Destination on the Left Virtual Summit Recap: Day 1, with Nicole Mahoney

Episode 160

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With a talent for creating special events that blossomed while working for my dad’s car stereo shop, I got my start in marketing at Frontier Field in Rochester and I began serving as the executive director of the internationally known Lilac Festival. Later on, I headed the Canandaigua, New York Business Improvement District while also performing projects for the tourism promotion agency Visit Rochester. In 2009, I founded Break the Ice Media, with more than 20 years of experience in tourism marketing. I now host “Destination on the Left”, a highly successful tourism marketing podcast. As a business owner, I know what it takes to be successful. I founded BTI to help businesses tell their brand story through public relations, digital and traditional channels. I have the ability to uncover unique marketing opportunities and develop marketing and public relations initiatives that help clients build long-term success. In this solocast episode of Destination on the Left, we look at the highlights from day one of our Destination on the Left Virtual Summit.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The highlights from day one of the Destination on the Left Virtual Summit
  • The latest study from JLL and the World Tourism Council
  • Generational perceptions of the impact travel has on the environment
  • Why destination marketing should be a shared community value
  • How to use integrated campaigns
  • How to use Facebook advertising for campaigns

Destination on the Left Virtual Summit: Day 1

By now, you’ve probably heard all about the exciting virtual summit we held to close out 2019. Many familiar faces turned out to hear some of the show’s previous guests discuss insights, strategies, and tactics—really everything destination marketing. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback and I could not be more thrilled about the amount of value each one of you brought to the event. But if you were not able to attend, don’t worry! Over the course of the next three solocasts, I will be covering each day of the event, with a detailed analysis of the key talking points. Destination 2030: Readiness for Tourism Growth: Dan Fenton joined us to discuss a study that JLL and the World Tourism Council published. It produced a framework and 5 typologies that can be used to determine a community’s readiness for tourism growth. The Future of Travel as a Brand: Emerging Sentiments Posing Challenges: Erin Francis-Cummings’ presentation urges us to look five years into the future of our destination in regards to the green energy movement that is sweeping the globe. She focuses on examining the contrast of generations’ perceptions around the impact of travel on the environment. Becoming a Shared Community Value: Bill Geist of DMO Pros talks about elevating the importance of tourism in our communities. He explains why it should be a shared value like any other municipal services. Tracking Results From Integrated Campaigns: Julie Gilbert of Destination Niagra uses their 2019 campaigns as an example for how you can measure impressions, clicks, and even hotel bookings as a result of integrated campaigns. She also talks about leveraging this strategy with local events to create a powerful synergy. Understanding Facebook Advertising for Destination Marketing: Camille Zess and Jess Reilly of Break the Ice Media took audience members behind the scenes to see how they run successful campaigns for their clients. If you weren’t able to take part in the amazing Destination on the Left Virtual Summit, don’t fret! You can still watch all of the presentations on our website. Just purchase an all-access pass by visiting and enjoy! Otherwise, keep an eye out for an upcoming announcement for our next summit in Spring 2020. We hope you can join us.


Nicole Mahoney: 00:25 Hello listeners, this is Nicole Mahoney, host of destination on the left. Welcome to episode 160 [inaudible]. As we approach the close of 2019 and are busy making plans for 2020 I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the year what we have learned and what lies ahead. First, thank you for listening to this podcast. My hope is that you get as much inspiration and new ideas out of these podcast episodes as I do. I learned something new every week and I hope you do too. I love sharing my interviews with you. If you enjoy them too, I would greatly appreciate you writing a review of my podcast. Click the iTunes or Stitcher link on the destination on the left website and leave a rating and review. It only takes a minute and your support means a lot. Thank you. I decided to end the year with another solo cast episode. We just completed our first ever destination on the left virtual summit over three days.

Nicole Mahoney: 01:15 Earlier in December, we ran 1530 minute virtual presentations full of actionable information. The theme of the virtual summit focused on tourism, marketing effectiveness, proving value, relevancy and ROI. I invited previous podcast guests to be presenters at the summit and their content did not disappoint. They brought new ideas, thought provoking concepts and tactical suggestions to help marketers move the needle in 2020 in today’s solo cast episode, I am going to cover highlights from the first five destination on the left virtual summit presentations. There was so much content that I can’t cover the whole summit. In one episode I will publish two more solo cast episodes in January. To recap days two and three. In the meantime, here’s what I took away from day one with references to previous podcast interviews that relate to the summit topics for further exploration in Dan Fenton’s presentation on destination 2030 readiness for tourism growth.

Nicole Mahoney: 02:18 We learned about a study that J L L and the world travel and tourism council recently published in this study. They identified a framework for assessing a community’s readiness for tourism growth and identified the five type ologies based on their level of readiness. Two of the type ologies that stood out to me are the dawning developers and emerging performers. In particular, these stood out because I see these type ologies and a lot of the clients that we serve and I think increasing awareness of where you are in development of tourism is the first step to knowing how and where you can grow daunting developers are communities with an emerging tourism infrastructure, gradual growth and lower visitor concentration, but with potential to grow. I can think of many podcast guests who represent communities that look like this. [inaudible] Kaufman from visit Casper, Wyoming. On episode one 59 you talked about how preparing her community for the influx of visitors from the eclipse in 2017 shined a light on where they need to be, build up infrastructure and where they can find new opportunities for tourism growth.

