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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: June, 2019
Jun 26, 2019

Drew McLellan is a marketing veteran who has run his own agency for over 25 years, helping clients create authentic love affairs with their customers. He also helps other agency owners learn how to take their business to the next level through cohort groups and resources through Agency Management Institute. He loves to create “Aha” moments for his clients, peers, and audiences across, through vivid storytelling, Italian heritage-inspired hand gestures, and the occasional tipping of a sacred cow.

Drew is also one of the world’s top marketing and branding bloggers according to Ad Age’s top 150 index. Recently, he has appeared in The New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, Business Week and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal calls him “One of the 10 bloggers that every entrepreneur should read.”

On this episode of Destination on the Left host, I talk with Drew about what it takes to build a great relationship with your marketing agency. Getting your destination’s message out to your ideal customers is getting more complex, not less. Open communication and confidence in your agency are crucial. It’s a wide-ranging conversation with great tips on knowing what to look for and expect from a great agency.

 

What You Will Learn:

  • How to vet marketing agencies to find the right fit
  • Why finding an agency that specializes in destination marketing is important
  • How to have an open and honest relationship with your marketing agency
  • How to handle tough conversations with your agency
  • Best practices you should look for when hiring and working with an agency

Marketing Collaboration

We’re a long way from the Mad Men days. It’s no longer enough for an agency to swoop in to tell you the messages you need to spread, and purchase airtime and print space and make it to that 3 martini lunch by 11:30.

The channels available for your messages are almost limitless, and the work is much more complex. Clients and agencies are, or should be, working more collaboratively to discover customer personas, define the buyer’s journey, and craft the right messages to grow your business. In the conversation, Drew made this observation, “A great agency is really a great business advisor. It’s much broader than deciding what ad you are going to put on Facebook or running a radio spot.”

When it comes to agency relationships, marketing collaboration is the name of the game, you want an agency who plays that way.

Setting Expectations

A great agency relationship starts with good communication. This needs to happen at two levels. You need time and space to communicate voice-to-voice and face-to-face, along with the texting and email communication that happens while doing business. One piece of communication Drew mentions that clients and agencies too often overlook: gratitude. Saying thanks when your collaboration partner goes above and beyond the call of duty goes a long way in shaping a strong relationship.

The second part of setting clear expectations is getting it in writing. Also, put it in writing! Make a good contract that makes expectations clear. Drew’s vast experience leads him to the following conclusion: “Whatever the problem is, I promise you it’s not just the agency’s fault and it’s never just the client’s fault either.”

A great relationship with your marketing agency doesn’t just happen. This episode is full of tips, steps and best practices for making the most of your marketing dollars through that agency relationship.

Resources:

  • Website: https://www.mclellanmarketing.com/
  • Website: https://agencymanagementinstitute.com/

Episode Transcript

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jun 24, 2019

We recently attended the 2019 NYS Tourism Conference in Buffalo, New York and interviewed presenters, conference attendees, and Tourism Excellence Award winners. My interviews focused on the conference themes of inclusion, fostering community engagement, and "tourism is everybody's business", as well as key takeaways from the conference. This episode focuses on some of the award winners, and I hope you find these conversations informative and inspiring.

In this final episode of the series, I share my conversations with:

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How seven different counties partnered for Oneida County Tourism’s “Bike Thru History” program, intended to highlight Revolutionary War destinations for visiting cyclists and to bring new cycling enthusiasts to the region
  • How a character named the Unexpected Buffalo was featured in a wide-ranging marketing campaign across many forms of digital media, showcasing the numerous experiences and destinations on offer in Buffalo
  • How a unique partnership between a state agency and a local chamber of commerce led to the construction of a brand new Welcome Center at Watkins Glen State Park, showcasing not only the park but the other events and destinations in the community

Oneida County Tourism

Kelly Blazosky from Oneida County Tourism discusses their award-winning "Bike Thru History" program, developed in partnership between Oneida County and six other counties. She shares how the program was developed as a way to engage biking enthusiasts and give them an opportunity to bicycle to important historical sites from the Revolutionary War throughout the region. Kelly explores how they engaged cycling professionals to help determine how to interconnect looping bike paths of varying challenge levels that would also connect with the historical sites. She shares how they developed thirty new routes for cyclists, using the Erie Canalway corridor as the main branch from which the paths would extend. She also discusses how they created a website to showcase the newly looping routes, and how they connected with a cycling route and GPS app to include the routes. Kelly explains how coordination between the various groups and assets and keeping clear communication were key to the program's success. She shares her pride in winning an Excellence Award and her gratitude toward all of the partners involved.

