Taking Calculated Risks in Travel Marketing, with Jennifer Barbee

Episode 120

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Jennifer Barbee is a serial entrepreneur, professional speaker, and all-around boss. Jennifer and her partner Kristen created the agency Destination Innovate in 2017, in addition to running to successful digital branding agencies. She has been named Stevie® Female Entrepreneur of 2013, 2014 in Advertising/Media/PR (U.S. and Europe), ranked #17 in StartUp Nation’s® Top 100 Moms in Business and has represented some of the country’s leading brands, affectionately dubbing her the “dot com diva” and the “Harvard of Internet and Travel”. Jennifer wows crowds with her unique brand of humor and real talk. She is a tireless advocate of women entrepreneurs and regularly hosts success schools and offers private coaching. She continues to offer her digital strategy expertise to consulting and speaking at conferences around the world. Jennifer is also a mom of four and is an avid coffee and mimosa enthusiast. On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Jennifer about risk-taking in travel marketing. It may push our comfort levels, but it can pay big dividends compared with the status quo. We also talk through some great marketing strategies and tactics you can start using right away – from Facebook tools to DMOs.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The importance of calculated risk-taking
  • Finding the gaps in marketing that others are not exploring, and getting there first
  • Taking advantage of “now” opportunities, not non-existent “forever” strategies
  • How to bring gender equity to leadership roles in the travel industry
  • Ingredients for successful collaboration
  • How DMOs can share with smaller stakeholders marketing secrets they can use themselves

Embracing Risk

Expedia and Travelocity took big risks if you can remember back to those early days of the internet. Millennials, just sit back and let us tell you the story. At the dawn of the 21st Century, a flight and hotel aggregator was literally wishful thinking. Jennifer talks about how Expedia and Travelocity took that wishful thinking and some great coding expertise and created some dramatic disruption in the industry. Jennifer invites us to not be afraid of risk. There are so many calculated small risks you can take to make a bigger impact with your marketing budget, like putting the story in the hands of the visitor. She offers some great examples of personality-driven websites that target a specific segment you want to attract. When a visitor tells you what they like, you can target the right message that engages, building a relationship, and bumps up your visitation numbers.

Travel Marketing Hacks

We also discuss a fascinating social media hack destination marketers can use. It’s great for large organizations but even better for the smaller hotel or attraction. It’s a really great platform for the small BNB or the small hotel owner who only has 20 or 60 rooms to take control of the booking. You can do a double dip there, building awareness and doing good in marketing, but also utilizing a booking engine with no fees attached. We dig into the specifics of how you can make this happen on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Jennifer is an amazing resource who is always willing to ask tough questions, give unexpected answers, and generally get the conversation to the level where big ideas can turn into action that makes a real difference in your organization.


Nicole Mahoney: 00:20 Hellow listeners, this is Nicole Mahoney, Host of destination on the left. I am passionate about travel and tourism and love learning from the experiences of professionals in the industry. That is why I’m so excited to introduce today’s guest, Jennifer Barbie. Jen is a serial entrepreneur, professional speaker and all around boss Jen and her partner Kristen created the agency destination innovate in 2017 in addition to running to successful digital branding agencies, Jen was named Stevie female entrepreneur of 2013 and 2014 in advertising media Pr. She ranked number 17 and start up nations, top 100 moms and business and has represented some of the countries leading brands. As you’ll notice in her communications, Jen doesn’t sugarcoat her persona trained by the end, comparable motivator. Les Brown, Jen wows crowds with her unique brand of humor and real talk. She has a tireless advocate of women entrepreneurs and regularly hosts success schools and private coaching. She continues to offer her digital strategy expertise to consulting and speaking at conferences around the world.

