward collaboration in travel and tourism The three different types of collaborators and how each one affects the group dynamic Where tourism professionals are seeking resources on collaboration Collaboration in the Pandemic Susan Baier is back for another episode of Destination on the Left to discuss the impact collaboration has on the travel and tourism industry. She is the founder of Audience Audit, a research firm that studies the attitudes behind consumer behaviors and beliefs. Susan teamed up with host Nicole Mahoney to conduct a study about the far-reaching effects of coopetition, where perceived competitors accomplish something bigger than themselves by coming together. As we transition into a new year during these difficult times, it is important to understand how our organizations can use collaboration to navigate new challenges and measure our success. Data That Aligns With Your Goals There is an overwhelming amount of data available to destination marketers, but it is often the case that only a small portion of it aligns with our goals. So much data is virtually useless to us and as a result, we approach marketing strategy with expensive blind spots. While two individuals in a marketing segment may appear similar on the surface, they likely have two completely different sets of needs and problems that cannot be addressed with one blanket communication tactic. Attitudinal research offers a solution for destination marketers by providing them with targeted research based on needs and attitudes instead of demographics and purchase behaviors. There is a Demand for Collaboration The goal of Nicole and Susan’s study was to understand the industry-wide sentiment toward collaboration in travel and tourism. There were approximately 161 completed responses in the initial survey, providing enough data for the results to be statistically significant while offering a wide spectrum of attitudinal differences to compare with the results. The interesting thing about research is that it doesn’t always prove that you don’t know what you’re talking about—sometimes it has the opposite effect. This study reinforced the willingness to collaborate in all segments of the travel and tourism industry, with 76% of respondents having collaborated with direct competitors. What does this mean for you? It means there are an abundance of new opportunities to overcome challenges of the pandemic if you are willing to seek them out. This is huge for travel professionals from all walks of life. Website: https://audienceaudit.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susanbaieraz/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/audience-audit-inc./ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AudienceAudit/ Twitter: @susanbaier We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/  

Jan 13

38 min 9 sec

Tammy Blount-Canavan has a passion for elevating leadership and team performance. She has had a standout career developing high-performance teams of staff, boards, and community organizations. Tammy provides relatable and innovative leadership to bring out the best in organizations and individuals. Tammy’s career has spanned 30+ years and two countries, including executive leadership at Tourism Vancouver, CEO of the Tacoma Regional CVB, architect and inaugural Chair of the Washington Tourism Alliance, and President and CEO of the Monterey County CVB. Tammy is a Past Chair of Destinations International and co-chaired the creation and launch of DestinationNEXT. Tammy has been recognized as CEO of the Year, one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry, twice as one of the top 25 Most Influential Women in the industry, Leadership Supplier of the Year in the Meetings Industry, Top 100 Most Inspirational Women in the Meetings Industry, Community Leader of the Year, Leading for Positive Impact Award and Destination Internationals Global Leadership Award. Tammy holds Fellow Certified Destination Marketing Executive (FCDME) certification which she now helps instruct, and is passionate about mentoring the current and next generation of Destination Leaders. Destination on the Left is joined by Tammy Blount-Canavan, Executive Vice President and Principal of Destination and Travel Practice at Fired Up! Culture. Kicking off the new year in 2021, Tammy’s message reminds us of what’s important as we move past the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild the travel and tourism industry. On our podcast, Tammy talks about the importance of finding and following your North Star so you can be a more effective leader. She also discusses the fundamental leadership practices that will help you better yourself and your team as you continue to navigate the pandemic. What You Will Learn: The importance of finding and following your North Star Why leading yourself first will make you a better leader for others Tammy’s leadership journey in the travel and tourism industry Five key practices to be an effective leader in these challenging times Action steps, insights, and ideas to help you improve yourself and your team Fired Up! Culture Tammy Blount-Canavan is the Executive Vice President and Principal of Destination and Travel Practice at Fired Up! Culture. Her message reminds us of what’s important as we move past the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild the travel and tourism industry. On our podcast, Tammy talks about the importance of finding and following your North Star so you can be a more effective leader. She also discusses the fundamental leadership practices that will help you better yourself and your team as you continue to navigate the pandemic. Fundamentals of Great Culture and Leadership The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged travel and tourism professionals in ways never thought possible. Many of you have found new means to thrive and persevere, despite having no end to the chaos in sight. What is the common theme among destination marketers that have experienced success in these trying times? Strong leadership! The leaders of these organizations rely on five key practices to maintain effectiveness during the pandemic including being vulnerable, listening, giving hope, talking about gratitude, and being enthusiastic about the future. Find Your North Star Destination marketing organizations can use leadership and culture to achieve growth and stand out from the crowd, just as they can use creativity and collaboration. It all starts with finding your North Star. What is your ‘reason for being’ as it relates to your organization? What values and beliefs do you hold dear, and how are they being lived by your team? Finding your North Star will give your organization the focus it needs to adapt, innovate, and create the next iteration of itself. Your North Star is aligned with your vision for the future, and it is the key to maintaining a powerful team chemistry no matter how the industry or circumstances change moving forward. Website: https://www.firedupculture.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blountcanavan/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/fired-up-culture/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/firedupculture Twitter: @tammyblount @firedupculture We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/ FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestEmail

