Storytelling with Data, with Andria Godfrey

Episode 177

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For ten years Andria has been leading DMO strategy and development by working with the travel industry to navigate the world of data and analytics. Currently, Andria serves as Senior Director of Tourism and Hospitality at ADARA, providing strategic direction and drives cross-team decision making to grow enterprise opportunities in the Americas. Along with her passion for advancing the travel and tourism industry, Andria brings to the team ten years of destination marketing and research experience, as well as expertise in leveraging data to enhance marketing efficiency and promote DMO advocacy. Prior to joining ADARA Andria spent seven years in research leadership positions for destination marketing organizations, including Research Director roles at Georgia Tourism and Texas Tourism. Andria is an active member of the travel and tourism community, serving on the board of directors for the Travel and Tourism Research Association. She is a proud Texas Aggies receiving both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Texas A&M University. In this episode of Destination on the Left, Andria Godfrey, the senior director of tourism and hospitality at ADARA, discusses the data evolution in travel and tourism. She explains the importance of using data to tell a story, talks about privacy and how it affects our access to data, and explains why we need to better understand human behavior and the ‘why’ of our visitors.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Andria’s journey into the travel and tourism industry
  • The importance of data storytelling
  • How privacy impacts the data we have access to
  • The importance of understanding human behavior and the ‘why’ of our visitors
  • Different ways that Andria has solved challenges using creativity and collaboration
  • How to personalize your communication with travelers
  • Examples of data that we have access to but may not be considering

Using Data in Travel and Tourism

Andria Godfrey is the Senior Director of Tourism and Hospitality at ADARA, a company that provides the travel and tourism industry with greater visibility into the needs and wants of in-market travel consumers. They use people-based insights to increase marketing efficiency, foster growth, and maximize the value of a DMO’s customer portfolio. In the latest episode of the Destination on the Left podcast, Andria discusses her role at ADARA, the importance of data storytelling, how privacy affects access to different types of data, and why we need to better understand human behavior and the ‘why’ of our visitors.

It’s All About the Big Picture

Artificial Intelligence is commonplace, and it has enabled communities of all sizes to access more data than they’ve ever had access to before. It’s exciting for DMOs, but it also presents new challenges as we figure out how to use it. Understanding data for a single destination is powerful, but understanding the same data in the context of the travel industry as a whole is unbelievably powerful. That is the ultimate goal as we mold our data into something meaningful.

Data That Tells a Story

When DMOs understand the story their data is telling relative to the travel and tourism industry as a whole, it enables them to create more effective messaging. For decades, DMOs have designed their communication strategy to tell their destination’s story, but using the right data can give that story even more meaning. It can help DMOs direct their communication efforts to the ideal target audience so they can create a real connection. They can articulate why the destination should matter to them and help them understand what they will get out of their experience.

Nicole Mahoney: 01:15 Hello listeners, this is Nicole Mahoney, host of destination on the left. Welcome to this week’s episode with another interesting guest, Andrea Godfrey, senior director of tourism and hospitality [inaudible]. Dara, our conversation was fascinating and we’ll give you a lot to think about. We covered a variety of topics related to data, including the importance of data storytelling, how privacy is going to change the data we have access to and what that means to the future and why understanding human behavior and the why of our visitor is so important. A little more about Andrea. For 10 years she has been leading DMO strategy and development by working with the travel industry to navigate the world of data and analytics. Okay. Currently, she serves as senior director of tourism at a Dara providing strategic direction and driving cross team decision making to grow enterprise opportunities in the Americas. Along with her passion for dancing the travel and tourism industry. Andrea brings to the team 10 years of destination marketing and research experience as well as expertise and leveraging data to enhance marketing efficiency and promote DMO advocacy. Prior to joining a Dara, Andrea spent seven years in research leadership positions for destination marketing organizations including research director roles, Georgia tourism and Texas tourism. Andrea is an active member of the travel and tourism community serving on the board of directors for the travel and tourism research association. She is a proud Texas Aggies. Receiving both, huh? Bachelor’s

Andria Godfrey: 03:00 and master’s degree from Texas a and M university.

Nicole Mahoney: 03:04 Now let’s get into the interview. Andrea, thank you so much for joining us on destination on the left today. I’m really looking forward to our conversation. Before we get started, can you share your story with our listeners? I find it adds like so much more context to, you know, to our conversation.

