In any competitive landscape, keeping a legacy cultural institution relevant is a challenge. Keeping it relevant while retaining the original vision is an even greater challenge. For many in the travel and tourism industry, we’re always looking to strike a balance between differentiation and collaboration. We really need both to thrive. In New England, where you can’t walk ten feet without bumping into a place with historical significance, Old Sturbridge Village is striking this balance.
In this episode, we hear from Jim Donahue. Jim is highly regarded in the nonprofit sector as a collaborative visionary. He is recognized as one of the top nonprofit executives in New England, with an impressive background in leadership, education, and fundraising.
Prior to taking the position as president and CEO for Old Sturbridge Village, Jim was the CEO of the Bradford Dunn Institute for Learning Differences in Providence, Rhode Island. In that time, he managed the merger between the Bradford Dunn Institute and CVS Highlander Charter School in 2004. During his seven-year tenure as the director of the charter school, he led the renovation of two campuses for the school and the establishment of several key capacity-building partnerships.
Since taking over as Old Sturbridge Village president in 2007, Jim has led the institution through a renaissance by increasing attendance, fundraising, and revenue from special programs. Highlights of his tenure include the reopening of the museum’s restaurant division, the renovation, and reopening of the lodging complex, the creation of the Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award, establishing an immersive theater program, including The Sleepy Hollow Experience, and the expansion of popular events like Christmas by Candlelight and Fourth of July.
In 2017, he launched Old Sturbridge Academy, the first public charter school located in a museum in Massachusetts. A revolutionary model of experiential learning, and a partnership between a school and museum, the academy is already changing the lives of its students, many of whom come from underperforming school districts. In 2010, he was named Nonprofit Leader of the Year by the Worcester Business Journal, and in 2013, received the Larry Meehan Award for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. He is a member of the American Antiquarian Society, a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and has served on the boards of a number of Rhode Island nonprofits.
Full show notes available here: https://breaktheicemedia.com/podcasts/jim-donahue/
What do you do when a destination is perceived as being geared toward a certain age group or other segments of the population? That has been one challenge for the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. In a market like Rochester, with plenty to keep children and adults occupied, capturing attention even with the idea of play can be a challenge.
On this episode, we explore the study and curation of play, and how to market a museum dedicated to playing to travelers and tourists of all ages. We are joined by two guests, Shane Rhinewald and Karen Dodson.
Shane is Senior Director of Public Relations at The Strong Museum of Play, the ultimate play destination for all ages and the only museum in the world dedicated to the study of play. Shane works with the media and external partners to share the museum’s stories; from public programs and tourism programs to exhibits and new collections. He also leads the induction team for The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame, and World Video Game Hall of Fame, which receive billions of media impressions and international attention each year. Shane has a bachelor’s degree in History and a master’s degree in Journalism. He has been with the museum for 10 years in a variety of marketing and PR roles. Shane was also the 2017 Chair of the Visitor Industry Council and past Chair of Visit Rochester’s Social Media Committee.
We also have Karen Dodson, Tourism Sales Associate at The Strong Museum of Play. Hired in 2016, Karen’s role was established to help build the travel trade market segment and increase visitation, both domestically and internationally. Karen’s more than 30 years’ experience working in the travel trade industry has included both regional and local hotel director of sales and marketing, 10 years managing a 425,000 square foot 100 plus store retail outlet, to planning and escorting outbound adult and student tour groups from the Rochester and surrounding areas. All of this has enabled her to bring her wealth of knowledge and experience to her current position. Karen also has served as the 2015 Chair of Visit Rochester’s Visitor Industry Council, has been a past Chair of the Travel Trade Committee of which she continues to be a member, and has been a past President of a local area Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the ABA Orientation Committee for the 2019 marketplace.
Full show notes available here: https://breaktheicemedia.com/podcasts/shane-rhinewald-and-karen-dodson/
As businesses, we live or die on data. Understanding the market, understanding who is coming to our destination, who is interested but doesn’t know enough to make a decision – these pieces of information are vital to our ability to thrive in travel and tourism. But gathering and interpreting this data is a challenge for everyone.
Our guest on this episode of Destination on the Left is an expert in gathering and analyzing data, specifically for our industry. Our guest is Erin Francis-Cummings. Erin is president and CEO of Destination Analysts, where she has spent the last 15 years studying travelers from across the globe and translating their evolving, complex, and fascinating behaviors and opinions into marketing insights for Destination Analysts’ 150-plus clients.
Erin has designed research strategy and facilitated consumer research for some of the world’s greatest destination brands, including Bermuda, California, the Fiji Islands, Napa Valley, Florida, Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
In addition to conducting research: from brand auditing to user experience, to ROI analysis, she also oversees the production of Destination Analysts, The State of the American Traveler. This is the travel industry’s longest running and most relied on tracking study of American leisure travel sentiment and behaviors. Also produced by Destination Analysts is The State of the International Traveler, an annual study of the travel behaviors and perceptions of international travelers in 13 top feeder markets to the United States. Erin currently serves on the international board of the Travel and Tourism Research Association.
Before leading Destination Analysts, Erin held advertising and marketing management roles at Amtrak and the San Francisco Travel Association. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California Los Angeles and is a proud mother of two school-aged children.
Full show notes available here: https://breaktheicemedia.com/podcasts/erin-francis-cummings/
Can a small niche destination become a regional anchor destination? That’s an apt description of the Corning Museum of Glass. Promoting any destination takes creativity and hard work. Our guest in this episode brings both to her work, and examples of both for us to learn from.
In this episode, we talk with Beth Duane of the Corning Museum of Glass. Throughout our conversation, she explores how the museum has shattered stereotypes about what a glass museum can be. For instance, kids are very welcome – they can attend for free in fact. And she explains how promotion of the museum happens in so many creative ways.
Beth joined the Corning Museum of Glass in 2001 as the Marketing Manager, became the Director of Marketing and Community Relations in 2008, and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer in 2017. In this position, she is responsible for developing, implementing, and managing all marketing and sales initiatives for the museum. This includes overseeing the activities of the tours and sales staff, directing guest services, events and programs, membership activities, and developing short and long-term marketing, sales, and membership goals. She is a member of the museum’s leadership team. Beth served as project manager for the March 2015 opening of the new contemporary art and design wing. She championed and authored a third round consolidated funding application, which resulted in $1.5 million grant for the museum’s International Motor Coach entrance, plus sixth and seventh round Market New York Grant applications, earning awards totaling over $300,000.
Beth received her bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from Alfred University in New York. She has previously held positions at the Statler Hotel and J. Willard Marriott Executive Education Center, the Sheraton Inn, and Conference Center, and Schuyler Arc, and is actively involved with several professional and community organizations.
Full show notes available here: https://breaktheicemedia.com/podcasts/beth-duane/
Digital and social presence are a necessary part of an effective marketing plan, and they can be a great deal of fun as well. Working with partners in a region and harnessing the power of influencers who love your destination are avenues to explore and exploit as you promote your region.
In this episode of Destination on the Left, Nicole talks with Anna Pakman, VP of Digital Marketing for Empire State Development. She serves as Head of Digital for New York State’s chief economic development agency.
In this role, she oversees digital marketing initiatives for I LOVE NEW YORK tourism, and business development programs. Before joining New York State, Anna spent several years in the television industry leading award-winning social and digital media campaigns for Current TV, Al Jazeera America, and the Oxygen Network. Anna holds an MBA in Marketing and Media Management from Columbia Business School, and a BS in Finance and International Business from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Full show notes available here: https://breaktheicemedia.com/podcasts/anna-pakman/