Eugene OR is in the midst of a simply amazing year, hosting a non-stop schedule of premier, state, national and international track and field events including, for the first time in the United States, the World Athletic Games. But, when your destination is also home to the Cascades and the Coast, balancing the needs of this sensationally diverse destination requires skillful thought and care. CEO Kari Westlund joins DMOU to discuss how 2022 came about, how the rest of the destination benefits and how the region is contemplating its next facility developments.
When we saw the Rutherford Bound Tourism Master Plan, we knew we had to meet the people behind it. On this episode of DMOU, we talk with the Rutherford County NC TDA's Don Cason and Destination by Design's Eric Woolridge on a range of topics from the genesis story of the plan (a pre-requisite for Don taking the job) to the community buy-in and investment committed to how visualization was key to building wide-spread support for the Plan.
For years, DMOproz has espoused the concept that DMOs should be the marketing agency for every aspect of a community (not just the Visitor Economy). But, nobody has made that case as eloquently as Destination Cleveland's David Gilbert, whose DMO has recently been charged with encouraging top talent to view the city as THE place to relocate. In this fast-paced episode, David shares how having a DMO lead community marketing makes perfect sense...and what DMOs should encourage other organizations to do to elevate their regions.
Visit Corpus Christi CEO Brett Oetting's first day in his new destination coincided with the moment that the world stopped in 2020. And yet, he says his team was more productive in its first year than he could have imagined in two. In this episode of DMOU, Brett shares the backstory of the all new Corpus Christi Tourism Academy, the development of the Gulf Coaster Ambassador program and how he builds a staff of passionate professionals.
We discovered Nicole Hankton (Director of Sales and Marketing at the Walnut Creek CVB) when she was named one of this year's 100 Smartest Women in Smart Meetings magazine...and we were immediately attracted to her take on the DMO world. On this edition of DMOU, Nicole shares her views on the future of destination sales and how she has taken what she learned in hotels to develop a new way to pursue destination marketing...plus a great Bonus Round question.
In theory, merging a Destination Marketing Organization with a Convention Center sounds like a logical collaboration. In practice, however, that's not often the case...except in Akron OH, where Gregg Mervis manages three separate business units under the Akron-Summit CVB umbrella. On this edition of DMOU, we delve into why the "Akron model" works so well and, in the Bonus Round question, hear about a make-or-break moment as Gregg was in the hunt for the Big Chair.
As the Destination Marketing sector began to seriously address inequality and diversity after the Summer of 2020, SearchWide Global helped develop an organization that would go beyond "committee work" to actually address the challenge before us head on, 24/7. That organization is Tourism Diversity Matters and CEO Greg DeShields returns to DMOU to share the genesis story, their successes with DMOs to date and where the organization intends to be by 2023, providing the tools and expertise for DMOs to be their best. It's an inspiring (and fun) conversation. Join us.
The Oregon Coast Visitors Association has identified Climate Change as an existential focus of its work. And, unless you are a Climate Change denier, this is becoming an issue that many DMOs will need to face...but how to address such a monumental undertaking? Deputy Director Arica Sears shares how the OCVA is engaging in this endeavor through collaboration with other agencies and industries...and how other DMOs can take their first steps to be part of the solution.
It wasn't necessarily the pandemic that powered Visit Champaign County to rethink its role in the community...but it gave them time to work through powerful goals in their Strategic Plan. On this edition of DMOU, CEO Jayne DeLuce shares the thinking behind VCC's new Community Benefit Funding Model, the upcoming launch of a sustainable African-American Heritage Trail and the triumphant return of the State Boys Basketball Tournament this month.
Visit Sarasota County's Virginia Haley joins us to discuss a recent collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota in which the EDC came up with the tagline and VSC brought it to life. "Work Where You Want to Live" targets potential visitors to also consider the opportunities to change their zip code. Virginia tells the story of how the collaboration came together and how both agencies are successfully deploying content that neither might have considered before the campaign. Cool stuff.
Over the past two years, the face-to-face interaction with which we all believed was crucial to initiating relationships and closing business was replaced by Zoom meetings, e-mails communiques and telephonic calls. Has this forced era of digitization changed Sales forever? On this episode of DMOU, Tom Martin (author of The Invisible Sale) makes some bold predictions of what's next, how Propinquity is your best new friend and how to make our "new normal" work even better than before. Plus, a "hot and tasty" answer to the Bonus Round Question. Join us.