Andria Godfrey: 03:23 Oh, wonderful. Well, well, thank you for having me today. Nicole, I’ve been a, I’ve been looking forward to, to having this time with you since you reached out the other day. Um, you know, travel and tourism isn’t really necessarily a job for me. It’s a passion. Um, you know, I feel, I feel I’m really a poster child for, you know, us travel’s case studies where they talk about people who start in travel and tourism at a young age and they grow in the industry. And I’m, I’m hopefully, you know, early in my path and, and having a career in this space. But, um, you know, for me, working in travel and tourism started back when I was an undergrad and, um, I did my study abroad when I was at Texas a and M and go Aggies. And I spent a summer in Shanghai and I spent the summer traveling around and experiencing the culture.

Andria Godfrey: 04:16 And it was really unlike any other experience I’ve had. And even though I was just a junior and I was, you know, I was nearing my senior year, I decided that no matter what I did as an adult and for my future, that I wanted to never stop traveling. And at Texas a and, M, they have the recreation parks and tourism sciences department. And so I actually stayed for an extra semester and, um, God got a dual degree there, um, and decided to do my master’s work, um, in troubling tourism. And really I focused a lot in sustainable tourism and tourism marketing, um, in right outside of grad school, you know, once I’ve finished their day and M as well. So I did both my degrees there. I joined, um, Ted Coppell, Texas or Texas tourism, um, is there a formerly called and, and I decided to join them, not just because I was a Texas native, so that was a natural progression, but because I really believed in the power of travel to benefit people and benefit communities.

Andria Godfrey: 05:18 And, um, Texas tourism’s actually housed in the economic development office. And so, you know, after five years they’re in their research program. Um, I went over to Georgia tourism and I headed up the research office. And both the, the experiences that I had there, you know, I was, I was working in research and I had the ability to work with our advertising programs, which were bringing travelers and economic development to the state. But two fold. I was getting to really be out in the field a lot and work with our partners and with our smaller communities and help them with their tourism development. So making the case for travel, building out, you know, a tourism product and destination that, that would, you know, that would be sustainable for them. And you know, I just, I really, I really enjoyed working with multiple partners across the state, you know, and that even though it was at the state level, um, it was just a wonderful opportunity to see how the mechanics of the destination marketing world worked.

Andria Godfrey: 06:25 Um, and coming into about three years at a D or an M, excuse me, a Georgia, um, that’s when I started working in a Dara or with a Dora and then ended up working for a Dara. Um, Dora really has been this big travel data co-op and we’d always been working with them when I was at truffle Texas with Georgia for advertising and Adar started moving into the measurement space. And I really look to a lot of their data to make the case for funding. Um, you know, those of us in the destination world know every year, every bite by annum, you’ve got to go in, you’ve got to justify your budget. And, um, you know, I was having a conversation, you know, how I feel like any good tourism job happens, you know, at a conference talking with, you know, with other people. I started saying, look, you know, y’all don’t, y’all don’t really have anybody that’s translating this data, um, to destinations that it speaks destination.

Andria Godfrey: 07:18 And, you know, fast forward, you know, six months from there, I joined a Dora and now, you know, I’m a little over three years at a Dora and I’m, I head our customer success teams or, um, tourism, which is destination marketing organizations, um, hospitality and cruise. And, uh, I’m, I’m here today with the Dora. That’s awesome. Um, you know, what I, I really enjoyed about your story is I think we share, we share of course the passion for the industry, but also the passion for those small communities. And, uh, you know, here, uh, where, where I work and with my team, that’s really where our passion lies. Cause you can just see what a difference travel tourism makes to those communities. And then I love how you said, of course it benefits people as well. Right? And, and your personal travel experience as a really great example of that [inaudible] travel just to open it up the world, you know, to, to you and to new ideas and to creativity.

Andria Godfrey: 08:18 So, um, I think that’s really, really awesome. Um, another thing I’m so excited about is I am not a research person. Bye bye. Uh, through education, but I’m a total research geek. I love talking about measurement and research. So I’ve been looking forward to this interview for awhile as well because I think everything needs to be backed up. Bye. By research and by metrics. So I’m really looking forward to our conversation. Definitely. And I think that’s such a big, a big shift that I’m noticing is you, before I would say DMO research was very cottaged. You know, it was, I look back when I started my career, you were either in research or you were not. And now they’re really there. There isn’t anyone who works in a destination that isn’t geeking out and using data at some point. It’s, it’s now it’s something that, you know, everybody is, is dipping their toes in.

