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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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Now displaying: July, 2021
Jul 28, 2021

Mike Testa is the President and CEO of Visit Sacramento & the Sacramento Sports Commission, leading a team dedicated to promoting Sacramento as an attractive travel destination while enhancing Sacramentos image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, Mike and his team strengthen Sacramento’s economic position, grow the region’s economy, attract development investment, and improve the quality of life for the people who call Sacramento home.

In just three years as the CEO of Visit Sacramento, Mike has generated new streams of visitors to the region by investing in and promoting Sacramento’s arts community and creating and expanding music and food festivals. He has also focused on growing and securing new and diverse sporting events and advocating for, and ultimately securing, the expansion of the Sacramento Convention Center.

Visit California Travel & Tourism data shows that Mike’s vision of diversifying Sacramento’s visitor platform is working. In 2019, Sacramento generated record revenues from tourism, as visitors spent more than $3 billion into the regional economy. In 2021, Visit Sacramento will help further elevate the Aftershock Music Festival (the largest hard rock festival on the West Coast) into a four-day, 120,000-person music event. Later that same month, Sacramento will host its first Ironman competition.

Through Mike’s vision, commitment to community collaboration, and consistent innovation, Sacramentos identity has evolved from a sleepy State Capital to a relevant food destination, recognized nationally as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital. Through creating the Tower Bridge Dinner and events like the Farm-to-Fork Festival, Mike’s ability to see Sacramento’s heritage and reimagine its identity as a food and agriculture leader has brought millions of dollars in revenue to local businesses national earned media to Sacramento.

Additionally, Mike Testa is responsible for initiating and creating the relationship with the Paris-based Michelin Guide to generate a California dining guide that spotlighted 14 of Sacramento’s restaurants and earned the city its first Michelin-starred restaurant in its inaugural year of publication.

Mike is a graduate of St. Mary’s College and has spent his career promoting, connecting, and developing relationships to elevate organizational goals. As an expert communicator and seasoned destination marketing executive, he is highly sought after to speak at CEO forums, participate in panel discussions, serve as an event emcee, and facilitate conversations around marketing, tourism development, and community economic creation and development.

Mike is also widely known as a thought leader in economic development through festivals and events. In 2017 he was hand-picked to participate in a panel discussion at Austins SXSW about building successful special events and the intricate components of forming relationships between host cities and festival producers.

In 2008, Mike was named as a ‘40 under 40 leader’ and in 2014 was awarded the Vibe Award from the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, which recognized ‘Visionary Innovators in Building Excellence.’ He is active on the boards of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, Sacramento Zoo, Midtown Association, and Downtown Sacramento Partnership. Mike is an educator and enjoys sharing his knowledge as a former media relations instructor for the Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus and the UC Davis Extension.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Mike Testa, who shares his passion for the city of Sacramento and details how Visit Sacramento built a brand as the Farm-to-Fork capital of America. We discuss Sacramento’s challenges as a city in California, where there are many bucket list cities, and creative ways his team has carved out positioning that Sacramento can own. Mike also highlights how his organization has creatively collaborated to successfully produce events for the city that are now attracting a vast number of visitors every year.

What You Will Learn:

  • All the exciting events that Visit Sacramento has created with its partners to attract visitors to the city, including the Farm-to-Fork Festival
  • Why Mike focuses on building a brand to seek out national and international opportunities, including their collaboration with the Michelin Guides
  • Visit Sacramento’s creative plans for the future and how the COVID-19 pandemic has made them reflect on how they attract visitors to the city
  • Why it’s so critical to build partnerships during challenging times
  • How Mike approaches destination marketing within the local community

Leadership in Adversity

In times of adversity, we often see that team members find the strength and confidence to step up to lead and are keen to take on challenges that benefit the whole community. Mike’s leadership skills are shaped by his previous experience in a wide range of roles in marketing and community relationship development, and he fosters that ethos in his team. Mike also shares his insights on connecting with organizations in your area and why building deeper bonds ultimately helps you move forward to achieve your goals.

Partnership Events

With the Farm-to-Fork initiative, Mike and Visit Sacramento designed a 360-degree celebration of what the region had to offer and worked hard to get community and local media buy-in to the event, which has subsequently gone from strength to strength. Mike shares the most significant lessons he learned from building the festival gradually and candidly describes some of the valuable partnerships and collaborations they rely on to attract visitors to their destination.

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jul 21, 2021

Paula White is a globally recognized sales leader with experience in scaling Inside Sales Teams into multi-million stand-alone sales channels. Using unique perspectives and a forward-thinking approach, she achieves 8% – 10% compounded yearly growth leading from a foundation of heart and mind. Her passion for people, purpose, and results has lent itself to experience in various industries: travel and tourism, investments, veterinary and healthcare distribution.

Paula began a consulting business in 2021 to bring a new innovative way to explore leadership
legacies and knowing each leadership style is as unique as one of your music playlists. She
uses music as a metaphor and tool to enhance your experience through her company, Side B Consulting. Paula currently serves as a member of the AA-ISP Advisory Board and has been recognized as a Top 25 Most Influential Sales Leader for three consecutive years by AA-ISP. She was the award winner of ‘Excellence in Execution’ in 2017, ranked amongst the ‘Top 100 Coaches to Watch’ for two consecutive years by Ambition, and has been honored with the 2020 Mentor of the Summer for #GirlsClub. Paula served as President of the AA-ISP Columbus Ohio Chapter from 2015 – 2018 and is currently a mentor for #GirlsClub and a SalesClass.ai Contributor.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Paula White, who discusses the human side of the sales process and where she believes current problems lie. She shares some of the details of her new company, Side B Consulting, and why and how she uses music as a motivator and a tool to help clients understand their leadership style. Paula also provides some actionable tips for keeping the human connection in sales and outlines her approach to understanding and stepping into your legacy behaviors.

