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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, 2023
Nov 29, 2023

Dr. Rebecca Swift is the Global Head of Creative Insights at iStock and Getty Images, where she leads the team responsible for analyzing trends and developing research in visual communications. Rebecca joined the company over 20 years ago as one of the founding members of the team that introduced visual research methodology to the industry. Rebecca leads global research projects investigating the future of visual communications and works with a wide variety of brands in industries ranging from non-profit to fashion. She has presented her findings all over the world.

Rebecca has been recognized as one of AdAges 20 Women to Watch and was Campaign magazine’s Female Frontier honoree. She was also awarded the Most Influential Leader in UK Visual Media in 2020. Rebecca has a PhD in Photography.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Rebecca about generative AI and how it can help you create new ideas, plan visual storytelling content, and find fresh perspectives. We also explore how destination marketers can use it and why travel is one industry that should move with caution when thinking about AI generative imagery.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Benefits of using generative AI in improving creativity and visual storytelling
  • Why travel is one industry that should move with caution when thinking about AI generative imagery
  • How Getty Images address legal and ethical concerns in their use of AI-generated imagery
  • The need for government regulation of AI to address copyright and trademark concerns
  • How tools like generative AI can spark new ideas, fuel your artistic endeavors, and help you plan visual storytelling content

Unlocking Creativity with Endless Possibilities

In the ever-evolving technological landscape, the rise in popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) has hugely impacted creative industries, including that of visual storytelling. Rebecca joins us on the podcast to explore generative AI and how we can apply it to images and photography.

Generative AI goes way beyond traditional AI by not just analyzing existing content but also creating new and unique images that help tell a story. Rebecca explains how, by harnessing the power of generative AI, photographers and creatives can find fresh perspectives and ignite their creativity to tell compelling visual stories.

Legal and Ethical Considerations in AI-Generated Content

Rebecca explains that while generative AI opens up many possibilities, it’s important to carefully navigate legal and ethical terrain. She highlights why copyright and trademark concerns need to be addressed, especially when it comes to using famous places, landmarks, or people in AI-generated content. Rebecca also emphasizes the commitment of Getty Images to protect the rights of creators and ensure they have proper permission for training models using AI content.

The Impact of AI on Visual Industries

We dig into the influence of AI on the visual and creative industries, such as photography and content writing. Although AI has transformed the way we capture, edit, and share images and has revolutionized the photography ecosystem, we also need to understand its limitations and be aware of potential flaws, particularly as destination marketers.

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Nov 22, 2023

What if you could test travel compatibility… BEFORE you take a trip? FLIGHT RISK™ is a new party game and the ultimate test of travel compatibility for friends or strangers! Bree Nidds has nearly ten years of experience working in destination organizations and is embarking on a new journey!

Bree is the Owner and Creator of FLIGHT RISK GAME LLC, a game publishing company established in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, producing travel-themed game products.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Bree about why she decided to follow her dream of starting her own business and how she took inspiration from her own travels and her day job in the DMO in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. Bree shares how she came up with the Flight Risk game idea and proved her concept. We also discuss Bree’s advice for others thinking about starting a side gig and her entrepreneurial journey.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How Bree’s disappointment with a travel experience turned into a concept for her travel matchmaking game
  • The research Bree did before creating her tabletop game for social connection
  • The importance of creating a business plan and collaborating with various agencies and resources
  • The vulnerability and openness required in entrepreneurship, particularly concerning receiving and implementing feedback
  • How Bree’s experience in destination marketing has influenced her approach to entrepreneurship

From Travel Disappointment to Social Connection

Bree shares more about her disappointing travel experience and how she turned it into the idea for the Flight Risk game. She discusses the initial research stages of the game and how she crafted scenarios onto index cards and tested them at friend gatherings, realizing the potential for a business idea. Her unique concept allows people to connect more deeply and sparks conversations among travelers and friends.

As someone with a background in destination marketing, Bree shares how her experience influenced her approach to entrepreneurship. She highlights the importance of creating connections and experiences through her product, drawing on her knowledge of crafting memorable travel experiences for travelers as an experienced destination marketer.

Research, Planning, and Collaboration

Bree emphasizes the importance of creating a business plan to ensure your idea not only sparks joy in you but is economically viable, and we discuss the vulnerability and openness required in entrepreneurship, particularly when it comes to receiving and implementing feedback.

