In this episode, you will learn about how New York is consistently growing their tourism efforts from Gavin Landry, the former Executive Director of Tourism at Empire State Development.
Gavin Landry joined Empire State Development (ESD) as the Executive Director of Tourism in March of 2013. Mr. Landry’s appointment came at a time of continued tourism growth across New York State and amidst the launch of a series of new tourism initiatives by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Thanks to the support of Governor Cuomo, tourism has become the fourth largest employer in the State.
As former Executive Director, Mr. Landry lead the iconic I LOVE NEW YORK marketing campaign where he developed and implemented new initiatives to further the State’s positive tourism growth. Mr. Landry also worked closely with the New York State Tourism Advisory Council, which provides input and advice regarding the state’s tourism efforts.
Before joining Empire State Development, Mr. Landry ran Landry Hospitality Consulting Services, where he provided full-service hospitality consulting to hotel developers and owners. Mr. Landry ran commercial hotels for a professional management company in markets such as Detroit, MI; Columbus, OH; Charlotte, NC, and Somerset, NJ. He has also served as president of the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, a post he held for 12 years. During that time, he served as the President of the NYS Association of CVB’s (2000-02). Gavin was the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Leadership Award by the NYS Tourism Industry Association. A graduate of Cornell University, Mr. Landry served as an adjunct professor at New York University’s (NYU) Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management for five years where he taught graduate courses in various disciplines of the tourism industry. In February of 2013, Mr. Landry was the recipient of an award for teaching excellence from NYU, one of 20 given across nine teaching disciplines. Mr. Landry is a member of the Cornell Hotel Society.
This episode is a little different from most. We will be hearing from a tireless advocate and NYS tourism industry promoter, Mike Linehan. This interview was recorded in October 2016. Mike was gracious in volunteering to be one of Destination on the Left’s first interviews. He was very patient with me and my audio team as we were learning the ropes of podcast production.
Mike and I had a fantastic conversation and he shared many insights from his 30 years in the tourism industry. The audio from our interview however didn’t record properly and most of the interview was unusable. Mike was very kind when I explained what had happened and offered to reschedule so that we could get a good audio file. Unfortunately, our schedules did not align and Mike passed away unexpectedly on February 15, 2017.
Mike’s vision, his tenacity, his insights, his humor are part of the foundation of tourism in New York State. So, I went back to that bad recording and found 20 minutes of our conversation that I want to share with our listeners. We can all continue to learn and benefit from Mike Linehan.
Mike Linehan served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Yates County Chamber of Commerce for 24 years. Born in Hammondsport, NY, Mike settled in Penn Yan, NY after spending several years in the state of Colorado.
Mike’s formal training included courses of study at St. John Fisher College, Corning Community College, Finger Lakes Community College and the Institutes for Organization Management at the University of Oklahoma, where he was a graduating member of the Class of 1999.
Mike was a member of: the Keuka College Community Associates Board serving as Chair since 2000; NYS Tourism Industry Association where he served as past president; Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; Loyal Order of Moose; Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council where he served as Chair; Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association where he served as Chair and the Chamber Alliance of New York State.
In his spare time, Mike enjoyed cooking, gardening, and boating on the Finger Lakes. He lived in Penn Yan with his wife, Molly, daughters Meaghan and Morgen, and dogs Moses and Maggie.
In this episode, you will learn how every traveler makes a difference from Kristy Kennedy, Vice President of Marketing and The Director of Tourism for the Adirondack Coast Visitor Bureau (ACVB), a division of the North Country Chamber of Commerce.
Kristy has been with the ACVB since 2008. In her current role, Kristy leads the Visitors Bureau’s efforts in developing and implementing a yearly strategic marketing plan to increase tourism in Clinton County.
A Plattsburgh native and a graduate of Plattsburgh State University, Kristy was named a Face of our Future by Strictly Business magazine and in 2008 Kristy was named New York State’s Virginia Allan Young Careerist in acknowledgment of her personal and professional accomplishments, writing ability and public speaking. She went on to place in the top 10 in the nation.
Before joining the Chamber, Kristy worked as Office Manager and Marketing Coordinator for
Fesette Realty. Prior to that, Kristy held the role of Marketing & Promotions Coordinator for 95 Triple X and 620am WVMT Radio in Burlington.
Outside of her work at the Chamber, Kristy enjoys listening to live music, exploring the local food scene and creating one-of-a-kind dishes in her kitchen. She is a self-proclaimed Crazy Cat Lady and spends as much time with her better half Shannon and her family as possible including two full-of-life nephews.
In this episode, you will learn about what can be done to build a destination’s brand from David Holder, the former President of Visit Syracuse.