Jan 6

43 min 45 sec

Twenty years ago, Pascale Bernasse fulfilled a lifelong dream and began a career in the travel industry. Today, that dream remains a reality for her as the co-owner and President of French Wine Explorers. Bernasse started working in the travel industry in 2000 after leaving a corporate career that had left her uninspired. Taking a leap of faith, she started her career at two of the first internet-based cruise retailers, then moved on to gain experience with a small niche tour operator and a brick and mortar travel agency. In 2007 Bernasse and her husband, Pierre, acquired French Wine Explorers, a boutique tour operator specializing in luxury wine vacations in France and Italy. For the past nine years, Bernasse has been featured as a Condé Nast “Top Travel Specialist” for her expertise. Bernasse earned this reputation by providing exceptional immersive tours with memorable experiences. Her success is due to her insider’s knowledge and relationships with the top estates and guides in France. Daughter of a French native, Bernasse spent summers in France and received part of her college education and professional experience there. All this time spent in France has allowed her to have a deep perspective that she shares with clients. Says Bernasse, “I am incredibly proud of my experiences in the travel business these last 20 years. This has been a dream of mine since I was a young child spending my summers in France. Over the years, I have forged relationships with outstanding clients and service providers. These partnerships have allowed me to grow in ways that I never imagined. We use a high-touch approach with our clients; and this fuels our brand as Pierre and I surround ourselves with the best in the business. I hope the next 20 years will challenge, reward, and inspire me as much as the past 20 have been!” Along with recognition from Condé Nast, French Wine Explorers has been recognized by Wine Enthusiast, Travel and Leisure, Rachel Ray Magazine, Travel Weekly, and Bon Appétit magazines. Destination on the Left is joined by Pascale Bernasse, the president of French Wine Explorers. In our conversation, Pascale and I talk about the importance of finding your tribe and maintaining focus so you can navigate the challenges of this pandemic. She explains how her company found its North Star and managed to stay healthy through all of the hurdles in 2020. And she also discusses her commitment to serving the community and putting her customers first. Our podcast is full of invaluable insights about French Wine Explorers’ ability to persevere in these trying times, and I am sure it will energize you as it did me. What You Will Learn: How Pascale found her way into the travel and tourism industry 20 years ago Pascale’s role as co-owner and president of French Wine Explorers The importance of finding your tribe amidst a global crisis How to maintain focus so you can navigate the challenges of the pandemic more effectively What French Wine Explorers did to stay healthy through all of the hurdles of 2020 How Pascale’s commitment to service and putting her customers first paid off during the pandemic French Wine Explorers Destination on the Left is joined by Pascale Bernasse, the president of French Wine Explorers. In our conversation, Pascale and I talk about the importance of finding your tribe and maintaining focus so you can navigate the challenges of this pandemic. She explains how her company found its North Star and managed to stay healthy through all of the hurdles in 2020. And she also discusses her commitment to serving the community and putting her customers first. Our podcast is full of invaluable insights about French Wine Explorers’ ability to persevere in these trying times, and I am sure it will energize you as it did me. Serving, Not Selling French Wine Explorers offers wine tours in France, Italy, and Spain to help wine lovers become true connoisseurs. Her customers are not comfortable sitting on a beach for a week—they are looking to come back with more knowledge than they started with by participating in enriching experiences abroad. On the surface, French Wine Explorers is a tour company, but Pascale figured out how to take it so much further than that. By focusing on relationship development and the individual needs of each client, each experience has a personal touch that her competitors can’t offer. French Wine Explorers doesn’t sell, it serves. And the new circumstances of the pandemic have only made that more significant. Responding to the Global Pandemic It goes without saying that the events of 2020 have been challenging for everyone, but the travel and tourism industry has been hit especially hard. It has forced us to adapt and serve our clients in new ways. In the first half of the year, Pascale and her team focused solely on protecting the investments of clients who had booked tours in 2020. The second half of the year has been dedicated to finding ways to run the business more efficiently based on Pascale’s vision for the future. France experienced a number of terror attacks in 2016 which cut French Wine Explorers’ business in half. Moving forward, Pascale and her team focused on building financial insulation for anything else that might happen in the future. That insulation has been key in their ability to pivot and push forward in these difficult times. Website: https://www.wine-tours-france.com/ We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/  