On the show, Bree shares the challenges and surprises she encountered while transitioning from the idea stage to launching her game. Including how she secured financing for her project through a Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator program and the Kickstarter platform. We also discuss Bree’s top tips for others considering starting a side gig and her entrepreneurial journey.

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Nov 15, 2023

Nicole Mahoney is an entrepreneur, speaker, and podcast host with a passion for business. She’s the Founder of Break the Ice Media, a PR and digital marketing agency specializing in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, and also serves as the CEO of Travel Alliance Partners. In her weekly podcast, Destination on the Left, launched in 2016, she interviews tourism professionals from all over the globe on creativity and collaboration.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I explore topics related to creativity and collaboration in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry. I share more about my 3C framework for collaboration, which is based on my extensive research that proves organizations that collaborate benefit from fresh, innovative ideas, improved brand reputation, operational efficiencies, and increased trust.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • More about inspired collaborations, including the Ohio Birding Collaborative and the Poconos Mountains Community Caring Project, and how they successfully navigated their partnerships
  • My personal experience of collaboration in the construction of a baseball stadium in my very first job in the travel and tourism sector
  • Why collaboration in our industry allows for creative problem-solving and operational efficiency
  • Why cathedral thinking has a huge impact on how we approach collaboration
  • The three collaborator types and how each can work together
  • How the 3C framework for world-changing collaborations works and the importance of evaluating long-term impacts

Working Together as Collaborators

We’re digging into the world of collaboration and its impact on the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry. Drawing on my own experiences and research, I explore the three types of collaborators: promoters, doubters, and protectors. I discuss why successful collaborations require effective communication, commonality of goals, and a commitment to seeing the partnership through difficulties and obstacles.

I genuinely believe that coopetition, as I like to call it, can create fresh perspectives and lead to powerful influences within the industry. By looking back at examples from the distant past, such as Thomas Cook’s collaboration with a railway company in the 19th century, and more recent ones from my own career and those shared by guests on this podcast, I highlight how collaboration can have a lasting impact on the tourism industry.

Long Term Planning

I also want to stress the importance of committing to long-term projects and embracing the concept of “cathedral thinking,” where a project may not be completed within one’s lifetime but still aims to change the paradigm of the industry.

Collaboration is a catalyst for innovation and growth in the travel industry. By fostering effective communication, finding common goals, and committing to long-term projects, industry professionals can create collaborations that leave a lasting impact on the industry. To learn more about collaboration and its role in the travel industry, check out the latest podcast episode hosted by Nicole Mahoney.

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Nov 8, 2023

Andy Buyting is a leader in thought leadership and content marketing. His integrated content strategy has served both himself and his clients exceedingly well.

Andy’s thought leadership journey started when he published his first business book in 2007 and started publishing his first magazines in 2009. Since then, he has leveraged his integrated approach to print, digital, and interactive marketing strategies to establish himself as a thought leader in content marketing and brand positioning. Andy’s second book, How to Win Clients & Influence People, is now in its second edition and is an International Bestseller on Amazon. In 2021, Andy co-authored Double Sales/ Zero Salespeople: Optimize Your Sales and Marketing Into One Business Development Strategy That Works!

Through Tulip Media Group, his team helps to fuel revenue growth for their client partners through effective marketing that works.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Andy Buyting all about how he grew his business and why rethinking how the sales process works has led to new opportunities. He explains why meeting your target audience where they are is a more strategic, efficient, and profitable approach than cold outreach.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Key actions that Andy believes truly “pay the bills” in digital marketing
  • Why it’s so important to genuinely understand the customer’s needs and their online search behavior to drive website conversions
  • How understanding the mindset of your audience impacts sales
  • Why Andy’s company initially focused on customized magazines and how it impacted their marketing strategy
  • How effective marketing automation and website optimization improves a business’s sales process

Online Search Behavior

Andy highlights the significance of strategic marketing partnership programs in driving business growth. He also emphasizes the importance of deeply understanding the customer and their online search behavior and gives examples of people using digital platforms like YouTube to search for travel-related content. Through their company’s themed magazines, which are distributed across North America, Andy and his team have revolutionized content marketing by offering clients a unique way to connect with their target audience.

The magazines serve as a bridge between businesses and their customers, providing valuable insights, information, and inspiration. By leveraging strategic marketing partnership programs and delivering high-quality content, businesses can effectively position themselves as thought leaders and attract right-fit customers to their destination.

