Info

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.
RSS Feed
Destination On The Left
2022
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2021
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: May, 2022
May 25, 2022

In the second of our three-part series from the Travel Unity Roadshow, we ask our seven guests to share their thoughts on how the travel industry can make an impact via the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Rhonda’s conversations with all of these leaders in our industry were truly fascinating, and we’re excited to share them with you.

Highlights of this episode include why we should see tour guides for the storytellers they are and how their unique position allows them to be at the forefront of DEI education by expanding the viewpoints in the stories they tell about the destinations that they visit. Our guests also discuss the importance of emphasizing the principles of DEI to young people and college students and why they should be woven into every aspect of a destination.

The Travel Unity Roadshow Defined

The Travel Unity Summit highlights the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the travel and tourism industry. The event allows destination marketers and other travel professionals to discuss how they can incorporate the principles of DEI into their everyday practice. Our seven guests also share their word of the summit — and the terms and concepts that appear are insightful.

David Naczycz, Owner of WeVenture

David shares why the travel industry has a significant role in promoting DEI. The scale of our industry is vast, as is the number of people we touch so we can impact our teams, our companies, and our visitors and model the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. David also emphasizes the need to take the concept of decolonization seriously, take some time to reflect, and make changes so that we’re not exploiting people, we’re spreading the wealth, and including everybody.

Dustin Woerhmann, President and Creative Director of Communify

Dustin outline the steps Communify are taking to bring DEI to their organization in terms of helping destinations to tell their authentic stories. Communify works to create advisory groups with a broad range of interests from a broad range of backgrounds to help put together inclusive marketing content for a destination. Dustin tells us why his word of the summit is inclusive and how the event is shining a light on what it means to be genuinely inclusive.

Elijah Washington, Youth and Collegiate Programs Director at Travel Unity

Elijah describes the topics most often discussed by students and young people around DEI and what they are primarily interested in. He shares how they are bringing the discussion to the youth in college and how they make the topic more accessible and applicable to students in the high school age range. Elijah also notes why it is so interesting to hear students’ views on DEI and how it relates to their community or culture.

Greg DeShields, Executive Director, Tourism Diversity Matters

Tourism Diversity Matters was founded on the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As such, it is their priority to work within the travel industry to address those gaps in DEI. They help business leaders with appropriate resources and valuable strategies for their DEI programs via their four-pillar approach. Greg outlines the four pillars of his organization — the apprenticeship program, workforce development, DEI training, and research and data — and explains how each helps in reducing social and economic inequality and building awareness.

Janette Roush, Executive Vice President of Marketing at NYC & Co

Janette explores why accessibility needs a place in the world of inclusion and how NYC and Co are making an impact as marketers via the stories they tell. She describes why they devoted a lot of time during the pandemic to finding a broad range of stories that touch various audiences and sharing them via content hubs on their site. Janette’s word of the summit is ‘warm’ because of the welcome she has received and the sense of enlightenment shared by so many passionate people at the summit.

Jennifer Grimmer, President and CEO of Gilmer Chamber of Commerce

Jennifer believes that the travel industry can make a significant impact by portraying everyone and being inclusive when it comes to travel. Our sector should convey a welcome to anyone visiting any destination and be attentive to people’s needs in marketing and discussing travel. It’s exciting for Jennifer that the Travel Unity Summit is so popular, and she is thrilled to see that so many people working for DMOs across the country are committed to DEI.

Karen Kuhl, Executive Director, Cayuga County CVB

Diversity, equity, and inclusion is woven into every part of the tourism industry. Karen shares how the Cayuga County CVB works with a variety of partnerships and ensures that each individual organization has the same opportunity to be elevated and celebrated. She discusses what it means to be an advocate and an authentic friend to organizations means understanding and listening to them, and how that creates an alignment with visitors.

I hope you enjoyed the second episode of our special three-part series from the Travel Unity Summitt. All of these inspirational leaders had so much to share on how their organizations continue to impact DEI in the travel and tourism industry. Next week we’ll hear from more remarkable travel and tourism experts, so I hope you’ll join the conversation!

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 18, 2022

In this series, we dive into the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and hear the perspectives of leaders within the travel and tourism industry. My team has taken the show on the road without me for this episode, and I’m excited that they and you are benefitting from all the great information shared at The Travel Unity Summit. For this first episode in a special three-part series of Destination on the Left, Rhonda and Brittany visited the Travel Unity Summit to chat to attendees about their experiences working in the travel and tourism industry, and particularly their experience of DEI in their communities.

