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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: May, 2020
May 27, 2020

Neal Sherman is the founder and President of TAGeX Brands, a global firm that creates marketplaces for surplus equipment, inventory, and other assets. With a sound foundation in the food industry, TAGeX has expanded into other sectors and focuses on generating return on assets and reducing waste. TAGeX Brands connects buyers and sellers in a common marketplace. The industries served include retailers, restaurants, grocery chains, manufacturers, distributors and convenience stores.

For over thirty years, TAGeX and its affiliated firms have helped clients deal with the challenges of growth, transition, and decline. Serving up to 35,000 locations per year, TAGeX has been a pioneer in the outsourcing of equipment and facility transitions. The firm boasts a multitude of sales channels that serve clients and customers across the nation.

After years of growth and the need for a larger facility, TAGeX Brands relocated its operations from the Washington D.C. area to the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York, near Sherman’s hometown of Geneva. This move was prompted by his role in the development of a 1,000-acre portion of the former Seneca Army depot.

Sherman is a committed member of the Young Presidents Organization, with 20,000 members in 300 Chapters in 100 Countries. He has served in a number of roles for the group including Chapter Chair of the Empire Chapter in Rochester, New York, home of YPO Founder Ray Hickok. Neal chaired the Miami YPO/WPO Global Leadership Conference.

In 2017, Neal was inducted into the Fellows Program at the Culinary Institute of America, which is widely recognized as the world’s premier culinary college with an industry-wide reputation for excellence and more than 49,000 alumni.

Sherman was appointed to the founding Executive Board of the Remanufacturing Industries Council (RIC). The RIC serves as the industry advocate for all sectors engaged in Remanufacturing, a market valued at over $100 billion, employing over 500,000 people.

Among a variety of charitable pursuits has been a life-long commitment to cancer causes and disadvantaged youth. Sherman has been honored by a number of organizations including Young Women’s College Preparatory School of Rochester, The Center for Youth, and New Leadership for Israel Bonds.

His unique experience and perspective on the restaurant and broader business environment has been sought by the media, business leaders, and government officials. He has provided his perspective and analysis to a range of media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, USA Today, The New York Times, Nation’s Restaurant News, Franchise Times, and the Restaurant Finance Monitor. Sherman has also spoken at a number of industry conferences.

Sherman has a BA in Government from The American University in Washington, D.C., studied Economics at the University of London and received a Masters of Business Administration from New York University. He has been a frequent lecturer on college campuses and an adjunct Professor of Marketing at Columbia Union College.

Neal has been married for over thirty years to his wife Pam, a lawyer, actress, syndicated columnist, and global speaker (www.ThePamSherman.com). They have launched two children in the world and live in Rochester, New York.

On our podcast, we are joined by Neal Sherman, the founder and President of TAGeX Brands. In our discussion, Neal shares his perspective on the hospitality and food industries amidst the global crisis. He talks about what it will look like when we come out on the other side, and what strategies we can use to thrive during this crisis.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Neal’s perspective on the hospitality and food industries amidst the global crisis
  • What the pandemic has done to the restaurant and hospitality industries, and what it will look like when we come out on the other side
  • Strategies that businesses in the hospitality and restaurant industries can use to thrive during this crisis
  • How restaurants are adapting to the limitations of lockdown
  • Some of the initial rollout contingencies we are seeing in Texas, and how restaurants are navigating them
  • How these changes are forcing us to reinvent the restaurant experience
  • How Neal helps businesses monetize what they aren’t using

Restaurants in Distress

Neal Sherman is the founder and President of TAGeX Brands, a global firm that handles all aspects of facility closure and equipment liquidation in the food industry. TAGeX is a mediator between buyers and sellers of restaurant equipment, facilitating transactions in a common marketplace for the betterment of the industry as a whole. On our podcast, Neal shares his perspective on the hospitality and food industries amidst the global crisis. Neal’s experience on the operations side of the restaurant business enables him to provide a unique viewpoint on what the pandemic has done to the industry. He talks about what it will look like when we come out on the other side, and what strategies we can use to thrive during this crisis.

Change is Inevitable

Many of us have seen the numbers depicting the impact that the global pandemic has had on the hospitality and restaurant industries. But Neal Sherman sees them through an entirely different lens. As of last week, 130,000 restaurants were closed in America, eight million people were displaced from their jobs, and the industry will lose about $225B in total. That number is only the operators—if you take into account all of the ancillary industries as well, the numbers are amplified. It is painful to watch, and even more painful to experience, but change is inevitable and we have to figure this out on our own. We can choose to sit in the corner and sulk, or we can get back in the ring and fight—it is our decision to make.

