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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: July, 2020
Jul 29, 2020

For Destination on the Left’s solocast episode, I want to talk to you about virtual events. Our team has been working with several clients to assist them with virtual event planning, and so much valuable information has come out of our experiences. On our podcast, we talk about why you should consider virtual events, what a virtual event is, and how to host your own virtual event. We also walk through a virtual event case study that exemplifies the process of turning a live event into a virtual event.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why you should consider virtual events for your business
  • What virtual events are and how they are structured
  • The different types of virtual events
  • How to host a virtual event, and the technology behind it
  • How to determine what type of virtual event is best aligned with your organization’s goals
  • The benefits and drawbacks of using the video feature in virtual events
  • The best digital platforms you can use to conduct your virtual events
  • Live content vs. prerecorded
  • How to incorporate interactive elements into your virtual event

Are Virtual Events Right for Your Business?

For Destination on the Left’s solocast episode, I want to talk to you about virtual events, Our team has been working with several clients to assist them with virtual event planning, and so much valuable information has come out of our experiences. On our podcast, we talk about why you should consider virtual events in the first place. Then, we look at what a virtual event actually is, and how to host your own virtual event from a technological perspective. We also walk through a virtual event case study that exemplifies the process of turning a live event into a virtual event. This is a huge opportunity for all types of businesses, and it will provide you with tons of useful skills and content as business resumes.

Virtual is Here to Stay

There is a lot of skepticism around virtual events. Businesses aren’t quite convinced of their longevity, engagement, and trackability. But the reality is that virtual events are here to stay. As hybrid events become the norm, there will be tons of new audiences to reach in new ways. Virtual events provide a one-on-one, intimate meeting style where buyers and sellers can plan for the future. In group settings, more people can participate in virtual events due to lower costs and lack of travel requirements. On top of that, all of the digital assets created for virtual events can be leveraged over and over again as time moves on. You can build on what you have, and repurpose content to build a robust resources library that will continue to generate business down the road.

Working with Strategic Partners

From virtual summits and conferences to consumer activations and award ceremonies, there are a bunch of different types of virtual events that your business can host. Depending on your organization’s goals, resources, and timeline, some virtual events are much more effective than others. Marketing agencies are in the best position to help you select the best option and put it together because they utilize content development and digital marketing strategies on a daily basis. Even if you don’t have most of the skills needed to develop a virtual event in-house. It is easy to collaborate with a strategic partner and create something memorable. Virtual events are a great way to build momentum as lockdowns are lifted, so I highly recommend incorporating one into your 2020 marketing strategy.

Jul 22, 2020

JoAnna Haugen is a seasoned writer, speaker, and founder of Rooted, a solutions-storytelling platform. Her work has been published in more than 60 print and online publications, including Fast Company, Popular Science, Mongabay, BBC, and CNN. Her time as a returned Peace Corps volunteer, commercial travel writer, intrepid world traveler, international election observer, and American expatriate informed the establishment of Rooted, a storytelling platform at the intersection of sustainable travel, environmental conservation, and community-focused advocacy efforts. Rooted’s mission is to responsibly document, support, celebrate, and share sustainable travel initiatives that put communities first and to help others do the same. Learn more about JoAnna’s background here: https://www.joannahaugen.com/about/

Destination on the Left is joined by JoAnna Haugen, the founder of Rooted, a solutions storytelling platform. On our podcast, JoAnna and I have an amazing conversation about using the diverse voices of a local community to help tell that destination’s story. JoAnna talks about how the world is a messy place, and she shares her thoughts around embracing the messiness to develop a greater sense of authenticity. Learn how JoAnna uses authenticity, creativity, and collaboration to navigate the new challenges posed by the global pandemic.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • JoAnna’s journey into the travel and tourism industry
  • Why JoAnna was inspired to combat the damage caused by travel writing by creating her own storytelling platform
  • How Rooted is helping destinations thrive
  • Rooted’s three target audiences, and how the platform brings them together as a cohesive force
  • How JoAnna is using her platform to promote responsible travel communication and sustainable travel
  • How JoAnna’s experiences in Kenya shaped her entire perspective of the travel and tourism industry
  • JoAnna’s perspective on what destinations should be doing to stand out from the crowd
  • How destinations can embrace the diverse voices of their communities
  • Different ways destinations are using authenticity, creativity, and collaboration to navigate the new challenges posed by the global pandemic
  • Projects that JoAnna will be introducing in the near future
  • Best practices from JoAnna’s Collaboration in Crisis Guide

