Destination On The Left

Nicole Mahoney

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. read less
BusinessBusiness

Episodes

Episode 373: Understanding American Traveler Sentiment, with Amir Eylon
Mar 27 2024
Episode 373: Understanding American Traveler Sentiment, with Amir Eylon
A thirty-two-year veteran of the Travel & Tourism industry, Amir Eylon leads the entire team at Longwoods International, responsible for the development and execution of all facets of the organization, from program development to customer acquisition and retention. He joined Longwoods in 2015 from his previous role as Vice President, Partner Engagement with Brand USA, the public-private partnership serving as the destination marketing organization dedicated to increasing international visitation to the US. He led the team responsible for helping to increase Brand USA’s partnership base and ensuring that participants received excellent service throughout Brand USA’s deployment of joint marketing programs. During his tenure, Brand USA grew its base to 475 partners, comprised of destination marketing organizations, convention and visitor bureaus, attractions, travel brands, airlines, and tour operators. Before joining Brand USA, Amir served as Director of the Ohio Office of Tourism. Under his leadership, the state’s marketing programs realized a tremendous return on investment and contributed to the growth of the state’s $40 billion tourism economy. The programs he developed leveraged industry and nontraditional partnerships that generated $14 in new state and local taxes for every $1 invested and included active participation by thousands of Ohio’s tourism-related businesses. He has also served as Executive Vice President of the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, Assistant Director of the Ohio Tourism Division, and Sales & Marketing Manager with the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau. He has been recognized with a number of Industry honors, including Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing award (2014) by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI); The Ohio Tourism Industry’s Highest Honor, The Paul Sherlock Award; and The State of Ohio Distinguished Service Medal. Amir’s thought leadership in tourism is often quoted by the media, and he has appeared in dozens of interviews with many national media outlets, including CNBC, MSNBC, Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, etc. Amir holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Dayton. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I’m excited to welcome back Amir Eylon for his third appearance on the show. Amir shared the latest data and trends from Longwoods International’s recent research. He also walks us through the latest wave of the American travel sentiment study and how to interpret and apply those insights, particularly regarding the reallocation of traveler spending and the use of AI in trip planning. What You Will Learn in This Episode: How travelers are adjusting their spending habits to prioritize travel despite financial concernsWhy there has been slow adoption of artificial intelligence in trip planning, and the potential impact of AI on the travel industryWhat the recent collaborative study by Destinations International shows about the impact of destination marketing on community well-beingSome of the insights that Longwoods International’s research provides into American travelers’ intentions in leisure travelSupport Longwoods International and Destinations International offers to those in the travel and tourism industry Understanding Travel Trends in the Face of Financial Concerns Amir highlights how travelers are finding ways to continue exploring the world by reallocating their spending, cutting back on retail purchases, and adjusting their accommodation levels. One intriguing trend he mentions is that people are combining trips into longer journeys, which is a huge shift in travel behavior. It’s clear that despite economic challenges, the desire to travel remains strong. AI’s Role in Enhancing, Not Replacing, the Travel Experience We also discuss the slow adoption of AI in trip planning, with only a fraction of travelers expressing interest or using AI tools for travel planning. This fascinating insight shines a light on changing travel preferences and shows that there are opportunities to further explore the potential for AI integration into destination marketing. Amir emphasizes that AI is not replacing but rather enhancing the travel experience for both travelers and industry professionals. Our discussion provides some golden nuggets into the AI implementation in the travel industry and its potential for future growth. Importance of Data and Research in Making Informed Marketing Decisions Amir stresses the invaluable role of data and research in understanding travel trends and making informed marketing decisions. I just love Amir’s analogy about not being able to drive without a roadmap because it highlights the necessity of looking at data from different angles to derive meaningful insights and guide you to your end destination. Resources: Website: https://longwoods-intl.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amir-eylon-2242037/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/longwoodsinternationalTwitter: @AEylon https://twitter.com/AEylon@Lngwds https://twitter.com/Lngwds 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/
Episode 372: The Impact of Coopetition in Creating Meaningful Travel Experiences, with Greg Takehara
Mar 20 2024
Episode 372: The Impact of Coopetition in Creating Meaningful Travel Experiences, with Greg Takehara
Greg Takehara has been the CEO of Tourism Cares since 2019. He previously served on its Board, acting as its Chairman before becoming CEO. Prior to Tourism Cares, Greg was the President of Trip Mate, Inc., a travel insurance administrator. He began his thirty-five year career in the travel and tourism industry at The Mark Travel Corporation, where he served as General Counsel. Greg serves on the Board of the US Travel Association and has served on the Boards of NTA and the IGLTA Foundation, as well as numerous industry committees. He is from Chicago and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Juris Doctor degree from Washington University in St. Louis. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Greg Takehara, CEO of Tourism Cares. We discuss the evolution of Tourism Cares’ meaningful travel map and how it helps draw attention to social enterprises and encourages travelers to explore new aspects of a destination. Greg also gives us a great framework for strategically aligning with these goals for our own organizations. What You Will Learn in this Episode: Why Tourism Cares focuses on volunteerism, collaboration, and the formation of the Future of Tourism CoalitionWhat the meaningful travel map is, and how it fosters responsible and meaningful travel experiencesHow Tourism Cares aligns with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the importance of destination stewardshipWhat creative solutions Greg offers to some of the challenges in the travel industry, emphasizing sustainability and diversityHow Greg empowers local communities and enriches travel experiences through collaborative efforts with destination marketing organizations Coopetition in the Tourism Industry Greg and I dig into the concept of coopetition, where perceived competitors come together to create a collaborative ecosystem that benefits the entire industry. He shares examples of coopetition in the tourism industry, emphasizing Tourism Cares’ focus on volunteerism and collaboration. By highlighting the importance of sharing knowledge and resources, we can connect various stakeholders in the travel industry and increase impact. The Role of the Meaningful Travel Map Greg discusses Tourism Cares’ meaningful travel map initiative, which serves as a platform highlighting social enterprises and local community-based ventures. This innovative approach aims to drive attention to lesser-known attractions, promote sustainable tourism, and empower local communities through collaboration with destination marketing organizations. The map has been successfully implemented in Jordan, leading to increased visitor stays and a broader distribution of tourism beyond popular attractions. The Role of the Meaningful Travel Map Greg and I touch upon the alignment of Tourism Cares with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They highlight the organization’s integration of the SDGs into their work and emphasize the importance of prioritizing sustainability, diversity, and inclusion in the travel industry. By emphasizing small, collective steps towards making a difference, they underscore the potential for significant impact through the collaborative efforts of the industry. Resources: Website: https://www.tourismcares.org/LinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-takehara/LinkedIn Business: https://www.linkedin.com/company/tourism-cares/ 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/
Episode 371: Leaning into the Uniqueness of a Destination, with JoAnna Haugen