David Holder did not grow up in Central New York, as you’ll recognize from his slight southern drawl and love of cheese grits. He may not be a native but he is definitely one of the area’s greatest cheerleaders. A love of the outdoors, weather (yes, you heard correctly), great food, and overall quality of life drive David’s passion for the Syracuse area. When he was President, he translated that love into a killer brand position for Visit Syracuse, one of six accredited DMOs in the state of New York, leading the effort to Do Your Thing and amplify awareness of Syracuse for convention planners, sporting event organizers and leisure visitors from around the world. Prior to joining Visit Syracuse, David directed the tourism and economic development efforts for the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia, led the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau in Corning, New York and conducted community based strategic planning for the Texas Tourism Division. He earned both a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Science in Tourism Management from North Carolina State University.
In this episode, you will learn about tracking conversions from Ralph Thompson, President and Chief Brain of eBrains.
Formally trained as in finance and as a CPA, Ralph gained basic experience with Price Waterhouse Coopers and then moved on to NYSE regional banking firm where he advanced to become a top finance and administration executive over 10 years. He took his first entrepreneurial step as co-owner and COO of The Martin Agency (an Ad Age Agency of the Year) where he grew the company from 20 people to 250 over a 10 year period before selling it to Interpublic Group. His next adventure started when he co-founded eBrains to focus on digital marketing in the travel and tourism industry. eBrains is celebrating its 18th year. The company was sold three years ago to a DC marketing holding company and Ralph remains in his role as President and Chief Brain. Ralph enjoys using ample blessings of both sides of the brain to help brands leverage the digital marketing space to drive more measurable incremental ROI. He enjoys spending time with his wife of 48 years, two children, 3 grandchildren and collaborating with friends and colleagues. Ralph enjoys golf, wine, great food and travel.
In this episode, you will learn about working with partners to create a niche culinary trail from Meg Vanek.
Meg Vanek is the executive director of the Cayuga County Convention and Visitors Bureau and has served in this capacity for 20 years. She is originally from the Finger Lakes but left the region at 17, graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and worked in the property management and hospitality industries in southern California and England for 14 years before returning to the region. In addition to her position as executive director of the Cayuga County Convention and Visitors Bureau, she also serves on the Board of Directors of the NYS Tourism Industry Association, the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway, the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council, as well as several other tourism related committees.
In this episode, you will learn about using partnerships to maximize effect from Kelly Rapone.
Kelly has been Tourism Marketing Director at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce in the Buffalo Niagara region of NYS for the past 13 years, and a part of the Chamber’s Tourism program for 18 years. In her role, Kelly manages implementation and development of the overall tourism marketing program for Genesee County. In addition to her work at the county level, Kelly has been instrumental in several regional and statewide tourism marketing initiatives including the roles of regional administrator for Greater Niagara Region, project manager for Country Byways of the Greater Niagara Region, and project coordinator for the War of 1812 Honorary Peace Garden Trail brochure.
Kelly is also the founder and administrator of the Haunted History Trail of New York State. The Haunted History Trail of New York State began in 2013 and features attractions from almost every region of New York State including haunted dining, tours, attractions, events and accommodations, with many of the attractions tying back to New York’s local history. In 2015 the Haunted History Trail of NYS was recognized with an Excellence in Tourism Marketing Award Statewide by the New York State Tourism Industry Association. It is the only state-wide paranormal tourism trail in the country.
In this episode, you will learn the skills that transfer from working client side to agency side and traits every PR professional should have, from Colleen Knopeck, Associate Consultant at Break The Ice Media.
Colleen uses her passion for writing and storytelling as an Associate Consultant at Break The Ice Media. She brings with her demonstrated success in proactive media relations and brand marketing communications for B2B, B2C, and B2E audiences. Colleen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication: Journalism/Media Studies from SUNY Geneseo and a Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from St. Bonaventure University. Her enthusiasm, attention to detail, and commitment to exceeding expectations are reflected in her work, and in the results she drives for her clients.
In this episode, you will learn about using hashtags over a variety of social media channels and how to use Instagram effectively from Jessica Reilly, Associate Consultant, at Break The Ice Media.
Jessica is a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Political Science. She started at Break The Ice Media in 2016 and brings with her a duality of knowledge, combining her classical PR training with marketing skills. She has a passion for social media and analytics. Her personal strengths include a love of research, and a strong sense of curiosity. She brings a fresh perspective and attention to detail to all the client projects she works on.
In this episode, you will learn about Facebook ad campaigns from Camille Zess, Consultant at Break The Ice Media.
Camille is adept at working in the digital media space. Her passion for creating online and email marketing campaigns shows in the high quality and creative work that she produces. She is an accomplished writer, creating content for social media, websites, blogs, the press, advertising, journalism, and research writing. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Hiram College and uses her flexibility with words to capture the voice of the brands Break The Ice works with.
Her personal strengths include an advanced understanding of marketing, a talent and passion for copywriting and the ability to produce results.
In this episode, you will learn about destination marketing strategies, the benefits of FAM trips, and strategies for businesses to prepare for groups from Rhonda Vaccaro, Vice President and Senior Consultant at Break The Ice Media.
