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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: November, 2022
Nov 30, 2022

Bree Nidds is a tourism, travel, and hospitality professional. She is often found speaking, facilitating, and presenting as one of tourism’s biggest advocates. She is Vice President of Sales & Operations at Discover Lehigh Valley, where she resides in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Bree was honored with the Smart Meetings Catalyst Award: Rising Star in 2021 and has been named “20 in Their Twenties” by the Professional Convention Management Association and “30 under 30” by Destinations International. In her free time, Bree enjoys competing in triathlons and swim competitions.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Bree Nidds about the importance of the travel industry working collaboratively to elevate travel in the minds of consumers. She shares her insights about how in-market advertising helps drive visitation and why working collaboratively in the meetings builds enhanced future visitor numbers.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Bree’s journey in destination marketing and how her previous experiences lead her to Lehigh Valley
  • What’s coming up for destination marketing organizations in the spring, and how we can prepare our teams for the future
  • Creativity in the tourism and hospitality industry space and what Lehigh Valley is doing to help their destination stand out from the crowd
  • How community building became a part of Lehigh Valley’s marketing strategy
  • Some of the things in the pipeline for Bree and Lehigh Valley
  • How Bree and the team use data to drive their marketing strategy
  • The collaboration that saw Lehigh Valley hosting an inaugural cycling event involving 1500 riders
  • Bree’s advice for setting the groundwork for a successful collaboration or partnership
  • How Bree sees the future of destination marketing evolving in 2023 and beyond

Travel as a Consumer Priority

People have so many choices about where they spend their money, and destination marketers need to understand where travel ranks on that list of people’s priorities. On the podcast, Bree shares why it’s a personal goal of hers to look beyond how Lehigh Valley is competing with other destinations and understand how we compete with other industries.

Marketers help travel and tourism to remain a high-ranking option on visitors’ to-do lists. In the industry, we need to think about the bigger overarching story we need to dig into as a community to stand out. Collaboration is the key to bettering ourselves in destination marketing, and Bree explains why, in Lehigh Valley, they are keen to leverage as many opportunities as possible.

Data-Driven Insights

We dive into the data and discuss the valuable insights it generates about a destination. Bree shares why their partners are interested in that information and why the COVID-19 pandemic gave them the impetus to look at the figures and understand the forecasting.

She goes on to describe how that information allowed Lehigh Valley to think about what their destination needs to do to gather the right data and use it in a resourceful way to make decisions about their tourism economy.

Moving Forward into 2023

Bree and I also talk about why she is so excited about moving forward into 2023 and the development in terms of their hotel room supply coming into the market. She discusses Lehigh’s impressive growth over such a short period, what that means for their tourism economy, and how it drives their marketing strategy.

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/

Nov 16, 2022

Camille uses her creative magic with words combined with strategy to create and execute high-quality marketing campaigns for Break the Ice Media’s clients. She approaches projects by looking at the big picture, whether as a project manager, writer, or problem solver. She oversees accounts and provides strategic direction for destination clients and their stakeholders, as well as directing and executing Facebook advertising campaigns. When Camille’s not at work, she loves experimenting with new craft projects and playing clarinet in a community orchestra. She also sits on the board of a local non-profit organization focused on personal growth, providing strategic marketing and direction.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Camille Zess. Camille is part of the Break the Ice Media team, and she joins me on the show to share her expertise in digital marketing. She discusses how one of our tour operator clients rejuvenated their marketing after the COVID-19 pandemic and gives examples of how she was able to work with them to spread their message. Camille also dives into the details of how you can prepare your marketing plans for 2023.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How Camille approaches planning for a digital campaign
  • Why it’s essential to ensure your strategy aligns with the goals of your business
  • How digital advertising helps companies find customers even when they’re in the dreaming and planning stage
  • Real-life examples of how Break the Ice Media has had great results from the digital marketing strategies and tactics Camille has implemented
  • Tips for optimizing a landing page for conversion
  • The importance of looking after your existing customer database
  • What kinds of tweaks Camille is considering for digital advertising campaigns moving into 2023
  • How to download the Break the Ice Media guide: Facebook & Instagram Advertising for Tourism Marketers

Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Client work always starts with strategy — we need to ensure that everything we’re planning aligns with the business’s goals and focuses on their target audience. Digital advertising follows the customer journey on their path to booking, from their spark of inspiration when they start dreaming about where they’re going to go to the planning and booking phase and finally experiencing their destination and sharing their reviews.

So as part of the marketing team, we need to consider strategies that will reach people dreaming of a vacation to find your destination, product, or service.

Optimize Your Landing Page

Landing pages are so crucial for every kind of marketing campaign, but a true landing page has no additional navigation. It doesn’t give the user any opportunity to click away from the information we want them to interact with. On your landing page, it’s essential to include great visuals and a call to action as high on the page as possible — to guide visitors to take that action.

Should You Still Be Advertising on Facebook?

Facebook has its flaws, and there has been a certain amount of controversy about the platform, but it’s still such a valuable channel that gives good results. In 2021, prices increased in terms of cost per click and cost per result on Meta’s channels but compared to many other types of digital media advertising, they are still relatively cost-effective.