What You Will Learn:

  • Why we should re-humanize the sales process
  • Actionable tips on how to connect with potential clients
  • How to use music as a leadership tool
  • How to understand a walk in your legacy behavior
  • How putting together the right playlist can shift your mindset

Humanize the Sales Process

Travel professionals love what they do because they’re helping people by serving the communities they work in and the visitors who spend time with them — which is why it’s much more helpful to be a consultative salesperson than a purely transactional one. Sales is a process, but it is also a very human experience. Paula shares her philosophy on why we need to re-humanize sales and describes the rule of three by three by three that helps her connect with clients.

Legacy Behavior

Music is a potent leadership tool — if you’re stressed out, you can quickly change your mindset by playing the right songs to get you in the correct headspace for the task ahead. Paula explains why after 30 years working in corporate America, she was inspired to use music to motivate herself and her team and why she decided to help leaders figure out and walk into their legacy behavior and exemplify their ideal qualities through the metaphor of music.

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jul 14, 2021

Pamela Brooks Williams is a Huntsville native who is passionate about her city and sharing its highlights with anyone she can. She has been with the Huntsville/Madison County CVB for 16 years. As Tourism Sales Manager, she works to bring groups of all types and leisure travelers to our community and especially enjoys working with student groups taking advantage of the unique offerings available exclusively through the Educational Escapes program, which she coordinates.

Pam is responsible for implementing new products and events in Huntsville, such as Huntsville Restaurant Week, the Lucky Duck Scavenger Hunt, and Trains on Main Scavenger Hunt. In addition, she currently serves on the board for the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association. Before joining the Bureau, Pam worked at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, serving in various roles and was active in the local hospitality industry.

She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama Huntsville with a degree in history and political science. Pam enjoys travel and is frequently on the go. She has three talented, intelligent, and very busy children.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Pam Williams about her love of the diversity, the variety, and the incredible experiences that working with the DMO offers, and she shares why she is so passionate about the travel industry. We discuss why Huntsville is perfectly positioned as Rocket City, USA, and Pam describes some of the amazing attractions on offer, including their Space and Aviation Camps. Pam also gives her expert advice on creating successful collaborations, including details of Huntsville’s new initiative. Finally, she shares the new messaging that they are using as we head towards recovery.

What You Will Learn:

  • How Pam and her team manage the growth and the infrastructure of their expanding destination to ensure that visitors have a great experience in Huntsville
  • What the Huntsville CVB has done to help it stand out in the crowd.
  • The Attractions Week initiative — how it works, similarities and differences from Restaurant Week, and how they are promoting it
  • Unexpected opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic has given them to be creative when evolving to meet whatever the future brings
  • How Pam has been able to leverage ‘coop-etition’ to join with competitors to collaborate on projects over the last 12 months

Keeping It Fresh

We discuss the pivots that the CVB has made over the last year to showcase its range of attractions, and Pam outlines how Huntsville creatively shines a light on each sector with the new initiative Attractions Week. Reimagining annual events to ensure they stay fresh and exciting for repeat visitors is a priority for the destination, and Pam also describes how they let people know what’s going on in the area using social media and their website.

Supporting the Community

Huntsville has been encouraging people to support local businesses more than ever, and in addition to inviting in visitors, they have focused on promotions that help local residents shop locally. Pam describes the I Heart Huntsville campaign, how inviting visitors, influencers, and locals to share what they love about the community works, and why they’re showing their love and appreciation for their hospitality heroes this year.

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

 
Jul 7, 2021

Named one of the 11 Influential Black Women in Travel You Should Know by Travel Noire, Rachel Hill is a trailblazing Travelpreneur, Speaker, and Published Author. With a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing, she has merged her Tech and Digital Marketing expertise and passion for travel into a global brand.

Her engaged audience of over 30,000 sees her as a leader in both the travel and tourism space and the Digital Marketing industry. Utilizing her marketing and Influencer expertise, Rachel coaches new and aspiring Travel Brand Business creators and on how to build successful online brands, how to create valuable content, and how to monetize their brands.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Rachel Hill about how travel influencers can help brands reach niche markets. She shares her insights on demystifying travel in the Black community and gives an example of a successful creative influencer campaign she worked on to flip the narrative on cold-weather destinations. Rachel also breaks down the KPIs that she thinks are most important for influencer marketing and why it’s much more valuable to focus on the impact of a campaign rather than how many likes you get.

What You Will Learn:

  • The best ways for destinations to approach influencers
  • Why it’s critical to have a coherent strategy when working with travel influencers
  • How to measure interest and conversion rates from campaigns with influencers
  • Best practices for influencer marketing to niche audiences
  • How destinations can ensure they are open, authentic, and diverse in their marketing materials
  • Why Rachel believes this is the perfect time for organizations and travel brands to be innovative and creative to attract visitors

Engaging Your Audience

When travel destinations approach influencers, it is important that they really understand whether that influencer’s values and content align with theirs. There is no point in pursuing influencers with huge follower numbers if their audience doesn’t connect to your purpose. A recent shift in destination marketing has seen a move towards micro-influencers who have engaged audiences who trust their opinion and direction. Don’t focus on the numbers — focus on the impact.

Niche Audiences

If a destination wants to tap into a new niche audience, it’s essential to be authentic by working with someone who can represent that niche audience well. You can shift the narrative and open up your region to travelers who had not previously considered it a place to visit by asking for the feedback of an influencer in that niche group. Rachel Hill gives her perspective on approaching influencers in a specific niche and outlines the best practices for influencer marketing to niche audiences.

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