As Co-Chair of Destinations International's Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, Visit Baltimore's Al Hutchinson has been at the forefront of the movement to accelerate change across the travel, DMO and hospitality sectors. In this episode, he shares the backstory of this Summer's manifesto from Black leaders in the DMO space, the newly released CEO Pledge from Destinations International and how Visit Baltimore is partnering with Guinness on an innovative apprentice program. Oh yeah...and a Bonus Round question that screams "Hit Me." It's a great way to kick off a bold New Year of DMOU.
All destinations aspire to be welcoming communities...but only a handful of communities have moved to ensure that the welcome truly extends to those on the Autism spectrum. Visit Mesa CEO Marc Garcia recently shepherded a community-wide effort that resulted in his city becoming the first Autism Certified destination in America. On this episode, Marc shares his story from genesis to certification...and his road to becoming a DMO pro.
Norfolk and Virginia Beach are less than a half hour apart but have been destination competitors for decades. In a DMOU episode recorded in September, VisitNorfolk's Kurt Krause shares the process that brought the two destinations together for a legendary campaign that very well may have serious post COVID legs. You'll also hear how VisitNorfolk is working to bring the story of the region's Underground Railroad to life.
One of the nation's most sought after marketing strategists joins DMOU to offer her take on what's ahead for Destination Marketing and the Experience Economy in a COVID-vandalized world. In this episode, Marsha Lindsay suggests ways for DMOs to underscore relevance and teach our communities how to fall in love with themselves once again. She also shares her views of how forces outside the DMO world will impact our lives going forward. It's a fascinating conversation for anyone trying to divine what's next.
DMOs that are active in the Sports Tourism and Events field have a new tool created to measure their competitiveness, enabling them to make more informed choices in future facility development and event acquisition. On this edition of DMOU, Jon Schmieder (Founder of the Huddle Up Group) shares the evolution of the Sports Tourism Index, how it works...and a sneak peak into the imminent launch of Scout, a new searchable database designed to match events and destinations.
The fall-out from the pandemic has impacted Destination Marketing Organizations particularly hard...and no one is more tied into how that is impacting DMO Culture than Tammy Blount-Canavan (former DMO CEO, past Chair of Destinations International and now EVP with Fired Up Culture). On this episode, Tammy shares her thoughts on how Zooming has impacted leadership and collaboration, how this moment in time is an opportunity to diversify professional staff and much more...including the story of when she once stood on the top of Seattle's Space Needle.
Jake Steinman joins DMOU to share the evolution story of the TravelAbility movement. From creating a Summit that brought the disability community together to help advise the tourism and hospitality industry to next steps during the pandemic, Jake shares his exploratory journey into the realization of our collective lack of empathy for travelers with disabilities. And yeah, there's a Bonus Round question you're not gonna want to miss.
As with most public gatherings, Destinations International's annual Advocacy Summit is going virtual this year. On this episode of DMOU, Jack Johnson, Andreas Weissenborn and Gabe Seder preview the upcoming Summit and discuss the need for diversified revenue streams, the updated 2020 lexicon and the opportunities to more effectively tell our story.
Stevens Point is the 28th largest city in Wisconsin, yet its DMO's utilization of sector-specific technology rivals first-tier destinations across the country. We sit down with Sara Brish of the Stevens Point Area CVB to discuss her philosophies on investing in technologies to compete more effectively and operate more efficiently...and not letting destination size or budget prevent her DMO from operating like a major market operation.
This Summer, Nashville's Butch Spyridon assumed the Chairmanship of Destinations International. On this edition of DMOU, he outlines his agenda for the organization in the coming year, focusing on Diversity and Advocacy. In our conversation, Butch goes deep on both topics and shares his experience in producing brand-defining documentaries that showcase the voices behind Music City.
Earlier this year, Simpleview asked sector veteran David Peacock to lead its Future Tourism Group, a think tank created to envision next steps and design the necessary tools to get there. In this episode, we sit down with David to discuss how the process began, pivoted and is positioning itself to guide DMOs into the future. Plus, we talk about broken bones and how an unintentional Visitors Center almost cost a destination a boatload of money. Join us.