Visit Buffalo Niagara

Patrick Kaler from Visit Buffalo Niagara discusses their "Unexpected Buffalo" marketing campaign featuring the character of the same name and his journeys through the destinations and experiences available in Buffalo. He explains how the campaign was launched across 30-second TV spots, print ads, newspapers and magazines, transit advertising, and across social media. He discusses how the target markets for the campaign included Toronto, Rochester, Erie, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. Patrick shares how the Unexpected Buffalo character is a fully-realized and interactive creation with his own social media presence. He also discusses how the Unexpected Buffalo campaign generated more than $108 million in its first year alone, for a return on investment of $84 for every $1 spent. He shares how the idea for the Unexpected Buffalo campaign was developed almost exclusively in-house and why taking risks and being bold were important to the success of the campaign. He discusses how being recognized by the state and peers is a great thing to take back to stakeholders.

Watkins Glen State Park and Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce

Ron Roney from Watkins Glen State Park discusses renovations to the park and the inclusion of a welcome center located at the main entrance of the park, done in collaboration with the Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce, and he shares how it has made a major impact on the community. Rebekah LaMoreaux from the Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce shares how the Chamber partnered with the Park as an opportunity to share with visitors the many other opportunities Watkins Glen has on offer. Ron shares how his biggest takeaway from the project was that the collaboration between a state agency such as the Park and the local tourism services can offer powerful benefits to both parties. Rebekah shares how she learned that promoting tourism is everyone in the community's job. Ron talks about the honor he felt at being recognized for their work, and he shares the pride he feels at contributing toward the positive impact the collaboration is making to the entire region. Rebekah shares her surprise and joy that the state agency gave the project their stamp of approval in the first year, and she discusses the potential of future partnerships.

Overview

These 2018 NYSTIA Tourism Excellence Award winners truly demonstrate how thinking outside the box can create tremendous new opportunities. From unique partnerships to original characters, these organizations prove that successful tourism marketing requires creative thought, fresh ideas and teamwork. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of episodes and learning from the 2018 NYSTIA Tourism Excellence Award winners across all three episodes. Please remember that you can now submit nominations for the 2019 awards by following the link in the resources section below. Thank you for listening!

Resources:

Jun 19, 2019

We recently attended the 2019 NYS Tourism Conference in Buffalo, New York and interviewed presenters, conference attendees, and Tourism Excellence Award winners. My interviews focused on the conference themes of inclusion, fostering community engagement, and “tourism is everybody’s business”, as well as key takeaways from the conference. This episode focuses on some of the award winners, and I hope you find these conversations informative and inspiring.

In this episode, I share my conversations with:

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How a unique and powerful collaboration between The Wild Center and many other regional partners led to the creation of their award-winning GoNorth program, a travel itinerary that promotes destinations all across the region
  • How Destination Niagara USA completed a massive brand refresh that made a major international impact, allowing the American side of the falls to better differentiate itself from the Canadian side
  • How Rachel Laber Pulvino finds great joy in being Visit Rochester’s “Chief Storyteller”, and how winning the Young Professional Award has given her a new perspective on teamwork and leadership

The Wild Center

Nick Gunn of The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, New York describes their award-winning GoNorth program, a tour-based travel itinerary focused on the international market that includes destinations across northern New York and the Adirondacks, developed in a unique collaboration with the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau, the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, Fort Ticonderoga, High Peaks Resort, the Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau, and the Warren County Tourism Department. He shares some of the many destinations and experiences available on the itinerary, and he explains why the GoNorth program has been able to promote some of the lesser-known destinations in the area and create new revenue streams for the region. He shares the strength of the partnerships that have made GoNorth a compelling itinerary and a great success. He talks about learning of the remarkable number of gems the region offers during the development of the program. He shares how receiving the Tourism Award has been a powerful motivator to continue the work the collaboration is doing.

Destination Niagara USA

Julie Gilbert from Destination Niagara USA discusses their major brand repositioning effort in 2017 that rebuilt their brand architecture from the ground up, with new marketing and photography and a new website. She shares how their new digital outreach generated 6.8 million consumer engagements and $114.6 million in incremental visitor spending, resulting in 111 times their return on investment. She shares the goal of the rebranding to make a more active experience for visitors as summarized by the new tagline “Niagara Falls USA: Where Adventure Comes Naturally”, and she discusses how the rebranding resulted in a younger average consumer age and a higher average consumer income spend. She discusses using physical branding upgrades as a method to promote the new message. She shares how a visit from an Associated Press reporter’s report on the brand relaunch was picked up internationally and generated over 500 million publication impressions. She shares how Niagara Falls USA is working to differentiate their experience offering from what is being offered on the Canadian side of the falls. She shares the lessons learned from doing a major brand refresh for the first time, and she discusses the pride and honor she feels at receiving a

Tourism Excellence Award: Rachel Laber Pulvino of Visit Rochester

Rachel Laber Pulvino with Visit Rochester discusses the honor of winning the Young Professional Award, and she shares her background in public relations, communication and marketing and how her unique skill set has benefited her in her role during her three years with Visit Rochester. She discusses her joy at being Visit Rochester’s “Chief Storyteller” and her excitement at being able to talk about her community with the media, bloggers, and social media influencers. She discusses the professional and leadership growth she has experienced over the last year, and she shares how her mindset toward teamwork and contribution has changed. She shares how honored she feels being selected by her peers to receive a Tourism Excellence Award, and she discusses the remarkable sense of community she feels working with tourism professionals across the state of New York.

