David Holder

Episode 15: How to Build a Destination’s Brand When You Don’t Have One Massive Asset, with David Holder

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In this episode, you will learn about what can be done to build a destination’s brand from David Holder, the former President of Visit Syracuse.

David Holder did not grow up in Central New York, as you’ll recognize from his slight southern drawl and love of cheese grits. He may not be a native but he is definitely one of the area’s greatest cheerleaders. A love of the outdoors, weather (yes, you heard correctly), great food, and overall quality of life drive David’s passion for the Syracuse area. When he was President, he translated that love into a killer brand position for Visit Syracuse, one of six accredited DMOs in the state of New York, leading the effort to Do Your Thing and amplify awareness of Syracuse for convention planners, sporting event organizers and leisure visitors from around the world. Prior to joining Visit Syracuse, David directed the tourism and economic development efforts for the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia, led the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau in Corning, New York and conducted community based strategic planning for the Texas Tourism Division. He earned both a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Science in Tourism Management from North Carolina State University.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

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

Ways to contact David:

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