Destination Storytelling — A New Era, with Will Seccombe

Episode 241

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Will Seccombe is President of Connect Travel, a strategic marketing business that connects destination marketers with the products, services, people, and ideas that help them thrive in a rapidly evolving and highly competitive global marketplace.

Prior to joining the tourism marketing company in May 2017, Will served four years as President and Chief Executive Officer for VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s destination marketing organization. He joined VISIT FLORIDA in March 2008 as Chief Marketing Officer, and International and out-of-state visitors to the Sunshine State increased from 80 million in 2009 to over 112 million in 2016, with an associated annual increase in visitor spending of over $30 billion.

Will’s career began as regional sales manager with Vail Associates in 1989. He then moved on to Loveland Ski Areas in 1992 as director of marketing, vice president of marketing for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau in 1995, and vice president and chief operating officer with PRACO, LTD in 1999. In 2004, Seccombe founded Revolution Communications, LLC, a digital travel marketing firm. Will was named one of the Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing by HSMAI, Top 50 Global Marketers in Travel by Skift, and the 2014 Hospitality Legend of the Year by the South Florida HSMAI.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Will Seccombe, who joins me to share his perspective on creativity and collaboration in the travel industry. We discuss the upcoming eTourism Summit and the benefits that participants will get from the industry collaboration. Will also shares why he thinks that creativity is a critical skill for marketers and why building positive and productive relationships will push the industry forward over the coming months.

What You Will Learn:

  • Why Will made the leap from mountain destinations to beach destinations and his career trajectory so far
  • Will’s insights into current innovation in the travel industry as a response to the events of the last 18 months
  • How destination marketers can recognize and tell the story of their key differentiator
  • Why traditional targeting is no longer working and what destination marketers can do instead
  • How the eTourism Summit evolved and what participants will get from the collaboration
  • Will’s insights on how collaboration is going to help carry the travel industry forward

Innovations in Storytelling

Creativity has never been a more important skill set than it is today. The travel industry as a whole in 2019 saw record visitor numbers, so there was no real incentive to innovate. The events of 2020 and the challenges the sector faced forced innovation and creativity and drove destinations to reevaluate their messaging. Will shares his thoughts on the new ways destination marketers are using social media to tell their stories and why he feels the playing field has been reset going forward.

Capture the Authenticity

The concept of branding is to tell our stories, and the best way to get to the heart of a destination is to leverage feedback from visitors and community experiences to tell that story. We discuss why hearing about lived experiences captures the genuine authenticity of a place and why the voices of the people who are passionate about your destination are so powerful in attracting new visitors.

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