With a talent for creating special events that blossomed while working for my dad’s car stereo shop, I got my start in marketing at Frontier Field in Rochester and began serving as the executive director of the internationally known Lilac Festival. Later on, I headed the Canandaigua, New York Business Improvement District while also performing projects for the tourism promotion agency Visit Rochester.
In 2009, I founded Break the Ice Media, with more than 20 years of experience in tourism marketing. I now host “Destination on the Left,” a highly successful tourism marketing podcast.
As a business owner, I know what it takes to be successful. I founded BTI to help businesses tell their brand story through public relations, digital and traditional channels. I have the ability to uncover unique marketing opportunities and develop marketing and public relations initiatives that help clients build long-term success.
On this episode of Destination on the Left, I reflect on whether 2021 has been an easier year than 2020 and why the travel industry hasn’t been able to make up the lost ground that we had hoped. I share the key elements that make up our culture at Break the Ice Media and explore our seven essential core values and how we promote and live those values. One of the changes to our work environment that COVID-19 brought was the move from sharing an office to working 100% remotely — so I also want to take some time to discuss how we collaborate and stay connected as a team.
In my opinion, one of the key reasons that Break the Ice Media has not only survived but thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic is that we have leaned on our values. Transparency was an essential feature of navigating the challenges of recent unprecedented events as a business owner.
It was so important to me to be very transparent with our team members about where we were in the moment, what the choices were, and why those choices and decisions could change on a dime. As we head towards the end of 2021, we continue to weave our seven core values into our day-to-day practices to keep what it means to work at Break the Ice Media at the forefront of our minds.
Our core values give us a clear understanding of who we are as a company, and understanding what we value makes it easier to make decisions and navigate the challenges of the road ahead.
As a team, we devoted a lot of time to thinking about our core values and ensuring that what we chose really embodied the company’s ethos. Collaboration is one of the values that resonates deeply with me (as you won’t be surprised to learn). We are collaborative — it is the bedrock of Break the Ice Media. In our team, everyone’s ideas, input, and talents are valued, and as a result, we all feel heard, valued, and respected.
To learn more about Break the Ice Media, please head over to the contact links below:
President and CEO of Synthesis Management Group (SMG) Roberta “Bobbie” Goheen is a resourceful and committed leadership expert and Fortune 100 executive coach who promotes positive growth and development environments for individuals, executives, and organizational teams.
With more than 25 years of world-class experience, Bobbie is a motivational force who inspires her clients to steer their personal and professional lives in the direction of excellence. She has worked with companies worldwide and organizations ranging in size from five employees to 80,000. Clients include international, national, and local C-suite executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and professionals looking for curated, practical tools to match their desire to lead others with greater ease and agility.
Bobbie offers a multi-dimensional approach for successful business leaders and their workforce to achieve results through experimental learning and development. She utilizes researched and proven methodology combined with a style that is fresh, dynamic, and inspirational.
On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Bobbie Goheen about why following your dreams and passions leads to enjoying a more fulfilling life. She shares her insights and strategies on how leaders can enhance their skills using a build, measure, learn framework and how using this model can also help you stay motivated during challenging times. Bobbie also gives us the benefit of her leadership experience on how to prepare your team members to be future leaders and the importance of trusting your instincts and prioritizing your wellbeing so you can move forward with a positive mindset.
Bobbie Goheen is a resourceful and committed leadership expert and Fortune 100 executive coach whose company Synthesis Management Group promotes positive growth and inspires her clients to steer their personal and professional lives in the direction of excellence.
In this episode of Destination On The Left, Bobbie shares why she believes that leaders right now need courage, passion, and the drive to step up to the consistent atmosphere of change and challenge that we live in today. Bobbie notes that before the COVID-19 pandemic, if you were willing to put in the hard work and effort, then you had a good chance of achieving your dreams.
But now, we know that we aren’t always in control of the changes in life, which is why we need to step up as leaders and trust that even when we’re not in control of external factors, we are in control of our choices. Leaders should follow a path of build, measure, and learn, testing the terrain as they go to ensure they are on the right track, and making adjustments to continue to move forward.
As Bobbie says, having the confidence to trust yourself, block out the external chatter, and measure what is happening in your environment is crucial when navigating uncertainty.
It’s also essential to build a trusted group around you, gain their insight and input, and use the ideas that resonate with you. Leadership is all about recognizing the possibilities and opportunities and being willing to go into the unknown, be uncomfortable, and learn something new.
To learn more about Bobbie and her company, Synthesis Management Group, please check out the contact links below:
For this second episode in a special two part series of Destination on the Left episodes, I visited the 2021 eTourism Summit held in Las Vegas, Nevada from September 20-22. At the summit, I was privileged to speak with fourteen attendees who are experts in the field of digital marketing for travel and tourism. In my conversations with today’s guest experts, I asked them to each answer one question:
“Looking into the future, what innovations are happening now that you think will impact digital marketing for your organization or destination?”