Mar 13 2024
Episode 371: Leaning into the Uniqueness of a Destination, with JoAnna Haugen
JoAnna Haugen is an award-winning writer, consultant, speaker, and solutions advocate who has worked in communications-related positions in the travel and tourism industry her entire career. She is also the Founder of Rooted, a solutions platform at the intersection of sustainable tourism, social impact, and storytelling. Through Rooted, JoAnna helps tourism professionals decolonize travel experiences and support sustainability using strategic storytelling. In 2021, Newsweek named JoAnna a winner in the storytelling category of its Future of Tourism awards. She has also been nominated for three Bessie Awards: Collaboration of the Year in 2021 and Most Impactful Piece of Writing in 2021 and 2022, and was recognized as a finalist for Trade Publication Feature of the Year by Inspire Global Media Awards in 2023. Additionally, she is a two-time grant recipient from the Nevada Arts Council. An international election observer and intrepid traveler, JoAnna currently resides in Carthage, Tunisia. On this episode of Destination on the Left, JoAnna shares her passion for inspiring the creation of responsible travel experiences and responsibly sharing them with the world. We discuss how DMOs can lean into the uniqueness of the places they represent, and JoAnna provides four actionable steps that tourism marketers can take to promote unique and authentic stories. What You Will Learn in This Episode: Why Johana encourages people to reimagine what tourism looks like in the futureWhat Johana’s work at Rooted entails, including building a learning lab for travel service providers, as well as partnerships with MannKind Digital and Sustainable CitiesWhy we need to shift from quantitative to qualitative measures of success in the tourism industry, focusing on creating better experiences for travelers and localsWhy destinations should embrace and showcase the messy reality of their communitiesWhat Johana advises destinations to do to amplify voices and experiences that have not been previously highlighted and provide guidance on how to tell these storiesHow to reframe tourism as a partner to support community well-being initiatives Transitioning from Passive Visitors to Active Global Citizens JoAnna and I discuss the emotional shift that visitors make from being passive observers to becoming active global citizens. This transition is rooted in the promotion of thoughtful, intentional, and transparent travel marketing communications. By aligning their experiences with the ethos of responsible and impactful travel, travelers can engage more deeply with the destinations they visit. This change not only benefits the travelers by providing a more enriching experience but also contributes to the greater well-being of the local communities. Creating and Promoting Responsible Tourism Experiences It’s so important for DMOs to promote authentic stories and experiences in their marketing materials. JoAnna shares actionable steps to help destinations advocate for a holistic approach focused on community well-being. She underscores the value of collaboration in crafting tourism experiences that resonate with travelers. By embracing responsible practices and unique storytelling, destinations can make themselves stand out in the competitive tourism landscape and appeal to conscientious travelers seeking meaningful, ethical experiences. Standing Out Through Responsible Practices and Unique Storytelling JoAnna discusses how destinations can get ahead of the curve and stand out through responsible practices and unique storytelling. In her opinion, the answer lies in embracing the messy reality of communities – including their challenges and complexities. By highlighting the authentic history, culture, and nuances of a destination, the tourism industry can move away from generic, sanitized Insta-ready experiences and offer a more genuine reflection of the locale. Resources: Website: https://rootedstorytelling.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joannahaugen/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/RootedStorytelling/Twitter: https://twitter.com/joanna_haugenRooted learning platform: https://rootedstorytelling.com/courses/Collaboration Among Destinations is Essential for a Sustainable Future of Tourism 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/
Episode 370: Transforming Marketing with AI, with Paul Roetzer
Mar 6 2024
Episode 370: Transforming Marketing with AI, with Paul Roetzer
Paul Roetzer is the Founder and CEO of Marketing AI Institute; co-author of Marketing Artificial Intelligence: AI, Marketing and the Future of Business; host of The Marketing AI Show podcast; and creator of the Marketing AI Conference (MAICON). As a speaker, Roetzer is focused on making AI approachable and actionable for marketers and business leaders. A graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Roetzer has consulted for hundreds of organizations, from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Previously, he was Founder and CEO of PR 20/20, a digital marketing agency that he sold in 2021. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Paul Roetzer, the Founder and CEO of Marketing AI Institute. We dig into the fascinating world of artificial intelligence (AI) and its application in marketing and business. Paul shares insights on the evolution of AI, discusses the distinction between predictive and generative AI, and offers strategies for incorporating AI into marketing strategies. What You Will Learn in this Episode: Why destinations should start incorporating AI into their marketing strategiesWhat the difference is between predictive AI and generative AIGetting started with applying AI in marketing and businessWhy AI literacy is so important for marketersThe resources and education available to help destination marketers master AIHow Paul implements AI tools to automate and optimize his event planning tasks How to Use AI in Marketing Paul shares his invaluable insights into the evolution of AI and its application in marketing. We dig into how AI software helps marketers to automate tasks, learn from user actions, and make data-driven decisions. Paul also discusses how AI advancements open new doors for marketers to create compelling content, personalize customer experiences, and leverage AI-generated insights. We spotlight ChatGPT’s capabilities in generating text, images, audio, video, and code, and Paul emphasizes the huge strides made in generative AI, which have opened new doors for marketers to create compelling content and personalize customer experiences. AI Education and Resources for Marketers A real highlight of the discussion was Paul’s emphasis on AI education and the resources available to marketers. He details the importance of continuous learning in using AI for marketers to stay safe in an ever-changing environment. We also discuss the increasing accessibility of AI for marketers and the practical ways in which AI can be incorporated into marketing strategies. Paul provides helpful examples of using AI assistance in tasks such as content creation, data analysis, and lead scoring. Resources: Website: https://www.marketingaiinstitute.com/LinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulroetzer/LinkedIn Business: https://www.linkedin.com/company/mktgai/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marketingAIinstitute/Twitter: https://twitter.com/Mktgai 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/
Episode 369: The Power of Owned Media, with Adam Stoker
Feb 28 2024
Episode 369: The Power of Owned Media, with Adam Stoker
Adam Stoker is the Co-Founder, President, and CEO of Relic, a full-service destination marketing agency. For over 15 years, Adam has excelled in the leisure travel, stakeholder engagement, and destination branding spheres. Immersed in the world of tourism, Adam has spent time as a member of the Utah Tourism Industry Association Board. He is a frequent speaker and collaborator at industry events nationwide, speaking at the Utah Tourism Conference, Texas Travel Summit, several Destinations International events, and more. A passionate thought leader in the world of owned media, Adam speaks on the power of branded content and the success his clients have seen with this bold strategy. Adam hosts the Destination Marketing Podcast, a weekly podcast with over 115,000 total listens that shares insights and experiences from worldwide industry professionals. Published in 2020, Adams’s book, “Touchpoints: The Destination Marketers Guide to Brand Evaluation and Enhancement,” is available on Amazon. