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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: October, 2022
Oct 26, 2022

Leah is the Chief Marketing Officer for the Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization, Discover Puerto Rico. As CMO, Leah is responsible for providing strategic marketing leadership for the organization, overseeing the DMO’s paid media, creative, public relations, brand development and management, and digital strategy.

Before her move to San Juan, Leah was the Chief Marketing Officer for Explore Branson, where she led the growth of the community’s tourism industry for five straight years, repositioning the destination’s brand and posting back-to-back years of record ROI for the organization’s marketing program. In previous years, Leah led the Missouri Tourism account at H&L Partners, the agency of record for the Missouri Division of Tourism. In this role, Leah developed and guided the strategic direction of the Divisions marketing, managing paid and earned media, creative and interactive development, and campaign implementation. Leah led Missouri Tourism’s brand repositioning effort in 2013, introducing a new brand identity and corresponding campaign featuring Enjoy the Show.

Leah is a travel and tourism industry veteran, having directed the Indiana Tourism account for five years prior to joining H&L Partners. Leah earned her Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) credential in 2014. This designation from Destinations International is the tourism industry’s highest individual educational achievement.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Leah Chandler, who describes what community lead tourism means to the team at Discover Puerto Rico and how they have built partnerships across the island and internationally. She shares how her organization is building brand equity through creative collaborations, including establishing a Pantone color called Puerto Rican sunshine, teaming up with a UK fashion designer for New York Fashion Week, and pitching and landing a Spanish language countdown with Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve with Ryan Seacrest that was hosted and broadcast from San Juan.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Leah’s experience of building a brand new DMO in Puerto Rico
  • The things that ensure Puerto Rico stands out from the crowd including encouraging visitors to connect meaningfully with the island and its culture to give them a feeling and emotion that they can’t get at home via their Live Boricua campaign
  • How Leah and the Discover Puerto Rico team apply their points across a variety of verticals
  • How they have moved through the challenges of the last five years, including political unrest, an earthquake, and a global pandemic, as a new DMO and how their crisis playbook helped them
  • Leah’s advice for listeners building an organization from the ground up
  • Some of the collaborations and initiatives that Leah is excited for in the future
  • How a cold call resulted in Discover Puerto Rico landing the first Spanish language countdown with Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve with Ryan Seacrest, which was hosted and broadcast from San Juan.

Building a Brand

Tourism destinations aren’t always considered a brand, but according to Leah Chandler of Discover Puerto Rico, they certainly are a brand. She describes why it can be hard for a brand to develop equity when it’s constantly changing and how her team is creating a space in potential visitors’ minds for the type of experiences they can have in Puerto Rico.

Leah also highlights the importance of finding Puerto Rico’s point of differentiation, which is the culture, and ensuring everything the DMO does ladders up to that positioning throughout all of its messaging, earned media, and paid channels.

Research

At Discover Puerto Rico, they are super serious about their research and data to ensure that before they put something into the market, they can be confident of what consumers are looking for. This is how the idea for the Live Boricua campaign was born – the term is used to signify someone of Puerto Rican heritage and brings to mind a way of life, a spirit, and a flavor of the island.

Leah shares how the concept highlights how visitors can enjoy Puerto Rico like a local and acts as a love letter to the island, its residents, and its visitors.

International and National Partnerships

We dive into some of the creative collaborations that Discover Puerto Rico has been involved in, including an innovative project that involved distilling the unique color of Puerto Rican sunshine, then working with the Pantone Colour Institute to turn it into a Pantone color they could leverage across several different verticals and work streams. Some of the partnerships that enjoyed this infusion of Puerto Rican sunshine included New York Fashion Week with designer Christian Cowan, an eco-friendly paint brand, and a local popsicle shop.

Resources:

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Oct 19, 2022

Alvaro is a Creative with diverse talents and accomplishments. He co-founded CRANT, a creative machine learning company that has become one of the most innovative companies in Brand Intelligence Marketing today. They have developed an AI-backed platform that helps brands improve their Brand Love and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) strategies by using machine learning on public data to make their programs trackable and actionable, allowing brands to be methodical in finding insights and making decisions about how best to serve their communities on a daily basis.