Andria Godfrey: 09:20 Um, and it’s really, you know, it’s, it’s the change of data. You know, when we talk about AI, you know, an AI really isn’t a new concept at all. Um, but what AI has done is it’s allowed all of us, even the smaller destinations, which I think is, it just humors me. Cause I’ll sit there a small communities and they’re like, we don’t have any data. And I’m like, you have more data than you think you do. Let’s, let’s dig in. But it’s, it’s allowed us all, you know, this data evolution has allowed us all to have more data than we’ve ever had access to before. And you know, really for destinations, it doesn’t matter if you’re not in the research shop, you can be in the, you know, the, the sales department, you can be in the PR and communications, you mean development. [inaudible] you know, I think we all are excited by the data, but we all kind of also have a little bit of the same challenge of now what do we do with it, you know, and so glad.

Andria Godfrey: 10:15 Glad you’re looking forward to a little bit of a geeky conversation today. Yeah, absolutely. Um, and, and before we dive in, I want to actually have you tell our listeners a little bit more about it, Dara, and you mentioned that they started as a travel data [inaudible] and now they are also in the measurement space. So can you just give a little overview of um, of Adara and then we’ll move on into the questions? Definitely. So I’m a Doris started, gosh, 10 I believe. Maybe we’re almost the 11 year anniversary point years ago as a travel data co-op. Um, for us, you know, we get all of our data through our first party data partnerships, which primarily are travel brands. So some of the big names like [inaudible], American, um, United Marriott, so on and so forth. And so what we started realizing is originally when we were looking at this with advertising is that data is powerful for our partners in and of itself.

Andria Godfrey: 11:18 You know, the data they own a same for a destination. The data you collect that’s, you know, inherent to your organization is powerful. But when you start to look at the market from a holistic perspective, that’s when things become very powerful. And so Adar really traditionally was a data co-op that was, you know, gosh, I think last I looked at our numbers, we’ve got about 930 million active profiles, um, over 300 companies around the globe that we get the data from. And we were leveraging that, um, for advertising primarily. And, you know, honing on specifically the destination space, we really started making the move back in 2016 to start looking at measurement. Um, and that’s where the company started really dipping its toes into the SAS space and the measurement space. Um, you know, right now the company is really focused on being really the largest ethically sourced identity-based and consumer data sharing platform out there.

Andria Godfrey: 12:18 Um, you know, and we’re moving to be a data company, um, and an identity company and, you know, while we’re still in the advertising space, and we’ll talk about it here in a little while, you know, because that’s a challenge we’re facing right now. We’re really moving into the identity in the data space and for destinations. That’s where we’re really focused on, on measurement and on market insights. Yeah, that’s great. And I know we’re going to get more into it, but I think that’s a good framework just for our listeners to understand, you know, the kind of the whole of your company, where it started and where it’s going. So let’s dive into the topic of creativity. And I think you’ve already given us just a little bit of a glimpse in terms of how the data can certainly help, uh, the industry. You know, in terms of talking about, um, leveraging, you know, the whole picture rather than just an individual data sets say for an individual destination.

Andria Godfrey: 13:16 But I’m wondering as competitive as this industry is, what have you seen, um, to really help destination stand out from the crowd? For sure. Um, really it’s storytelling. Um, that’s, you know, when I look at how, you know, I myself, you know, try to, you know, just in my own career be competitive, you know, in the marketplace and then what works. And I look at some of what we’ve done with destinations and I look at destinations, it’s all about storytelling. So, you know, like I was mentioning earlier, you know, the industry in general, let’s take it outside of travel. You know, when you look five years ago, it was really the challenge was that we had to get our hands on data and now we have more data than we know what to do with. Like for myself, I say we’re really in the most exciting time and as destination marketers, because we have this abundance of data, but all of this data is really meaningless unless we’re able to make it into a story and we’re able to make it actionable.

Andria Godfrey: 14:28 And for destinations, it’s about that storytelling. It’s not just about putting those, um, you know, the economic impact numbers in front of your city council. It’s about explaining to mr or miss Councilwoman or Councilman, why that $8 million in, you know, tourism tax revenue matters to them and to their constituency. And, and so that’s for destinations. We have to always be telling our story, um, and explaining to the market about why we matter as a destination, why they should care about travel, what is the benefit of travel to them. Um, and so, you know, really, I think at the end of the day we have to sit on a strong set of data to understand our market and be relevant in the marketplace, but his destinations, if we’re not telling that story either to our stakeholders for funding or for not driving personalization with our travelers, we’re not going to be able to be competitive.

