Uncovering Albany’s Unique Attributes, with Jill Delaney

Episode 316

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Jill Delaney is the President and CEO of Discover Albany, previously known as the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Discover Albany represents hundreds of local businesses and attractions and assists each year in hundreds of regional meetings, events, and destination promotion. Discover Albany also operates the Discover Albany Visitors Center and the Albany International Airport Information Center and serves as Albany County’s Official Film Commission and Sports Commission.

Jill previously served as the President and CEO of the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA), a statewide organization serving Tourism Promotion Agencies like Discover Albany as well as attractions and service providers.

Jill currently serves as the Legislative Chair of the NYS Destination Marketing Organization. She is also a board member of the Empire State Society of Association Executives (ESSAE), Co-Chair of the Destinations International Small Destinations Council, and VP of the Capital-Saratoga Tourism Region. She is a member of the Hudson Valley Tourism Board, the Albany Institute of History and Art Community Engagement Committee, the Capital Region Sports Foundation, and the Albany Airport Master Planning Committee, and serves her alma mater as President of the University at Albany Alumni Association as well as the University Council.

Jill and her husband, Michael, live in Clifton Park with their three children.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Jill Delaney, President, and CEO of Discover Albany, about their Discover My Albany campaign and how it has led to the DMO standing out in a way that goes beyond visitor numbers and into economic development and destination management. We also discuss their renewed focus on community partnership and how Discover Albany serves as the official Film and Sports Commission for Albany County.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • How Jill is promoting Albany’s unique attributes as a way to attract more visitors
  • How they launched the ongoing resident-led series called “Discover My Albany” to promote the city
  • Albany’s role as a key economic driver for the county
  • Why they made the decision during the pandemic to keep all staff and figure out the finances as they went
  • Why collaboration with neighboring counties of Long Island and Schenectady is vital to keeping up to date
  • Details of the Destination East trade show and how they impressed event planners from all over the country with the collaboration and teamwork within New York State

Promoting Albany’s Unique Attributes

Albany has decided to lean into its unique attributes to attract visitors. The city boasts a solid community, a low cost of living, and an abundance of fascinating history and architecture. To promote the city, Albany has launched an ongoing resident-led series called “Discover My Albany.”

The series weaves personal stories from all parts of Albany County into the visitors’ guide and features videos by locals showcasing their favorite places and what they love about living and working in the city.

Emerging as a Key Economic Driver for the County

During the pandemic, Discover Albany made the hard choice to keep all of their staff and figure out the finances as they went. This decision proved to be beneficial as it allowed them to focus on new challenges, such as attracting filmmakers and sports teams to the city. As a result, the county executive and legislature chair officially designated Discover Albany as their official Film Commission and Sports Commission.

Collaboration is the Key to Success

Collaboration is key for Discover Albany, and Jill shares how they work with neighboring counties to be stronger together. Recently, they were selected to sponsor and host Destination East, a trade show organized by Northeast Meeting Group.

This collaborative effort impressed meeting planners from all over the country and showed how well New York State works together to get the job done and ensure the best outcome for clients.


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