The Power of Storytelling in Travel and Tourism

JoAnna Haugen is the founder of Rooted, a solutions storytelling platform seated at the intersection of sustainable travel, environmental conservation, and community-based advocacy efforts. On our podcast, JoAnna and I have an amazing conversation about using the diverse voices of a local community to help tell that destination’s story. JoAnna talks about how the world is a messy place, and she shares her thoughts around embracing the messiness to develop a greater sense of authenticity. Learn how JoAnna uses authenticity, creativity, and collaboration to navigate the new challenges posed by the global pandemic.

Local Solutions with a Global Impact

JoAnna says that “local solutions can have a global impact,” and that nugget inspired her to look for ways to combat the damage and destruction that travel writing has on the destinations we travel to and the people we meet while we’re there. It culminated in the creation of her storytelling platform “Rooted,” which aims to responsibly document, support, celebrate, and share sustainable travel initiatives that put communities first and help others do the same. We need to communicate about people, places, and the planet in a way that can activate impactful change. To accomplish this, JoAnna focuses on three specific audiences: travel service providers, representatives for local travel initiatives, and content creators.

Responsible, Sustainable Travel and Tourism

Many of us travel to certain places because the people there have shaped the destination as we know it. At the end of the day, JoAnna’s goal is to lift up local people, enterprises, and communities to highlight the work they’re doing and create vibrant destinations. That is what drives Rooted’s initiative to amplify everything being done on the local level. And in the midst of this global pandemic, we have an opportunity to tell an even greater story. If we want to maintain a sustainable travel and tourism industry moving forward, we need to do so in a way that lifts destinations up and paints them as something more than a pretty backdrop.

Jul 15, 2020

There’s a southern accent, where Courtney Kasper comes from. She is a Sweet Home Alabama native, Florida State and Syracuse University graduate, and a Poodle person. Courtney is the current Equal Rights Heritage Center Visitor Experience Manager. She is a former associate publisher of Today’s Central New York Woman, and a journalist with work featured in Time Out New York and Dance Magazine. Courtney is a direct descendant of Revolutionary heroine Nancy Morgan Hart, otherwise known as War Woman.

Destination on the Left is joined by Courtney Kasper, the Visitor Experience Manager at the Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn, New York. On our podcast, Courtney and I have an amazing conversation where she shares her approach to “being patient where you are with your place in life.” We talk about the vast amount of ways that idea ties into her current work and the state of crisis we are currently experiencing. She walks us through the process she used to create a powerful brand identity for the building she was hired to manage. She also discusses the many collaborations and creative breakthroughs that enabled her organization to successfully navigate the challenges of the pandemic.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The purpose behind the welcome center and how it ties into Courtney’s backstory
  • The collaborative nature of the City of Auburn Historic and Cultural Sites Commission
  • How Courtney has used creativity to help Auburn stand out from other destinations in the area
  • How Courtney overcame the challenge of developing the welcome center’s brand identity while preserving its history
  • Different ways that Courtney has used creativity to navigate the pandemic
  • What it means to “be patient where you are with your place in life” and how it relates to the work Courtney is doing now

The Equal Rights Heritage Center

Courtney Kasper is the Visitor Experience Manager at the Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn, New York. On our podcast, Courtney and I have an amazing conversation where she shares her approach to “being patient where you are with your place in life.” We talk about the vast amount of ways that idea ties into her current work and the state of crisis we are currently experiencing. She walks us through the process she used to create a powerful brand identity for the building she was hired to manage. She also discusses the many collaborations and creative breakthroughs that enabled her organization to successfully navigate the challenges of the pandemic.