Nicole Mahoney: 01:30 Jen has also a mom of four and is an avid coffee and Mimosa enthusiasts. Jen, I’m so excited for you to be joining us today. Thank you for spending some time with us. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much. I really appreciate the opportunity to tell. Sorry. Yeah, and I know we’re going to have so much to talk about and I’m super excited because you’re a mom of four as am I. And uh, in our preinterview chat, I think we also found out we’re both the mother of four daughters, so we have a lot of Thomas and I’m sure coffee or a Mimosa with the two of us would be a really interesting conversation. But, uh, we’ll, we’ll hold the coffee and the most of for this one though, right? No problem. So, um, I think you just have a really awesome background. I know this only gives a little snapshot of really who you are.

Nicole Mahoney: 02:20 So before we dive into the questions, could you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your journey? I think I find it gives so much more context to our conversation. Absolutely. Honestly, marketing and advertising is just in my DNA. My very first job in advertising and marketing and actually was for a tourism brand, um, was when I was 16 years old interning. So I’ve been doing it. I, what does I have a years because that’s good date. Quite a while. So my first tourism and hospitality experience, mmm. Was in the late eighties and then went off to do the college thing and just so happened the web was to

Jennifer Barbee: 03:00 pop off then and I had been kind of a computer programmer. MMM. Not really professionally, but just as a hobby. And so the same agency had interned for asked me if I could come and build tourism websites for them. So I started as a, as a programmer in the industry at that point and then really saw the potential of the web and web marketing and happy to say I was one of the first people to write a book about search marketing and tourism. And it’s taken me so many interesting and amazing places. Um, in travel and hospitality. I’ve worked with a little over 400 brands and I have a huge passion for the industry, both on the destination side and the hotel you’re in supplier side. And it’s still evolving so much that it keeps me excited and passionate every day about what new opportunities are there, what threats we see.

Nicole Mahoney: 03:57 That’s really cool. I love how your story starts right when you were 16 years old and that intern working on a tourism brand and then how it, how it evolved, um, you know, into your career and at this point you’ve worked with over 400 brands. I think that’s really awesome. And I’m curious about the book that you wrote on search marketing and tourism. Is that still in print or listeners able to find that somewhere?

Jennifer Barbee: 04:20 I’m not sure. It would still be in print. I haven’t seen it in a while. Um, we actually did it for an organization, uh, for Destination Marketing Association international then. So I’m not sure if they still have it. They would be so outdated at this point. Yeah.

Nicole Mahoney: 04:37 That’s fabulous. Well, that’s terrific. And I know I’m from all of that experience, right?

Jennifer Barbee: 04:42 I have so much to share with us as, you know, we focused on creativity and collaboration, uh, you know, on this show. And, uh, I know there’s no shortage of examples and things to talk about in those two areas. So let’s just dive right in and, um, with all of your experience, I’d love to hear your, your, uh, perspective on this. So the tourism and hospitality industry is just a really competitive place, not only our destinations, you know, competing for those, those coveted visitors, but also just in general, you know, time is tight and people, their time is precious. Right? So you’re, you’re even competing with, I’m going to stay at home this week and you know, have a staycation. So I’m wondering what kinds of things you have seen either destinations or businesses in the tourism industry, Jew, um, that really helped them stand out from the crowd?

Jennifer Barbee: 05:31 Well, you’re right, it’s incredibly a compressed industry and there’s so much competition. And of course I’m old enough to remember what happened when there was fear around the web and around digital marketing. And so things like Expedia and Travelocity kind of came to be. And so that has been a big area of compression. So from a creativity standpoint, what I’ve seen tourism brands I’ve worked with do incredibly well, is to be able to take some calculated risks to really step out first and it, and it helps a lot, especially if you’re a DMO, destination marketing organization or a hotel because they tend to kind of follow everybody else. So if they’re willing to take a calculated risk and really look at the consumer and the visitor as a relationship and potential entertainment avenue, then they, they really stayed out from the crowd.