As we all attempt to emerge from the ravages of the pandemic, the efficacy of Visitor Information Centers continues to be a hot topic in our discussions with DMOs around the country. And, when we find one that redefines the genre, we're all too excited to share the story on DMOU. On this episode, Destination Augusta (GA)'s VP of Destination Development Jennifer Bowen shares the decade long process to reimagine their Visitor Center into a community asset (named Augusta & Co.) that combines retail, culinary and storytelling into a Downtown attraction in its own right. Plus, in the Bonus Round Question, she shares her brush with Hollywood Royalty.
Most Destination Marketing pros understand the power of video to drive brand identity and awareness. But, most don't work on as many levels at Visit Tri-Cities' CEO Michael Novakovich. On this roller-coaster episode of DMOU, Michael shares how his team has embraced video as a brand tool and provided pandemic safety messaging on behalf of area health officials...not to mention how his 40+ member Board rocks. Plus, you'll get an insider's look at his time with the Destinations International House Band and his experience as an alt-grunge drummer in the Bonus Round. Fun stuff...enjoy.
It's the first week of the New Year...and how are those resolutions going? During the Holiday Season, we checked in with West Virginia Tourism's Chelsea Ruby, who recently commissioned a study to identify how such annual promises to one's self impact our travel decisions. The results are fascinating and she shares how consumers are now viewing travel as a wellness and family bonding imperative...and how that will change how her State communicates its value proposition going forward.
As we round out another challenging year, we posed a question in the halls of the Destinations International Advocacy Summit to Destination Leaders from across the Americas: What will you do new in 2022? 17 DMO leaders rose to the challenge of answering that question and we share their responses for inspiration as you ponder the opportunities before you in the New Year ahead.
In the weeks and months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico put into play plans to develop an independent Destination Marketing Organization and ultimately hired Brad Dean to build the agency from scratch. We caught up with this year's State Travel Director of the Year to hear how he made the decision to leave a great gig in Myrtle Beach for Puerto Rico, his philosophy behind hiring top talent and how the crisis of COVID drove his staff to create marketing magic that earned Discover Puerto Rico five Emmy nominations. Oh...and one of the funniest answers to the Bonus Round question yet. Join us.
Stillwater's Cristy Morrison holds a distinction that few, if any, do. She has led the Destination Marketing effort for her city as a City Department, a Division of the Chamber and as an Independent 501(c)(6). And, she faced an RFP challenge, which has become increasingly prevalent in the DMO space. On this episode of DMOU, Cristy joins Bill to chronicle the pros and cons of each structure and share insights from her successful RFP experience.
Since his arrival in the Quad Cities, CEO Dave Herrell has been on a mission to awaken his community to its boundless potential as a premier travel destination. Attempting to counter an all too prevalent Midwest sense of understated pride, he and his Team have launched several initiatives to persuade Quad Citizens to stand up for their community in order to attract more visitors. On this episode, Dave riffs on how his DMO is utilizing TXT, an Ambassador Program and the Web to encourage residents to share their destination favorites with the world. And, yeah...he shares his favorite concert of all time in the Bonus Round. Join us.
Every few years, Destinations International commissions a Futures Study to attempt to identify next steps for DMO pros to consider as we move our sector forward. The latest was released this July at the Annual Convention in Baltimore. On this episode of DMOU, we sit down with Charles Harris (CEO of the Reno-Sparks CVB) and Gabe Sedar (Senior Director of Advocacy Policy and Program Development for Destinations International) to discuss and debate the Top Three Trends revealed in this year's Future Study. Join us.
Since taking the reins of the Greater Boston CVB in 2018, Martha Sheridan has been on a whirlwind ride, made even more so with the events of the past 18 months. Hear the former Destinations International Chair describe how her DMO worked with the City to make the destination more welcoming, secured a Tourism Improvement District during COVID and share the lessons learned in her first three years in a Top 25 city. Oh yeah...and how she found her way into the Destination Marketing world in the Bonus Round Question.