Andria Godfrey: 15:33 Yeah. So, um, I, I’ve been, my team’s been talking about this a lot lately too, you know, kind of this idea of data storytelling. That’s really what you’re talking about, right? Sifting through the data, finding what’s meaningful and then being able to explain it, uh, you know, to your stakeholders or to whomever you’re using the data for. Is that, is that right? Correct. No, that’s, that’s spot on. It’s fact. I got, I got seriously shut down by the marketing team when I was making my business cards. I said, can we just put, can we put storyteller? I was like, I don’t, I don’t want anything else. I said jokingly, I said I want my titled to be storyteller. I don’t want my address to be seat 70 cause I’m always on a plane and all I really am doing is helping our destinations tell their story.

Andria Godfrey: 16:24 You’re, you’re spot on. It’s, it’s all about telling the story, the power of, of what we’re doing as destination marketers. Yeah, absolutely. And um, just a, a few minutes ago you mentioned personalization. Can you elaborate a little bit more on that because, um, I know that that’s, you know, it’s something that’s been, it’s not necessarily new, new, but I think it’s something that’s really cresting and becoming very important, um, to the work that destinations do. And I’m curious, um, you know, what your viewpoint is on it and how you are helping destinations with that. Definitely. Um, to, to your point, you’re spot on. You know, personalization isn’t anything new when it comes to destination marketing or, or marketing in general in, you know, in the, out in the marketplace. Um, you know, we have to be personalized in how we communicate with our travelers. And not only do we have to have personalized messages, but we need to be reaching out to our travelers in the spaces that they’re wanting to engage with us.

Andria Godfrey: 17:31 Yeah, I think it’s, it’s interesting, you know, there’s, there’s a little, there’s this opportunity gap that exists. And so, you know, it’s what I was reading actually yesterday morning, um, focus, right? Put out a new article and they did the study with Google and the future of travel. Um, and in the study they found that 57% of travelers say they feel brands should tailor information based on their personal preferences. And 36% actually said they would be more likely to do business with those brands if they had that personalized experience. And you know, while back I was, you know, a lot of, a lot of data providers were looking at how to stay active, you know, and how to be compliant in this changing environment of data privacy and really kind of this, this dual concept of where travelers aren’t really, or consumers aren’t really trusting of brands to get their data.

Andria Godfrey: 18:29 But you know, what it found was that, you know, when we were looking at some studies, you know, only 61% of brands feel that they are driving personalization. But I mean, when you look at the opportunity here, if 57% of SAP travelers say they feel there should be personalization and on top of that, 36% more would be likely to pay more or use that provider if they had personalized experiences. I mean, the math on that, like we as destinations, you know, we have no choice but to be personalized. Um, you know, and how we talk to our travelers, um, you know, at a Dora, really a lot of, you know, what my team’s focused on is, um, you know, as advertising measurement and, you know, we work with a lot of our destinations to track their digital advertising and look at, you know, what messages are resonating the most?

Andria Godfrey: 19:25 Are they seeing that the different segments that they’re trying to move that needle on? Are they, are they booking, you know, more than others? Um, you know, our, is the creative messaging resonating? Are the segments that they’re targeting, you know, really responding to their ads. Um, you know, and that’s a lot of what of what we do is not just providing the data, but again, getting back to that storytelling is telling a story with the data for our destinations and helping them create that narrative so that they can be personalized and reaching out to their market. Yeah, absolutely. I love how it comes right back to the storytelling. Right.

Andria Godfrey: 20:02 Okay, that’s great. So I want to, um, take this conversation just a little bit different direction. I, I love to ask my guests about challenges, uh, because I, I love to hear creative solutions and I really think that one, when we’re faced with a challenge, sometimes the best creativity or out of the box thinking if you will, really, really does come through. And so I’m wondering if there is a challenge that, um, that you are seeing now and if you could share perhaps a creative solution that you’re working on for that challenge. Definitely. No, definitely. Um, you know, I think what is the old adage? If you’re not, Oh, at least a little uncomfortable then not growing. Um, I think I’m one of the few marketers out there that I’m, I’m actually, I’m excited about a lot of the changes that are happening. Um, you know, when we talk about privacy or you know, the death of the cookie, you know, is the, the big thing right now.