Overview

The remarkable thing about each of these 2018 NYSTIA Tourism Excellence Award winners is their deep, authentic and infectious enthusiasm for the work they are doing and the impact it is making on their local communities and on tourism across the state. From The Wild Center’s incredible wide-ranging collaboration with other organizations in their region, to Destination Niagara USA’s commitment to rebranding and reaching new audiences both locally and internationally, to Rachel Laber Pulvino’s passion for her community and for sharing the story of Rochester, these award winners truly demonstrate that enthusiasm and dedication are the keys to creating remarkable campaigns that absolutely deserve to be honored by their peers.

Resources:

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jun 17, 2019

We recently attended the 2019 NYS Tourism Conference in Buffalo, New York and interviewed presenters, conference attendees, and Tourism Excellence Award winners. My interviews focused on the conference themes of inclusion, fostering community engagement, and “tourism is everybody’s business”, as well as key takeaways from the conference. This episode focuses on some of the award winners, and I hope you find these conversations informative and inspiring.

In this episode, I share my conversations with:

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council has fostered collaboration between fourteen different New York counties for their “Finger Lakes Region Goes Beyond Wine as a Tourism Hot Spot” program
  • How the New York State Canal Corporation’s partnerships with local businesses and organizations have helped them expand the number of programs and attractions on offer throughout the canal system
  • How Dutchess Tourism is using social media tools such as Facebook Live videos they call “Dutchess Live” to generate interest and showcase destinations and experiences of all kinds that travelers can have in the area
  • How Visit Binghamton is using video interviews as an opportunity to showcase the extensive history of the area and how local entrepreneurs are merging it with new innovations

Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council

Executive Director Lisa Burns shares details about the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council’s award-winning program, “Finger Lakes Region Goes Beyond Wine as a Tourism Hot Spot”, and she shares the remarkable results the program has produced for the region. She shares how the PR-focused program has found great success in publications and media outlets like Conde Nast, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Today Show and others. She shares how fourteen counties in the area are working together in a collaboration to promote the entire region and benefit everyone, and she talks about how the program has far exceeded their goals and in 2017 alone produced more than 2.1 billion impressions and almost five hundred media placements. Lisa discusses how the collaboration between the fourteen counties can serve as a benchmark for how destination management organizations should work. She shares how honored she is that their program was recognized by peers within the industry, and she discusses the further honor of being asked to chair the 2019 NYSTIA Tourism Excellence Awards. She discusses work that is being done to enhance how the awards are presented and promote the value of the NYSTIA organization. She talks about how NYSTIA is now sourcing the awards locally from the area where the awards ceremony is being held each year, and she discusses the process and deadline for nominating others for the 2019 awards.

New York State Canal Corporation

Marketing Director Bill Sweitzer shares details of award-winners the Canal Corporation has nominated in the past, and he discusses why those programs were nominated. He shares how he realized that the tourism industry in the area is the sum of its parts, and why business partners are a major contributor to its marketing success. He discusses how many of the small local tourism businesses are unaware of their own huge contributions to the fabric of local tourism. He discusses nominating the team that creates the canal map and annual guide materials that are given out, and he shares why he wanted to recognize the map and guide’s creators for giving spots in the area a true sense of place. He shares why partnerships are vital to the success of the Canal Corporation, and he explains why being involved in NYSTIA is a huge benefit. He shares his plans for nominations for the next awards, specifically for the Corning Museum of Glass’s GlassBarge program that had more than 55,000 visitors last summer. He shares details about another future nominee, the Cycle the Erie Canal Bike Tour, a seven-day bike ride from one end of the Erie Canal to the other.

Dutchess Tourism

President and CEO Mary Kay Vrba discusses details of their award-winning Facebook Live initiative, “Dutchess Live”, where they create videos showcasing many of the varied experiences available in the area, both large and small. She discusses how the program works and how subjects are targeted and showcased through the video series. She shares pre-promotion efforts to ensure that viewers are aware of the live broadcasts, and she shares how the videos can be repurposed for future productions and promotions. She talks about why it is important to plan your project and do a test run to ensure that the technical side of things is working. She explains why it is important to stay aware of social media and marketing trends, and she shares the steps they have taken to stay current on those trends including sending staff to conferences and participating in webinars as well as doing extensive research. She talks about creating “lunch and learn” programs for partners and vendors so that they can benefit from the research and learning that is being done. She shares why winning an Excellence Award is reassuring and tells her that Dutchess Tourism is on the right track.