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Adam Stoker about his three-part formula for putting owned media to work for your DMO. He shares examples of destinations using an owned media strategy to deliver big results and how he’s helping them leverage ChatGPT to make content easily accessible and actionable. What You Will Learn in this Episode: Adam’s insights on using owned media to attract today’s travelersHow Adam uses ChatGPT strategically to make content more accessible by creating chatbots for destinationsAdam shares the 3 C’s for building an audience — content, community, and commerce and how they influence purchase decisionsHow technology allows for building a community beyond geographical limitations, expanding destination marketing opportunitiesAdam’s scalable vision for a network of destination marketing podcasts, creating opportunities for collaboration and growth Embracing Owned Media for Audience Engagement and Influence On this episode, we’re talking about the importance of owned media in attracting today’s travelers. Owned media is a company’s website, blog, and social media channels, and they allow brands to build connections with their audience and potential visitors. Adam shares his three-part formula for using owned media in organizations – content, community, and commerce – and provides a strategic framework for building and leveraging an audience. Adam discusses the strategic use of ChatGPT, to make content more accessible. He has found that by using it, destination marketers can provide accessible and engaging content experiences for their audience, such as responsive chatbots that boost their brand’s reach and keep them top of mind. Shifting from Geographic to Interest-Based Marketing We dig into the paradigm shift from geographical marketing to interest-based marketing. As developing technology allows for precise audience targeting based on specific interests, destination marketers can capitalize on this shift to engage niche audiences within communities. Adam shares examples like The Palm Beaches and Visit Myrtle Beach, which have successfully focused on specific audience interests, demonstrating how interest-based marketing can yield more impactful results than traditional geographical marketing approaches. Diving into Branded Entertainment and Long-Form Content Adam also introduces the concept of branded entertainment and emphasizes the need to prioritize entertainment over traditional advertising methods. Destination marketers can create content that resonates with their ideal audience by understanding current visitor preferences for longer and more engaging content. Building a community around this infotainment is a great way to engage your audience. Resources: Website: relicagency.comLinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamstoker/LinkedIn Business: https://www.linkedin.com/company/relicadvertising/Destination Marketing Podcast: https://destinationmarketingpodcast.com/
Episode 368: Uniting Communities through Memorable New York City Tours and Events, with Rowena Sahulee
Feb 21 2024
Episode 368: Uniting Communities through Memorable New York City Tours and Events, with Rowena Sahulee
Rowena Sahulee is a marketing executive with over 20 years in the dual realms of tourism and economic development. She has worked in marketing functions at organizations such as Circle Line Statue of Liberty Ferry and Harbor Cruises, the first concessionaire to the Statue of Liberty. The Greater Houston Partnership, the main business organization in the Houston, Texas, 10-country region. Choose NJ, the economic development marketing organization for the State of New Jersey. After Choosing NJ, she started with Empire State Development in the Division of Tourism, I LOVE NY, as the Director of Tourism Marketing, Licensing, and Public Relations for New York State. She worked with their PR agency for journalists to write about the States’ 11 vacation regions. Additionally, she oversaw the multi-million dollar retail licensing program for the I LOVE NY logo and tourism segment marketing programs. Her next role was with the Long Island City Partnership, the local neighborhood economic development entity in Long Island City, Queens, as their Director of Marketing & Communications. Today, she has started her own tour operation, Meaningful Experiences, utilizing her expertise to offer NYC experiences, day trips outside of NYC, and overnight getaways to the local market. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Buffalo and her Master of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Rowena about the importance of serving the locals in your destination, how important relationships are to success, and why protecting the integrity of your brand is so important. Rowena also shares details about her unique business model and how she found a niche not already covered in New York City. What You Will Learn in this Episode: How Rowena found a gap in the market for hassle-free trips and meaningful experiencesHer vision of creating collaborative initiatives that enhance the community’s connection to New York’s attractionsWhy Rowena is collaborating with a local talent agency to create a monthly Broadway programRowena’s vision for future collaborations that enrich the local communityThe importance of being open to unexpected opportunities, staying adaptable, and remaining open-minded Embracing Unexpected Opportunities Rowena and I discuss the importance of being open to opportunities, even unexpected ones. She shares how her career trajectory, spanning the public sector, private sector, and nonprofits, has equipped her with a deep understanding of destination marketing and community engagement. I love that Rowena’s passion for capturing meaningful moments and her dedication to offering unique experiences really shine through in our conversation. Meaningful Experiences in a Changing Market Rowena shares more about how she identified a gap in the market for meaningful experiences, especially for families and corporate groups. Drawing from her extensive experience in the travel and tourism sector her company, Meaningful Experiences, brings tours directly to New York communities, aiming to make experiencing the city easier and more enriching. Rowena’s focus on collaboration and shared goals exemplifies her approach to creating impactful local initiatives. Innovations in Tourism Marketing On the show, Rowena expresses her excitement about bringing tourism experiences to the local market and discusses her recent collaboration with a friend who owns a talent agency to create a monthly Broadway program. This collaboration illustrates her innovative approach to promoting Broadway and fostering a love for the arts within local communities. Rowena’s vision for future collaborations with other local groups demonstrates her commitment to pioneering amazing and unique experiences that really do enrich the local market. Resources: Website: www.meaningfulexp.comLinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rowenasahulee/ 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/
Episode 367: Uniting for Success in the Travel Industry, with Nicole Mahoney
Feb 14 2024
Episode 367: Uniting for Success in the Travel Industry, with Nicole Mahoney
This week we’re coming to you directly from the ABA Marketplace in Nashville, where I’m talking to eight amazing travel industry experts about why there’s a sense of energy and forward focus in 2024. They share more about the experiences visitors to their destinations are requesting and dig into the importance of authenticity and making genuine connections between visitors and locals. In this episode, you’ll hear from these travel and tourism industry leaders: Lorey Hall: Leisure Sales Manager, Meet Northern KentuckyKris Hoff: President & CEO, Happy Times Tours, and ExperiencesAdam Jacobson: Director of Sales & Marketing, Villa RomaSonya Nash: Executive Director at LaGrange County, IN CVB/Visit ShipshewanaJill Shorkey: Director of Group Tours, Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay RegionMarlene Smith: Sales Manager, Traverse City TourismGreg Takehara: CEO at Tourism CaresDarrin Thurman: Tourism Manager, Visit Springfield, IL Key Insights from ABA Marketplace 2024 The ABA Marketplace 2024 conference brings together travel and tourism professionals to share insights, discuss industry trends, and explore opportunities for growth and collaboration. It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect and exchange ideas, and it emphasizes the significance of partnership and sustainability in the industry. Lorey Hall: Leisure Sales Manager, Meet Northern Kentucky Lorey discusses the significance of building relationships in the travel and tourism industry and shares why attending industry events is such a great idea for new professionals. She also stresses the importance of authenticity, professionalism, and persistence in building successful partnerships. Kris Hoff: President & CEO, Happy Times Tours and Experiences Building strong connections with tour operators enhances visitor offerings. Kris shares why he prioritizes offering exclusive, hands-on, immersive experiences and discusses the trend towards experiential travel. He also digs into the value of the connections made at events like ABA Marketplace and why they’re crucial for building relationships, not just for business but also for future personal connections. Adam Jacobson: Director of Sales & Marketing, Villa Roma Adam reflects on the meaning of partnership and shares his reaction to winning the Spirit of Partnership Award at ABA. His word for the ABA Marketplace is ‘partnerships’; and he describes why he enjoys making connections and meeting other people in the