Dec 2020

40 min 2 sec

As a tourism professional for over 25 years, David Holder co-founded Clarity of Place with a hands-on understanding of what destination leaders need to be successful. David leads stakeholder engagement efforts and crafts tactical plans to ensure destinations are equipped with the data and industry insights to react to changing environments but still attain their strategic vision. In leading a variety of destinations, David proved himself to be an industry innovator, taking new perspectives on what it means for destinations to be competitive and specializing in setting and meeting measurable marketing, sales, and product development results. A versatile and effective communicator, David honed his destination management skills by collaborating with industry partners through service on the board of directors for Destinations International, the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program, and the US Travel Association Destinations Council, to name a few. Destination on the Left is joined by David Holder, the co-founder of Clarity of Place. David’s organization helps destinations navigate threats and opportunities that impact their ability to attract visitors and attain their long-term strategic goals. He has over twenty-five years of experience in the travel and tourism industry, and he has mastered the art of tactical planning, data analysis, and collaboration to ensure destinations can thrive in changing environments. On our podcast, David explains how DMOs should communicate with their communities. He also shares why aligning your priorities with the priorities of the community will set you up for success. What You Will Learn: David’s journey into travel and tourism How DMOs can better communicate with their communities Why aligning your priorities with the priorities of the community will set you up for success The difference between the ‘why’ of what you do vs. the ‘what’ or the ‘how’ How to leverage transformational metrics for tactical planning What DMOs can do to form stronger connections with economic development How the pandemic has impacted destination marketing Clarity of Place Destination on the Left is joined by David Holder, the co-founder of Clarity of Place. David’s organization helps destinations navigate threats and opportunities that impact their ability to attract visitors and attain their long-term strategic goals. He has over twenty-five years of experience in the travel and tourism industry, and he has mastered the art of tactical planning, data analysis, and collaboration to ensure destinations can thrive in changing environments. On our podcast, David explains how DMOs should communicate with their communities. He also shares why aligning your priorities with the priorities of the community will set you up for success. Get Buy-in From Your Community David offers a unique perspective when it comes to the different ways destinations can leverage data. He believes there is a dire need for destinations to communicate more effectively across their communities because there is a disconnect between the priorities of DMOs and the priorities of the communities. Clarity of place has made it their focus to find connections between DMOs and communities, so they can help everyone understand the big picture effect of their programs and why they do what they do. If you can get buy-in from the community, your destination will have much greater success. Responding to the Global Pandemic When David and his team at Clarity of Place first started looking for these connections, they explored many of the different programs destinations created in response to the global pandemic. They found that the hyper-local outreach and progressive content strategy we have seen are only going to continue in these destinations after the pandemic subsides. The pandemic has changed the needs of the community and the individual, and it has put everything DMOs do into a different context. By understanding the data that drives the new trends, marketing organizations can use them to guide their strategies moving forward. Website: https://www.clarityofplace.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-holder-a801965/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/clarityofplace/ Twitter: @ClarityofP Episode Transcript We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Dec 2020