Jennifer Barbee: 06:28 Yeah. Can you, I, I love how you kind of talked about this, this whole idea of compression and actually you just gave us quite a few things. I want to try to unravel a little bit. Um, but you’re right. So the industry, you know, there’s compression in the industry for sure. Um, and then you went on to talk a little bit about how there was this fear around the Internet. Can we expand a little bit on that in terms of how you see that, you know, Travelocity and Expedia, how they kind of saw that gap and stepped in and were able to solve a need. Can you just expand a little bit on how, how you saw that unravel? Absolutely. Um, you know, in the very beginning, of course it was new, it was unsecure. People were scared for their credit cards down. So at most, and I cannot tell you how hard it was to sell a website in 1999 or 2000 people just would not do it.

Jennifer Barbee: 07:21 They were too scared of it. And when you have the entrepreneurs who started a Travelocity and Expedia and the Ota, I, one of them actually came from hospitality and saw the opportunity to book their own hotels direct. And others are really just, um, entrepreneurial people who go, who are looking for the next big thing or the next opportunity. This was right before the.com bust. So they invested and they invested well in being able to eventually start bit winning the trust of the consumer. So now they had that trust travel brands would jump on trying to do the same thing, but they’re pockets weren’t nearly as deep because they hadn’t been booking online. So there was, uh, an opportunity for those Ota is to really just take over the marketplace and, and the battle kind of was lost for the destinations and hoteliers and, and attractions, but it is really heating up again right now.

Jennifer Barbee: 08:20 There’s new opportunity with that. Absolutely. So I think that’s just a really great example, um, to, you know, that kind of really illustrates what you were saying about being willing to take those calculated risks, right? Seeing those opportunities and those gaps and trying to be first in right before, before something like that happens right before the next Expedia or the next Travelocity swoops in and solves that problem for the consumer. Um, and yeah, so I think that’s a, that’s a really great point. And I’m wondering if, um, maybe on a, if there are maybe some brands or some clients that you’ve worked with, um,

Nicole Mahoney: 09:00 maybe on a smaller level that might not be the, you know, the massive travel last Caesar Expedia’s, but can you think of a specific example where you’ve seen someone

Jennifer Barbee: 09:09 even in the smallest way, uh, take a calculated risk like that and be able to, you know, foster that relationship will really, uh, what Ihg, which is a small, smaller hotel group is doing with Facebook and I see other small hotels jumping into this actually has helped chip opportunity with the direct booking. There’s dynamic travel ads that are basically dynamic booking engines where, where people don’t even have to leave Facebook or Instagram to book their hotel directly and they’re saving that 18% on the Ota fee. Okay. And then the reinvesting it back into marketing do I think is a very smart strategy now. Absolutely. I think that’s great. And so, so that’s a good point. So they’re looking at other, other ways to reach that consumer directly. Um, you know, through Facebook or through the places where those consumers are and are able to pull them in for those direct bookings versus having them out there on the booking.com or the Ota is looking for those, well, obviously because it’s so massive, you kind of have to still be on the Ota, but if you’re marketing yourself, you’re never going to win the battle of a Google search because it’s just the more the Ota is spending, the more you’re spending and they already have the trust.

Jennifer Barbee: 10:26 You’ve got to find new opportunities in new places where the consumers are and they’re engaged and try to hook them in that way. And I think social media is that opportunity right now.

Nicole Mahoney: 10:40 Yeah, I think that’s great. That’s awesome. So I want to kind of turn this a little bit and um, talk about creativity that appears in the face of adversity or a challenge. I love this next question because I just love the different responses that we get from our, from our guests. Um, but I’m wondering if there is a challenge that maybe you faced or one or one that stands out from your career, um, and kind of the challenge that appeared and then also the creative solution that came from that.

Jennifer Barbee: 11:13 Sure. I have the, I have two of my, some of my favorite examples. Um, I was working with Panama City Beach, which is a very big, uh, spring break destination. And their challenge was how do we get adults to want to come double income, no kids, uh, how do we get families here during spring break because it’s mostly just college kids, interesting challenge and they didn’t have a very large digital footprint. So we created, this is before big social media quizzes came out. We created a website which was basically 100% personality driven. You’ve got to take a fun quiz and then you kind of fell into these buckets and everything from the look of the site, the content of the site. And it was the very first personality driven website that was launched in tourism had incredible results. So I loved, I love that. It’s one of my favorite ones.