Visit Binghamton

Sales and Social Media Manager Cassie Green shares details of their “Be Part of Our Story” campaign, an initiative to tell the past of the community of Binghamton and the unique stories of young entrepreneurs and innovators who are building upon the past to create something new. She shares how the organization brought together the nine stories that Binghamton is showcasing in the campaign, and she shares how the campaign is still growing. She talks about being surprised at the number of great opportunities to promote the area when she first moved into her role. She shares her community pride at being an award winner and recognizes the community collaborations that have made it possible.

Overview

These Excellence Award winners each demonstrate how innovation, technology, history, and collaboration come together to create compelling programs and campaigns that truly showcase the remarkable experiences these communities have to offer. The New York State Canal Corporation’s partnerships with local businesses and the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council’s collaboration between their fourteen area counties show us that working together truly benefits everyone involved. Dutchess Tourism’s Facebook Live videos and Visit Binghamton’s “Be Part of Our Story” videos demonstrate the power that technology and social media have to reach new audiences in innovative and compelling ways. These four organizations truly deserve to be honored as Excellence Award winners.

Resources:

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jun 12, 2019

We recently attended the 2019 NYS Tourism Conference in Buffalo, New York and interviewed presenters, conference attendees, and Tourism Excellence Award winners. My interviews focused on the conference themes of inclusion, fostering community engagement, and “tourism is everybody’s business”, as well as key takeaways from the conference. I hope you find these conversations informative and inspiring.

In this episode, I share my conversations with:

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How the New York canal system is bringing a tremendous economic impact to the entire state as well as to New York, and how the New York State Canal Corporation is working to improve accessibility to the canal trails
  • Why messaging is important for Visit Syracuse, and how they are working to engage the community and demonstrate that tourism is a significant economic driver for the area
  • How a recent $10 million downtown revitalization grant from the state has helped the Yates County Chamber of Commerce promote significant community engagement and feedback
  • How the Cayuga County Office of Tourism is developing critical strategic partnerships with other organizations throughout the region to share a single, unified message about tourism
  • How the iconic I LOVE NY tourism program is working to promote inclusivity through programs like their LGBT initiative to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and World Pride
  • How working in a diverse and welcoming tourism destination shaped the views of Steve Williams at Experience Champions and opened his eyes to the opportunities the tourism industry has to become more inclusive
  • Why Visit Buffalo Niagara believes that the key to successfully promoting inclusivity lies in ensuring that marketing and partnerships reflect diverse types of people
  • How Valerie Knoblauch at Finger Lakes Visitors Connection found energy and timeliness in the topics that were discussed at the conference that she plans on taking home with her and integrating into her own work

New York State Canal Corporation

Brian Stratton from New York State Canal Corporation describes the 524 mile-long New York State Canal System that touches seven of the state’s ten economic regions. He shares the importance of creating accessibility to promote inclusion throughout the canal trail. He shares why physical access isn’t the only concern and that he has learned the importance of creating accessibility on the organization’s website as well. He describes upcoming events his organization will be participating in to promote accessibility. He discusses the state of New York’s commitment to promoting the tourism industry and the many organizations and businesses across the state that work within the industry. He describes the remarkable economic impact the canal system brings to the state. He shares the international tourism opportunities that the canal system is bringing to the state and even to Canada.

Visit Syracuse

Danny Liedka of Visit Syracuse discusses why tourism is a major economic engine for the community, keeping property taxes stable, creates jobs, and helps the community grow. He discusses why it is important to share the message that the tourism industry is an integral part of the community. He discusses his hopes to learn new strategies and ideas at the conference that he can bring back to his own work.

Yates County Chamber of Commerce

Jessica Bacher of the Yates County Chamber of Commerce shares how Yates County recently received a $10 million downtown revitalization grant from the state of New York, and she discusses the impact that grant has made for the small community and how it has helped dramatically promote community engagement. She shares how this is her first time attending the conference, and how she has learned a great deal about ADA compliance and inclusion initiatives from the conference and its panels and discussions.

Cayuga County Office of Tourism

Karen Kuhl from the Cayuga County Office of Tourism discusses the many aspects of inclusivity and shares why addressing the issue of inclusivity from the strategic planning front is vital. She shares why reaching out and establishing strategic alliances with region-wide partners for a unified message is the key to fostering stronger community engagement. She talks about the important conference takeaway of promoting ADA compliance in the physical tourism structure and on organization websites. She also shares why marketing materials need to be fully inclusive of many different communities.