industry. Sonya Nash: Executive Director at LaGrange County, IN CVB/Visit Shipshewana Sonya emphasizes the importance of building genuine relationships in the travel and tourism industry, which takes time and dedication. She encourages new professionals to be authentic, provide results, and maintain professionalism while being actively engaged in industry organizations and events. Jill Shorkey: Director of Group Tours, Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region There’s no doubt that the last few years have been tough for the travel and tourism industry, which is why Jill is so excited about the returning numbers of visitors and travelers post-pandemic. She discusses the interest in creating memorable group experiences and highlights the importance of making connections with industry colleagues, and partners to enhance offerings, entice travelers, and encourage repeat visits. Marlene Smith: Sales Manager, Traverse City Tourism Marlene shares her excitement for the tourism industry in 2024, mentioning increased business for tour operators and the opportunity to explore new destinations. There is a focus on developing more tour products, including group-friendly restaurants and exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences. Marlene encourages future tourism professionals to find their niche, hone their skills, and not be afraid to network and meet new people. Greg Takehara: CEO at Tourism Cares Greg discusses the impact of the travel industry on sustainability and social-economic issues. He discusses the interest in responsible travel and carbon offsets, emphasizing the importance of meaningful travel experiences. We also discuss the importance of collaboration and partnership in addressing industry challenges, particularly in the context of sustainability and addressing social, environmental, and economic issues. Darrin Thurman: Tourism Manager, Visit Springfield, IL Darrin discusses the limitless opportunities within the tourism industry, emphasizing the potential for diverse career pathways and growth. He expresses excitement about the steady improvement in business post-pandemic and the renewed energy from staff and visitors in his location. Darrin describes the ABA Marketplace as a place of “heart,” emphasizing the sense of family, camaraderie, and love within the industry, and encourages young professionals to explore the incredible potential the industry has to offer. The Importance of Building Lasting Relationships We explore the dynamic world of travel and tourism, and explore the impact of the industry on sustainability and social-economic issues. Our amazing guests highlight the importance of building lasting relationships, the excitement of the resurgence of post-pandemic travel, and the value of learning and making connections within the industry. 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/
Episode 366: Nurturing Relationships in the Tourism and Travel Sector with Nicole Mahoney
Feb 7 2024
Episode 366: Nurturing Relationships in the Tourism and Travel Sector with Nicole Mahoney
This week, the podcast is coming to you from the ABA Marketplace in Nashville, where nearly 3,000 tour and travel professionals convened to learn and network with their peers. From indigenous experiences in Alberta to the revitalization of destinations like Philadelphia and Branson, this episode is packed with valuable perspectives on collaboration, envisioning the future of travel, and the power of personal connections in the tourism industry. In this episode, you’ll hear from these extraordinary leaders: Vince Accardi: President at Ontario Motor Coach Association and Motor Coach CanadaRichard Arnold: President & Director of Fun Atlantic Tours CanadaMarcy Barnes: Market Development Specialist, Tourism New BrunswickAaron Brown: Marketing & Experience Manager at Visit CheyenneGreg Caren: President & Chief Executive Officer at Philadelphia Convention & Visitors BureauRyan Elliott: Manager – Business Development at Travel AlbertaBud Geissler: President, Group Collect and ABA Marketplace 2024 Chair Insights from ABA Marketplace in Nashville At the ABA Marketplace in Nashville, we dug deep into tourism partnerships, connections, and relationships. Our industry experts discuss the importance of building connections, the impact of border closures on the industry, and the resurgence of group travel post-COVID. Guests share their experiences of being part of the travel industry in 2023, make predictions for 2024, and highlight the vibrant energy of the travel industry right now. Vince Accardi: President at Ontario Motor Coach Association and Motor Coach Canada Vince and I discussed the increasing interest in indigenous experiences for group travel in Canada. He also touched on the upcoming recovery of the country’s tourism industry and why connection-building is the most vital part of attending shows like ABA Marketplace. Richard Arnold: President & Director of Fun Atlantic Tours Canada I loved hearing Richard’s thoughts on the challenges and rewards of promoting hands-on experiences in tour itineraries for a post-COVID new normal. He emphasizes the need to be dynamic and creative when planning tours and looks ahead to new opportunities and collaborations in 2024. Marcy Barnes: Market Development Specialist, Tourism New Brunswick Marcy highlights what she is most excited about for the tour and travel business in 2024, including new or expanded itineraries that come into the beautiful province of New Brunswick. She also discusses why networking is the most important thing at events like ABA Marketplace and how the event allows her to connect with buyers and build collaborations with other PMOs. Aaron Brown: Marketing & Experience Manager at Visit Cheyenne Aaron shares his excitement for the upcoming year in the tourism industry as someone who is new to the industry, particularly focusing on the trend of slow travel and why taking time to really connect with a destination is so important for visitors. His word for ABA Marketplace is ‘amazing,’ and it’s not hard to see why! Greg Caren: President & Chief Executive Officer at Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau Greg and I discuss the importance of authenticity in travel experiences, and he shares more about how his destination is meeting this need by highlighting their historical visitor attractions. He dives into the value of face-to-face interactions and the significance of industry events like ABA Marketplace in rebuilding the tourism economy. Ryan Elliott: Manager – Business Development at Travel Alberta Ryan discusses the importance of cultivating relationships and trust within the tour and travel industry, with a particular focus on the pivotal role of partnerships in driving shoulder season growth. He underscores the energy and passion crucial to the industry and highlights ABA Marketplace as a vital event for fostering connections and collaboration. Bud Geissler: President, Group Collect and ABA Marketplace 2024 Chair I was interested to chat with Bud about the travel industry’s adoption of technology, the shift towards cashless options for student travel, and the trend of longer and more exotic experiences for adult travelers. Bud also shares personal experiences that underline the transformative impact of travel experiences and how they shape people’s lives. The Power of Partnerships The enriching insights I got from travel industry leaders at ABA Marketplace underscores the transformative potential of partnerships and connections in shaping the tourism industry’s future. As the industry continues to rebound, the value of collaboration, innovation, and a shared passion for creating remarkable travel experiences emerge as guiding forces. Through a commitment to building meaningful relationships and fostering inclusive partnerships, the tourism industry is poised for a future defined by innovation, authenticity, and sustainable growth. 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/
Episode 365: Strategies for Finding and Nurturing Your Community, with Nicole Mahoney
Jan 31 2024
Episode 365: Strategies for Finding and Nurturing Your Community, with Nicole Mahoney
