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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: January, 2023
Jan 25, 2023

Samantha Cole is the Director of Public Relations at Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board. The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that aggressively promotes the Valley Forge area and Montgomery County as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 500-plus member hotels, restaurants, attractions, and services.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Samantha Coles about some of the creative campaigns her destination is running right now, including using instafamous dogs, and we explore how marketing to niches helps the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board stand out.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How Samantha got her start in the travel and tourism industry and how it linked to her interest in digital marketing
  • Advice for aspiring or entry-level marketers
  • Why you should never be afraid to reach out to people on LinkedIn
  • Why making data-driven decisions is essential to the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board
  • Fun influencer marketing ideas that Samantha has leveraged
  • The award-winning Make it Main Street campaign and how this true backyard tourism campaign spotlights locally owned small businesses across the county
  • The Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board’s partnership with Philadelphia and Chester County to brand themselves as the countryside of Philadelphia
  • Samantha talks about the upcoming February campaign focused on Valentine’s Day and romantic getaways.
  • The evolution of how DMOs work to serve the community in addition to attracting visitors

Building a Network Lays the Groundwork for Future Collaboration

How social media can support DMOs is an ever-changing landscape. Samantha explains how networking as an organization and as an individual helps you expand your reach and serve your clients. So many people are hesitant about reaching out to people and connecting with people on LinkedIn or other social media platforms but making those links is a great way to lay the foundation for future partnerships.

Communicating with Neighboring Organisations

Samantha shares her advice for our listeners thinking about entering into a collaboration or seeking a partner to collaborate with in 2023. Communication is critical in setting collaborations up for success — that includes going back to basics and reaching out to people locally who might even do the same job as you for a neighboring DMO. You could also prioritize building relationships by scheduling regular catch-ups with other local organizations and keeping them updated about your plans going forward.

Data-Driven Decisions

For Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board making data-driven decisions is top of mind right now. Samantha shares how her destination is leveraging geolocation data tracking to figure out how they can better serve their visitors’ needs by honing their target markets. She also shares why her proudest influencer hire to date is a Bernese mountain dog from Philadelphia and how that pupper is helping them showcase what Montgomery County has to offer.

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/

Jan 18, 2023

Greg Star is the Co-Founder of Carvertise, an advertising company that enables companies to advertise on private commuter vehicles. This is so companies can advertise in a novel, targeted, and grassroots way while everyday people can earn additional passive income for advertising for a brand they like and support.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Greg Star about how Carvertize helps destinations stand out and increase ROI through creative advertising. We also discuss several creative examples of destinations that have leveraged his methods.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How Carvertise evolved from a college project into a sophisticated business
  • The technology and analytics behind finding the right cars to advertise on
  • The efficiencies of bringing the printing in-house
  • When Greg realized that his company could help the travel and tourism industry
  • How Carvertise helps destinations stand out from the crowd
  • Some case studies of how Carvertise’s clients, including a Pride Parade and a College Football organization, have used them to stay top of mind with their target market
  • The metrics Greg measures to evaluate the success of Carvertise’s campaigns
  • What ‘mindshare’ means to Greg, and how the term epitomizes collaboration for him

Data-Driven Insights

In advertising, you have to be creative, but you also have to pay attention to the data. Greg Star shares how his company Carvertise digs into the analytics of each client’s campaign to understand how to make an intelligent match between drivers and advertisers and how they present that information to their clients.

Greg also discusses how the company has evolved over the last ten years and what kind of infrastructure they have built on the backend to get to a point where technology and data intelligence insights are driving them forward.

Identifying Opportunities

Carvertise started as a small project founded by college students, and since then, it has evolved into a successful company that allows organizations to advertise their products and services creatively. The company’s co-founder, Greg, explains how they got their organization off the ground by paying close attention to the Delaware governor’s public schedule, attending events, building a business network, and ultimately connecting with the Delaware director of tourism.

DMOs

DMOs are looking to stand out in a crowded market, and an essential part of doing so is identifying their ideal market. Carvertise helps destinations reach their audience creatively via market activation – the process of directing local event-goers to complimentary activities or attractions. Greg shares details of how Carvertise is agile enough to hit the streets exactly where those ideal visitors are and promote other attractions they’ll love.

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/

Jan 11, 2023

Patrick Harrison is Chief Marketing Officer for Visit Tampa Bay. Through an innovative and aggressive approach, he has spearheaded the DMOs marketing transformation. His campaigns have been honored with over 30 US and International marketing and PR awards, including multiple Adrian Awards, and he was named a Top 25 Extraordinary Mind by HSMAI in 2019.
Before joining Visit Tampa Bay, he spent 25+ years at agencies in the U.S. and U.K. He holds a Masters’s Degree in Communications, with an emphasis in Propaganda, from the University of Leeds.