I’m so delighted to share their insightful and sometimes surprising answers with you in this week’s special podcast episode. In this episode of Destination On The Left, you’ll hear from these fourteen extraordinary digital marketing experts:
Innovative Digital Marketing Experts at the 2021 eTourism Summit
The eTourism Summit is a one-of-a-kind conference that exists at the intersection of destination travel and tourism with cutting edge digital marketing. It’s a unique opportunity for industry leaders, marketers, and destinations to come together and exchange ideas, collaborate, and brainstorm new solutions together. This year’s eTourism Summit was held in Las Vegas from September 20-22 and offered insights into digital marketing trends, advertising innovations and new ways to connect travelers with incredible experiences. I asked each of these experts the same question: “Looking into the future, what innovations are happening now that you think will impact digital marketing for your organization or destination?” Here are the insightful answers they gave me:
Chris Lukenbill from Shrpa
Chris discusses how the many disruptions our industry is facing create new opportunities for Shrpa’s clients to tell their stories within their own communities. He discusses why an increased focus on local communities has moved from “nice to have” to necessary to navigate the pandemic. He talks about why stronger communication is going to be an increasingly critical component of travel and tourism marketing going forward.
Ed Harris from Discover Lancaster
Ed talks about the juxtaposition of digitally marketing the simple life of the local Amish communities through modern technology and social media, and he discusses why innovations in technology like AI and machine learning are transformative tools that will reshape digital marketing in the future. He talks about the power of data in informing what content destinations and marketers share, and he discusses the importance of adapting to and embracing these emerging technologies to help meet travelers where they are.
Emilie Harris from Bandwango
Emilie talks about how the industry’s broad focus on innovation is creating new opportunities to integrate various products, experiences and locations into full experience packages. She discusses how important it is for marketers to understand how the process of booking travel is changing as consumer expectations are shifting. She shares how the “niche” audiences of the past are dissolving and how authentic, unique experiences are becoming the cornerstone of travel and tourism marketing.
Jake Brown from Visit South Bend
Jake talks about the role of data in travel and tourism digital marketing, and he shares why being able to track the success of campaigns by how much revenue they have generated for the area is going to be a sea change for digital marketers going forward.
Jason Holic from Experience Kissimmee
Jason explains a calculator tool his organization developed to help track key data metrics that they have made available to other DMOs, and he shares how it helps track media impact of your messaging through transparency and the dynamic narratives it can create. He explains how the tool uses 30 different data points to fine tune visibility over your metrics and help you communicate with four key stakeholder groups using language they themselves use to help you demonstrate the value you’re driving to them.
Kyle Johnson from Indiana Destination Development Corporation
Kyle shares how his organization’s transition from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development to the Indiana Destination Development Corporation has allowed the organization to expand their goals and cast a wider net. He shares why their goal isn’t just to attract visitors but to also attract talent to the state. He discusses the important role location tracking serves for the organization, allowing for targeted messaging. He talks about how Indiana has seen big success bringing corporations to the state, and he shares how the next goal is to bring more workers to the state as well.
Leena Riggs from Visit Rancho Cordova
Leena shares how her organization is focused on more and stronger data collection, and she shares how Visit Rancho Cordova is exploring options for engaging with and messaging in-market. She shares how the data is powerfully informing how Rancho Cordova plans their future growth.
Marc Garcia from Visit Mesa
Marc shares how his organization is focused on accessibility in travel as part of Visit Mesa’s larger Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. He shares how Mesa, Arizona has worked hard to become the nation’s first Autism-certified City and is now seeking to become a city known for its accessibility programs and initiatives. He shares how Visit Mesa has recently established the Mesa Regional Foundation for Accessibility, Diversity and Inclusion, which will be used to purchase accessibility technologies. He also talks about how his city is building what will be the largest youth and amateur sports complex in the country.
Maria Skrzynski from Destination Ann Arbor
Maria shares how her organization is working to strengthen its local partnerships and collaboration with other organizations and sectors to elevate the energy of the community. She also discusses the importance of unity within Ann Arbor.
Mark Romig from New Orleans & Company
Mark discusses how people are using handheld devices far more than tablets, desktops and other large devices, and he shares how his organization is focused on developing their integration with phones and other handhelds. He talks about the importance of focusing on the consumer’s needs and obstacles and staying ahead of the curve by meeting them where they are.
Nicole Stacey from Visit Pensacola
Nicole talks about how Visit Pensacola is reallocating their budget to use connected TVs to better reach people. She talks about the importance of transparency and honesty in messaging, and she shares how Visit Pensacola is utilizing targeted marketing strategies and messages to reach niche traveler groups.
Ralph Thompson from Streetsense
Ralph talks about how Streetsense is creatively using podcasts to build relationships with travelers in a more casual way than traditional messaging. He explains how even smaller, resource-challenged DMOs can take advantage of established podcasts to amplify their message.
Tim Ash, Marketing Keynote Speaker, Trainer and Advisor
Tim discusses how travel planning can take advantage of Alexa, Siri and other voice assistants and the casual, conversational way they work. He shares why it is important to understand the psychology behind how people make decisions, and he explains how evolutionary psychology can be the key to anticipating and guiding people’s decision-making processes.
Victoria Simmons from BVK
Victoria talks about how DMOs and destinations are becoming better at having in-market conversations with travelers and connecting them directly to travel partners. She shares how geolocation data is becoming a powerful resource for enhancing this connection with travelers.
Technological Innovations and the Role of Data
As you can see, many of the leaders I spoke with hit upon recurring themes around emerging technologies and new ways of collecting, collating and analyzing data. The outbreak of the global pandemic has created major strains and challenges on travel and tourism, but it has also given us a unique opportunity to reevaluate how we market destinations to travelers and how we can share our messages in more targeted ways and with larger, more diverse audiences.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing insights from the 2021 eTourism Summit and from these extraordinary travel and tourism marketing experts and leaders. As our world slowly begins to turn the tide against the pandemic, one thing is certain: by embracing new innovations and outside-the-box ideas, the future of travel and tourism looks bright!
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