Andria Godfrey: 21:03 You know, Google released their, you know, their announcement at the first of the year, you know, about, you know, the restrictions on third party cookies. Um, you know, as a travel industry and even out of Doris specifically, you know, as we look to the future, you know, it’s about how do we become future-proofed with the changes around privacy and this whole cookie list environment that we’re, we’re looking at, um, you know, for us specifically at a Daro been working on this for years. Um, you know, that’s why we started creating a lot of the measurement solutions that we had. You know, today I won’t get too into it cause it’s, you know, it’s a little bit into the weeds, but you know, we’ve been building out our ID graph and a data co-op that’s focused on identity, um, and secure first party data. And I think it’s interesting because we, I was with a couple of destinations last week and we’re having this conversation that, you know, the, the changes around privacy and the types, the ability privacy and how it impacts how we as destination marketers can both access the type of data we can access and how we can leverage that data is something really as dos.

Andria Godfrey: 22:25 I think we’re, we’re really starting to ask the right questions. Um, but what, you know, I think it’s an interesting opportunity for us as an industry is to start looking out beyond just our, our scope. Mmm. You know, for example, at a Dora, a lot of people don’t realize because we used to be a trouble data co-op that we don’t just work in the travel space. We work a lot with financial services, luxury brands, and my team, we spend a lot of time reaching out to those other groups within the company and and learning how they’re evolving, how they’re changing their products, you know, how they’re shifting their data. And you know, I think that we have ahead of us as destination marketers. I think we have an exciting time as much as this is a challenging time that we’re going to, we are going to face because the fact of the matter is the data that we have to work with in the destination space and then in general anyone with a Mar tech stack is going to change.

Andria Godfrey: 23:27 And it’s how do we evolve with that change and how do we become future-proof? That’s really something I’ve been hearing destinations talk about a lot. And I know what a Daraa we’ve been focused on since probably I would say dating back to 2017. But I, you know, I would say, and I hope this and tell me if I’m not answering your, I think that we’re as an industry in a really exciting time, as much as we’ve got a challenging time ahead of us. Absolutely. Oh, you’re, you’re definitely answering the question. And I’m, I am certain that, uh, privacy is on the minds of a lot of our listeners. Uh, and it’s interesting to hear, you know, what Adara is doing and what your perspective is on it. And I’m curious if you can give us maybe some examples. We know data is going to change.

Andria Godfrey: 24:16 Mmm. But could you even just, um, without going too far in the weeds, but just give us a, for example, that might get our listeners thinking, you know, about, well, what does that mean to me exactly. What, what do I know now or what can I look at now that I, I’ll have to figure out [inaudible] different way perhaps to know that information in the future. Definitely. Um, you know, as, as destinations we’ve, you know, and I’m sure he knows, I keep, I think I will never be able to get away from my being a destination marketer at a DMO roots. I always relate back to being that space. But, um, you know, I think for us the, Oh a good way to contextualize this. As, you know, we’ve started leaning so much on data that is third party or cookie-based and those are going away.

Andria Godfrey: 25:07 We’re still probably about two years out, but they’re going away. So the ability to access things like geolocation data or using cookie-based tracking, um, those are going to change. And, and that’s, you know, and I, I think there are a lot of perspectives out there where people are like, Oh, this is, it’s happening today and it’s this. And as destination marketers, we need to keep in mind, we’re about two years out from that. And, but it’s time to start thinking about it now. So if, if you’re using, um, you know, cookie-based tracking for example, I’ll take it to a Dora impact. You know, I’m sure a lot of the listeners are on impact. We have about 150 destinations here in the U S so, you know, Ali listening impact is, um, uh, based, um, advertising tracking platform and that platform is having to change. Um, it’s having to undergo an evolution where we get away from that, that cookie-based data and we moved towards a machine learning model.

Andria Godfrey: 26:10 So it’s things, it’s things like that that we as destinations need to think about is if you’re collecting data from an eblast about your, um, you know, your travelers who sign up for an eblast is do you have the right permissioning in there to be able to reach back out to them as a destination for any type of retargeting? You know, privacy is changing. You know, CCPA, you know, we all went through GDPR last year. You know, those, those policies are going to keep changing. And so it’s looking at a things like that is do you have, have the right cookie policy, um, you know, or the rights, the rights policies on your websites or in your newsletters. You know, those are things.

Nicole Mahoney: 26:51 Absolutely. Those are great examples. And, um, I, I appreciate you providing those and, and I do appreciate that. You know, you’re speaking from the deemos perspective as well as from a direct perspective. I think it’s really helpful. It brings a lot more, you know, insight and context actually too to the conversation. So I think that’s, that’s just great.