Shelly Green (former CEO of Visit Durham) is one of the DMO world's thought leaders. Thus, when she wrote her CDME paper on Ethics, we were all over learning about her research into what we're doing right...and wrong. In this episode, Shelly shares the concept of "ethical blindness" and offers up examples of how the best intentions can trip us up. And, you'll learn more about her international musicality in the Bonus Round.
When Ray Hoyt was named CEO of Visit Tulsa, he knew Job #1 was increasing revenue for the DMO. Over the past decade, he has grown the organizations budget from $1.8 million to $7 million by increasing his City's investment of Room Tax, developing an aggressive Corporate investment program that is a model for the DMO sector and managing an exhaustive drive to establish a Business Improvement District. In this edition of DMOU, Ray shares his path forward in diversifying his DMO's revenue streams and positioning Visit Tulsa to continue to be able to drive business, even in an economic downturn.
17 years ago, Dave Nolan was serving as the CEO of what is now known as Destination Cleveland. To say he was riding high would be a considerable understatement. Awarded the key to the City, his Convention Sales Team was shattering production records (without a convention center), the national media had fallen in love with the city's renaissance...and then, it all came crashing down. They weren't "rookie mistakes," Dave says. "They were veteran mistakes." He recently reached out to DMOU to share the caution signs he says he missed in hopes that others never have to go through what he did. Join Bill and Dave in this, at times, painful and yet powerful conversation.
Adam Stoker is the author of the new book, "Touchpoints: A Destination Marketer's Guide to Brand Evaluation and Enhancement." He is also the host of the Destination Marketing Podcast. Thus, we so needed to have him on the show. In this episode, Bill and Adam riff on cutting-edge destination marketing campaigns from State to small town, and everything in between. We also discuss some of Adam's tenets from the book and how he believes that addressing those destination challenges you can control makes it easier to deal with those you can't.
DMOU catches up with Destinations International CEO Don Welsh and the Foundation's Jack Johnson to discuss how the industry's trade association is responding to the cascading challenges relative to the pandemic. In this episode, you'll hear their thoughts on the availability of an online portal for DMO pros to connect and share, the increased online content that the Organization is creating for everyone in the DMO space (and not just for members) and plans for next month's Annual Virtual Convention on July 14-15.
Richmond Region Tourism EVP Katherine O'Donnell joins DMOU to share how her Organization has made significant strides in changing her destination's narrative with two community-based initiatives to highlight and support LGBTQ and Black Tourism. Far from "checking a box," Katherine walks us through the extensive process RRT used to ensure deep community engagement. She also discusses how the RRT Board recently made the difficult decision to advocate for the removal of Confederate Statues, despite concerns by some that such a move would negatively impact the Visitors Economy. If Diversity and Inclusion are increasingly on your radar, this is an episode you need to hear.
On this episode of DMOU, Bill Geist hangs with Bentonville CVB CEO Kalene Griffith to drill down on how her DMO has become a model of community engagement. From weekly meetings with key community leaders to being engaged in virtually everything that screams Bentonville, Kalene has developed an agency that is a true Shared Community Value. You'll hear her strategy for engaging community leaders, building a rock star staff...and how Rugby prepared her for leading her organization.
The conversation regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the DMO space is nothing new. But, over the past few weeks, the drumbeat has become significantly more pronounced. On this edition of DMOU, we sit down with Visit Jackson CEO and industry veteran Rickey Thigpen to discuss race, the lack of diversity in the C-suite and on DMO Boards and his suggestions for how we can all be more intentional about righting this wrong. Plus, in the Bonus Round, you’ll hear what letters Rickey will be adding to his name in the weeks ahead. As Rickey says, “we can all do better,” and this episode is a start.
In our last Z-News Commentary, we opined that the traditional structure for community marketing and development was passe. Indeed, Gary Sherwin has been experimenting with a more logical structure for years in Newport Beach. In this edition of DMOU, Gary shares the genesis story of Newport Beach & Company, an organizational structure that may be the new model for communities across North America in the post-COVID world. He also discusses his view that DMO Sales may be more important now than ever before...and reveals a Bonus Round answer about his youth in Hollywood that you'll love.
Want a visual as Gary walks through the Org Structure? Click HERE. And, if you want to really want to head down the rabbit hole, click HERE for one of the most impressive Business Plans we've ever seen.