Communication is Key

The thin margins associated with the hospitality industry contribute to its volatility. But restaurants were not made to sustain protracted periods of time with no business. In most industries, businesses do not operate with a six-month cash reserve, and restaurants have even less of a cushion. They are doing what they can to adapt. Creative twists on take-out and delivery strategies are helping restaurant owners recoup some of their losses. But it is only making up around 10-20%. Restaurants have to balance reopening with what is feasible based on their books, but communication is the key to making it work. Many operators are negotiating sacred topics that are never traditionally negotiated, such as bank loans, rent, vendor terms, etc. It is not going to be easy

Episode Transcript

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May 20, 2020

A true visionary and entrepreneur, Brian has over 13 years of experience in the property management and vacation rental industry. Passionate about the budding potential of investing in the Finger Lakes region, and fueled by his love for the area and the outdoors, Brian was inspired to buy 80+ acres of local farmland. Dreaming of the possibilities this land could offer to the public, he formed Lincoln Hill Farms LCC and hired a team of various individuals with the necessary skills and talents to transform this beautiful farmland into an all-inclusive venue and agricultural attraction.

When Brian is not busy working and managing his ventures, he enjoys relaxing with his wife and three children. He also enjoys supporting ROC City Values, a non-profit organization that he founded which sponsors a 5k Walk/Run each June in support of the Rochester City School District.

In this episode of Destination on the Left, we are joined by Brian Mastrosimone, owner of Lincoln Hill Farms on Canandaigua Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of New York state. In our discussion, Brian talks about the challenges of launching his dream business. He also discusses his use of creativity in the development project, which has yielded numerous different types of uses for visiting guests to enjoy.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How the idea for Lincoln Hill Farms was conceived
  • The different expansions and developments Brian spearheaded to make Lincoln Hill Farms what it is today
  • Different types of events and facilities that you will find at the Lincoln Hill Farms compound
  • What Brian has done to help Lincoln Hill Farms stand out from the crowd
  • Brian’s vision for Lincoln Hill Farms this year and in the future
  • How Brian is navigating the challenges posed by the global pandemic
  • Successful partnerships and relationships Brian has formed to collaborate and expand Lincoln Hill Farms
  • Advice for people who are looking to become entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism space

Lincoln Hill Farms

Brian Mastrosimone is the owner of Lincoln Hill Farms, an agricultural attraction and entertainment venue in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. Brian’s background in real estate enabled him to realize his vision for developing over seventy acres on Canandaigua Lake into a multipurpose agricultural destination. This project has spanned the last six years and it is finally coming to fruition, but by no means was it an easy ride. In this episode of Destination on the Left, Brian talks about the challenges of launching his dream business. He also discusses his use of creativity in the development project, which has yielded numerous different types of uses for visiting guests to enjoy.

A Unique Agricultural Destination

Today, Lincoln Hill Farms has expanded to ninety-five acres with three houses, a centralized barn, an event pavilion, and repurposed silos. They do anything from music concerts and family outings to corporate events and weddings. Despite all of the unique attractions that Lincoln Hill Farms has to offer, it is a working farm too. They have animals, an acre garden on which they plan to build a kitchen, and this year they are growing an acre of CBD plants as well. These elements of the farm are not their primary source of revenue, but it adds an extra layer of authenticity to amplify the experience. It takes a creative touch to achieve this type of balance and truly stand out from the crowd.

Driven by a Creative Vision

One of the main drivers of Brian’s creativity is his decision to embrace the farm feel. It is a farm-based more on the space itself and how it is used rather than what the farm produces, and the concept has been unbelievably well received by tourists and locals alike. Everything they do is focused on catering to the visitor’s experience and what those transitions will look like. While Brian navigates the challenges posed by the current global pandemic, he and his team continue to find new ways to realize their vision for Lincoln Hill Farms.

May 13, 2020

Carla Pendergraft is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a B.A. degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has a master’s degree in business from Texas State University. Since 1990, she has worked for the Waco Convention Center and Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau, first in the convention sales area and for the last 4 years, as Director of Marketing. Carla is the proud grandmother of Aviana, who is 8 years old, and Rosie, 2 years.

In this episode of Destination on the Left, Carla Pendergraft, the Director of Marketing for the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau, discusses the growth of tourism in Waco, Texas. She walks us through the introduction of tons of new attractions like Magnolia Market at the Silos, and she explains the impact that television shows like Fixer Upper have made on Waco’s community and brand.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Carla’s journey into the travel and tourism industry
  • What Carla has done to help Waco stand out from the crowd
  • How Waco overcame its negative image and increased tourism
  • How the Waco brand has changed over the last thirty years
  • The main drivers of tourism for Waco and how Carla has leveraged them
  • How CVBs can do their job while serving the locals
  • How destination marketers are playing a role in local support instead of just tourism alone

Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau

Carla Pendergraft is the Director of Marketing for the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau in Waco, Texas. Since 1990, Carla has developed a broad perspective on the success of her community and the Waco brand. She was there for the Waco Siege of the Branch Davidians compound and witnessed the rebound of the Waco brand after the smoke cleared. There is a lot to be said about a community’s willingness to band together and thrive, especially in times like these. That is why Waco continues to stand out after years with Carla at the helm. In this episode, we talk about the success of the Waco brand and how it has changed throughout Carla’s carer. We also discuss the significant impact Magnolia Market at the Silos and Fixer Upper has made on the growth of tourism in Waco.