Nicole Mahoney: 03:26 Emerging performers are communities with an emerging tourism infrastructure, growing tourism momentum, and the start of increasing pressures related to tourism growth. This brought to mind the interview that I did with Andrea McHugh from discover Newport, Rhode Island when we talked about managing the ebb and flow of visitors to a destination and gaining support from local residents. On episode one 24 Aaron Francis Cummings presentation on the future of travel as a brand emerging sentiments, posing challenges. It was thought provoking and gave us a glimpse of what we need to be thinking about as we look five years out for our destination plans. In particular, the contrast between generations, perceptions around travel’s impact on the environment. One out of five millennials and one out of four gen Z travelers think that travel has a negative impact on the environment. That’s one out of five millennials [inaudible] out of four gen Z. Travelers think that travel has a negative impact on the environment.

Nicole Mahoney: 04:30 These generations are also the most concerned about the environment when they travel and they believe that climate change will have an impact on their travel in the next five years. Wow. I think those are some very telling. Statistics, destinations and businesses that rely on the visitor economy need to be thinking about what they are doing now to help negate these perceptions. Environmental changes take time and changing a perception takes time. How is your destination working to negate the impacts of climate change? What are you doing as a community to help improve your destination overall? This topic reminded me of the conversation I had on episode one 54 with Brian Bassett from the Poconos region in Pennsylvania. I was blown away by a program that the DMO started to help beautify their gateways into the region by addressing a litter problem. Their approach involved many community wide organizations including DDOT government agencies and the United way.

Nicole Mahoney: 05:30 We go in depth on this program and I encourage you to check out episode one 54 for more details and to find the inspiration for what you might do in your community. Becoming a shared community value was presented by bill Geist from DMO pros. I just love the title of this presentation and it is so true. Bill talked about elevating the importance of tourism in our communities to a shared value in a similar way that we prioritize fire, police, emergency services and education. Bill talked about getting to the why of what we do and it is not heads and beds. He said that a focus on heads and beds, it makes it seem like we are just a special interest group and doesn’t resonate with our community residents. Interesting perspective. What really stood out for me is how far reaching destination marketing can be and how communities can lean on tourism marketers to help tell their story.

Nicole Mahoney: 06:24 This reminded me of my conversation with David Gilbert from destination Cleveland on episode one 28 I loved hearing him how destination Cleveland was working on recruitment and retention strategies with area businesses and economic development folks. We are in the people business and we’re in the business of telling them our community’s stories. Why not expand it to help with talent? Check out episode one 28 for more information. Also, I encourage all of you to add bill guys, podcast D M O U to your list of must listens. [inaudible] D M Oh, you. My good friend Julie Gilbert joined the summit to share a behind the scenes look at destination Niagara USA is 2019 campaigns in her presentation on tracking results from integrated campaigns. I found Julie’s session particularly interesting because she was able to measure impressions, clicks, and even hotel bookings as a direct result from these campaigns. I also appreciated her insights on how she chose to run an Expedia campaign around the world pride event that took place in New York city last June.

Nicole Mahoney: 07:33 She pointed out that although Expedia did not drive traffic to her website, she thought the platform was perfect for this campaign based on the international reach that Expedia has and how New York city and company was marketing internationally, which is where world pride was taking place. I love how destination Niagara USA was able to leverage such a huge event to help draw visitors from the event in New York city to Niagara falls USA, all the way across New York state. I talked to the team that I love New York on episode one 49 about how they leveraged this huge event with the milestone anniversary of 50 years since Stonewall and used it to draw attention to the whole state of New York. Their program won a tourism excellence award from the New York state tourism industry association in September and I encourage you to check out episode one 49 to learn more.

Nicole Mahoney: 08:26 We ended day one of the virtual summit with Camille’s ass and just Riley from the break. The ice media team did their presentation on understanding Facebook advertising for destination marketing. Jameela just took summit attendees behind the curtain of how they run successful Facebook ad campaigns for break the ice media clients. What stood out for me was the discussion on target audience and the different ways that you can develop audiences in Facebook. If get the audience right, you will have a much more successful campaign that will bring you stronger results. Of course. This reminded me of the very successful golf getaways campaign that the Genesee County office of tourism runs each year, which is supported by a Facebook ad campaign that is run by Jess and Camille. Yeah. I interviewed Lauren Humphrey from the Genesee County office of tourism on episode one 49 where she explained how her office runs the program, how it converts to packages sold, how they manage the fulfillment of the packages and the benefits it brings to their stakeholders.

Nicole Mahoney: 09:31 The golf getaways program won a tourism excellence award from the New York state tourism industry association in September as well. If you miss the virtual summit, you can still access all of the presentations by purchasing an all access pass, which is for sale [inaudible] destination on the forward slash summit that’s destination on the forward slash summit we will be hosting a second summit in the spring of 2020 stay tuned for the announcement in the new year. I wish all of you a prosperous 2020 and look forward to bringing you many more interesting and inspiring interviews in the year ahead. Thank you for listening and we will be back

Speaker 1: 10:12 in the new year. It’s time to hit the road again. Visit destination on the during your travels for more podcasts, show notes and fresh ideas.

Speaker 3: 10:59 [inaudible].

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