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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: September, 2021
Sep 29, 2021

Brian Applegarth is a strategic voice and leader in the advancement of cannabis-related travel and tourism. He is the founder of the Cannabis Travel Association – an international non-profit organization that is the united voice of cannabis tourism and travel, Cultivar Strategies – a cannabis-solutions provider for travel destinations, and The Cannabis Trail – a non-profit dedicated to preserving and celebrating cannabis history and culture in northern California.

Brian serves as a subject matter expert for industry organizations like the California Travel Association, Destinations International, San Francisco Travel, Sonoma County Tourism, Visit Greater Palm Springs, Visit West Hollywood, and the Las Vegas Chamber of Cannabis. Holistic strategy, innovation, and thought leadership at the intersection of cannabis tourism are the signature of his work.

Brian was the sole expert advisor for the first-ever national research on the Cannabis Travel Audience profile in the United States. He is known for creating the Cannabis Effect Pairing method, a proprietary consumption method for psychedelics in travel, serving the visitor profile in a safe and meaningful way while spreading visitor spend strategically throughout a destination by positioning cannabis as a tool for targeted sensory enhancement. A world traveler with an appreciation for culture, passion, and human rights – Brian brings a global, expansive perspective to his work.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Brian Applegarth about the cannabis travel trend, and he walks us through what cannabis experiences look like when embraced by a destination. He does a deep dive into the various facets of the cannabis market, including leisure, business, and medical, and describes how cannabis pairs perfectly with travel and tourism opportunities. Brian also discusses how destinations can respond to the growing appetite for cannabis-related experiences in a safe and informed way.

What You Will Learn:

  • Ways cannabis experiences are currently being delivered across the USA and the scope for innovating in the niche in your destination
  • The foundational values of the Cannabis Travel Association International, including advocacy, education, and networking
  • Why the type of visitors who are seeking out cannabis experiences aren’t necessarily who you would expect
  • The options for educating visitors on the uses of hemp and cannabis and developing a product that travelers can experience when they’re visiting your destination
  • Creative collaboration and partnership opportunities in the cannabis tourism industry

Developing Cannabis Experiences

Cannabis comes in many different forms or product categories, and Brian describes the sheer variety of experiences available within the cannabis niche. From CBD relaxation tea to a spa day complete with a topical cannabis oil massage, destinations can leverage many creative options as part of their cannabis experience offering. Wherever your destination, there are opportunities to breathe new life into a region’s signature crop to create a new product that attracts a new tranche of visitors.

Values of the Cannabis Movement

Brian describes why he feels an immense sense of responsibility to ensure that cannabis visitor experiences are done correctly. His ambition is to elevate all of the opportunities that show the positivity and the power of the plant and encourage destinations to explore all cannabis’ uses, from sustainable hemp products to its medicinal uses. Destinations have an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the niche and do it right — to ensure that visitors have a safe and meaningful experience.

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

Sep 22, 2021

Clark Twiddy is the President of Twiddy & Company, an asset management and hospitality firm founded in 1978 along the North Carolina Outer Banks. He was raised in Duck, North Carolina, and is a combat veteran of the US Navy and an alumnus of several universities.

Clark has served in numerous public, private, government, and non-profit capacities at various levels, from volunteer to Chair. He was selected as the FBLAs Business Person of the Year in North Carolina in 2019 and is currently the President of the Outer Banks Community Foundation.

Married to a native Texan, he is the father of two young daughters and enjoys time on the water and the guitar in his spare time.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Clark Twiddy about leading effectively during a crisis. Clark reflects on how he worked to build a trusting relationship with his customers even during the lockdown and why that allowed him to reap the rewards once things reopened. We also discuss how Clark’s company built capacity and value through digital innovation and how they work in partnership with the University of North Carolina in the spirit of co-opetition.