Nicole Mahoney: 12:05 So how, how did that, um, what did the execution look like on that? So you’ve got this personality driven website. Can you talk a little bit about the different components of how you push that out?

Jennifer Barbee: 12:16 Sure, sure. Um, obviously a lot of digital marketing and um, decision, right when Facebook was launching and they didn’t even have an ad model, so it was a lot of peer to peer organic that people, we found out that narrative psychology, the story of you, which is really what social media is all about, really kind of took off taking that risk to be first to do that. Cause people wanted to find out what’s their fun side and they wanted to know if nothing else. And, but that gave us the opportunity because they’re signing up, they’re giving us their email address where they take the quiz. So it gave us an opportunity for new people to nurture and build a relationship and eventually to kind of visitor, which had a, I believe, if I remember right, a 9% lift in visitation that year. But it was, it was, it was a calculated risk. Yes. Because nobody, there weren’t any prebuilt any kind of personalization and personalization hadn’t really popped off yet. So it gave us an opportunity to put the story back in the hand of the visitor.

Nicole Mahoney: 13:18 Yeah, I can see how that would have been very valuable, especially at that time. Um, so that it’s basically they’re there, they’re telling you exactly what their interests are. Right. What kind of, what did you describe? You said there they’re fun side telling you exactly what they’re fun side is. So you know exactly how to talk to them and how to appeal to them. I think that’s fair.

Jennifer Barbee: 13:36 And then we used a cold fusion technology, Dan and open source technology, um, continued to nurture that. This is before retargeting, before programmatic. So every time they interacted with, uh, a digital footprint of our brand, be it on the side or organic posts or search [inaudible] further the story further the narrative like, so glad to see you back. Last time you looked at this, this was, this was pre, you may also like this model too.

Nicole Mahoney: 14:06 Yeah, absolutely. So you said you had two examples. You have another one

Jennifer Barbee: 14:13 sample that I loved was working with Loudon County Virginia. They just didn’t have an awareness issue because they’re right outside DC. And um, the awareness issue was, you know, it’s an older, it’s a kind of the Gettysburg type of situation. So they needed a big boost in awareness. So when we were doing the first trip there to do the tour now to get to know the destination, mmm. I found that they’d do, the roads were widening all around and it was fun. But I was like, yeah, you can really get lost in Loudon. So fast forward a little bit where we’re developing digital and we developed the first web reality series for them get lost in Loudon, which won an Emmy.

Nicole Mahoney: 14:57 Oh, that’s awesome. And people love it. It blew up.

Jennifer Barbee: 15:01 Would there was that said there was no such thing as a web reality series. Again, just a risk, but there wasn’t a big downside if it didn’t blow up, but it did.

Nicole Mahoney: 15:09 Right. And how, how did you, um, so how did you execute on that one? How many episodes was it and how did that play out? A little bit. Can you expand on that?

Jennifer Barbee: 15:21 Sure. I sure there were 12 original episodes in each Hennessy. We hired actors from the video partner we worked with out of Austin, and none of them had been there before. The whole point was they’re discovering, just like a visitor would discover and a sponsored by mini Cooper as well. And they had these, did these tasks to do, one would be centered around being wine country. Another was the, my most favorite one. And the one that went the most viral was about the ghost from the civil war. And I may be a skeptic, but I swear it one minute 17 I saw that ghost.

Nicole Mahoney: 16:03 Well I’ll tell you what, that paranormal does really intrigued people. So I that doesn’t surprise me that, that got that that got shared out. Oh yeah,

Jennifer Barbee: 16:10 yeah. And again, before big youtubers, yeah. This is all done through youtube and this is right before it blew up with youtubers.