Empire State Development & I LOVE NY

Ross Levi from Empire State Development discusses why it is important to be sensitive to the wants and needs of all kinds of travelers. He shares inclusivity initiatives at I LOVE NY, including their LGBT initiative which is helping to promote the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. He shares excitement over World Pride being hosted in New York for the first time in its history. He discusses new initiatives around senior tours and accessibility tours, as well as collaborative cultural sensitivity workshops. He shares why frequent, open, collaborative communication between partners is important, and he provides examples of partnerships his organization has made and work they are doing with local-level partners. He shares hopes that attendees will get a sense of how well I LOVE NY’s partnerships are working to promote the industry. He shares the significant figure that the travel industry in New York is responsible for one in ten jobs in the state.

Experience Champions

Steve Williams from Experience Champions shares how his company works with and provides workshops and trainings for small and medium-sized tourism businesses to improve their success. He shares why the people-focused tourism industry has a wonderful opportunity to promote welcoming and inclusive travel as well as to be inclusive employers. He shares his own experiences as a gay man and how working at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia in a welcoming, inclusive and accepting environment was a transformative experience for him. He shares how the zoo participated in the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and how the zoo promoted legalizing same-sex marriage in Australia. He discusses how tourism leaders have the opportunity to embrace and promote diversity, and he provides an example from the Taronga Zoo and creating a partnership with Autism Australia to help staff better understand the needs of people on the autism spectrum. He shares his hopes that attendees will leave the conference with a better sense of the diversity within their communities and ideas of how to capture diverse markets.

Visit Buffalo Niagara

Dionne Williamson from Visit Buffalo Niagara discusses how tourism leaders can make an impact in diversity and inclusion within the industry both through inclusive marketing efforts as well as in diverse hiring practices. She shares how she was the Multicultural Sales Manager at Visit Buffalo Niagara before becoming the National Sales Director at the organization, and she shares her personal experiences with diverse clients. She discusses the importance of engaging with clients and with the larger community. She shares why she believes community engagement, in particular, is important, and she shares why diversity and inclusion training within the hospitality and tourism community should be ongoing. She shares why she hopes attendees of the convention will see the importance of diverse marketing and partnerships as an opportunity to expand their reach.

Finger Lakes Visitors Connection

Valerie Knoblauch from Finger Lakes Visitors Connection shares why there has been powerful energy at the conference that can be applied to industry leaders’ workplaces. She shares why community leaders need to get involved in the community to create connectivity and better foster community engagement. She shares how the tourism industry is interconnected with many other industries to the mutual benefit of everyone involved. She explains how the topics covered at the conference are timely and helpful, and she discusses examples displayed at the conference that she can take home with her.

Overview

Each of the industry leaders I spoke with represents different aspects of the travel and tourism industry from all across New York, but they all share the same belief that inclusivity is the key to welcoming new audiences and bringing in new visitors from all over the world and that the travel industry should reflect the diversity of the communities it serves. As these organizations show us, inclusivity involves developing partnerships, ongoing training, and sensitivity to and understanding of all kinds of people from every background. I hope you have enjoyed hearing these leaders speak on inclusivity and engagement and that you have a better understanding of why tourism truly is everybody’s business.

Resources:

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jun 10, 2019

We recently attended the 2019 Museum Association of New York annual conference and spoke with attendees from all over New York State representing all types of museums and cultural institutions. I talked with folks from 21 different museums and cultural institutions about how they are creating inclusive environments, attracting new audiences and fitting within the tourism fabric of their community. We used these great insights to create another Museum Series (see last year’s series here) with five episodes filled with knowledge. Through this series, I hope you will find a new perspective on this important segment of the tourism industry.

In this episode, I share my conversations with:

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How the Waterloo Library & Historical Society and the National Memorial Day Museum have developed a Capital Campaign to draw in new audiences and improve the inclusivity of their historical offerings and archive
  • How the Port Byron Old Erie Canal Heritage Park is unique as the only park in the United States to offer interstate highway travelers a parking pull-off and an opportunity to visit the park in the middle of their travels
  • How the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center is using unique and diverse programming to draw in new visitors and create a local audience, as well as serving as a gateway to other cultural and historic sites in the Auburn area and beyond
  • How the Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center is promoting inclusivity by partnering with The Arc of Rensselaer County to showcase the work of artists with mental and physical disabilities

Waterloo Library & Historical Society

Cyndi Park-Sheils from the Waterloo Library & Historical Society in Waterloo, New York discusses how they have learned valuable inclusivity strategies at the conference to incorporate into their old, historical buildings to allow people to move more freely. She discusses upcoming events including celebrating the birthplace of Memorial Day in Waterloo. She shares how inclusivity is key for allowing as many visitors as possible to view the museum’s collections. Cyndi also talks about how her organization is connected to the fabric of Waterloo through being the sole custodian of Waterloo’s museums and culture, and she discusses upcoming partnerships with local restaurants to increase awareness and education opportunities for visitors to Waterloo. She shares her excitement over the National Memorial Day Museum’s Capital Campaign and the diverse visitors it will draw to Waterloo. She discusses relocating the organization’s archives to a better and more accessible location.