Andria Godfrey: 27:15 Thank you. Well, thank you. It’s, I mean, it’s one thing I think so interesting is, you know, I’ve been very focused my whole career in the destination space and it’s one thing I love about the destination space and I think it’s why we’ve got the longevity that we do as an industry and why we’re so embedded with our partners and a destination. We don’t work just with the travel providers. We work with the school boards, we work with transportation and it’s the collaborative nature is one thing I’ve noticed about destinations is destinations aren’t a, it’s us [inaudible] them. It’s, we’re all partners. And, and uh, that’s something I truly love about this industry and why I think it’s been able to be so successful.

Nicole Mahoney: 27:56 Absolutely. And that’s just a perfect segue into, you know, the second part of this conversation cause we’d like to talk about collaboration. So I’m in, uh, it’s something I like to call [inaudible]. Okay. Coopertition you know, this idea of perceived competitors that kind of come together to do something together then that’s bigger than something they can do on their own and they think that happens in so many different segments of the industry and they think that’s just a really cool aspect of the work that we do in this industry. And I’m wondering if there are some collaborations perhaps that standout in your mind, um, that you might be able to share with our listeners

Andria Godfrey: 28:38 for sure. And I’m going to have to steal your term. I love that cooperative.

Nicole Mahoney: 28:43 Yeah. It’s not mine and mine alone, but I use it a lot. Well I’m going to have to seal it a little bit. Mmm.

Andria Godfrey: 28:54 So I was excited when when you kind of brought up the topic, you know, mentioned to me, you talking about collaboration is I think at a Doris specifically, we’re really uniquely positioned with our data prop in that we don’t really have a competitor, especially when you talk about, you know, our measurement solutions. But what we do have as competitors in terms of our budget competitors, you know, as destinations or even as organizations we know. But if someone does have a money tree, I’d love to know how I could get one. None of us have money, Tracy, you know, our, our budget is always, always have something in competition with our budgets. But you know, kind of getting back to that storytelling and, and I think this all comes a little bit full circle also talking about being future-proofed is, you know, as is, we started talking with a lot of our partners and we were realizing that, you know, they were wanting to figure out how to get a Dara to work with their other measurement providers.

Andria Godfrey: 29:53 And they were wanting to try to tell a story, like their complete story. And you know, with us it’s, you know, a lot of what we do, yes is the product. Um, but a lot of what we do is, is education and, you know, educating our destinations on how they can leverage their resources. And so, you know, we were hearing this a lot that, you know, Hey, we work with other measurement providers for advertising effectiveness and how can we, how can we pull this data together? And so we actually started working with, um, working with Longwoods international and we brought them out to our headquarters in Silicon Valley. And then ultimately I went up to [inaudible], you know, Toronto in the dead of winter. But it was still, it’s a lovely city by the way. Anybody has not been. I highly recommend it. Um, and went up to Toronto with their offices and we really just sat down for several days straight and gotcha.

Andria Godfrey: 30:50 Where we understood each other as data providers. And we really, we decided at the onset, we said, you know, this isn’t about what we have that is competing, but what do we have that makes us unique and how can we bring it together with our, you know, together for our, our destinations. And so we ended up working with a couple of our destinations. We worked with visit Savannah, there such a leader in the marketplace for innovations. He Coleman at their office is one of the most intelligent people I’ve truly ever spoken to. And we also started working with Oklahoma and we brought together some long reporting with the Adar recording, Sabrina together, that transactional and the contextual data, um, and started putting a narrative together for those destinations. And I would say, you know, the success of it wasn’t necessarily the report that came out of it, but it was getting those destinations to think about our data and how they could use it together and think out of the box. And that’s really been a concept that, you know, we’ve been running with, you know, Longwood’s has as well. And it’s, it’s been really important cause especially when we talk about future proofing as deemos, you know, it’s thinking outside the box, you know, it’s, it’s understanding that you’re going to have multiple data points and how do you tell that story? And, and so I think that’s been one of the best, you know, Coopa petitions that I’ve seen since I’ve started here at the Dora.