Rhonda has more than 20 years sales and new business development experience. She has worked in technology, environmental services and hospitality and travel industries. She is a master at creating relationships, working with prospects and turning them into sales for Break The Ice Media’s tourism clients. She has a deep understating of sales strategies, relationship development and creating win-win opportunities.
Sarah Blackwell is a Consultant at Break The Ice Media.
Sarah brings knowledge of the public relations industry to her work at Break the Ice Media, including the ability to write, pitch, and tell a great story. Her experience working with journalists and passion for PR and social media has allowed her to help her clients get great exposure and effectively connect with their target audience. She is a graduate of The College at Brockport, SUNY, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism/Broadcasting (concentration: PR) and a dual degree in English. She joined Break The Ice Media in 2013, and brought with her hospitality and marketing experience from internships at Disney, Southwest Airlines, American Cancer Society, and Susan B Anthony House. She is very involved with the Public Relations Society of America, Rochester Chapter, co-chairing both the Young PR Professionals and PRism Awards Committee.
Her personal strengths include her ability to find, research, and implement new media. She brings a fresh perspective, creativity, and attention to detail to the client projects that she works on.
Nicole Mahoney started Break The Ice Media in 2009 in response to the evolving needs of small- to medium-sized businesses, in particular, the rise of social media. Break The Ice Media is a boutique marketing and communications firm with a focus on travel, tourism, food, wine, and hospitality. As CEO, Nicole is responsible for working with clients to understand their marketing needs, develop strategic marketing plans and execute those plans. She is also responsible for building a team that can deliver.
Break The Ice Media specializes in collaborations that leverage resources of multiple partners for the creation of successful marketing programs within the travel and hospitality industry. Break The Ice Media views these programs as “coop-etition” where partners cooperate with their competition to create a program that is larger than one they can execute alone. Building these programs requires a leader who is level-headed, an effective listener, with an ability to move a group towards consensus in order to move forward.
Nicole received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master of Arts in Communications from The College at Brockport, SUNY.
Nicole loves the Finger Lakes region of New York State where she was born and raised. She is raising 4 daughters with her husband, John.
Jennifer Ackerson is President and Founder of ALON Marketing Group, a respected tourism sales and marketing consulting company. She specializes in effective strategic development for growing travel and tourism supplier businesses with a focus on B2B and travel-trade client relationship building.
Jennifer is a 20-year veteran of the Travel & Tourism industry with experience in the hotel, destinations, attractions and tours, transportation, restaurant, and travel buyer sectors. Jennifer has an excellent understanding of the tourism and visitor dynamic. Her distinctions include an unparalleled assimilation into the domestic and international buyer/seller relationship, which results in a high level of successful strategic business development activity. Her past work experience includes working for Marriott Hotels, Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, Riese Restaurants, New York Apple Tours, Skyline Multimedia Entertainment, CitySights NY, and most recently, 15+ years of independent tourism consultation.
Glenn Clark is the president and creative director of Clark CSM Marketing & Communications. He has worked as a Designer and Creative Director alongside world-class talent at agencies such as Partners + Napier in Rochester and Eric Mower & Associates in Syracuse prior to founding an award-winning agency. His vision for Clark CSM has always been to create amazing work with an attentiveness to a wide-array of clients while specializing in tourism and destination marketing. His clients will agree, Glenn is a blast to work with and usually the most enthusiastic person in the room. Even better, he'll never turn down an invite to grab a beer.
For Leah Mueller, traveling is more than a job -- it’s her passion. After earning a degree in Travel and Tourism Management from Niagara University, she went on to study abroad before starting her career. Leah has broad and varied expertise in the hotel, attraction, restaurant, and private company sector. She has been with Visit Buffalo Niagara for over 15 years and was a key partner in expanding their international appeal.
Leah Mueller is the Director of Tourism Sales for Visit Buffalo Niagara. For Leah, traveling is more than a job -- it’s her passion. After earning a degree in Travel and Tourism Management from Niagara University, she went on to study abroad before starting her career. Leah has broad and varied expertise in the hotel, attraction, restaurant, and private company sector. She has been with Visit Buffalo Niagara for over 15 years and was a key partner in expanding their international appeal.
Daniel Fenton is an Executive Vice President with JLL's Hotels & Hospitality Group. He is a 25-year veteran of the Hospitality and Tourism industries. Daniel led a destination marketing organization that completed a highly successfully re-branding, re-structuring effort that is used as a cutting edge model for others. He is the past Chairman of the Board of Destination Marketing Association International where he launched several initiatives designed to drive more effectiveness in Destination Marketing Organizations nationally. He graduated with distinction from the Cornell University School of Hospitality Management.
Daniel has successfully completed and is currently the Project Executive for many tourism planning initiatives, most recently including Travel Portland; Visit Denver; Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau; New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Miami Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau; Daytona Beach/Volusia County, Florida; Hawaii Tourism Authority; Visit Salt Lake; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County CVB, Florida; San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau and Charlotte NC.