I’m excited to share all the discussions and experiences that came out of my team’s experience at the Travel Unity Roadshow in Brookhaven, Georgia, and the candid conversations they had with guests at the summit. In this first episode of a special three-part Destination On The Left series, you’ll hear from these five fantastic travel and tourism leaders:

Insights and Experiences from the Travel Unity Roadshow

The Travel Unity Summit is focused on allowing everyone in the travel and tourism industry to
come together to tackle how to move forward on the vital work of incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into strategic planning and implementation. Destination marketers and
members of the travel industry share ideas on applying the principles of DEI to ensure that their communities are welcoming to people of all backgrounds and abilities.

Amber Cameron from Travel Unity

Amber shares how she was able to incorporate DEI into every process every step of the way because she created the HR department from scratch at Travel Unity. She describes how by using the DEI standards that Travel Unity had created using a committee of external participants from around the travel industry, they were able to follow a pre-drawn roadmap to successfully refine their policies. Amber also shares her insights into building a fully engaged team to support the organization and the wider community in their DEI endeavors.

Aquan Robinson from Experience Montgomery

The travel industry is often the first touchpoint you have in many spaces. And whatever the attractions or destinations in the local community, it is vital to make sure that everyone has a fair and equitable experience. Aquan describes why we can make a business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion and why it’s essential for cities like Montgomery to be at the forefront of these conversations. The travel industry is so crucial to every community so it must lead the way in doing the right thing with regard to DEI.

Bethany Rogers from NewTown Loans

Bethany describes how NewTown Loans have been instrumental in increasing storefront occupancy in Macon, Georgia, by giving people opportunities to purchase that bigger banks have denied them. She shares what the Travel Unity Summit means to her and why for her, knowing that the whole travel and tourism community is moving in the same direction with diversity, equity, and inclusion is inspirational.

Billy Kolber from Hospitable ME

Billy explains how Hospitable ME provides inclusive hospitality strategy and education for tourism, retail, and healthcare organizations with particular expertise in LGBTQ+. He highlights the three steps they’re taking to bring DEI to their customers, including helping them understand who LGBTQ people are and how the LGBTQ plus market is relevant to their destination or organization. Billy also shares how his organization helps destinations build an LGBTQ+ network to engage with the community and offer queer-specific content that integrates queer people and LGBTQ+ topics and venues into their overall marketing campaigns.

Danny Guerrero from The Culturist Group

DEI is fundamental for Danny Guerrero, and he shares why he considers multicultural marketing and marketing resources and platforms in the travel and tourism industry to be an absolute must. The research shows that so many people are not feeling seen or welcome or represented in destination marketing — and often marketers want to be inclusive, but they often don’t know how to. Danny emphasizes that t’s not about selecting or segregating; it’s about reinforcing your brand strategy and approach to better understand the values and motivators of marginalized groups.

I hope you enjoyed this first episode of our special three-part series from the Travel Unity Summitt. Rhonda and Brittany and the leaders they spoke to have shared so many valuable insights into how destinations can move forward to embrace the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Next week we’ll hear from more remarkable travel and tourism experts, so I hope you’ll join the conversation!

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 11, 2022

Jill Ramiel was born in Flushing, Queens, New York, and attended the State University of New York at Binghamton. While pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Washington, she met Ken Alper, a fellow East Coast native and master’s degree recipient.

The couple moved to Juneau, Alaska, in 1997 and bought the historic Messerschmidt Building. Originally built in 1898 as a bakery, the Historic Messerschmidt building in downtown Juneau now houses the Silverbow Inn Hotel & Suites. Jill and Ken have been renovating and expanding it ever since.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Jill Ramiel about her role as a small business owner in the tourism industry and why she is adamant that collaboration is essential in creating a unique local experience that visitors also love. She shares how she delights and surprises her guests by seeking meaningful and authentic partnerships and describes her plans for the Silverbow Inn Hotel & Suites as we move into the post-pandemic travel and tourism era.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How small businesses can foster a sense of community and bring people together to share ideas
  • Jill’s creative collaborations with local partners, including a wonderful muralist, and why her guests appreciate her partnerships with the artisans of Juneau
  • Why being inexperienced in the travel and tourism sector allowed Jill to look at things from a different angle
  • How budget constraints make you more creative in your thinking
  • Jill reflects on the last two years and how her business moved forward during that time
  • How the Silverbow Inn Hotel & Suites is enhancing their customer experience with technology
  • The expansion of the inn and why Jill thinks visitors will love the refurbishments
  • Why unique local experiences start with the locals, not the tourists

Networking for Success

Putting the time into researching to solve problems creatively is essential when you’re on a tight budget. And even when you’re not, there are so many reasons why keeping an open mind and relishing the opportunity to make creative decisions is important. Jill Ramiel joins us on the podcast this week to share her journey from architecture student in New York to hotelier in Juneau, Alaska.