An Uphill Battle

Carla fell into the CVB world by accident, but she has been there for thirty years now without having the same job once. There are certainly some glamorous elements to the job, but for the most part, it is all about getting in the trenches and figuring out how to make your destination stand out. Because of Waco’s history, standing out was never the problem. It created an uphill battle for destination marketers like Carla who were tasked with shedding Waco’s negative image. Texans have always known Waco well, but people across the world determine the appeal of smaller destinations in one or two thoughts—if they are negative, it is a lot harder to market the destination.

Putting Waco on the Map

As time went on, the Waco community began to develop organically. Baylor was always a major driver of tourism and as the school grew, so did the travel market. Waco became home to many new attractions like the Waco Mammoth National Monument, the Texas Rangers Museum, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and it is the birthplace of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Fixer Upper on HGTV. Everyone in Waco has a story about how the television show impacted their life. It completely changed the public perception of Waco and made the CVB’s job so much easier. Instead of fighting a negative image, they could focus on using creativity to grow. There is always a way to cut through the noise with creativity and collaboration, and Waco is a testament to that.

May 6, 2020

Rebekah Greenhill is the director of sales and marketing at Greenhill Winery & Vineyards in Middleburg, Virginia. She and her husband, David Greenhill, also own and operate Middleburg Life magazine and Greenhill Stables. They are based in Middleburg during the summer and Wellington, Florida in the winter for the equestrian and polo season.

In this episode of Destination on the Left, Rebekah Greenhill, the director of sales and marketing at Greenhill Winery & Vineyards, shares Greenhill’s story. She explains what brought national and international recognition to this Virginia farm winery. And she talks about some of the strategic partnerships that helped them expand into new markets.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How Greenhill Winery & Vineyards shares the Virginia farm life with their guests
  • The different types of strategic partnerships Greenhill formed to grow their business
  • How Greenhill built an entirely unique experience for its visitors
  • What Greenhill is doing to stand out from the crowd
  • The types of visitors that Greenhill is targeting and how they target them
  • How Rebekah has used creativity to solve unique marketing challenges in the wine industry
  • How Greenhill is working with the local community to build its brand

Greenhill Winery & Vineyards

Last year we had the pleasure of doing an episode with Beth Erickson, the president and CEO of the Loudon Convention & Visitors Association. Loudon County has become the premier region of East Coast wine and Beth provided us with a glimpse into the development of Virginia’s wine industry. So, to learn even more about the growth of Virginia’s wine scene, we invited Rebekah Greenhill, the director of sales and marketing at Greenhill Winery & Vineyards, to join us next. In the latest episode of the Destination on the Left podcast, Rebekah explains how Greenhill designed a unique visitor experience and how they formed strategic partnerships to grow their business.

100% Virginian Wine

The Virginia climate poses major challenges for winemakers in the area because the weather is erratic and the soil is not always perfect. So, one of the ways that Greenhill Winery & Vineyards stands out from the crowd is by embracing those challenges and showcasing the unique flavor profiles that they create. Greenhill uses 100% Virginia grapes while other local wineries outsource them, so it makes Greenhill more consistent, but it also captures the essence of Virginia’s unique soil and climate. The 100% Virginian wines have received national and international recognition with characteristics that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Build a Unique Visitor Experience

Another way that Greenhill Winery & Vineyards has cut through the noise and built their brand is by showcasing their identity as a privately-owned farm winery. Greenhill has truly embraced the farm life and it has been woven into the visitor experience as a whole. Guests get to witness the whole operation, not just the tasting room, and they have cows, honey bees, horses, and much more. Greenhill is inviting its visitors to join this lifestyle and be apart of a unique experience that very few wineries can offer. To learn more about the growth of the Virginia wine industry and what the future holds for Greenhill, listen to the latest episode of Destination on the Left.

We will be hosting our second Destination on the Left Virtual Summit featuring 15 amazing speakers that will be held on April 1-3. The great thing about this summit is it’s free! There is no travel cost for you and you can do it from the comfort of your own office. Click here to learn more details: https://breaktheicemedia.com/podcast/summit/

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