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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: Page 15
Mar 8, 2017

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • “It’s all here. It’s only here.”: How Empire State Development gets visitors that could travel anywhere to come to New York
  • Using the “I LOVE NEW YORK” brand to attract visitors beyond New York City and into all of New York state
  • The support the New York tourism industry has received from Governor Andrew Cuomo (including $55 million in 2017)
  • ESD’s experiential marketing team’s I LOVE NEW YORK “traveling pod” that includes interactive digital experiences to help raise awareness for events and attractions all over New York State
  • The impact of ESD’s digital initiatives like the I LOVE NEW YORK app that has been downloaded over 100,000 times since 2015
  • ESD’s social media efforts that have resulted in I LOVE NEW YORK being the #1 most followed state tourism office on Twitter and one of the top state tourism offices on Facebook
  • ESD’s partnership with Beautiful Destinations on Instagram where they’ve created some amazing video content
  • How ESD uses a matching funds program and tourism grants for funding local efforts in the different regions across New York
  • The recent growth of the agritourism industry under New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • Leveraging partnerships to attract International travelers
  • The incredible return on investment New York State has seen in the tourism industry (an investment of $170 million became nearly $8 billion!)

Ways to contact Gavin:

Mar 1, 2017

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The challenge that arose after Penn Yan was flooded in May 2014 and how they overcame the public misperception that Penn Yan was closed after the media focused on the damage of the flood
  • Penn Yan’s efforts to redevelop the waterfront that Mike was beginning to focus on in October when we conducted this interview
  • Why dissenting opinions are so important in achieving the best final product
  • Examples of working within regulations and working to get onerous regulations lifted
  • The importance of visiting your elected officials when they’re home in your district

Tourism websites:

Feb 22, 2017

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why the ACVB doesn’t get caught up in the “heads in beds” mentality and focuses on all travelers – even the ones that don’t stay overnight
  • How every traveler creates their own domino effect for the region
  • The ways ACVB makes the most of their small budget and three person team
  • The locational benefits of going bilingual
  • How the AVCB helps their stakeholders be as prepared as possible by hosting customer service seminars
  • “Where the mountains meet the coast:” the story of how the Adirondack Coast name came to be
  • The integrated social content plan that helped the ACVB use social media reach all their demographics
  • How competing attractions work together to grow the ACVB in a way that helps everyone succeed
  • Why Kristy loves an outside perspective on the ACVB and keeping the master plan updated

Ways to contact Kristy:

Feb 15, 2017

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • David’s background
  • Looking for opportunistic disruptions: finding how to push your product in unusual ways
  • How David turned Syracuse into the Official Home of Winter to capitalize on the long winters of Syracuse and turn it into a real asset
  • The Snow Angel Challenge: The initiative that Syracuse and The Salvation Army are entering together
  • Why the perception of your residents is just as important as the perception of visitors
  • The importance of getting the community on board with your initiatives
  • Building your brand around emotions when you don’t have one massive asset
  • The support system of destination marketing organizations throughout New York that Syracuse is a part of
  • How David helped improve the relationship between Visit Syracuse and CNY Arts so that they work together
  • Why digging your heels in isn’t the right answer when trying to reach a common goal

Ways to contact David:

Feb 8, 2017

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Ralph’s background
  • How Ralph used co-registration with Virginia Tourism to reduce the cost of sending out travel guides from $12 to $2 at a time when co-registration was looked down upon
  • How Ralph has figured out how to track a much higher than average percent of conversions
  • How Ralph used digital strategies to inspire overnight stays in Buffalo and Niagara Falls from nearby Ontario Canada travelers.
  • Why a simplistic measurement is better than no measurement
  • How Ralph encourages his team to invent best practices rather than follow best practices
  • The mobile Cost Per Action (CPA) network that Ralph is working on
  • Why you need to leverage your own resources and develop strategic partnerships to deliver the best possible product
  • How to find the best partners or “co-petitors”
Feb 1, 2017

