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Destination On The Left

Destination On The Left is 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. We explore consumer marketing programs and travel trade marketing programs. This podcast provides an opportunity for professionals in the travel & tourism industry to share what they have learned and successes that they have achieved.
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Jun 16, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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 26, 2021

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.

May 19, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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 7, 2021

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.

Mar 31, 2021

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.

 
Mar 24, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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Feb 10, 2021

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.

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Feb 3, 2021

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.

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 27, 2021

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.

Jan 20, 2021

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.

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, 2021

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.

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 6, 2021

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.

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 16, 2020

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.

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/

 
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