Nicole Mahoney: 16:19 Mm. Just

Jennifer Barbee: 16:21 see and have to put that content out there and you know, just put it out, tell a story, make it a fun story and make it entertaining. Really paid off.

Nicole Mahoney: 16:31 Yeah, absolutely. We actually had the uh, the current president and CEO of visit loud and on this show, I’m just a few episodes ago, she was on episode one oh seven. Um, Beth Erickson. I know she wouldn’t have been there at that time, but perhaps, I’m sure you know Beth. I know Beth. Yeah. And I dunno, was it Patrick Kaler that was there when you did the reality show or is that before his time? Um, it was both Cheryl Kill Day and Patrick. Oh, okay. Yeah. Cause Patrick is too far from where our office is located here in upstate New York now. So

Jennifer Barbee: 17:07 he, and the real credit I have to give to that are people like Sheryl and Patrick and Dan at PCB who were willing to take risks because it’s very, very hard to get destination marketing organization to really put their foot out there because there’s city oversight, there’s fear around it. So really the credit goes to them.

Nicole Mahoney: 17:27 Yeah, absolutely. Well, and I think that ties right back to the first thing that we started with, which is, you know, how do you stand out from the, from the crowd taking those calculated risks. Right. And these are two great examples of, you know, how you can, um, can actually do that in a, in a successful way. So I think that’s awesome. So, um, I want to give you opportunity to talk about, uh, uh, project or anything that you’re working on currently that you’re really excited about, that you think our listeners would, would like to hear and know about.

Jennifer Barbee: 17:59 Um, is there something that you’d like to share? Yes. And actually we just kind of touched on it when he, we were talking about the booking engines and it’s something that a lot of the listeners can really get in on, on them themselves without a lot of outside help. And that would be using those product catalogs in those dynamic booking ads out of Facebook, which also goes to Instagram and whatsapp that allows them to build loyalty and, and book closer and avoid that 18% commission.

Nicole Mahoney: 18:29 So are, um, when you talk about the product catalog, can you expand on that just a little bit?

Jennifer Barbee: 18:35 Sure. So Facebook has an, an ad platform area that it’s called product catalog. So it started with ECOMMERCE, people selling your products and they’d upload a catalog or they hook it into their ecommerce engine and it would give dynamic availability and they would be able to target with, uh, normal demographics and intense and competitors. Now that can be done hooking into your native booking engine like a sin exits. And for, for a DMO, a lot of them use, you know, a third party booking engine on their side. And those conversions are abysmal. They’re very, very low. But the conversion opportunity that we’re working with is the more like a 20% conversion versus a 0.01 conversion because people trust Facebook. Now if they’re, they’re big Facebook users. Are there big Instagram users? You’re now using a trusted platform to sell your travel products.

Nicole Mahoney: 19:39 Absolutely. So when you talk about, um, you know, deemos or, or it could be like the Ihg hotel group that you were talking about, um, does this, does this type of product catalog, is that most successful for those broader organizations? Or could it even work for the smallest BNB or, or the smallest innkeeper with 20 rooms,

Jennifer Barbee: 20:06 it’s actually even more perfect for the smaller innkeeper because when you’re doing it on the bigger scale, you also have to program in and take into consideration competitive rates. So it’s a little more work on that. It’s a really great platform for the, for the small BNB or the small hotel owner who only has 20 or 60 rooms and they can control their doing, they’re doing a double dip there. They’re building awareness and they’re doing good in marketing, but they’re also giving themselves an opportunity to use a booking engine with no fees at all.