46 min 59 sec

With transformation and culture change in her DNA, Judy McKinney-Cherry is a seasoned leader and successful entrepreneur recognized for her expertise in economic and community development. She is sought after and known for her ability to balance a strategic focus with boots on the ground pragmatism that she leverages to help emerging businesses forge growth trajectories and create sustainable and successful futures. Ms. Cherry is currently the Executive Director for SCOPED, the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, and the CEO/CFO for the Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency. Ms. McKinney Cherrys diverse background includes over 25 years of executive experience across the private sector, public sector, and university settings including appointments by the Governors of New York and Delaware. Her service on numerous local, regional, and national Boards includes Corning Community College Regional Board of Trustees, CCS Workforce Investment & Opportunity Board, the Southern Tier Central Planning Council, Locate Finger Lakes!, Erie Canal Heritage Fund, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, Regional Energy and Economic Development Corporation, to name a few. As a certified economic developer with fellow member status, she also serves on the International Economic Development Council Accreditation Committee. When she manages to pull herself away from doing the work she loves and for which she has an unwavering commitment, you can find her riding her BMW motorcycle, beekeeping, working with raptors, and spending time on the golf course. She currently resides in Watkins Glen with her husband, Phil, her corgi, Winston, and their chickens, Emily, Lucy, and Ethyl. Destination on the Left is joined by Judy McKinney Cherry, a seasoned economic and community development professional with a wealth of experience in the travel and tourism sector. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, as well as the CEO, CFO of the Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency. Judy has a deep understanding of the role travel and tourism plays as an economic driver in destinations across the country. On our podcast, she joins us to share her story, highlighting the importance of housing in economic performance, and mapping out her collaborative framework as it relates to our 3C’s. What You Will Learn: Travel and tourism’s role as an economic driver in communities across the country Why housing is critical to the performance of any economy Judy’s experience with collaboration, and how it ties into our 3C’s framework How Judy’s public/private sector perspectives and experience with data influence her decisions Why we need to approach tourism as so much more than promoting/marketing a destination What Judy has done to help her organization stand out from the pack How Judy’s team has used creativity and collaboration to navigate crises How the pandemic has leveled the playing field in travel and tourism Tourism is Part of the Economic Fabric Judy McKinney Cherry is a seasoned economic and community development professional with a wealth of experience in the travel and tourism sector. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, as well as the CEO, CFO of the Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency. Judy has a deep understanding of the role travel and tourism plays as an economic driver in destinations across the country. On our podcast, Judy joins us to share her story, highlighting the importance of housing in economic performance, and mapping out her collaborative framework as it relates to our 3C’s. More Than Marketing Judy is extremely data-driven in her approach to strategy, and she views tourism as an economic driver. It is part of the economic fabric of every community, which is why tourism boards and organizations are so much more than marketers alone. If you look at tourism as an entire industry instead of a means of promoting your destination, then you will be able to thrive collectively. Tourism is not a subsect of economic development, it is part of it. And it is a way for communities to engage travelers in ongoing relationships that lead to potential opportunities for growth. Planning for What-If Scenarios In travel and tourism, Judy is always planning for the what-if scenarios. COVID is a good example because the entire industry transformed overnight. When destination marketers are only focused on promoting a destination, there is virtually nothing for them to do in a situation like this. But when they operate as an integral part of a destination’s economic development, they can help fill in the gaps wherever it is necessary. The essence of creativity is problem-solving. When you combine that with collaboration and a willing network of organizations that have a location’s best interest in mind, disaster scenarios are easier to manage. Website: www.flxgateway.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/judy-mckinney-cherry-cecd-fm-49a2991/ Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/schuylercountypartnership/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/jmcherry Episode Transcript We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Dec 2020

51 min 58 sec