Port Byron Old Erie Canal Heritage Park

Andrea Seamans with the Port Byron Old Erie Canal Heritage Park in Port Byron, New York discusses her organization as a collaboration between the New York State Thruway and the nonprofit Canal Society of New York State. She shares how her organization is the only park in the United States that has a parking pull-off for interstate highway travelers to visit a historic site. She talks about why the park is admission-free to be as inclusive as possible for visitors, and how the park provides wheelchairs and the site is entirely wheelchair-accessible. She discusses efforts to improve signage on the Thruway and throughout the village to increase visitor awareness of the park. Andrea explores the promotional opportunities for school and bus tours offer the park. She also shares the broad spectrum of diverse visitors who visit the park, many of whom are international visitors traveling to Boston, New York City or Niagara Falls. She talks about the close connection that many of the local families have with the history of the Old Erie Canal, and how her organization helps to promote other canals in the area. She discusses her hopes for the future of the park, including increasing community outreach and historical education opportunities at the park and shares the remarkable and diverse volunteer community that works at the park and has formed powerful friendships across generations with other volunteers.

NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center

Courtney Kasper at the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn, New York discusses how her organization serves to educate visitors on the history of equality in the state and to promote local and statewide equality sites and programs regarding human rights, Abolition, and women’s rights. She shares why inclusivity is a two-fold issue, being inclusive of the community they are serving as well as promoting and improving accessibility. She shares how her facility is free, open to the public, and community-accessible and she discusses the diverse programming the organization offers. She talks about their efforts to promote women- and minority-owned small businesses through their events. She discusses how their position as a new facility has helped to bring audiences, and how school field trips have been key. She explores the facility’s recent celebration of Harriet Tubman Day and the opportunity it served to bring in local visitors. Courtney shares the role her organization plays in the fabric of the community, and the interactive exhibits her facility offers that promote other statewide tourism and cultural attractions. She talks about future collaboration opportunities for her organization to be a cross-promotional marketing site for other cultural sites in the area.

Seneca Falls Historical Society

Frances Barbieri from the Seneca Falls Historical Society in Seneca Falls, New York shares how the society came to be founded in the late 1800s and some of the historically significant items and artifacts in the possession of the society that is connected to the history of women’s rights. She discusses the wide variety of attractions and offerings the society shares with the public, with something for everyone. She talks about the important role the society is playing in preserving the local history of the families of the area, and how the organization is working to help everyone of every background search for their family roots in the area. She shares how the organization offers outreach to people of all ages within the community. She discusses the future of the organization as it enters a transitional period with changing leadership after her retirement, and the challenges and opportunities their new director will find going forward.

Overview

One common thread in each of these conversations has been the critical role outreach plays for these organizations. From field trips and school visits to community engagement and business partnerships, each of these cultural and historical centers has found that reaching out to a broad spectrum of people of all cultures, age groups and interests have helped bolster their audience and better engage their communities. These organizations have also found value in cross-promoting other key historic and cultural sites in their communities and beyond. By connecting the important lessons of the past with the need for inclusivity and accessibility as we understand them today, these organizations are already looking forward to a bright and thriving future.

Resources:

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Jun 5, 2019

Episode 132:

We recently attended the 2019 NYSTC in Buffalo, New York and interviewed presenters, conference attendees, and Tourism Excellence Award winners. My interviews focused on the conference themes of inclusion, fostering community engagement, and “tourism is everybody’s business”, as well as key takeaways from the conference. I hope you find these conversations informative and inspiring.

In this episode, I share my conversations with:

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How the opening of the Legoland New York theme park in Orange County, New York is bringing new opportunities for both tourism and community engagement to the county
  • How Adirondack Diversity Solutions helps organizations create roadmaps for diversity and inclusion strategic planning, and why communities of color are a generally underserved market within tourism
  • How Visit Rochester’s innovative Visitor Industry Council is bringing the area’s tourism-related businesses together and fostering a sense of community engagement
  • How the Explore & More Children’s Museum has integrated the concepts of diversity and inclusion into each of their rotating exhibits to reflect the diverse community of Western New York
  • How Oneida County Tourism is using unique partnerships with a local college and radio station to build community engagement and awareness of their mission and the work they are doing
  • How Madden Media’s presentation focused on teaching organizations that “heads in beds” is just a single statistic that is part of a larger experience tourists have, and why it isn’t a reliable metric for the whole experience
  • How the New York Wine & Grape Foundation is working to be more inclusive with their marketing efforts, including tailoring marketing to diverse groups such as the LGBT community

Orange County Tourism

Amanda Dana from Orange County Tourism discusses how leaders in the tourism industry can make an impact on inclusivity within tourism. She shares why the message these leaders give needs to be clear and concise. She shares her excitement about the tourism opportunities being brought to Orange County by Legoland New York, opening in May 2020. She discusses the economic impact of a major site like Legoland partnering with the county, and how they have worked to be as engaged with the community as possible from the beginning. She talks about the important takeaway from the conference that the language around the tourism industry needs to change, specifically to illustrate how it is serving as a public good.