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’m talking about the significance of community in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry. Whether it’s the local community you serve, industry associations, or peer groups, being an integral part of a community is essential for making a lasting impact. What You Will Learn in this Episode: Best practices to help guide you in engaging with your community and making the most of events like TAP DanceWhy we should focus on serving others within the community, building authentic relationships rather than solely focusing on transactionsHow to build an authentic and connected community by sharing experiences, successes, and setbacksWhy to prioritize spending time with your community, whether through attending regular meetups, participating in online discussions, or engaging in community eventsHow your community can be a pillar of strength during difficult periods Building Meaningful Connections Whether it’s a local community, industry associations, or peer groups, connecting with like-minded individuals can have a tremendous impact on personal and professional success. This week, I’m sharing strategies for finding and engaging with your community, including attending industry events and trade shows, which allow you to create opportunities to build relationships through shared experiences and educational sessions. Best Practices for Community Engagement We dig deep into some of the best practices for engaging effectively within a community — things like showing up, listening, and being relentlessly helpful are key steps for building strong connections. It is so important to prioritize relationships over transactions and embrace transparency as a way to form genuine, lasting connections within a community. Peer Group Support We also discuss why peer group interaction plays such a significant role in fostering connections within the travel and tourism industry. Whether through local destination marketing organizations or chambers of commerce, these formal organizations provide avenues for professionals with similar roles to connect, support, and learn from one another. By actively participating in peer groups, individuals can gain valuable insights, access educational opportunities, and form long-lasting relationships that can elevate their personal and professional growth. Resources: Website: https://nicolemahoney.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolemahoney/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BreakTheIceMediaTwitter: https://twitter.com/Break_TheIceTap Into Travel: https://www.tapintotravel.com/Research: Collaboration in the Travel, Tourism, & Hospitality Industry: https://breaktheicemedia.com/collaboration/
Episode 364: Creative Branding and Positioning for DMOs, with Kylie Kullack
Jan 24 2024
Episode 364: Creative Branding and Positioning for DMOs, with Kylie Kullack
Kylie Kullack, the Head of Client Engagement at Struck, is a dynamic leader in the realm of brand transformation. Her extensive experience spans diverse sectors, including destination marketing, outdoor recreation, and biotechnology. Known for her strategic acumen and problem-solving prowess, Kylie consistently empowers her teams to achieve exceptional results. Her impressive portfolio features collaborations with esteemed clients such as the Utah Office of Tourism, Snowbird, Westminster College, and Altabank. Kylie’s expertise extends across traditional and digital marketing communications, where she has seamlessly orchestrated campaigns in collaboration with various agency partners, including creative, public relations, promotion, social media, and event activation teams. Kylie’s career boasts a diverse client roster, encompassing travel (Catalina Island, Avis Budget Group), QSR/Fast Casual (Jack in the Box), CPG (Uinta Beer, Creminelli Fine Meats), higher education, retail real estate (Sotheby’s International Realty, Coldwell Banker), and premium liquor (Johnny Walker, Bulleit, Balvenie). Outside her professional pursuits, she is an active member of Chief, a leading network of female executives revolutionizing the industry. Kylie’s true joy lies in her role as a parent, cherishing family moments and exploring the vibrant local culinary scene. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Kylie Kullack, Head of Client Engagement at Struck, about the evolving world of destination marketing. Kylie shares her expertise in helping brands like Snowbird Resort and Utah’s “Mighty Five” transform their positioning and stand out in increasingly crowded markets. We also explore the importance of collaboration and clear messaging to create memorable visitor experiences. What You Will Learn in this Episode: Kylie explains the challenges of destination marketing organizations, including limited budgets and complex stakeholder needs, and gives examples of how to overcome themHow Struck has worked with clients such as the Utah Office of Tourism and Palisades Tahoe to help them rebrand and repositionHow Struck leverages 1-star reviews from unsatisfied visitors who were not their target audience to showcase the resort to the ideal visitorWhy we should use a messaging funnel to tailor messages at different stages of the visitor journey, using various channels like social media and visitor centersThe importance of involving locals in planning and implementation to create a positive visitor experience Transformation Work and Brand Positioning Kylie sheds light on Struck’s focus on working with companies and brands ready to transform, and discusses the transformation work they’ve done for clients such as the Utah Office of Tourism, Snowbird, Sundance, Solitude, and Palisades Tahoe. We dig into the rebranding process, defining a destination’s core positioning and Kylie shares details of the campaign she worked on for the Snowbird Resort and how they used negative feedback to define and appeal to the destination’s ideal audience. Breaking Through the Crowded Marketplace On the show, we also explore how tourism brands can break through the crowded marketplace to stand out. Kylie discusses the strategy of dispersing visitation to national parks to avoid overwhelming them and to encourage visitors to explore local state parks and other attractions along the way. Destination marketing is evolving, and DMOs now need to expand beyond simply attracting visitors to also managing the destination message, involving locals, and addressing various challenges such as public affairs, infrastructure, sustainability, and resident sentiment. Branded Experiential Design and Collaboration Kylie and I also talk about the importance of branded spaces and experiential design in reflecting a destination’s values for both visitors and employees. Kylie talks about the importance of collaboration among agency partners and the marketing team, particularly when it comes to clarity of goals and key messages. Resources: Website: www.struck.comLinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylie-kullack-466a335/LinkedIn Business: https://www.linkedin.com/company/joinchief/
Episode 363: Opening the World Through Education, with Dana Lynn Mortenson and Kate Berseth
Jan 17 2024
Episode 363: Opening the World Through Education, with Dana Lynn Mortenson and Kate Berseth
Dana is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of World Savvy, a national education nonprofit working to educate and engage youth as responsible global citizens. World Savvy supports change agents in K-12 education to create more inclusive, adaptive schools that ensure all young people can develop the skills and dispositions needed to thrive in a more diverse, interconnected world. World Savvy programs provide support at three critical levels to deeply integrate global competence into teaching, learning, and culture: student engagement, teacher capacity, and school and district leadership support. Since 2002, she has led the organization through significant national expansion, reaching over 800,000 students and nearly 7,000 teachers across 45 US states and 32 countries from offices in Minneapolis, San Francisco, and New York. Dana is an Ashoka Fellow and was named one of The New Leaders Council’s 40 under 40 Progressive American Leaders and Women We Admire’s Top 50 Women Leaders of Minnesota for 2022. She also won the Tides Foundations Jane Bagley Lehman Award for excellence in public advocacy in 2014. She is a frequent speaker on global education and social entrepreneurship at high-profile convenings nationally and internationally, and World Savvy’s work has been featured on PBS, The New York Times, Edutopia, and a range of local and national media outlets covering education and innovation. Kate Berseth is the Executive Vice President North America for EF Education First. As EVP, Kate oversees product innovation and strategic partnership development for EF’s educational travel products. As EF’s futurist-in-residence, Kate is primarily responsible for understanding evolutionary and revolutionary trends in the education space and making recommendations for how EF should adjust its operation to respond to these trends while bringing continual improvement to its product offerings. She also identifies, establishes, and maintains EF’s strategic relationships with a variety of stakeholders in the education, travel, and corporate landscapes. Prior to joining EF in 2000, Kate worked in fundraising, and nonprofit and political consulting. She served in a variety of capacities for several national political campaigns before co-founding ROI Solutions, a database management services provider for progressive nonprofit organizations. During her time at EF, Kate has been instrumental in securing accreditations from the country’s most prestigious academic organizations, making EF the first fully accredited educational travel company in the United States. She has also managed the recent launches of two marquee projects for EF—the Global Student Leaders Summit series, which offers students and teachers experiential travel opportunities focused on 21st-century skills development, as well as weShare, an online learning tool that complements that student travel experience.” On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Kate