Marketing Automation

We also discuss the importance of effective marketing automation, and Andy shares why, in today’s digital landscape, it’s so important for businesses to focus on optimizing their websites for conversions rather than just blindly chasing increased traffic. He advocates for a more strategic approach where marketing efforts are geared towards attracting qualified leads and nurturing them through the sales funnel using automated processes.

By leveraging marketing automation effectively, businesses can streamline their marketing efforts, increase the effectiveness of their lead generation, and ultimately drive more sales.

Metrics in Digital Marketing

While many marketers place a heavy emphasis on website traffic and social media engagement, Andy challenges the commonly held belief this is the best approach for DMOs to take. Instead of concentrating on these vanity metrics, he says marketers need to keep an eye on the number of interested prospects who actually take action, such as filling out a contact form or booking a meeting.

By shifting the focus to generating qualified leads and cultivating meaningful relationships, you’re aligning marketing efforts with tangible business outcomes.

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Nov 1, 2023

Since joining the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) as President & CEO in September of 2018, Bob has focused on NYSTIA’s programming, marketing & data analytics, advocacy efforts, and destination stewardship strategies. He has enhanced member communications and collaborative initiatives, facilitated rebranding, and the restatement of vision and purpose for the organization. He worked hand-in-hand with tourism industry members across the state and leadership in Washington, DC, and Albany to coordinate response and recovery efforts during and following the pandemic. Post-pandemic initiatives include the creation of member task force teams on sustainability, workforce development, and higher education.

Today, the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) is a nonprofit, member-driven organization at the vanguard of tourism destination stewardship and long-term strategic planning.

Tourism is not a goal; it is a means to an end, states Bob. Tourism is a tool to power economic growth, job creation, small business success, community revitalization, increased local and state tax revenues, improved standard of living and quality of life, and pride of place. NYSTIAs membership includes the leadership of New York State County Tourism Promotion Agencies (TPAs), major urban and remote/rural Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), key executives from major attractions (e.g., LEGOLAND NY), museums (e.g., Baseball Hall of Fame, Corning Museum of Glass, Strong Museum of Play), resort hotels and major marketing firms from across the U.S and Canada.

Born in Bayshore, Long Island, Bob Provost LOVES NY, vacationing everywhere from Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands to New York City, Lake Placid to Corning, with stops everywhere in between. He resides with his wife, Pam, just outside Albany, NY, on a rural property in Rensselaer County.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Bob Provost, who shares why he sees the travel and tourism industry as a stimulant for change. We discuss transformational development, stewardship, and the importance of long-term strategic thinking for DMOs. Bob also shares how the New York State Tourism Industry Association is facilitating the discussion around best practices in DEI.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How creating a bundle of attractions and destinations helped the New York State Tourism Industry Association’s recovery and resurgence
  • Defining leadership versus management and the importance of both qualities for organizational success
  • The importance of long-term strategic thinking and vision as a DMO
  • How the New York State Tourism Industry Association utilizes tourism as a tool to achieve economic growth, job creation, and community revitalization
  • Outcomes and best practices discussed during the panel on Diversity in Action

Transformational Development

In our conversation Bob emphasizes the role of tourism as a catalyst for change, transforming stagnant markets and revitalizing communities. He describes why their focus is not just on short-term goals but also on long-term strategic thinking, envisioning a future state and working collaboratively to achieve it. Through various projects such as building arenas, developing destination marketing organizations, and creating vibrant tourism assets like the National Museum of Play, communities experience lasting positive impact.

Collaboration is at the heart of Bob Provost’s approach and he describes how by bringing together diverse industry professionals, sharing expertise, and working towards a common vision, the association has been successful in implementing initiatives that have had a positive effect on the community as a whole.

Stewardship and Long-Term Thinking

We discuss the significance of stewardship in destination management and why DMOs have a . responsibility to preserve and enhance both natural and cultural resources, ensuring their sustainable use for future generations. Bob discusses the domino effect, and encourages leaders to exercise vision and work towards shared goals, aligning the interests of all stakeholders.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Recognizing the importance of diversity within the tourism industry, the New York State Tourism Industry Association’s focus has shifted to diversifying supply chains, reaching out to different demographic groups, and promoting diversity within communities and organizations. Bob discusses the well-received panel on Diversity in Action and describes how the association is facilitating the discussion, highlighting positive outcomes and signposting to best practices in DEI.

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