Adirondack Diversity Solutions

Cindy Rodriguez of Adirondack Diversity Solutions discusses her company’s focus on helping organizations create diversity and inclusion strategic planning and improve their recruitment and retention, specifically focused on communities of color. She shares how tourism leaders should have a plan on how to improve diversity, by setting goals and benchmarks and then comparing their organization’s current status with those goals to see where the work needs to be done. She shares why diversity work needs to be a part of your organization’s culture rather than a one-hour event or a once-a-year workshop and why diversity and inclusion needs to be a part of new employee onboarding. She explains why communities of color are underserved within the tourism industry traditionally, and she shares why diversity creates a great opportunity to tap into a new market.

Dr. Donathan Brown from Adirondack Diversity Solutions talks about why it is important for tourism leaders to reimagine how they engage communities, organizations, programs and other aspects of tourism. He discusses a partnership with the Adirondack Experience Museum on Blue Mountain Lake to develop a pipeline experiential learning program for college students to offer them a 10-week summer fellowship to introduce them to the museum world. He explains why it is important to have community outreach programs to discuss the tourism industry from the perspective of travelers as well as tourism professionals. He discusses the importance of being intentional in diversity efforts and to set goals internally before working outward.

Visit Rochester

Greg LaDuca with Visit Rochester discusses why tourism leaders need to reach out to middle managers and others within their organization to give them a voice when discussing inclusion. He shares why having a large group of volunteers brainstorming is helpful for inclusivity work and why it is important for leaders to raise community awareness of their work. He discusses the Visitor Industry Council that Visit Rochester has created, and he shares how their monthly council meetings have between 125-150 people attending them, demonstrating the strong hospitality and tourism industry in the county. He shares why having many people collaborating and working together is a powerful way to create new ideas, and why it is important to be committed and active to reap the rewards of interactions within the industry.

Explore & More Children’s Museum

Jeannine Weber Kahabka with the Explore & More Children’s Museum discusses why inclusivity is core to Explore & More’s mission, creating a diverse and welcoming environment where everyone is welcome to play. She shares how the museum has worked to include diversity into each of the exhibits the museum showcases, reflecting the diverse cultures of the Buffalo and Western New York community. She disucsses how Explore & More’s outreach initiatives connect with people across a 90-minute radius around the museum. She talk about why discussing tourism at the conference has been tremendously helpful, and the economic impact the museum hopes to have across the region surrounding their new location.

Oneida County Tourism

Sarah Foster from Oneida County Tourism talks about the importance of digital outreach and social media, and she shares her enthusiasm for the conference and the opportunity to learn from other organizations. She shares how Oneida County is working to foster community engagement through a county “field trip” day and through partnerships with the local radio station and a young scholars’ group at the local college. She discusses efforts she and her staff are taking to get out into the community more often, and she talks about upcoming efforts to interview local organizations and attractions based upon community votes for who they would like to see interviewed. She shares how she is using the conference as an opportunity to gather ideas and learn new processes that other counties and organizations are creating.

Madden Media

Dan Janes from Madden Media shares how tourism leaders can appeal to and speak directly with diverse communities and bring them into your audience by including them in your digital media initiatives. He shares why it is important to rethink how tourism impacts the community at large and not just focus on tourism and hospitality partners within the community. He explains why focusing on a single statistic of “heads in beds” means not recognizing or acknowledging the other experiences within your community that a tourist will have. He discusses the importance of collaboration and trusting your partners to be working in the best interests of your community.

New York Wine & Grape Foundation

Sam Filler of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation discusses why the wine industry seldom discusses inclusivity despite the importance of the topic, and he shares how his organization is working to improve that track record. He talks about why an organization’s website needs to be as accessible to many different people as possible, such as including Closed Captioning in promotional videos. He discusses how his organization has worked with travel writers of diverse backgrounds to engage diverse audiences. He talks through how his organization is working to improve their consumer research by being more inclusive of audiences such as the LGBT community. He shares why it is important to research your audience and better understand them to improve and reframe your marketing, and why “one size fits all” marketing is less effective than diverse and inclusive marketing targeted to communities.

Overview

As my conversations with these industry professionals shows, each of these organizations has recognized the vital part inclusivity plays in expanding their audiences. Each also spoke on the central role travel and tourism leaders have in reshaping the conversation around community engagement, partnerships, and collaboration with others both within and outside the travel industry. In keeping with one of the primary themes of the conference, these organizations show us that tourism truly is everybody’s business.