and Dana to explore the transformative power of travel in shaping global perspectives and promoting global citizenship. Join us as Dana and Kate share their insights on K-12 educational travel experiences, and the impactful work being done in the travel and education industry. Find out more about how EF Tours is creating hands-on learning opportunities for students, and how World Savvy is embedding global competence in K-12 education. What You Will Learn in this Episode: How EF Tours’ approach to educational travel has helped young people to foster global competence and cultural understandingWhy the collaboration between World Savvy and EF Tours helps students to develop 21st-century skills and global perspectivesMoments when educational travel experiences have led to a tangible impact within local communities, at home and abroad?How travel experiences help build soft skillsHow schools can integrate educational travel experiences into their curriculum and institutional programs to create a lasting and impactful learning environment for students The Importance of Hands-On Learning Dana and Kate discuss the significant role that educational travel plays in expanding students’ perspectives. Through immersive experiences in different countries and cultures, students gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. By stepping outside of their local environments, students are exposed to new ways of thinking, problem-solving, and adapting to unfamiliar situations. This hands-on learning approach broadens their worldview and equips them with essential skills for navigating an increasingly interconnected global society. Building 21st-Century Skills Our conversation highlights the evolution of global competence in K-12 education, with a focus on equipping students with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in a globalized world. Dana discusses World Savvy’s dedication to promoting global competence through engaging students, training teachers, and working with school leadership to integrate global citizenship into the learning experience. This emphasis on 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, communication, and cultural proficiency, is essential for preparing students to become global citizens and empathetic leaders in their future endeavors. Creating Meaningful Partnerships Kate gives her insights into EF Tours’ mission to open the world through education by offering transformative travel experiences for students. EF’s collaboration with educational leaders like Dana emphasizes the importance of creating institutional programs in schools that go beyond traditional trips and become an integral part of the curriculum. Resources: Website: https://worldsavvy.org/LinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dana-mortenson-a691893/LinkedIn Business: https://www.linkedin.com/company/world-savvy/Invite Dana to speak at an upcoming event: info@worldsavvy.org
Episode 362: Strategies for Fostering Meaningful Connections in the Workplace, with Nicole Mahoney
Jan 10 2024
Episode 362: Strategies for Fostering Meaningful Connections in the Workplace, with Nicole Mahoney
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 share how my company fosters meaningful connections among our team members, clients, and industry partners. I outline the four key ingredients for creating a well-connected and productive workplace, including company culture, meetings with purpose, continuous mentoring, and celebrations. This episode is all about helping you strengthen connections within your organization. What You Will Learn in this Episode: Why any healthy company culture includes a defined purpose and a shared vision and valuesWhy Break the Ice Media values meetings with purpose, which have a regular cadence and specific goalsThe three most valuable meeting types Break the Ice Media uses: status meetings, one-on-one meetings, and leadership team meetings, and how we structure themHow we facilitate coaching and mentoring that leads to better connections — even with a remote teamWhy it’s so important to inspire celebration of each other and have fun together, and how to do this intentionally Building a Strong Company Culture On the show, I emphasize the crucial role of company culture in creating connections within a team, whether you’re together in person or virtually. I outline the key elements of a strong company culture, including a clearly defined purpose, vision for the future, and core values. It is essential to define why the business exists and ensure this purpose is shared and understood by everyone in the company. Establishing a clear vision for the future helps provide a roadmap for the team, guiding decision-making and offering clarity during times of uncertainty. I also share why clearly defined core values serve as a compass, ensuring alignment among team members and driving decision-making processes. Continuous Coaching and Mentoring We also dig into the importance of continuous coaching and mentoring in strengthening team connections. I discuss various ways to do this, such as weekly office hours, side coaching for the leadership team, growth charts, lunch and learns, and midweek check-ins. These initiatives that we’ve put in place serve to provide ongoing support, sharing of knowledge, and skill development opportunities. By investing in coaching and mentoring, Break the Ice Media, and other organizations empower teams to grow, thrive, and build stronger connections with each other. Resources: Website: https://breaktheicemedia.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolemahoney/Twitter: https://twitter.com/MahoneyNicoleStronger Together: Building World-Changing Business Collaborations
Episode 361: Insights from the National Tour Associations Travel Exchange (Part 2), with Nicole Mahoney
Dec 20 2023
Episode 361: Insights from the National Tour Associations Travel Exchange (Part 2), with Nicole Mahoney
This week, the show is coming from the NTA Travel Exchange in Shreveport, LA, where more than 800 tour & travel professionals convened to do business, learn, and network. There have been several years of uncertainty and change in the travel industry, but from speaking to these experienced leaders, it looks as though there are positive times ahead. In these conversations, we dig into the trends they’re seeing in the tour & travel business, and my guests share how important collaboration is to their destination’s success. In this episode, you’ll hear from these extraordinary leaders: Kristy Durso: Owner Incredible Memories TravelLisa Simon: CEO International Inbound Travel AssociationLori Sorrentino: Travel Writer and Owner TravelMad.comMichael Dillinger: President, National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations – USARon Metz: Business Development Manager, GoWay TravelShannon Larsen: Co-Owner & Operations Manager Ed-VenturesTed Bravos: Founder & CEO, International Tour Management Institute Insights from The National Tour Associations Travel Exchange The NTA Travel Exchange is all about positive energy, partnership, and collaboration and it’s an event that gives travel experts space to explore new opportunities for their locations. I love hearing these fascinating thoughts from extraordinary leaders in the travel niche. I know you’ll enjoy their insights on why events like the NTA Travel Exchange make them better tourism professionals. Kristy Durso of Incredible Memories Travel Kristy highlights the significance of addressing accessibility challenges in travel, focusing on service dog laws as a critical issue. She emphasizes that collaboration, partnership, and communication are key for successful, accessible travel, and in that same vein, her word to describe the NTA Travel Exchange is “essential”. Lisa Simon of International Inbound Travel Association Lisa also talks about the importance of partnerships and collaboration in the travel industry for growing tourism and improving travel products for returning European visitors. She discusses examples of incorporating outdoor products and including national and state parks and their indigenous residents in travel packages. Lastly, she describes the travel industry as fun and rewarding for future professionals, emphasizing the positive energy at events like NTA Travel Exchange. Lori Sorrentino, Travel Writer and Owner of TravelMad.com Lori discusses the rise of multi-generational and slow travel, the heightened awareness of travel impacts, and a love for small rural destinations. We talk about the importance of understanding the diverse reasons why people travel and the significance of connecting with various businesses and groups in the industry. Lori also shares insights on the industry’s ongoing evolution, underscoring the limitless potential for growth and experiences in the tourism profession. Michael Dillinger of National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations – USA In my chat with Michael, we dug into the challenges of being a tour guide and the lack of recognition for their role. He and I discussed the magic of the tourism industry and recent trends in the tour and travel business, such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, staffing