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/

Nov 9, 2022

Kathy Condon is a travel writer who has visited 29 countries, 49 States, and 16 islands. She formally trained throughout the nation on face-to-face networking. When the pandemic hit, she made the decision to become a travel writer and made a solid base while sequestered at home. Now Kathy is using her face-to-face networking skills to make a thriving travel writing career.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Kathy Condon, a travel writer who used the COVID-19 pandemic as a chance to start a totally new career in a niche she loves. Her dedication to the craft and her finely honed networking skills have ensured that her travel writing business has progressed at a tremendous pace. Kathy also shares her tips for building productive relationships with PR professionals and how she has raised her professional profile using Google Maps.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why the pandemic prompted Kathy to pivot from her career in face-to-face networking into travel writing
  • How Kathy works with businesses and destinations to help them stand out from the crowd
  • How her previous career in networking has opened up new opportunities
  • Why trust is an integral part of how Kathy works with PR companies
  • Creative solutions that Kathy found to overcome the challenges of creating a travel-based business as the industry is recovering from a pandemic
  • Why Kathy believes that for destinations, a travel writer is a better investment than a social media influencer
  • How Kathy leverages Google Maps as a tool to showcase her skills
  • The opportunities that have come Kathy’s way because of her commitment to building genuine relationships

Visiting Underexposed Destinations

On the show, Kathy describes why she is so fascinated by so-called secondary cities. She shares some of the incredible, off-the-beaten-track places she has explored and dug deep into to find their hidden gems. Kathy highlights that PR companies are usually thrilled to work with her because of her willingness to delve into what makes an underlooked destination so unique.

We also discuss how Kathy’s previous career as a trainer and coach on face-to-face networking skills has made getting her new business off the ground so quickly possible.

Unexpected Ways to Attract Visitors

If you’re trying to attract people to a destination that doesn’t usually top the ‘must visit’ lists, you have to be creative in your marketing. Kathy explains why travel writers provide the most bang for your marketing buck because of their skill as storytellers. We discuss the value that writers like Kathy provide, including increasing a destination’s visibility on social media and using clever tools such as Google Maps to add pictures and reviews.

Writing Ethically

Authentic travel writing is firmly based on the writer’s experience of a destination, and Kathy is very clear about where she stands ethically on only writing about places she has visited herself.

We discuss the importance of staying true to your values as a travel writer in everything that you do professionally. Kathy describes why when she approaches new publications or PR organizations to pitch a story, she always commits to spending real time in a place and understanding what it offers. We also touch on the fact that as glamorous as being a travel writer seems, it can also be hard work with lots of time spent on the road.

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/

 
Nov 2, 2022

Alex Bickers, President and Creative Director of Reveal Events Group, is an award-winning event producer and creative consultant. He is driven by creating the best experience for his clients, team, and, ultimately, the audience.

In September 2020, he was named the Meeting Planners International (MPI) BC Chapter Event Planner of the Year. In April 2021, he was listed for the second time as one of the top 250 Canadian Event Professionals by BizBash, and the top 30 Canadian Event Producers and Designers. In July 2002, Alex was named Event Professional of the Year by the International Live Events Association (ILEA) Vancouver Chapter.

In 2019, Alex was awarded the coveted title of Canadian Event Professional of the Year by The Canadian Event Industry Awards, which are the hallmark of achievement in the Canadian event and meeting industry.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Alex Bickers about his 25 years in the events industry and why he loves creating joyful experiences for his guests. He shares his outlook on virtual and hybrid, and live events in the future. We also dig into community building, and Alex describes some fabulous celebrations hosted by and for the Vancouver event industry.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The philosophy behind the Reveal Events Group
  • The event that kicked off Alex’s fascination for live-scale productions
  • Why creating joyful experiences is at the core of what Alex and his team do
  • How events organizers are demonstrating their creativity in the meetings industry space
  • How the events industry has changed in the post-COVID-19 world and whether the innovations we’ve seen are here to stay
  • Why we’re seeing such massive demand for a return to in-person events, particularly in the run-up to Christmas 2022
  • A specific example of how Reveal Events Group has innovated at the World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference to support attendees
  • How to connect with Alex and his team

Using Technology Creatively

The technology that enables us to serve clients’ needs in a very tailored way has come on in leaps and bounds, and the way people work today means that event organizers can work around the needs of several different subsets of event attendees.

On the podcast, Alex describes the pent-up demand for live events and the effect on people of having to miss out on in-person interaction. We talk about the huge demand in 2022 for face-to-face conferences and hybrid events, and Alex shares the kinds of creative touches that event producers are making to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Global Relationships

We discuss the upsides of being forced to develop global relationships due to the pandemic and how the Reveal Events Group has been able to create some exciting projects. Alex shares that his company has been able to establish bonds with organizations in the UK, Asia, and Australia because much of the world has turned to virtual events for so long. Now, there are no borders for businesses — from their studio in Vancouver Reveal that can work their magic across the world.

Themed Events

Alex also shares his opinions on the importance of collaboration in the travel and tourism industry. He gives a fantastic example of one of the collaborations in which he has been involved — the Vancouver event industry holiday party dating back to his time as President of the International Live Events Association (ILEA). Alex discusses how the team was able to bring together professionals from across the industry to create fabulous themed events, even inviting guests through the wardrobe into the fictional snowy world of Narnia to celebrate the winter holidays.

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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