More Than a Welcome Center

The Equal Rights Heritage Center is unique because it is technically the official welcome center for the city of Auburn, New York. It is the headquarters for the City of Auburn Historic and Cultural Sites Commission, which was started to create a round table for all of the different site directors so they could create strategies to boost tourism in Auburn together. With exhibits like “Seeing Equal Rights in NYS,” however, it is so much more than a welcome center. They are trying to promote tourism, but more importantly, they are trying to tell Auburn’s story and the stories of the amazing people who made Auburn what it is today.

Creating a New Brand Identity

The collaboration between all of the historic and cultural sites has yielded great results for the City of Auburn. But creativity is what really helped the destination stand out from the pack. The Equal Rights Heritage Center has so many things under one roof, so Courtney had to develop a brand identity that captured the right amount of everything. Through the Market New York program, Courtney was able to work with an agency to create a powerful campaign highlighting the unique welcome center building and its equal rights exhibit. They built out content to highlight the unique backstory of the building, and they designed events to celebrate other aspects of Auburn as well. It was a difficult challenge, but Courtney was able to reinvent the welcome center’s brand while preserving its history.

Jul 8, 2020

Adam Stoker has been in marketing now since 2007. In 2012, he got his first experience in marketing for tourism destinations. From that point forward, he knew he had found his passion. Since then, Adam has worked with destinations across the country to improve their marketing, branding, and use of technology.

He is the President and CEO of an advertising agency focused on marketing for tourism destinations. It’s called Relic, and it’s in Provo, Utah.

Adam started the Destination Marketing Podcast in May of 2019. After having so many amazing guests come on the show and share their knowledge, he realized he needed to curate all of that content into a book. This is his first time doing something like that and he’s really proud of it.

Adam’s hope is to release a new edition every year, as the industry is always changing.

He is a father of four and married to the girl of his dreams. Without their support, this never would have been possible. Adam lives in Salem, Utah.

Destination on the Left is joined by Adam Stoker, the President and CEO of Relic, an advertising agency in Provo, Utah that specializes in destination marketing. On our podcast, Adam talks about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the tourism industry as a whole. He shares examples of creative marketing that has helped destinations stand out at this time. And he also explains what destination marketers can do to reach the right audiences at the right time during reopening travel.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Adam’s journey into travel and tourism
  • How starting his career during the Great Recession prepared him to deal with the COVID-crisis
  • Brands that have done an amazing job using creativity and collaboration to stand out from the crowd
  • The impact of crisis on creativity in the world of destination marketing
  • How Adam’s agency has used creativity to overcome recent challenges
  • How Adam helped his clients navigate the unique obstacles presented by the pandemic
  • What Adam’s team came up with to help clients stay top of mind in a socially responsible way
  • How Relic approached its clients’ recovery campaigns
  • How to access Adam’s worksheet to create a plan and implement the changes

Marketing for Post-Lockdown Travel

Adam Stoker is the President and CEO of Relic, an advertising agency in Provo, Utah that specializes in destination marketing. He is also the host of the Destination Marketing Podcast, where he interviews industry experts from a wide range of tourism focuses. On our podcast, Adam joins us to talk about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the tourism industry as a whole. He shares examples of creative marketing that has helped destinations stand out during this crisis. And he also explains what destination marketers can do to reach the right audiences at the right time in the reopening travel market.

A Resurgence of Creativity

There is a whole generation of people in the destination marketing industry that has not lived through a crisis. Adam’s journey into the travel and tourism industry started at the beginning of the great recession, and it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Learning how to navigate a crisis is going to benefit you for the rest of your career because challenges will continue to arise. Ten years of sustainable growth has devalued creativity in the travel and tourism industry, but this crisis has forced brands to find new ways to stand out from the crowd. DMOs generally operate within a small geographic area with similar features to their competitors, so it is important to move past the first idea at the brainstorming session. From Oregon’s animated campaign to Nebraska’s “Nebraska is Not for Everyone” campaign, there is a lot of good stuff out there right now.