shortages, and the use of technology, specifically AI, in the tourism industry. He stresses the importance of staying updated and connected with the industry and the role of events like the NTA Travel Exchange conference in achieving this. Ron Metz of GoWay Travel One of the things that comes up repeatedly at these events is the importance of trust and collaboration in the tourism industry, noting that successful trips involve multiple travel components and people. He describes the industry as life-changing, allowing him to meet and work with individuals worldwide and explore different countries. Ron shares personal experiences of presenting travel opportunities and finding fulfillment in helping others experience the world. He encourages potential future tourism professionals to pursue a career in the industry, highlighting the limitless potential for growth and experiences. Shannon Larsen of Ed-Ventures Shannon discusses current trends in the tour and travel industry, highlighting a shift towards experiential travel, smaller group bookings, and the demand for hands-on experiences, such as wine tastings and cultural interactions, as well as the desire for leisurely, immersive itineraries. She and I reflect on why attending in-person events is so valuable in terms of networking, problem-solving, and collaboration with industry peers. When I asked Shannon to describe the NTA Travel Exchange in a word, Shannon chose “friendship” to represent her strong relationships and collaborations in the industry. Ted Bravos of International Tour Management Institute Ted shares his journey into the travel industry and discusses the evolution of the tourism industry, mentioning the benefits of group travel in enhancing people’s overall experience of new locations. He mentions his love for the freedom and personal connections that come with the profession and highlights the importance of participating in industry events like the NTA Travel Exchange for networking and industry education. Positive Steps into the Future I love discussing the ever-evolving landscape of the tourism industry with the dedicated travel professionals that we have on the show. In the episode we’re exploring the significance of shared experiences in group travel, the growing popularity of slow travel, and the vital role of collaboration and partnerships in creating meaningful and accessible travel experiences. From insights into industry trends and the impact of technology to personal anecdotes of professional growth and fulfillment, our guests have shed light on the transformative nature of the tourism profession and I know you’ll enjoy hearing their wisdom.
Episode 360: Insights from the National Tour Associations Travel Exchange (Part 1), with Nicole Mahoney
Dec 13 2023
Episode 360: Insights from the National Tour Associations Travel Exchange (Part 1), with Nicole Mahoney
For this first episode in a special two-part series from the National Tour Associations Travel Exchange, I visited the National Tour Associations Travel Exchange in Shreveport, Louisiana and spoke with several experts in the travel and tourism industry. My guests shared their insights into the travel industry, looking at the trends, challenges, and whether events like NTA Travel Exchange make you a better tourism professional. The wisdom each of these leaders shared is certain to be invaluable for travel industry professionals, both experienced and brand new. In this episode, you’ll hear from these extraordinary leaders: Carylann Assante: CEO Student Youth Travel AssociationCatherine Prather: President National Tour AssociationDawnielle Tehama: Executive Director Willamette Valley Visitors AssociationJerry Varner: Owner Making Memories ToursJohn Sutherland: Director of Community Impact Tourism CaresJuan Pablo Suarez: Travel Trade Manager Ottawa TourismJulie Payne: Group Sales Consultant The Hershey CompanyKaren DiGiacomo: Tour & Travel Sales Manager Daytona Beach Area CVB Insights from The National Tour Associations Travel Exchange The National Tour Associations Travel Exchange is an incredible event that allows experts in group travel to exchange ideas about the trends in the potential opportunities for group tour operators into 2024. It was my honor to speak to some of the extraordinary guests at the travel exchange to get their thoughts on how they view partnerships and what they would say to the future generation of tour and travel professionals. Carylann Assante: CEO Student Youth Travel Association Carylann describes some trends that she’s seeing in the tour and travel business right now, including shorter lead times and a preference for less crowded itineraries allowing for more time for visitors to explore the different spaces, and giving them flexibility should things change. She also highlights restaurant and attraction preferences for smaller groups, and why they’re creating groups within groups when they have large numbers. Catherine Prather: President National Tour Association Catherine highlights the increasing demand for meaningful travel experiences that support local communities and the environment. She notes that smaller travel group trends due to COVID are starting to level off, with some groups returning to pre-COVID sizes. Catherine emphasizes the NTA’s focus on peer-to-peer networking and collaboration, offering educational sessions and an open buyer floor to help members become better professionals in the travel industry. Dawnielle Tehama: Executive Director Willamette Valley Visitors Association Dawnielle describes the NTA Travel Exchange as an opportunistic event, highlighting the remarkable opportunities it presents for learning and collaboration within the travel industry. She discusses the challenges arising from the slow travel trend and its impact on rural communities, emphasizing the importance of adjusting to this new paradigm. Dawnielle emphasizes the unifying force of tourism, promoting unity and shared experiences among travelers. Jerry Varner: Owner Making Memories Tours Jerry emphasizes the significance of face-to-face interaction and personal relationships in the tour and travel industry, advocating for an open mind and dreaming about potential opportunities. He describes the tourism industry as not “normal,” highlighting the kind and helpful nature of professionals in the field. Jerry also highlights the spirit of inclusivity and family at NTA, providing a setting for high-quality tour operators to interact and connect. John Sutherland: Director of Community Impact Tourism Cares John talks about the significance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the travel industry. We dig into the power of collaboration and partnerships in addressing sustainability and creating meaningful, immersive travel experiences. John also discusses the valuable connections, education, and conversations that events like the NTA Travel Exchange provide, fostering partnerships and collaborations that allow for growth. Juan Pablo Suarez: Travel Trade Manager Ottawa Tourism Juan Pablo and I discuss the importance of face-to-face interactions and personal relationships in the tour and travel industry, emphasizing the critical role of partnerships and collaboration for success. I love that he advises keeping an open mind and dreaming about potential opportunities in the industry, and describes the tourism industry as unconventional, highlighting the kind and helpful nature of professionals in the field. Julie Payne: Group Sales Consultant The Hershey Company Julie shares the importance of networking and creating relationships in the tourism industry during events and appointments with tour operators. She highlights the significance of partnerships and collaboration, likening them to friendships with both parties working toward the common objective of driving more visitors to a destination. Julie also discusses the impact of the global pause on the tourism industry and underscores the importance of trust and reputation in the field. Karen DiGiacomo: Tour & Travel Sales Manager Daytona Beach Area CVB Karen and I dig into the importance of collaboration and partnerships in the tourism industry and she describes the NTA Travel Exchange as an invaluable platform for industry professionals to work together toward a common goal. Karen discusses the evolution of the tour and travel industry, particularly how smaller group sizes are becoming more prevalent due to changing travel preferences and the impact of COVID-19. Moving Forward into 2024 In this episode, we uncover valuable insights from industry experts, from the evolving trends in group travel to the power of collaboration and partnerships. Our guests shed light on the industry’s resilience, adaptability, and share their passion for delivering unparalleled travel experiences. As the industry continues to navigate the impacts of global events, the spirit of inclusivity, innovation, and community has emerged as a driving force behind its success. We hear how the connections made at events like the NTA Travel Exchange serve as catalysts for growth, learning, and the creation of memorable experiences that unite travelers and destinations.