Nicole Mahoney: 32:18 Yeah. I think that’s a fantastic example. And I love that you shared that example because whenever I think, um, you know, there are so many great, um, service providers, I suppose, or vendors. I don’t know. I hate to use the word vendor because I think all of us are much more, um, partner like with our [inaudible] clients. But for you to be able to come together. Mmm. You know, with, with the thought in mind, how can we together, um, be of greater benefit to our clients rather than the clients having to hire you each individually and try to tie, you know, tie that together on their own right and figure that out on their own. I think that’s just really awesome.

Andria Godfrey: 33:02 Uh, it was, uh, it was, it was really from a data geek side. It was a fascinating process. But, um, you know, I think it, it really benefited our partners, so it was a good experience. That’s really great.

Nicole Mahoney: 33:15 So, um, are there any best practices that you might be able to share with our listeners in terms of putting together a partnership like that, things that, you know, if, if you’re thinking about going into a partnership or into a coopertition as we like to call it, um, that, uh, you know, you might suggest would make it more successful?

Andria Godfrey: 33:38 I think. And, and this I would say even goes beyond that as sit down and as a destination and outline all the resources you have available to you. You know, for, for data and insights, um, you know, even for community partners, what resources do you have? And take a look at those and see which ones overlap and which ones have a non overlapping, um, you know, component of them. And that’s where you can start really trying to hone in on where are the best opportunities to have some synergy. And you know, and start with having those conversations and you know, literally start with a conversation, you know, don’t dig into the meta, you know, this is where my pain point is. You do X, you do Y, what can you do is start having those conversations because a lot of times your resources, it’s not necessarily the data or the, you know, the, you know, the product that that comes from it as much as it is the learning and the change in the way that you think, think about your destination or you think about your strategy.

Nicole Mahoney: 34:47 Yeah. I think, I think that’s really great. And you know, as you, um, said that, I mean, I think that would be such a wonderful exercise for anyone to do is to really outline what are the data resources that I have. Um, and, and that made me think of something you shared earlier when you said even the smallest communities who think they don’t have any data, have data. So can you just quickly, um, you know, give us maybe some examples of data that we might have access to that we’re not even, a lot of times you [inaudible] we might not even be thinking about.

Andria Godfrey: 35:19 Oh, of course. My, my first and my favorite one is, um, if you have any organization in your community, so be it a restaurant, a store, um, a coffee shop, a museum that, a guest sign in sheet. Start talking to your partners and see who has one. Because I’ve seen, I’ve seen a couple instances where people don’t realize that other other entities in their community are collecting guest sign in sheets. Pulling something as simple as pulling those together or standardizing them and then putting together a guest list of, you know, who came to your destination from just doing that, so I worked with a community, I’ll take a step back. I worked with a community in Texas and we were doing a community assessment and we started walking around and what we realized early into the day is we’d go into a restaurant and they had a guest sign in.

Andria Godfrey: 36:16 We went into one of the railway museums that they had there. There was a guest sign in and what we started realizing is that no one knew that there are next door neighbor in the shop. Next door was collecting guest information. Something as simple as pulling those together or offering, if you’re a destination yourself offering to give them a guest sign in sheet that is the same sheet and culminating all that information together at the end of the month at the end of the quarter. That right there can be a wealth of information. Not only do you have information on maybe the number of people who visited and signed in, but you also can get an idea of of those X number of people that you know signed to the guest book where they, you know, going more to the attractions, are they coming in eating? It’s, it’s a starting point, but it’s a point of information or a path for information that really requires very little effort and gives you kind of those, those guideposts that you can start to take a look at.

Andria Godfrey: 37:19 I love that example because it’s not even, I was expecting you to say, and I know it’s too obvious, but you know, Google analytics or something, that’s data that’s online and this is old school, right? And it might be so overlooked because it is old school. I think it, you know, it’s the, my, it’s, and this is my big thing right now. I like, I get on these, these topics that are like my big thing. Um, and my big thing right now is that, you know, it’s big data, AI, machine learning, all of this is Barry, very important. And it’s, like I said earlier, we’ve got more insight into are travelers in the marketplace than we’ve had before. But as destination marketers, I think we’re also at a point where we need to kind of like this partnership that we did take a step back and look at the other guideposts that we have to understand our marketplace. Because at the end of the day, what are we talking about? We’re talking about human behavior, we’re talking about people, and if we’re not understanding the why or if we’re not going to the foundations of understanding our travelers,

Nicole Mahoney: 38:36 all of this big data

Nicole Mahoney: 38:38 will be lost on us. And that, that’s my, that is my big, my big thing right now. I think that’s a great, I mean I think that’s such a great point. You, I can see how, you know, you can get lost in the data and you know, and telling the story of the data and then forgetting or getting so deep into it, the forgetting that it is human behavior, we are, it is boils right down to that human connection, that person taking an action of physical action. And I’m understanding why they take the action. And so we have these sophisticated ways of figuring that out. Yeah. What’s an easy way? Maybe just ask, right.

