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Destination On The Left

Destination On The Left is a podcast focused on the travel and tourism industry that explores successful collaborations, creative marketing ideas and best practices. Interviews are a mix of Destination Marketers, Industry Leaders, Consultants and businesses in the industry. We explore consumer marketing programs and travel trade marketing programs. This podcast provides an opportunity for professionals in the travel & tourism industry to share what they have learned and successes that they have achieved.
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Now displaying: April, 2017
Apr 26, 2017

In this episode, you will learn about why collaboration at the regional level makes a huge difference from Valerie Knoblauch.

Valerie is President and CEO of the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection where she has worked since 1984 when she was hired as the organization’s first employee. In her role, she is responsible for guiding a team of tourism marketing professionals who are charged with promoting all of the fun experiences offered in Ontario County and the Finger Lakes region. Valerie thrives on the challenge of figuring out people’s motivations to travel and translating that into marketing programs that inspire travel to the destination where she lives, works and plays. Prior to beginning with the Finger Lakes Visitors connection, Valerie worked as a Tour Guide and Public Relations Manager for Gold Seal Vineyards in Hammondsport, NY after a career as a High School English teacher at Red Jacket Central High School.

Valerie loves to travel – imagine that. She also enjoys bicycling, wine, gardening, photography, and cooking. She loves the theatre, especially live theatre and musicals, and likes history – especially as it is interpreted to put into place “where we are today …”

Valerie is blessed with a very large family, many of whom have settled in the area. She has been married to her husband Kurt since 1982. They have three sons and three wonderfully diverse daughters-in-law and three grandsons. Valerie has friends across the world, because of her career in travel and tourism and because of her multicultural family. She loves learning every day from all of the characters in her life.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The importance of analyzing your strengths and weaknesses, and surrounding yourself with people who complement your skill set.
  • How the regional Hike & Bike collateral piece and her ‘Slice, Dice & Spice’ event were ahead of the curve in showcasing local assets.
  • Using creative ways to meet the challenges of stretched resources.
  • The importance of communicating ROI to stakeholders and knowing which metrics to report.
  • The importance of agreeing, up front, what the desired outcome is when collaborating
  • The indirect impact of a thriving tourism industry.
  • Using research and a strategic marketing plan to identify opportunities for extended stay and return visitation.
  • Reaching visitors while they are in the destination to encourage extended stay and return visitation.
  • How Ontario County engaged their Board of Supervisors with National Tourism Week.

Ways to contact Valerie:

Apr 19, 2017

In this episode, you will learn about how leveraging your social media in the tourism industry can help you to bring in more visitors from Brittany Gibson.

In her capacity at the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, Brittany is responsible for promoting Schuyler County’s tourism industry by creating and implementing tourism marketing and public relations programs. She is also responsible for developing and implementing programs to increase the visibility and credibility of the Chamber. Brittany serves on the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council Board of Directors, the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance Marketing Committee, the Schuyler County Planning Board, and the Community Development Corporation Board of Directors. She volunteers her time serving as the coordinator of her family’s charity organization, Team Charlie.

Brittany’s areas of expertise include marketing, advertising, public relations, social media, and event planning. She is passionate about the Finger Lakes and is eager to see Schuyler County continue to grow – both in business and tourism.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What sets the tourism industry in New York state apart from everywhere else
  • How Brittany seeks out creativity through collaborating with surrounding counties
  • Using social media & consumer email marketing to express creativity
  • Why you need to assess which social media channels will work best for you & your business
  • How Watkins Glen Chamber’s Instagram following recently exploded from around 400 to over a thousand in a matter of 1.5 months
  • Why getting engagement from the locals is important when it comes to tourism
  • Why Brittany loves helping small businesses leverage their partnership with the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Why you need to go out of your way to build relationships with people
  • TALES – Tourism & Leadership Exchange Summit: the first ever tourism conference being hosted in Schuyler County
  • Why it’s important that frontline staff & the community view tourism as a leadership role
  • Three big events/things that the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce are excited about this year
  • Why Brittany loves to host travel bloggers/writers in Schuyler County (which she did with almost 50 bloggers/writers between May 1st – September 15th last year!)