Nicole Mahoney: 20:41 Right? So the, the, the real fee is just the marketing. It, you, you know, you’re paying for the marketing campaign. Exactly. Only paying for the marketing campaign. And the reason I liked the social media aspect from the marketing campaign standpoint, and I have a lot of, a lot of objections that I work with, with clients. I’ve used Facebook, it doesn’t work, you know, and I think that’s, I kind of find it a little bit funny it, I’ll push back and I’ll go, okay, well here’s the thing, it’s still cheap awareness right now. Back when I started Google search, I could buy a travel and tourism term for 5 cents a click. That could be 150 plus a click now. But it’s still, it’s still undervalued a advertising. And when you look at the usage stats, it’s kind of insane not to put your money there instead of all in a search or a programmatic.

Nicole Mahoney: 21:31 So, um, when, when you mentioned that the dms and the booking engines that they use, um, you’re talking about the booking engines that go from the DMO website that then can filter to say all of their members or all of their stakeholders that they have through their website. So it works the same way for the DMO. If the DMO decided they wanted to invest in the advertising, right for this, um, product catalog or this alternative booking engine, for lack of a, a way to describe it, um, it would work in a similar way. And what you’re suggesting is it has a much higher conversion rate. Yes. Has a much higher conversion rate. And, and again, this is not like a forever strategy because we know how much things change and travel, but it’s a right now opportunity because you’re big Ota is aren’t doing it.

Nicole Mahoney: 22:19 And they could do it all day long, but they’re not doing it yet. So if we talk again, we talk again in a month, that story might change. Right now they’re not doing it. So this is great opportunity. Absolutely. That’s awesome. Yeah. And, and you know what? I love about that example too is again, you’re looking, you know, you’re, you’re paying attention to where the gaps are, where the trends are, where you can get in and, and kind of disrupts that same back to that, take those calculated risks, right? And find those areas where, where you can get right in. So I think that’s, um, that’s a really great opportunity. Appreciate you sharing that with us. So I wanted to switch gears and talk a little bit about co-op petition or collaboration, but what I love to call coopertition that. Yeah. Because you know, in this industry there are so many places where perceived competitors really come together and create, you know, big wins cause in travel and tourism, visitors don’t travel necessarily by county lines or by state lines or, um, or you know, they’re not just going into a community for one experience. They’re going from multiple. So I’m wondering if you can describe a time when collaboration between perceived competitors, you know, has worked for you or for your clients. Sure, sure. Absolutely. Well, one thing to think about when you think about, um, coopertition

Jennifer Barbee: 23:47 is, uh, from an agency standpoint would be about roles. You know, if you’re not trying to cross each others lines, then that can work out really well. Um, and I, I would say you lead with what are you most passionate about because in, from a marketing standpoint, in travel and tourism, you’ve got to have the passion more than anything else. So even if you’re working with network with other digital agencies who, if you look down the service list as the same thing, that doesn’t mean we can’t work together to get the best out of it. Maybe, maybe for me it might be the risky ideas or the big, the big picture. But for them they might be really, really great at Seo or web development. So I think roles for me from an agency perspective has always worked out really well. We know what each other does from a tourism perspective, from a DMO or a hotel perspective.

Jennifer Barbee: 24:41 I think there’s strength in numbers and I think that most state agencies now have of course, co op programs for their, uh, for their destinations. I think that needs to be retooled, um, because it’s really just pass through advertising at this point. But working together, especially if you have like two destinations, like a Loudon county and a DC who were both trying to get that heads in beds going on down there. So if they worked together for a larger group or meetings or SMURF market area, that’s where it works out really well. Absolutely. Yeah. I mean you do, you need to create that, um, you know that mass, right? And then excitement, um, especially when you’re talking about those bigger markets or even international audiences, right? They’re not going to come just for the Loudon county experience or just for the DC experience necessarily. They’re going to want to, um, have, you know, a more holistic experience and understand what everything that there is to do in that region.

Jennifer Barbee: 25:41 Some years ago, the southern governors association came together and of course all of those states compete, um, over 14 states and created a, specifically if you’re international travel, created a music, uh, travel micro site that actually encourage. So they were encouraging each other to, so Louisiana was like, no, you can’t Miss Mississippi. And Tennessee was like, you can’t Miss Florida. They were just so like cheerleading for each other that, that worked out really well. Yeah, absolutely. I love that. That’s great. So, um, can I, I want to take us off this question flow just for a minute because when you and I had our preinterview chat, I know you’re working on some pretty cool things. I hope I’m not putting you too much on the spot.