What You Will Learn:

  • Clark reflects on his experience managing his vacation rental business through the pandemic
  • The two reasons businesses in the travel industry can fail
  • How showing vulnerability builds trust
  • How Twiddy & Company built capacity and value by leveraging digital tools
  • Why Clark was so keen to engage with the broader community on a sustainable tourism project
  • The creative ways that Clark has guided his company through the last 18 months and the key lessons learned

Maintaining Visitor Trust

As the pandemic took hold, customer confidence in the possibility of future travel took a nosedive. Clark explores the lessons his company learned about maintaining visitors’ trust and why it was so important to be honest and transparent — and he shares the three key factors that comprised their covenant with their customers. We discuss why it is so powerful to acknowledge failures and how it allows community partners and stakeholders to have faith in your business.

Leading in a Crisis

Leaders in the hospitality industry are predisposed to want to give visitors a positive experience, but that desire was tested amid the COVID-19 crisis. Clark explains why he felt it was important to highlight to his team that it was ok to make mistakes but that the most important thing was to learn from those mistakes. He outlines how they built their founding principles of reflectiveness and transparency and how he sees them benefiting their partners in sustainable destination management in North Carolina.

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

Sep 15, 2021

Douglas Ralston is the President and CEO of True Omni. With over 20 years of expertise in the digital and technological industry, Doug is a digital experience expert who reinforces innovation. Equipped with an industry-wide background in omnichannel, eCommerce, social and interactive digital strategy, Ralston steered technology businesses from different Fortune 500 companies over the last ten years.

Doug has a core focus on how traditional organizations can rethink their engagement strategies, utilize technology to increase efficiency, drive revenues and still provide memorable personal experiences.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Douglas Ralston, who describes why he sees the digital visitor experience as a way to open new channels for revenue, data, and engagement. We discuss the evolution of consumer behavior over the last 18 months and how it aligns with recent technological advances. Doug shares case studies of big brands that have added an omnichannel approach and how destinations of all sizes and budgets incorporate similar strategies into their visitor experience.

What You Will Learn:

  • How creativity and innovation combine when applying an omnichannel marketing strategy
  • How large brands are fully developing this type of strategy
  • Affordable ways to develop an omnichannel strategy for your destination
  • Tactics that destinations can use to gather data that helps them better serve their visitors
  • How to leverage your current technology to enter the omnichannel world

Personalized Information

Understanding and personalizing the customer experience is the future for the travel industry, and omnichannel communication allows you to meet your customers where they are most comfortable. When you’re developing technology, remember that the more value you give your visitor in the form of information, coupons, or tickets, the more value you will get back in the form of data that you can use to understand and improve the visitor experience.

Enhancing Visitor Experience

The omnichannel approach to the visitor experience is all about allowing your customer to access the content they want on a device of their choosing to enhance their experience of your destination. Smartphones and mobile devices have opened up a whole new medium of communication, and if destinations can evolve their marketing on a digital level, then they will be able to open up new channels for revenue and visitor engagement.

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

Sep 8, 2021

Annette Rummel joined the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureaus as president and CEO in 2009. In her role as chief executive officer, Annette leads the individual Destination Marketing & Management Organizations (DMMOs) of Bay, Midland, and Saginaw Counties and the Great Lakes Bay Regional CVB. This has allowed Annette and her team to invite the world to visit a place they are proud to call home.

Annette has led through times of calm and crisis, always focused on positioning this Pure Michigan destination as a great place to live, work, worship, and play. During calm times, Annette serves her team ensuring they have the tools needed to flourish, and during times of crisis, Annette leads the team relying on their support. Annette understands that the travel sector plays a key role in economic development, as a community shared value and that data-driven, creative cathedral thinking must be deployed throughout the organizations.

In addition to her primary role, Annette leads the Great Lakes Bay Quality of Life Council where she pioneers and manages the new Go Great Foundation and its progressive vision for tourism, economic and experience development. Annette has served the Michigan travel and tourism industry for more than 40 years. Prior to her roles with the Great Lakes Bay Region, Annette served as the CEO of the Saginaw County Convention & Visitors Bureau and CEO of the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau – Michigan’s #1 community destination.