Resources:

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Jun 3, 2019

We recently attended the 2019 Museum Association of New York annual conference and spoke with attendees from all over New York State representing all types of museums and cultural institutions. I talked with folks from 21 different museums and cultural institutions about how they are creating inclusive environments, attracting new audiences and fitting within the tourism fabric of their community. We used these great insights to create another Museum Series (see last year’s series here) with five episodes filled with knowledge. Through this series, I hope you will find a new perspective on this important segment of the tourism industry.

In this episode, I share my conversations with:

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How The Museum at Bethel Woods works to preserve and showcase the history of the 1960s, leading up to 1969
  • Woodstock Music and Art Fair that took place at the historic site where the museum is now located
  • How an innovative “pay it forward” program is promoting inclusivity by allowing visitors who are financially struggling to still be able to visit the Roberson Museum and Science Center
  • How the Chenango County Historical Society and Museum is intentionally developing partnerships with the Bundy Museum and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum to help promote inclusivity in a region not known for its ethnic diversity
  • How the Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center is promoting inclusivity by partnering with The Arc of Rensselaer County to showcase the work of artists with mental and physical disabilities

The Museum at Bethel Woods

Julia Fell shares the important mission of The Museum at Bethel Woods as a part of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, located in Solomon County, New York. She discusses its role in the preservation of the history of the 1960s, culminating in the Woodstock festival that took place in 1969 on the historic grounds where the museum now stands, and she talks about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival in August 2019. She discusses the efforts Bethel Woods and the museum are making to promote inclusivity through a variety of programming that targets many diverse audiences, she highlights their efforts to meet ADA accessibility standards, and she shares efforts to attract new young audiences. Julia discusses a series of oral history videos highlighting what life was like in the 1960s for young people of the day, contrasted with what life is like for today’s youth. She shares how the museum serves as a primary driver and important economic engine for the local community. She discusses the upcoming 50th anniversary of Woodstock and the boom in interest it is bringing to the museum.

Roberson Museum and Science Center

Natalie Shoemaker explains how the historic Roberson home serves as both the location for and the centerpiece of the Roberson Museum and Science Center located in Binghamton, New York. She discusses efforts to promote inclusivity at the museum including installing non-binary bathrooms and the use of inclusive pronouns. She shares how she wrote up an exhibition about a series of art pieces created by people with mental illness, and she shares the important lesson she learned when she inadvertently used a non-inclusive word in the write-up. She discusses the importance of continual growth and evolution in the area of inclusivity. She talks about the economic depression that is common in the area, and she discusses a “pay it forward” donation program to increase access to struggling community members. She shares efforts to attract new audiences to the museum. She gives information on social media outreach work she and the museum are doing to promote their exhibits. She shares how the museum fits into the local cultural fabric and discusses future opportunities to work with college students and older community members.

Chenango County Historical Society & Museum

Jessica Moquin describes efforts the Chenango County Historical Society and Museum are making to promote inclusivity, despite being located in a region not known for ethnic diversity, through intentional partnerships with other organizations such as the Bundy Museum and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum. She shares how the museum is working to attract new audiences including a structural redesign of their main gallery and hallway lobby, as well as sharing stories about the region and the lasting impact it has made beyond its own borders. She discusses how her museum is one of four in the area, and she shares how the four museums are collaborating to develop an officially designated museum district to promote each other and attract new audiences. She shares future growth opportunities she recognizes for the museum and its more than 40,000 artifacts, eight-structure campus, and almost one hundred active volunteers.

Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center

Anastasia Garceau discusses the variety of historical and educational purposes the Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center in Waterford, New York serves in an effort to preserve and promote local history and heritage. She highlights the diverse backgrounds and perspectives the museum’s volunteers bring to its efforts, and she shares partnerships with groups like The Arc of Rensselaer County, a community-based organization advocating for and serving people with mental and physical disabilities. Anastasia talks about her efforts to create engaging programs covering a broad spectrum of interests that will attract a diverse audience of visitors. She shares how Waterford is a great tourism location with many different and diverse destinations to appeal to travelers, and she shares how this directly benefits the museum and allows to serve as a central location connecting these sites. She discusses how the museum is always looking for growth opportunities and ways to expand their existing programming.

Overview

Each of these organizations is truly committed to tackling inclusivity issues in their own unique and innovative way. From the Roberson Museum and Science Center’s use of non-gendered pronouns and offering of non-binary restroom facilities, to the Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center’s partnership to highlight the artistic contributions of mentally and physically disabled artists, each of these museums has found a remarkable and stand-out way to promote inclusivity, attract diverse new audiences, and further integrate their work with other tourism and cultural efforts of their communities.

Resources:

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

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