She describes why it’s such a pleasure to work with skilled, passionate people, grow her network, and be inspired by all the talented people around her. Small business owners are a significant part of the tourism ecosystem, and it’s fascinating how destinations can work with them to really display what is special and unique about an area.

Technological Advances

So many people and destinations have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jill shares how her boutique hotel, the Silver Bow Inn, has made pivotal, impactful positive changes over the last two years.

She reveals that her superpower is persistence and highlights how she and her team worked together to find the solution to keeping the business afloat and relevant when the situation was changing so rapidly. Jill and Nicole discuss some of the technical innovations that allowed the inn to operate in a ‘hands-off’ fashion, including the doorknobs that you could unlock using your cell phone number and self-check-in systems — and some of the glitches that Jill had to deal with!

Keeping Downtown Areas Alive

When people are all working hard individually, it can be easy for them to become siloed in their own businesses. But when your destination relies on all of the small businesses in the area it’s immensely valuable to step outside your own operations and collaborate with others. Jill notes that a good downtown is a curated downtown and that the onus was on the businesses in the downtown zone of Juneau to ensure it was an attractive place to visit — not only for tourists but for locals too. As she says, “if the locals love it, tourists will love it too.”

Visitors will be drawn to a unique local experience, and the most effective way to build that experience is to collaborate with others.

Resources:

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 4, 2022

Bud Geissler is the Vice President of Business Development and Sales at Group Collect. As a brand ambassador for student travel and Travel Insurance, he recently celebrated 25 years in the group travel industry. Bud served as President of the Student Youth Travel Association from 2011-2012 and was the Chair of the SYTA Youth Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Bud was also the National Account Manager at Travel Insured International before moving to Group Collect.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Bud Geissler about his experience in student and youth group travel, and I was moved by his insights into the importance of the travel experience for young people. We also dive into how technology is making the tourist business not only more streamlined and efficient but overall more pleasant and enjoyable for everyone involved.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Bud’s experience as a student tour operator looking after groups traveling all over the USA
  • How the use of technology in the tour and travel market has evolved over the past two years
  • What technology can do to improve people’s experience of a destination
  • The app that Bud is currently working on to enhance the on-the-ground group travel experience by giving them space to create the memories and to enjoy what’s around them without worrying about the logistics of their trip
  • How having the mobile ability to access travel documents will streamline processes
  • How technology can facilitate a direct connection between the consumer and the group travel agent
  • How technology can provide a direct channel for future marketing and trip feedback
  • Why using a dedicated app can help by ensuring you have a consistent brand leaving your organization
  • Why the group travel segment buying cycle is so different than the retail buying experience
  • Challenges that Bud is seeing bubbling up right now in the group travel industry

How Technology Improves the Group Travel Experience

Technology — half the time, it frustrates the heck out of us, and half the time, it simplifies our lives. But the last two years have demonstrated just how significant a role technology can play in the planning and implementing of an excellent travel experience. Leveraging technology for group travel may not seem intuitive at first, but as this week’s guest Bud Geissler explains, once you jump on board, you’ll realize how valuable and user-friendly up-to-date technology can be in streamlining the travel experience.

Bud describes where he sees the future for making connections in the group travel industry that provide travelers with an enhanced experience and travel marketers with an opportunity for direct marketing.

Streamlining Processes

Bud describes how when pandemic restrictions lifted, tour operators went from zero sales to 100% sales in a three-month period and how his company was able to support tour operators to launch their products and access operations systems support from a technology standpoint.

Nicole and Bud discuss how the software being built by Group Collect not only gives access to a landing page for registration, but it also allows the traveler to register to sign documents, ask questions, and get important information such as where the local hospital is or how to get medication while they’re on the road. There is no longer a gatekeeper in charge of ensuring that the travel insurance products or information gets down downstream to every traveler in the group because the whole process is automated.

The Importance of Travel to Young People

Bud also shares his thoughts on why student travel is a way to change a young person’s life. He explains his philosophy that student travel connects curriculum to reality, practice to performance, and classrooms to careers. So when any young person has the opportunity to travel, they are gaining life-changing opportunities at a time when there’s so much struggle and challenge in our society it’s a gift.

Resources:

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/

1