Destinations International Annual Convention 02

Episode 347

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This week is the second in our two-part series coming to you from the Destinations International annual convention in Dallas, Texas. I have seven inspirational guests with me to share more about what has helped them be successful in the destination marketing industry and what advice they have for future tourism industry leaders. I also asked each of them to describe the convention in just one word — I think you’ll be fascinated by their answers.

The Family Feel of the Destinations International Annual Convention

My inspirational guests share their thoughts on why connecting with others in the travel and tourism industry is an invaluable part of their professional development. They also share what the word partnership means to them and dive into the importance of collaboration in destination marketing.

Joe Marinelli: President of Visit Savannah

Joe shares how he would describe the travel and tourism industry to a future tourism professional as a versatile option. He highlights some of the roles you can do, some of the routes your career can take you, and how you can do the job anywhere you want in whatever capacity in smaller towns, in New York City, or even internationally.

Julie Gilbert: President & CEO for Destination Door County

We discuss how Destinations International has helped Julie move forward in her career with a community-shared values focus. Julie explains how the annual convention allows travel and tourism professionals to come together to discuss what’s happening in the industry, what’s trending, best practices, and how to better communicate with your community, stakeholders, and municipalities.

Kalene Griffith: President & CEO of Visit Bentonville

Kalene dives into what the word partnership means to her — particularly how DMOs can act as leaders in our communities and work with others to become experts in a wide range of niches. Our partnerships are how we work together as a group, how we work with other travel and tourism professionals to extend our knowledge base, and the ways we serve our community.

Leonard Hoops: President & CEO of Visit Indy

We dig into why Leonard chose collaboration as his Destinations International event keyword. Travel and tourism professionals collaborate on ideas and strategies to address issues and make new relationships that go well beyond business-to-business relationships. He shares some of the lifelong friendships he’s made through the conference and how they have provided value to his professional and personal life.

Paige Shepherd: Director of Tourism for the Chickasaw Nation Division of Commerce

Paige shares more about her vast rural destination and elaborates on how events like Destinations International helps her be a better travel marketer by allowing her to build authentic connections with others in the industry. She also shares what partnership means in the context of the Chickasaw Nation and why the success of the communities is the success of the tribe and the destination.

Paul Nursey: CEO of Destination Greater Victoria

Partnership, to Paul, goes deeper than a transaction, and he shares why it needs to be founded on some principles of understanding the core objectives that you each have and discovering the potential synergy to build a solid foundation for a long-term partnership. He highlights the importance of taking the time upfront, doing your due diligence, being thoughtful, and not rushing into partnerships but ensuring that the collaboration is mutually beneficial.

Ron Price: President & CEO of Visit Phoenix

Ron and I dive into the importance of building a shared vision, as well as shared values, with the community and its leaders in your destinations. He shares how he communicates with stakeholders in his location to ensure the DMO can collaborate effectively to serve both visitors and locals. He discusses how travel and tourism professionals can fulfill their role as community architects and work collaboratively to find that common ground to move a project forward.

I just loved diving deep into the details of how events like the Destinations International Conference can move the needle on careers and professional development within the tourism industry. Our guests, all leaders in the tourism sector, shared invaluable insights on honing their skills, the essence of partnership, the significance of collaboration, and the family-like support of the Travel and Tourism community.

I have exciting news! I’m publishing my first book, Stronger Together: Building World-Changing Collaborations that Succeed. I’d love for you to join my very first book launch team to help me reach my goal of 50 Amazon reviews in the month of September. Go here to join:!

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