Nicole Mahoney: 39:20 They’re checking in at the hotel or they’re, you know, seated in the restaurant. Let’s just ask [inaudible] I think that’s great. I think that’s a wonderful point. Uh, so this has been a really great conversation and I knew it would be an, and this, this last question I really love to ask and I’m particularly interested in your perspective, especially since from the very start, it sounds like your tourism experience was tied so closely to economic development, um, when you were working with Texas tourism and then, uh, in Georgia and now at the Dara. But aye. I, okay. There’s this evolution I think of destination marketing and I know a lot of people are talking about it in terms of destination marketers being more than just responsible for bringing out side visitors and, and being more in charge of the story, the brand story that’s told, uh, you know, to the communities that they serve.

Nicole Mahoney: 40:24 And so I’m curious if you are seeing this, uh, you know, in your work and if you can share a little bit of, of your thoughts on that. Yeah, I’m, I’m actually so pleased that I’m seeing more of this. Um, when we talk to our partners, it’s, you know, therefore a while it seemed like destination marketing in, in a lot of destinations, sad is this, this outside, you know, where you looked at, you know, destinations were really having to go up against the value of travel promotion and you know, fight for their budget. And when you go beyond just then getting the funding for marketing it, it really has a deeper root in destination development, um, and community development. And if that’s not ingrained throughout those processes in the community, then number one, the marketing can’t be effective. But number two, you can’t have that community buy-in. And it’s also important that the development of the community is for

Andria Godfrey: 41:34 the residents itself. When we look, you know, when you look a lot at like an [inaudible] in a destination of oftentimes, you know, take out like the art Institute in Chicago or um, you know, Austin, well the ton of residents go to Austin city limits, but whenever you take out those big attractions, but when you start looking at the pulse of a destination that travelers are engaging with, it’s often the same things that the community itself is, it’s the restaurants, it’s the parks, it’s the transportation. And it’s just so important that the destination marketers are becoming really ingrained in that. And I’m, I’m seeing it with our partners is, you know, when we before would go in and you were only talking to the marketing team, and now more often than not, we’re meeting with multiple other people just outside the travel and tourism office. Um, and destinations are really trying to get, you know, that development and that story and that collaboration, you know, ingrained throughout their community.

Andria Godfrey: 42:38 And I just, I think that’s where getting back to the storytelling becomes so important is we have to be able to develop the destinations and manage the destinations that we’re promoting and make it beneficial for the community overall. And I’m seeing the shift and it’s really good to see. Yeah, I, I completely agree. It’s very good to see and, and exciting to see the, to see that [inaudible] and I think you make some really, really great, Mmm Mmm. You know that it is destination development. It’s also community development and I love that you kind of, we’re able to pull that thread right back through, which it does come right back down to the storytelling and, and, uh, how you weave all of that together. So, um, I think that’s really awesome. And Andrea, this has been such a wonderful conversation. Um, are there any final words or thoughts that you’d like to share with our listeners before we say goodbye?

Andria Godfrey: 43:38 No, I think this has been such a treat, you know, thank you, Nicole, for having me. Um, I really enjoyed talking to you today and I hope our listeners, you know, get, get a lot out of this and you know, maybe have more questions for us. Absolutely. Okay, great. Yeah, absolutely. You gave us a lot to think about and I’m sure there are, there will be a lot of questions and um, why don’t you actually share where our listeners can find you. Should they have those questions? Yeah. So I can be reached at my email. Um, it’s Andrea a N D R I a. Dot Godfrey God F R E Y at [inaudible] dot com or you can also find me on LinkedIn. Um, and I’m also on Twitter as well, so I’d love to, some will. Thank you so much and we’ll look forward to connecting with you again. Thank you. Thank you for listening all the way to the end of this week’s episode. This gives me a chance to tell you about our weekly. I see. Why am I in case you missed it? E newsletter each week. Along with our podcast episode, we share an article written by one of the break the ice media team members about the travel and tourism industry. Our articles mirror the mix of industry segments and topics similar to this podcast. Join our newsletter, [inaudible] D O T L two 66 eight six six or visit break the ice forward slash

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