Episode 359: Personalizing Your Marketing with AI, with John Lyotier
Dec 6 2023
Episode 359: Personalizing Your Marketing with AI, with John Lyotier
John Lyotier is CEO and Co-Founder of TravelAI, an UpNext company. TravelAI is an applied AI company operating in the field of travel. Through a network of interconnected brands, the company connects high-intent travelers to the largest travel websites in the world and over 10 million properties. TravelAI’s proprietary big data marketing engine has facilitated more than $1.5B in gross booking value and 6M nights booked since 2016. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with John Lyotier all about what led him from a tech start-up into the travel space. We discuss why businesses need to prioritize personalizing their approaches and messaging to meet the needs of individual consumers. John shares why he believes in the power of collaboration in the travel industry and why by aligning objectives and revenue models, businesses can optimize efficiency and create shared success. What You Will Learn in this Episode: How John’s company has used their agility to stand out, be “remarkable with a purpose,” and reverse engineer your goalsTravelAI’s approach to personalization and targeting to reach individual consumers, with brands that appeal to, for example, pickleball players or people who want to rent a cabin in a specific areaHow technology can be infused with humanity to create a personalized experience for travelersWhy the power of your network grows with each organization you have in that networkHow digital marketing has shifted from being an art to becoming a science in 2023, and the implications of this shift Personalization in the Travel Industry AI technology has been the hot topic of 2023, and the travel industry is no exception. John Lyotier shares his extensive experience and expertise and gives valuable insights into the power of AI in providing personalized experiences and tailored marketing efforts to attract individual consumers. One of the key challenges the travel industry faces is the overwhelming amount of choices available to consumers. John emphasizes the need to move from a web of 5 to a web of 500, and eventually, a web of 5,000, to achieve true personalization and targeting. By segmenting and personalizing data, businesses can understand individual consumer personas and craft marketing messages that speak directly to their desires and preferences. Balancing Technology and Humanity to Create Lasting Memories Technology plays a vital role in personalization, and John reminds us that it shouldn’t overshadow the importance of human connection and emotions. He shares why he believes in infusing technology with humanity, as it is the meshing of both of these things that truly creates lasting memories and immersive experiences. Collaborative Strategies for Success We discuss why working together and forming partnerships is essential for achieving success in a crowded marketplace. Just as a bundle of sticks is stronger together, collective efforts and strong partnerships lead to greater outcomes. John highlights the importance of aligning with partners’ objectives to allow for shared success and mutual growth. Whether it’s vacation cottages, discount travel, or unique niche audiences, like pickleball players, the future of travel lies in customization, collaboration, and the creation of unforgettable memories. Resources: Website: https://www.travelai.com/LinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnlyotier/LinkedIn Business: https://www.linkedin.com/company/travelai-com/
Episode 358: Exploring the Power of Generative AI in Visual Storytelling, with Dr. Rebecca Swift
Nov 29 2023
Episode 358: Exploring the Power of Generative AI in Visual Storytelling, with Dr. Rebecca Swift
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 storytellingWhy travel is one industry that should move with caution when thinking about AI generative imageryHow Getty Images address legal and ethical concerns in their use of AI-generated imageryThe need for government regulation of AI to address copyright and trademark concernsHow 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. Resources: Website: https://www.gettyimages.com/LinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drrebeccaswift/LinkedIn Business: https://www.linkedin.com/company/getty-images/
Episode 357: How to Find Out if You’re Really Compatible with Your Travel Companions, with Bree Nidds
Nov 22 2023
Episode 357: How to Find Out if You’re Really Compatible with Your Travel Companions, with Bree Nidds
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 gameThe research Bree did before creating her tabletop game for social connectionThe importance of creating a business plan and collaborating with various agencies and resourcesThe vulnerability and openness required in entrepreneurship, particularly concerning receiving and implementing feedbackHow 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. Resources: Website: https://flightriskgame.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bree-nidds/
Episode 356: The 3Cs of Successful Collaboration, with Nicole Mahoney
Nov 15 2023
Episode 356: The 3Cs of Successful Collaboration, with Nicole Mahoney
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 partnershipsMy personal experience of collaboration in the construction of a baseball stadium in my very first job in the travel and tourism sectorWhy collaboration in our industry allows for creative problem-solving and operational efficiencyWhy cathedral thinking has a huge impact on how we approach collaborationThe three collaborator types and how each can work togetherHow 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. Resources: Website: https://breaktheicemedia.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolemahoney/Twitter: https://twitter.com/MahoneyNicoleStronger Together: Building World-Changing Business Collaborations
Episode 355: A Different Perspective on Digital Marketing, with Andy Buyting
Nov 8 2023
Episode 355: A Different Perspective on Digital Marketing, with Andy Buyting
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 marketingWhy it’s so important to genuinely understand the customer’s needs and their online search behavior to drive website conversionsHow understanding the mindset of your audience impacts salesWhy Andy’s company initially focused on customized magazines and how it impacted their marketing strategyHow 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. Resources: Website: https://tulipmediagroup.com/LinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andybuyting/LinkedIn Business: https://www.linkedin.com/company/tulip-media-group/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TulipMediaGroupTwitter: https://twitter.com/TulipMediaGroupDouble Sales/Zero Salespeople Resources: https://tulipmediagroup.com/double-sales-zero-salespeople/
Episode 354: Driving Change Through Tourism, with Bob Provost
Nov 1 2023
Episode 354: Driving Change Through Tourism, with Bob Provost
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 resurgenceDefining leadership versus management and the importance of both qualities for organizational successThe importance of long-term strategic thinking and vision as a DMOHow the New York State Tourism Industry Association utilizes tourism as a tool to achieve economic growth, job creation, and community revitalizationOutcomes 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. Resources: Website: https://www.nystia.org/LinkedIn Personal: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobprovost/LinkedIn Business: https://www.linkedin.com/company/nystia/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NYSTIAInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/nystiaBob’s Previous DOTL Episode: https://breaktheicemedia.com/podcasts/bob-provost/