His over 35 international awards, including Cannes Lions, Effies, Webbys, Clios, and more, led him to lead Miami Dade Beacon Councils’ “Created in Miami” program to turn Miami into a diverse Crea-Tech capital.

Alongside his friend and Indycar race car driver Tatiana Calderón, he also started the Ladies Start Your Engines program, which helps girls worldwide have a fair chance to succeed in a world designed for men.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Alvaro Meléndez about his new company CRANT, which stands for Creativity and Technology, and why he was inspired to start the business. He shares insights on how brands can help transform people and why being purpose-driven and mission-focused is critical. We discuss brand love, what it really means, and how focusing on one thing leads to more customers.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • What got Alvaro to where he is today in the travel and tourism industry
  • Why being exposed to a range of cultures and people fosters creativity when you get all those different inputs
  • Marketing campaigns in Alvaro’s early career that inspired him to think more deeply about branding
  • Alvaro explains the rationale behind focusing on the upper funnel and lower funnel in marketing
  • Using data to be able to measure the efficacy of your branding
  • How listeners can use CRANT to help them stand out in a noisy marketplace
  • What brand love is, how to grow it, and how to measure it
  • The project that Alvaro and his team are working on to help make the world more diverse, equitable, and inclusive

Improving Data Collection

Alvaro started CRANT to combine all the branding frameworks he had learned over the years, including new technologies such as AI and all the data in the digital space. His tool helps marketers track and measure what they are doing on a brand level. Marketers often avoid doing brand studies because they are so expensive and are, therefore, unable to demonstrate progress in digital campaigns.

Defining Your Brand

The theory behind defining a brand can be complex. Alvaro describes why they went right back to basics and began thinking about why every brand has the same end goal, which is to be relevant and to mean something to people so that they are willing to exchange time and money for a service, experience or product. Brands must have a promise or purpose that is very well defined and offers a solution to its customers.

Be Mission Focused

Standing out in a crowded marketplace is tough, so CRANT is super purpose-driven, which has helped them stay very authentic, very humble, and very mission-focused. Often the problem is that brands have difficulty tracking their output or finding ways to be more relevant, more engaging, and different.

Alvaro describes why they focus on what they call a very narrow doorway with their marketing and do just one thing really, really well. He explains why niching down has attracted even more right-fit clients, particularly in the travel and tourism business.

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/

Oct 12, 2022

Willma Harvey has more than 25 years experience in the tourism industry. She is Director of Sales and Business Development for River Parishes Tourist Commission in Louisiana. Proud to be born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Willma is passionate about her region and promoting destinations. She has her Master’s Degree in English and is currently collaborating with movie and film industry professionals in her position as Director of Sales and Business Development.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Willma Harvey, Director of Sales and Business Development for River Parishes Tourist Commission in Louisiana. She shares the story of over 25 years in the tourism industry and walks us through her region’s decision to change their brand from Plantation Country to River Parishes. Wilma also shows us why it is essential to know what is indigenous to your region and how leaning into it will help your destination stand out from competitors. We also discuss a creative collaboration that Wilma created recently, and she gives us a great recipe for setting successful collaborations.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Willma’s journey in the travel and tourism industry, including her role as the first eco-tourism sales manager in the United States
  • Willma’s experiences in creating innovative experiences that attract new visitors to her region
  • Some of the cutting-edge sustainable and wildlife events that Wilma has organized
  • Why it’s important to know what your competitors offer visitors
  • How they capitalize on the elements indigenous to the River Parishes Tourist Commission region
  • Why they decided to rebrand their destination in 2020 in the wake of the movement against social injustice in the US
  • The project on developing policies and procedures for film and movies that Willma is excited about right now and how the interest in the River Parishes region as a filming destination developed over the years
  • The coopetition tour encompassing several neighboring parishes that Willma was excited to be part of recently

Understanding Your Competitors’ Offer

Willma shares why she makes it a priority to know what her competitors have to offer visitors. She shares her in-depth knowledge of the Deep South coastal regions and the various tourism products in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. She outlines how that knowledge allows her to offer tour operators, or meeting planners, a great product because she knows how to collaborate with local partners (and competitors) for the visitors’ benefit.