Backs Against the Wall

Times of crisis produce some of the greatest challenges DMOs will ever have to overcome. But when our backs are against the wall, we inevitably do some of our very best work. Since every single one of Adam’s clients was facing similar struggles as a result of the pandemic, the first thing on the agenda was to create temporary destination messages to keep them top of mind. The next step was to help clients create their recovery campaigns, which for many of them would be the difference between having a job or not having a job when everything is all said and done. Adam’s team produced some of the greatest work they have ever done during that time, and it will have a significant impact on their clients moving forward.

Jul 1, 2020

Colleen Siuzdak is the Manager of VISIT Staten Island, a campaign run out of the Staten Island Borough President James Oddo’s Office of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. This office, created in June 2017, invites visitors to explore the borough’s many parks and cultural attractions, while encouraging residents to explore their own backyard. Start your journey to Staten Island on the free Staten Island Ferry and see the many offerings of the Unexpected Borough!

Jennifer Sammartino is a former journalist and experienced communications professional with a particular interest in serving the community. She’s fresh off serving as the first-ever Director of Tourism and Cultural Affairs for the Office of the Staten Island Borough President. And she is ecstatic to take on new challenges as Deputy Chief of Staff.

Destination on the Left is joined by Colleen Siuzdak and Jennifer Sammartino from the Staten Island Office of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. During our conversation, Colleen, Jennifer, and I discuss the different ways VISIT Staten Island entices visitors to explore the Unexpected Borough. We talk about the challenges of marketing a destination so close to Manhattan, and the creative ways in which VISIT Staten Island has collaborated to boost tourism!

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Colleen and Jennifer’s journey into the travel and tourism industry
  • How the free Staten Island Ferry has made an impact on the Unexpected Borough’s visitor numbers
  • Why the VISIT Staten Island campaign entices visitors to explore the many offerings of the Unexpected Borough
  • The challenges of marketing a destination in such close proximity to Manhattan
  • Creative ways in which VISIT Staten Island has collaborated to boost tourism
  • How the decline in international travel has impacted their marketing strategy
  • How Colleen and Jennifer have embraced Staten Island’s parks and lower population density as they restructure their marketing efforts
  • Best practices that have made Colleen and Jennifer’s partnerships successful
  • How Colleen and Jennifer are taking a more holistic approach to destination marketing

VISIT Staten Island

Colleen Siuzdak and Jennifer Sammartino join us from the office of the Staten Island Borough President, James. S. Oddo! Colleen is the manager of VISIT Staten Island, a campaign highlighting the borough’s many parks and cultural attractions for visitors and locals alike. Jennifer is the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. Together, they form an unstoppable destination marketing team. In our conversation, Colleen, Jennifer, and I discuss the different ways VISIT Staten Island entices visitors to explore the Unexpected Borough. We talk about the challenges of marketing a destination so close to Manhattan, and the creative ways in which VISIT Staten Island has collaborated to boost tourism!

The Unexpected Borough

As we all know, the tourism and hospitality industry is extremely competitive—especially when a destination is nestled in the heart of a tier-one city like NYC. To help the Unexpected Borough stand out from the crowd, Colleen and Jennifer stretched their creative and collaborative efforts as far as they would go. They worked with the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce to hire a marketing agency that could help with some of the heavy lifting. They held workshops with cultural stakeholders in the area such as museums and art galleries, so they could rebrand Staten Island through that lens. Colleen and Jennifer created a unique and refreshing image for Staten Island, which gave them a platform to form partnerships and build itineraries moving forward.

You Haven’t Seen New York Until You’ve Seen Staten Island

The ”Unexpected Borough” tag line has taken off, and people are using it everywhere. It has been so well-received because the entire campaign is completely void of desperation and packed with confidence. Staten Island isn’t begging people to visit, they are asserting the notion that you haven’t truly seen New York without visiting Staten Island. There is so much to offer, and so much love to spread, which is why Colleen and Jennifer have seen such a great return on their investment in this project. When people finally do get to see Staten Island, they are proactively sharing their experiences for the world to see. It has created a compound effect that is driving visitor traffic to this day.

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