Ways to contact Brittany:

Apr 12, 2017

In this episode, you will learn from Ramjee Chandran about the evolution of tourism publishing, and why creative content is as important now as it was in 1989.

Ramjee Chandran is an entrepreneur, writer, publisher, and musician with 27 years of publishing experience. As a journalist, his articles have been published in India and other countries. Most of Chandran’s publishing career involved magazines related to the tourism industry including city guides and business travel magazines – both print and online.

The first city guide he launched was on March 31, 1989, for his hometown of Bangalore, India. In the years following, he launched the “Explocity Guide” series of city guide magazines in several destinations including New York City, Dubai and several major metros in India. Other magazines included Executive Traveller and other city-based lifestyle magazines.

Ramjee Chandran received investment from a US-based venture capital fund in 2000, and a few years later, a meeting with publishing mogul Rupert Murdoch led to Murdoch picking up a 25% stake in Chandran’s publishing enterprise, Explocity.

Chandran was awarded the prestigious “Chanakya Award” for Innovative Leadership by the Indian Council for Public Relations and was named one of 10 best entrepreneurs from the state of Karnataka, India by online giant, Rediff.com (REDF – NASDAQ).

Recently, Ramjee launched a website for New York State: www.DestinationsOfNewYorkState.com and runs this in an exclusive strategic alliance with the experienced tourism company, Destinations Of NYS, based in Saugerties, NY.

Chandran is also a jazz guitarist and has performed on stage with internationally acclaimed jazz musicians and at international jazz festivals. He believes that the one thing he does with more mediocrity than playing jazz is his other distraction, playing chess.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The story behind Ramjee’s first destination magazine, and his shoestring budget
  • How Ramjee learned to scale his enterprise up from 1 magazine out to 3 countries
  • How Ramjee sought creativity from his content
  • Why you need to listen to what people want and find a creative way to present it to them
  • Ramjee’s biggest challenge, scaling, and how he made it work
  • How Ramjee evolved his business from a single print publication to what it is today
  • Why digital scaling is much easier than print scaling
  • The story behind Ramjee’s new website DestinationsOfNewYorkState.com
  • Why collaborations between publishers is rare- but how Ramjee makes it work
  • What makes tourism communication so exciting
  • How Dubai has developed a phenomenal tourism enterprise in such a short time

Ways to contact Ramjee:

Apr 5, 2017

In this episode, you will learn about the importance of creating opportunities for both guests and other small businesses from Debbie Meritsky.

Debbie is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute and has worked in the food industry for over 30 years with an emphasis on local, organic, and seasonal ingredients. Debbie is co-owner of the Black Sheep Inn & Spa located in Hammondsport in the Finger Lakes region of NYS. As the Inn chef, she is an avid proponent of sourcing local organic foods and the clean food movement in the Finger Lakes region. Debbie prepares delicious farm-to-table breakfasts for her guests, sourced from within 50 miles of the Black Sheep Inn & Spa. She also enjoys sharing with her guests those techniques on how to create this lifestyle at home, wherever they may live. Debbie’s other passion is art, and, specifically, creating art from recycled and repurposed “ingredients”. Debbie and her husband Marc created the Arts in Bloom Art Trail to showcase the fantastic art being created in their area. In its 5th year Arts in Bloom is a family-friendly, free community event that features live demonstrations at artist studios and galleries on the trail.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Debbie’s background
  • Why Debbie loves doing farm-to-table & how that helped form her business
  • How Debbie likes to give her guests experiential opportunities when staying with them at the Inn
  • Debbie’s philosophy of, if you’re not having fun doing something then your guests aren’t going to have fun
  • Why you should source what is available now to bring the best to your guests
  • Why it’s not about money – it’s about opportunity
  • Why forming partnerships with other small businesses is one of the biggest but most important challenges you will face
  • The story behind the family-friendly, free community event, Arts in Bloom & the F.L.A.V.O.R. Studio at the Inn
  • The many opportunities for partnerships with the over 100 distinct breweries, cider houses & distilleries in the Finger Lakes region
  • How knowing how to cross-sell can help you create more opportunities
  • The importance of finding local small businesses that understand and want to excel at forming partnerships
  • Why, as tourism partners, you need to build your story to tell the outside world

Ways to contact Debbie:

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