Moving Through Challenges

We discuss a recent challenge that Willma’s team in Louisiana had to work through in making the difficult decision to change their brand from Plantation Country to River Parishes. Willma explains why it was such a big challenge but also why they viewed it as an inevitable change they would have to make. She shares why they decided to move quickly rather than go through a long brand analysis process and whether they got any pushback from local people on the rebrand.

Your Destination in a Movie

The Deep South has always been popular as a movie destination. Willma describes some of the film and TV collaborations she has been involved with in the River Parishes region. She explains the importance of building relationships with key players to ensure that your region stays top of mind when they’re searching for the right location for their next project.

Of course, if you’re hoping to attract Netflix or movie companies, you need to have the organizational infrastructure to make a collaboration run smoothly. Willma outlines her role in developing policies and procedures for films and movie companies coming to her area and explains why River Parishes decided they needed to have a strategic plan in place for dealing with those inquiries.

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/

Oct 5, 2022

Jay Kinghorn leads Zartico’s data and analytics team, helping destination marketing organizations (DMOs) use data-centered insights to market and manage their destinations more effectively.

Zartico’s mission is to provide the clearest perspective of the visitor economy. As the world’s first Destination Operating System®, Zartico combines science, technology and domain expertise to create SMART destinations and positively impact communities. Through its proprietary integrated data model, Zartico answers the “why”. With decades of destination and travel experience, Zartico is uniquely positioned to lead the transformation from global destination marketing to global destination leadership.

Jay was previously the Associate Marketing Director at the Utah Office of Tourism, where he led the agency’s content, social, marketing analytics, and digital marketing initiatives. In 2017, Jay received the Peter Yesawich Award for marketing excellence from the Travel and Tourism Research Association and MMGY Global.

Jay is a Colorado native living in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and two children. He enjoys trail running, watching his son’s soccer games, and skate skiing.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Jay Kinghorn about the challenges that DMOs face when trying to interpret data. He shares how the right tools can help destinations make better decisions that will lead to better outcomes for their communities. Jay also describes the five foundations for the contemporary DMOs that he hopes will solidify into industry-wide standards in the not-too-distant future.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How Jay transitioned from photography into travel and tourism
  • Three reasons Jay and his partners were motivated to start Zartico
  • What a Destination Operating System is and how it helps you understand the rhythms and the flows of your destination
  • What the three core data sets can tell a DMO about their visitors
  • How to use data to introduce visitors to new opportunities within a community
  • The five foundations that will help to solve a DMOs marketing challenges, including demand generation, visitor distribution, economic opportunity, accountability, and stability

Destination Operation Systems

Jay shares why he didn’t want Zartico to be just a passive reporting platform but something that helps you understand your destination’s rhythms and flows. He describes why the critical components within their destination operating system rest on three core data sets – anonymized geolocation data, anonymized credit card data, and predictive event-related data, all of which help you understand visitor data.

Storytelling

We discuss how destination operating systems can really make an impact and help drive visitors from big attractions into smaller local businesses. DMOs have leveraged digital tools to become expert multimedia storytellers to communicate the story around the people, places, experiences, and historical and cultural touchstones that make your destination unique.

A DMO can play a vital role in layering in how to have a local experience and experience the unique cultures that form part of the region. DMOs need to think creatively about how to tell their stories, and that’s where Zartico’s operating system connects the dots between actions and outcomes.

The Future Framework

According to Jay, the five foundations that will help to solve a DMOs marketing challenges are demand generation, visitor distribution, economic opportunity, accountability, and stability. He shares why he hopes that DMOs will start to adopt this as a framework and help flesh it out so that, as an industry, we can grow around the five foundations by understanding how the data can help you strategically drive demand in your location.

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/

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