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.
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.
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.”
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.
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