Annette was the originator, organizer, and operator of the World Expo of Beer, Frankenmuth Oktoberfest, and Frankenmuth Big Block Party attracting more than 250,000 participants. She participated as a founder of Zehnder’s Snowfest and helped organize the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival attracting more than 200,000 participants.

Annette is an advocate for tourism at the local, state, and federal levels. She participates annually in Destination Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., served on the Destinations International (DI) Board of Directors, the DI Foundation Board. She was Chairman of the Advocacy Committee for DI Foundation for several years, and consistently produces and shares advocacy materials and concepts, inspiring other DMMOs to enact powerful, measurable change for the tourism industry.

Annette is a graduate of Delta College, Northwood University, Rochester Institute of Technology (Master of Science), and Michigan State University (Ph.D. in Park, Recreation, and Tourism Resource Studies). Annette’s Dissertation Titled: Travel by People With Disabilities: A Diffusion Study Focused on Opinion Leadership provided her with great insight on the disabled traveler and the opportunities associated with services geared toward these individuals.

Recently, Annette was an international adjunct professor for Rochester Institute of Technology and completed the 3rd DestinationsNext Assessment for the destination. Residing in Frankenmuth Michigan, Annette is married to William Rummel and they are the proud parents of two daughters, Elizabeth (Brandon) and Sarah, and grandparents to one granddaughter. Annette and William are members of St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Annette Rummel, master collaborator, travel trailblazer, and CEO of Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. Annette gives her insights on finding the win-win in collaborative relationships and why she believes in actively seeking out collaborators rather than sitting by and passively waiting for them to find you. We also discuss the additional crisis that her destination faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and her team’s creative solutions to serve their community.

What You Will Learn:

  • What Annette has done to really help Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau stand out from the crowd
  • The challenges that Annette faced in 2020 and some of the creative solutions that her team used to move through them
  • How Annette and her colleagues created the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau from three county CVBs
  • Annette’s advice for listeners who might want to start thinking about potential collaborations for their destination
  • What cathedral thinking means to Annette and how it has helped her during her career

An Innovative Approach

Creativity is enhanced when people feel able to suggest new things, and Annette describes why she values innovation in her team. She shares how the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau try to open their eyes to everything in their destination and pass on their enthusiasm to their visitors. We also discuss Annette’s enthusiasm for collaboration and how she engineered the creation of a regional CVB in the Great Lakes region of Michigan that took three county CVBs under one successful umbrella organization.

Crisis Management

Annette shares the story of the crisis within a crisis in the Great Lakes region and how her team at the CVB was able to swing into action to help accommodate those left homeless by flooding. She describes why they were so grateful for the support of their partner organizations and why the disaster underlined the importance of having established collaborative relationships in place.

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

Sep 1, 2021

For the final episode in a special three part series of Destination on the Left episodes, I visited the Destinations International 2021 Annual Convention and spoke with several attendees who are experts in the travel and tourism industry. These guests shared remarkable insights in their mini-interviews, and our conversations were focused on learning to adapt to the challenges we’ve all faced through the global pandemic and even embracing the disruption by innovating and getting creative. The brilliance each of these leaders shared is certain to be invaluable as we continue to navigate the pandemic.

In this episode, you’ll hear from these extraordinary leaders:

Visionary Travel and Tourism Leaders at the Destinations International 2021 Annual Convention

The Destinations International Annual Convention is an incredible yearly event that brings together experts from both within and outside of the travel and tourism industry, to exchange ideas and collaborative solutions for the many challenges our industry faces today. This year’s convention was uniquely focused on the challenges and opportunities we have experienced over the past two years, and it was my honor to speak to some of the extraordinary guests to get their insights into where we started as the pandemic began, where we’ve been, and where we’re going in the future of our industry in a post-pandemic world.