Patrick currently serves on several boards, including Destination Internationals Global Leadership and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committees, as well as PR & Communications Task Force and Equity, US Travel Marketing committee, among others.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Patrick Harrison about how Tampa Bay is evolving into a premier destination. We also discuss the importance of getting everyone to row in the same direction, why the right mindset is critical, and how and why Visit Tampa Bay is becoming its own publishing company.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How Patrick’s travels brought him to Tampa and led him to the travel and tourism industry
  • How having successful sports teams have helped put Tampa front and center in people’s minds
  • The experience of working with the NFL to make the Superbowl happen successfully in Tampa
  • Why you can’t stop marketing during a recession
  • How Visit Tampa Bay continued to promote their small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Why it’s so crucial to Patrick to serve the African American, Hispanic, LGBTQ, and accessible populations
  • Why Visit Tampa Bay turned to publishing their own local guidebooks
  • Patrick’s new podcast and how he advocates for his local community on his show

Sports and Tourism

Patrick describes how being home to successful sports teams impacts Tampa’s popularity with visitors. He shares how they collaborate with partners on and off the sports field and why they are such a popular destination for visiting teams from the USA and beyond. Patrick also shares his experience working with the NFL during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the team made it safe for local residents to attend the Superbowl events and start to feel more positive about getting on with life.

A Mindset Shift

We discuss how a big community event can bring local people together and shift people into a more positive mindset. Patrick emphasizes the importance of pulling together to keep your destination top of mind, even when potential visitors aren’t able to make it to you right away. Whether or not we’re headed into a recession, you can’t stop marketing your destination because if you stop, you need an awful lot of runway to get started again — in Patrick’s words, “you have to keep humming along.”

Stay True to Yourself

It is vital to know who you are and understand your authentic story as a destination before you can figure out how to position your story for various different markets. There are so many markets you can promote yourself in as a destination depending on your history and how you have developed over time. Visit Tampa Bay are in the middle of an exciting time where they are enjoying the expansion process, and Patrick shares how they are expanding their reach to create an additional 200 million dollars in hotel revenue.

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/

Jan 4, 2023

Renée Areng leads Brookhaven as the inaugural Executive Director for the Brookhaven Convention and Visitors Bureau, now Explore Brookhaven since 2018.

Previously, Areng served with three destination marketing organizations: most recently, Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast. Throughout her leadership, Areng increased all metrics, including visitation and overall revenue for non-gaming hotels. Additionally, she unified all messaging in marketing and sales, increasing all digital and social metrics.

Most recently, Areng consulted with Destination Organizations on strategic planning, accreditation, streamlining databases, and increasing visitation. Clients include Visit South Walton, Louisiana’s Northshore, Tupelo CVB, Visit Mobile, Jeff Davis Chamber, and CVB, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, and Pat Harrison Waterway District. Before joining the Mississippi Gulf Coast, she served as Executive Vice President for Visit Baton Rouge, and she served in statewide and national political arenas.

Areng is a cum laude graduate of the University of Louisiana with a BA in Public Administration and French. She earned her Certified Destination Marketing Executive (CDME) designation from Destinations International in 2007 and served on the CDME review committee in 2018. She has led five organizations through six accreditations through Destinations International’s DMAP program.

On this Destination on the Left episode, I talk with Renee Areng about her experience building a destination marketing organization from the ground up. We discuss the key ingredients needed for the successful formation of her DMO located just outside the Atlanta Metro Area and how they proved instrumental in creating the right environment for the organization to thrive.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why Renee was eager to join her current team in Brookhaven, Georgia
  • What’s so fascinating about working in a newly created destination
  • The unique structure of tourism in Georgia and how Renee is helping her organization punch above its weight class to stand out among Georgia’s 200 DMOs
  • How the branding strategy helped Brookhaven stand out from closeby Atlanta
  • Why it’s so important that Brookhaven is considered a viable voice at the table
  • The challenges of launching Explore Brookhaven during a global pandemic
  • Why often the most challenging part of a collaboration is getting the egos out of the equation
  • Some examples of when Renee has helped create some fantastic partnerships
  • How to connect with Renee and discover more about Explore Brookhaven

Taking Their Place at the Table

Renee shares why she believes it is so important that Brookhaven is considered a viable voice at the table. She describes why it was critical for the brand new DMO to scale to where they are being taken as seriously as the more prominent destinations in Georgia, such as Macon, Savannah, and Atlanta. Renee also shares more about her role on the board for Destinations International and how it is helping Explore Brookhaven get the recognition they deserve.

Evolving as a Destination Organization

Did you know that Renee’s breakout session at the Destination International Annual Convention in Toronto was one of the best attended at the event with standing room only?

She shares why she is so passionate about understanding how destination organizations are evolving and why she was eager to get her teeth into the opportunity that taking the reins at Explore Brookhaven offered. Renee explains the topics discussed during that session and why being clear about your value proposition is critical.

An Agile Industry

I loved speaking with Renee about how the evolving workforce is going to change the existing workplace and why it’s so necessary to recognize the need for change. The travel and tourism industry is more flexible now than it’s ever been, and Renee shares why the sector is now much more focused on the influence they have in the community rather than the number of heads in beds.

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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