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Meg’s background
  • How Meg has helped Cayuga County stand out from the crowd by presenting a unique experience for the visitor- The Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trail
  • How Meg blended agriculture and culinary assets together in The Finger Lakes Sweet Treat Trail
  • What’s coming up for the Sweet Treat Trail in 2017.
  • How competitors worked together on the Sweet Treat Trail to grow their own businesses
  • What great partners look like to Meg
  • A business that thought outside of the box in order to be eligible for the Sweet Treat Trail
  • How Meg set realistic expectations for new partnerships
  • The Sweet Treat Trail’s upcoming appearance on HGTV

Ways to contact Meg:

Jan 18, 2017

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Kelly’s background and how she became the Tourism Marketing Director at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce
  • How to identify and focus on niche markets
  • The challenges Genesee County has faced standing out against much bigger destinations
  • How Genesee County has collaborated with other destinations
  • A newly renovated visitor center, a redesigned website, and other projects that Kelly is working on right now
  • Some of Genesee County’s very unique assets and how she founded the Haunted History Trail
  • Making the time to form relationships that lead into great partnerships

Ways to contact Kelly:

Jan 11, 2017

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What Colleen does at Break The Ice Media
  • How Colleen uses the experience she brings from the client side
  • What clients want from agencies
  • Key qualities in a PR professional
  • Passion and persuasion and why these traits are important in PR
  • Why a love of organized chaos is beneficial in PR
  • How Colleen ties it all together in an ongoing campaign

Resources:

Jan 4, 2017

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What Jessica does at Break The Ice Media
  • Why travel hashtags are important
  • Three main challenges with hashtags
  • What makes hashtags on Instagram different than other platforms
  • What you need to know about creating your own hashtag
  • Travel hashtags that you need to know about
  • Why Instagram is a tremendous platform for the travel/tourism industry
  • Instagram takeovers: why having someone else take over your Instagram account can be a great idea
  • Ways to find great Instagram content to share

Resources:

Dec 21, 2016

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What Camille does at Break The Ice Media
  • The importance of staying on top of the changes in the ad dashboard
  • How to choose the right campaign objective
  • Why you need to be clear on the demographics of your audience before launching a campaign
  • How to keep an audience from being too narrow and using lookalike audiences
  • How Facebook judge’s ad images and what makes a good image
  • The new ad tools and why they’re important including website conversion and lead generation
  • Why the best use of your ad dollars isn’t boosting
  • Facebook Campaign work Camille has done for Wayne County’s Annual Apple Tasting Tour
  • How to structure the landing page for a campaign
  • Instagram ads
  • Why weekly monitoring and patience is important with an ad campaign
  • What Facebook’s “Standard Events” and where you need a coding expert

Resources:

Dec 14, 2016

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What Rhonda does at Break The Ice Media
  • How Rhonda works with receptive operators to make their lives easier
  • Marketing and sales tactics that Rhonda uses with receptive operators
  • The proper follow-up and why it’s important in marketing
  • Why Rhonda loves FAM tours
  • The importance of educating everyone involved on how they will benefit from a FAM tour
  • Why communication is key for a successful FAM
  • How to treat your FAM guests as VIPs
  • Remembering to have fun during a FAM tour
  • What a business needs to do before they’re group ready

Resources:

Dec 7, 2016

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Collaborative PR programs that Sarah works on
  • The work Sarah has done on Haunted History Trail, Cross Border Showcase, and the Finger Lakes vacation region
  • What a Media FAM trip is, why it’s so important, and what makes a FAM successful
  • Strategies on how to use group trips effectively — and why they are losing popularity
  • Strategies for helping journalists do live “pre-coverage” before they write their articles — a strategy that is new to the digital landscape
  • How to build a journalist itinerary (and when to schedule break time)
  • How to fund FAM trips
  • Working with experts to build a FAM trip without dictating
  • The time commitment needed to build an itinerary

Resources:

