The Magic of Collaboration, with Nicole Mahoney

Episode 271

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With a talent for creating special events that blossomed while working for my dad’s car stereo shop, Nicole got her start in marketing at Frontier Field in Rochester and began serving as the executive director of the internationally known Lilac Festival. Later on, she headed the Canandaigua, New York Business Improvement District while also performing projects for the tourism promotion agency Visit Rochester.

In 2009, Nicole founded Break the Ice Media, with more than 20 years of experience in tourism marketing. She now hosts “Destination on the Left,” a highly successful tourism marketing podcast.

As a business owner, Nicole knows what it takes to be successful. She founded BTI to help businesses tell their brand story through public relations digital and traditional channels. She has the ability to uncover unique marketing opportunities and develop marketing and public relations initiatives that help clients build long-term success.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, Nicole Mahoney highlights the importance of collaboration. In this ever-changing world, it’s essential to find ways to collaborate in order to survive and thrive. We need to step outside our self-imposed silos and actively seek out opportunities to create partnerships with others that move the whole travel industry forward.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why the global events mean it’s more important than ever to connect positively with others
  • How collaboration can be powerful in the travel and tourism industry
  • The situation that helped Nicole understand the power of collaboration
  • What makes some partnerships successful, while others struggle to get off the ground
  • An overview of the findings from Nicole’s 2020 research study on collaboration in the travel, tourism, and hospitality
  • How perceived competitors can use coopetition to accomplish something bigger than themselves
  • The three different types of collaborators and how each one affects and how they come together to form a framework for success

A Passion for Collaboration

Nicole shares her personal experience of building a community collaboration from the ground up when she was involved in the Rochester Frontier Field project. She describes how her experience of town-wide cooperation led to her subsequent passion for finding ways to build successful partnerships in the travel and tourism industry.

Bringing a community together to make something happen is magical — and it’s what sets the groundwork for success during challenging times. Nicole and her partner Susan Baier teamed to conduct a study on the effects of coopetition. This term refers to those times when perceived competitors come together to accomplish something more significant than they could achieve alone.

Breaking Out of Silos

As travel and tourism industry professionals, we need to harness the power of collaboration with other organizations — even with our competitors. Recognizing and understanding the positive impacts of inter-organizational collaborations on business success is key in effectively leveraging our available tools. As Nicole says, collaboration is the exponential multiplier that makes one plus one greater than two. When we commit to working in partnership with others, we can move forward faster and more effectively.

A Collaboration Framework

There are often challenges on the path to achieving successful collaboration, and Nicole describes why she grouped these challenges under three broad headings. The three C’s framework comprises communication, commonality, and commitment; while some specific challenges may be encountered more often than others, Nicole explores why it is clear from her research that overcoming challenges in all three areas is critical for collaborations to be successful.

This framework is critical in identifying opportunities in the face of adversity, and professionals and organizations that are able to navigate these three areas can thrive under any circumstances.



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