Jennifer Barbee: 26:28 He about this organization that you are starting or have started a called slay. It’s, yeah. I’m wondering if you would be willing to share with our listeners what that organization is all about, how it came to be and, and just, uh, talk a little bit about, about that. Oh, I am delighted to, it’s one of my favorite topics. Good lay. It stands for society, for ladies, accelerating yourself in tourism. And there’s lots of women tourism organizations out there. But what we saw was a need or really putting the ownership back on the females to work in through the ranks, um, and break the glass ceiling on their own versus more of a let’s change the rules sort of thing. So are our goal is 50 by 30, which is closer around the corner. Then we think that 50% of the c level positions and hospitality to be, uh, filled by women. So quality there is one of our big things because there, there’s plenty of, if you look at there’s 65% of the workforce in hospitality are female, but only 6% sit at sea level.

Nicole Mahoney: 27:46 That’s amazing to me. Actually, I hadn’t studied that or thought about that before, but there are so many women in this industry. Um, I think you make a really good point and I think that that’s a really great goal. A 50 by 30, um, to have those c level, you know, those sea level seats for women. So what types of things are you doing to help inspire that?

Jennifer Barbee: 28:07 So now we’re, we’re building our community. We’re still pretty young building our community and providing tools for self acceleration. We’re doing these things called glamp camps where it’s a little bit of an education on, you know, bringing other people to the table, telling them how to advance themselves with career. Uh, we’re working on hopefully being able to launch an APP that you can do if this path, where do I end up? If I make this choice, where do I end up? So you can be more strategic in your own personal branding business plan, so to speak.

Nicole Mahoney: 28:40 I think that’s great. And where, where would listeners be able to join this community?

Jennifer Barbee: 28:45 Uh, it’s flight yet. Dot Info. And there’s all of our, it’s at the free joining really. It’s living on social media right now. So all of our links to our groups are on, are on that site and they can join along and follow and they put out great content every single day.

Nicole Mahoney: 29:03 That’s awesome. We’ll make sure that we have that link on our show notes page as well. I think that’s great. So thank you for, for sharing that with our listeners. I think it’s a really cool initiative and um, I’m sure you’re going to get some really good traction from that. That’s the goal.

Jennifer Barbee: 29:18 Yeah, absolutely. Um, so, uh, back to collaboration just for a minute, when you have collaborated with partners, I like to at least find out if there is a best practice or some piece of advice that you have for our listeners. If they’re thinking about exploring a partnership like the Southern Governors Association did or, or have an idea and they’re seeking out a partner, um, what kinds of things should they be thinking about to ensure that they have a successful partnership? Well, the first would be make sure that you’re on board with the problem you’re trying to solve. So it’s got to be goal driven first. And those goals, they do align. It’d be mutually beneficial. The mutual, the mutually beneficial portion of it, if not done, it’s where it’s all gonna break down. So the rest of the execution doesn’t matter if you can’t come up with just like you would in business, a partnership that has benefits on both sides.

Jennifer Barbee: 30:14 And then I would say you’ve got to release your ego a little bit and be willing to promote the other partner in a way that’s authentic. I think those are the two key points. And then work out roles like what’s one partner going to do versus the other partner. The equity needs to be proper in there and then decide how you’re going to roll out that uh, that collaboration. Um, I think those are all great. I, I love starting with alignment of your goals. Um, you know, finding that mutual benefit and um, I think this is the best advice is to release your ego. Sometimes it’s so hard, right? You have your own ideas, right? And you’re in to really just kind of let go of that and be open and the ego is going to creep up. You’re going to get a little jealous.