Nov 30, 2016

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What Nicole learned at the Marketing Outlook Forum
  • The emerging international travel trends
  • Why Mexico will surpass Canada as the #1 source for arrivals by the end of 2016
  • Why China will surpass the UK as the #1 source for overseas arrivals by 2020
  • Why India will be the second largest market for consuming class households by 2025
  • How the US domestic leisure market will continue to grow in 2017 by the same rate as 2016
  • The research that shows that people are starting to see travel as a better use of money than material things
  • Adventure vs. relaxation: what travelers want their vacations to feel like
  • Why people are wanting more and more to be travelers, not tourists
  • The rise of peer-to-peer lodging and what travelers that use these alternatives are like
  • The World Food Travel Association’s study The 2016 Food Travel Monitor
  • How food and beverage influences leisure travelers to seek out a destination
  • Why a positive food or beverage experience will motivate travelers to return
  • The rise of peer-to-peer dining and psycho-culinary profile research
  • Project Time Off: the initiative to get Americans to use their vacation days
  • The unlimited vacation policy at Break The Ice Media
  • The economic impact of Americans using their vacation time

Resources:

Nov 16, 2016

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why it’s so important to build up the buyer-seller relationship
  • What ALON does to help its clients stand out from the crowd
  • What Travel Trade is
  • Why staying focused is so crucial in the tourism industry
  • ALON’s collaboration programs
  • What’s coming up for ALON
  • Why you can’t be afraid of your team knowing more than you do
  • How to figure out if a partnership is good at the beginning of the relationship
  • Why you need to make sure everyone in a partnership is on board with the project vision
  • What Jennifer and ALON looks for in their clients and partners

Ways to contact Jennifer:

Nov 9, 2016

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why he started Clark CSM
  • How Clark CSM got its foothold in the travel and tourism industry
  • What Glenn did for a skiing location in a year with no snow
  • How telling the right story allowed Glenn to help a coffee shop stand out
  • Why you need to work on the business, not in the business
  • What Glenn is doing with the craft beverage industry
  • How to create a powerful, memorable brand through authentic marketing
  • Why it’s important to connect in person -- not just on social media
  • The creative branding blogs that Glenn has launched

Ways to contact Glenn:

Resources:

Nov 2, 2016

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why passion helps you connect with customers
  • How Buffalo has grown in the last 5 years
  • What challenges and opportunities come from Buffalo’s location near Niagara Falls and I-90
  • How Leah has combated those challenges
  • New York State in 9 Days: a project Visit Buffalo Niagara is collaborating on with Dutchess County Tourism in the Hudson Valley and Visit Syracuse
  • How working with competitors creates win-wins
  • What Leah looks for in partners
  • What makes partnerships not work

Ways to contact Leah:

Oct 26, 2016

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The challenges in selling a region that doesn’t have an iconic attribute
  • How Brew Central came to be
  • How Kelly and her partners measure the success of their campaigns
  • How 10 counties come together to participate in consumer trade shows
  • How Kelly’s engaged with the craft beverage industry
  • The Cheers Network that Kelly created
  • Working with competition to make something that works for the consumer
  • The power of a can-do attitude and not letting anything get in your way
  • Building relationships to tear down roadblocks
  • How Kelly connects her region to other regions to attract an international audience
  • What’s coming up in the future

Ways to contact Kelly:

Oct 18, 2016

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.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Daniel’s background and how he got into the hospitality and tourism industry
  • Destination Master Planning: enhancing the visitor experience
  • Maximizing technology to reach target audiences
  • What makes millennial travelers different from other generations
  • How to deliver heritage tourism in a way that isn’t a passive experience
  • How to work with regulatory agencies to overcome hurdles and find solutions
  • Why economic development leadership is now more engaged with tourism
  • How public-private partnerships are more effective than they used to be
  • How planning departments have become advocates for small businesses
  • Why density of activity leads to higher success for everyone
  • How additional funds can be raised for tourism through business improvement districts
  • Why an occupancy tax is not enough
  • Why you need to assume that everyone has some interest in an initiative

Ways to contact Daniel:

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