Adam Johnson from Zartico

Adam explains why the pandemic has taught many of us to be more nimble and flexible and taught us to see beyond year-over-year KPIs. He shares why he believes staying nimble will be crucial going forward, and he explains why working collaboratively with residents and local organizations will be crucial going forward. Adam shares why now is the ideal time to rethink how we’ve traditionally done things and break out of our habits and rituals.

Annette Rummel & Michael Hensley from Great Lakes Bay CVB

Annette and Michael explain why “Semper Gumby” (forever flexible) has been the theme they’ve attempted to embrace throughout the pandemic. They share how being creative and tackling immediate challenges while remembering long-term goals has been key. They share how data has been central to their recovery strategy, and they discuss the importance of not viewing disruption as a “negative” but rather as an opportunity to realign, correct for vulnerabilities, and innovate.

Greg DeShields from Tourism Diversity Matters

Greg talks about how the biggest positive disruption he has experienced has been seeing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) moving to the forefront of the industry in the last 18 months. He shares why every level of the industry needs to consider their DEI position. He explains why this greater focus on DEI is beneficial for the entire industry and creates opportunities to broaden messages and reach more people. He shares how today’s customers have higher DEI expectations from the travel and tourism sector than ever before.

Jim Walter & Andi Jaspersen from Visit Cheyenne

Jim and Andi discuss how disruption lies at the core of the work they do. They explain how their duties have expanded to encompass the Downtown Development Authority as well. They talk about why standing still isn’t an option and always pushing and growing has been key to their success. They also share how partnerships in their community have been powerful, impactful and important.

Melaine Rottkamp from Dutchess Tourism

Melaine explains why your ability to embrace change is key to your success and survival, regardless of the industry you’re operating in. She highlights how organizations who have embraced new opportunities have survived and thrived through the pandemic crisis. She explains how outdoor experiences have become key attractions throughout the area during the pandemic, with outdoor trails and gardens being instrumental “hidden gems” and revenue generators even as the indoor spaces have remained closed.

Steve Powell from Destination Services

Steve shares his perspective that “disruption” is nothing more than the introduction of new generational cultures. He explains why technology is reshaping the industry and will be central to the “new norm”. He talks about how the pandemic has accelerated changes that were already coming, and how the things we’ve had to sacrifice through the pandemic have given us a new appreciation for life and work experiences.

Tiffany Gallagher from Civitas

Tiffany talks about how the disruption has created opportunities for a brighter future by shining a light on things we’ve ignored and neglected for too long. She shares how the loss of tourism income and other pandemic financial impacts have shown us how essential tourism is to the overall health of our economy. She believes leveraging this new level of attention and understanding will make the industry stronger in the long term.

Wes Rhea from Visit Stockton

Wes discusses why he believes examining data will be crucial moving forward, and he talks about how using geolocation data can answer a number of questions and give us new insights. He shares how collaboration with vendors has been key over the course of the pandemic. He also discusses the importance of rolling DEI efforts into our organizations. He celebrates Stockton being named the most diverse city in the nation, and he looks toward the future and even bigger DEI initiatives and efforts.

Embracing Change and Welcoming Disruption

Many of these leaders spoke of the importance of not becoming entrenched in our old ways of doing things and instead focusing on innovation, new solutions and flexibility. Greater diversity, equity and inclusion in our marketing efforts and outreach will be crucial moving forward. And, for all the chaos and turmoil the pandemic has caused, it has also given us a rare opportunity to reexamine how we do things and challenge our own assumptions.

I want to thank all of the extraordinary travel and tourism experts who shared their wisdom with me over this three-part special series. These visionaries and trailblazers are finding solutions to the unprecedented challenges our industry faces today, and they are paving the way for a bright future for travel, tourism and hospitality in a post-pandemic world.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing the unique insights and perspectives all 26 of these leaders generously shared with me at the Destinations International 2021 Annual Convention. Thank you so much for joining the conversation! Together, we can apply the lessons we’ve learned during the pandemic to strengthen our industry as a whole.

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

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