Jennifer Barbee: 31:05 It’s going to happen and you just have to go back to the why. Why are you doing this? You state, you stick with your why and then you can always, you know, keep yourself in check that way because that’s just human nature. Yeah, absolutely. That, that’s a, that’s awesome. So I knew this would be a really good conversation and I have one last question to ask you, which is not on your question flow doc. See I left and I guess I love it. I love it. Um, but, uh, we, we’ve been talking with a few less episodes of our guests about this whole idea of the evolution of the DML and how that role is changing. Um, and I, I was actually, uh, you know, kind of thinking about the DMO more as like a community manager. They’re not just about, um, you know, getting those heads in beds anymore.

Jennifer Barbee: 31:55 They’re also more, um, about being that kind of community anchor and helping to energize, um, you know, the local, the locals as well. And I’m wondering if you’re seeing that trend, uh, and the work that you do and how you’re seeing the, the evolution of the DMO play out. I love this question because I think the last frontier for the deemos to be significant because there’s a conversation about the aging model of the DMO is community and especially with the stakeholders, you know, stake holders typically don’t have the budgets, especially like a small BNB or a smaller restaurant or those that are very unique to marketing, uh, visitors to the destination, but do not have the same kind of budgets or access to knowledge for the DMO does. We’re actually doing, we’re actually doing a program, I just mentioned glamp camp, but we’re doing another program called amp camp so that stakeholders can come to a mini conference and learn all the secrets straight from an agency on how to do things themselves, cut down, um, any kind of leakage there. And then also the DMO is able to train them more on perspective and visitors and this routinely do some of those types of things in dms. I think that’s becoming

Jennifer Barbee: 33:14 more and more popular where they have their own rallies and they bring people in and they have education on that. But I think that is where they can help their community the best.

Nicole Mahoney: 33:24 Absolutely. And you said you called the amp camp camp. What does it stand for? Like hey, amplification amplification. Got It. Yeah. That’s awesome. Absolutely. Yeah, I think that’s a, that’s a really good point on the education side and I love how you pointed out and, and you’re so right on that, um, stakeholders, you know, they don’t have the same budgets obviously as as perhaps the deemos Jew, but I love they point out, access to knowledge, right? When it comes to thinking about how you’re going to market yourself and get those visitors in. Um, you know, that that’s a different way of thinking than just marketing to your local community or if you’re a museum marketing to your members or what have you. Um, and so that access to knowledge I think

Jennifer Barbee: 34:10 is so important. I think that’s a really great point. Yeah. I really think that is an area where it’s even more beneficial because again, if I go back to the budget part of it, the deemos typically have budget to go to all these thought leadership and knowledge conferences. And they’re taking that fully in and when you come back, just like if you remember the old, um, gang where you told somebody something and it went around whisper and it always ended up a little bit off. So access to that knowledge, bringing it straight back, completely packaged up, ready to go helps a lot. And that could even be done through webinars too because things are changing so fast.

Nicole Mahoney: 34:46 Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s fantastic. Um, well Jen, this has been a really awesome conversation. I’m really glad that you were able to spend some time with us today. Uh, do you have any final thoughts or comments that you’d like to share? Anything maybe that you wanted to say and I didn’t ask you about?

Jennifer Barbee: 35:05 Oh my gosh, I think I’ve said a lot. This has been so much fun to talk to you. We’ll have to do it again.

Nicole Mahoney: 35:11 Yeah, I would definitely say we will absolutely do it again. And, uh, I appreciate your time and your openness and sharing all of your knowledge. Um, I, I love that, um, that, that piece of information that I learned something new every time. But in particular, the product catalog through Facebook, I think is really an awesome tool and, and they appreciate you sharing that with us. So we’ll definitely look forward to checking in with you again sometime. That sounds, thank

Jennifer Barbee: 35:38 you so much.

Speaker 1: 35:39 It’s time to hit the road again. Visit destination on the left.com during your travels for more podcasts, show notes and fresh ideas.

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