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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: September, 2020
Sep 30, 2020

Rick Antonson is the author of the travel narratives: To Timbuktu for a Haircut: A Journey Through West AfricaRoute 66 Still Kicks: Driving Americas Main Street, and Full Moon Over Noah’s Ark: An Odyssey to Mount Ararat and Beyond. He is the co-author of Slumachs Gold: In Search of a Legend. He was president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver, is past chair of the board for the Destinations International, based in Washington, DC, and served as deputy chair for the Pacific Asia Tourism Association, based in Bangkok, Thailand. He speaks around the world about the multi-generational philosophy Cathedral Thinking. Rick and his wife Janice make their home in Predator Ridge, Okanagan Valley, Canada. You can find him online at www.rickantonson.com and www.cathedralthinking.com.

Destination on the Left is joined by Rick Antonson, the former president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver, the past chair of the board for Destinations International, based in Washington, DC, and the former deputy chair for the Pacific Asia Tourism Association, based in Bangkok, Thailand. He initially joined us on Episode #44, where we talked about using cathedral thinking to create a brighter future. During our conversation, we talk about the importance of scenario planning and managing a crisis. We discuss the different ways the pandemic has shown tourism affects everyone. And we discuss the power of cathedral thinking in rebuilding the future.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What was going through Rick’s mind as the pandemic gained momentum and spread across the globe
  • Rick’s approach to crisis management in the tourism industry
  • What we should be doing to respond to the crisis right now to prepare our destinations for regrowth
  • The concept of cathedral thinking, and how DMOs can use it to plan for rebuilding in the future
  • Different ways in which the pandemic has shown tourism’s effect on entire communities

What Comes Next After COVID?

Rick Antonson is the former president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver, the past chair of the board for Destinations International, based in Washington, DC, and the former deputy chair for the Pacific Asia Tourism Association, based in Bangkok, Thailand. He initially joined us on Episode #44, where we talked about using cathedral thinking to create a brighter future. During our conversation, we talk about the importance of scenario planning in managing a crisis. We also discuss the different ways the pandemic has shown tourism’s effect on entire communities. And we discuss the power of cathedral thinking in rebuilding the future.

Crisis Management 101

At first, we were facing more of a business and marketing crisis than a worldwide shutdown like we see today. That is the first step in crisis management—identifying you are actually IN a crisis. But in crisis management, the most immediate thing is to then determine what the situation is and get the facts. This enables tourism organizations to have more strategic discussions based in realism, not idealism. You can’t react to a crisis based on what you wish was happening or somebody’s artificial forecast. You have to react based on the facts, and sometimes you have to go below the surface to get away from the noise and piece together what is really happening.

Stepping Stones

Rick recently authored an op-ed that ran in the Vancouver Sun titled “Immediate Financial Assistance Needed to Save BC Tourism Sector.” In this piece, Rick talks about the importance of funding tourism now in order to regain lost business by the year 2023. This is not a quick rebound. Even if a vaccine is approved and distributed in major markets across the globe, it will take time for the wheels to start turning again. People have to individually want to travel again—not desire. But making travel a priority when they’re concerned with getting back to work and replenishing their savings is also going to take time. The pandemic has taken a toll on our industry, but we do have the power to rebuild it better than before.

Sep 23, 2020

Living in Southern Africa for 12 years, Thomas has 20 years of experience in the Hospitality and Tourism sector while working for brands like TUI and Thomas Cook in 8 countries and cultures. His focus on digital marketing and distribution, the turnaround of Hospitality and Tourism businesses, and the opening of Hotels has made him a Digital Native Hospitality and Tourism professional. Before that, he started his career with the largest commercial company, METRO, in Europe and IBM, where he evolved his career in IT, software development, and systems integration. It is this combined commercial, IT, Digital, and Hospitality and Tourism experience that created the holistic approach of Rainmaker Digital.

Destination on the Left is joined by Thomas Mueller, the founder and CEO of Rainmaker Digital. Rainmaker is a social enterprise with a clear target to keep more tourism spend in destinations through the democratization of technology. On our podcast, Thomas joins us to talk about how his company is helping clients keep more of the tourism spend in their destinations by disrupting the digital value chain. He shares his take on why Coronavirus is the biggest opportunity of our lifetime, and he also talks about sustainable tourism from an economic perspective.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Thomas’ journey into the travel and tourism industry
  • Why there were such profound skills gaps in small and mid-sized hospitality businesses during the digital transformation of travel and tourism
  • Thomas Mueller’s 5 Stages of Success, and how destinations are using it to transform their travel ecosystems in South Africa
  • How Rainmaker is eliminating the complexities of the digital revolution in hospitality
  • Why Coronavirus is the biggest opportunity of our lifetime in travel and tourism
  • How the role of DNCs will change as a result of COVID
  • How Thomas has seen creativity used throughout the pandemic
  • Why economic sustainability is as critical as environmental and social sustainability in the travel and tourism industry

Rainmaker Digital

Thomas Mueller is the founder and CEO of Rainmaker Digital, a social enterprise with a clear target to keep more tourism spend in destinations through the democratization of technology. This technology enables destinations and their hospitality and tourism businesses to take back control of their visibility, digital presence, reputation, communication, and distribution. On our podcast, Thomas joins us to talk about how his company is helping clients keep more of the tourism spend in their destinations by disrupting the digital value chain. He shares his take on why Coronavirus is the biggest opportunity of our lifetime, and he also talks about sustainable tourism from an economic perspective.

Adapting to the Digital Market

Thomas brings so many different viewpoints to the table because he has worked with teams in almost every corner of the travel and tourism industry. He experienced the digital transformation in real-time, and he helped businesses thrive by staying in front of the rapid changes. But during this process, he discovered massive skills gaps in small and medium-sized businesses who were struggling to adapt to the digital market. All of the various roles were siloed and cut-off from the core business, so they failed to communicate with each other and couldn’t deliver what the customer wanted. Thomas used the 5-Stages of Success to guide these teams to a more holistic approach to destination marketing.

A Holistic Managed Service

The five stages are streaming, planning, booking, experiencing, and sharing, and Thomas Mueller made it available as a holistic managed service. All of the stages became integrated and interdependent on one another, which allowed them to perform at a much higher level. Then, because it is a managed service, hospitality businesses can easily overcome the skills gaps. With the responsibility in Rainmaker’s hands, the clients can focus on what they do best; making customers happy. Rainmaker makes sure there are customers coming through the doors without any complexity or technical challenges.

Keep More Tourism Spend in Destinations for Sustainable Tourism Development | getenabled@rainmaker.travel

Episode Transcript

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Sep 16, 2020

James is Partner and Co-founder of Rove Marketing, a leading tourism data, analytics, and consulting firm. They are focused on helping tourism organizations become more data-driven, so they are better positioned to navigate change, maximize travel visitation, and ultimately drive revenue growth.

He brings over 20 years of strategic knowledge in CRM, customer experience management, data and analytics, branding, and digital marketing strategy.

Destination on the Left is joined by James Sauter, a partner and co-founder of Rove Marketing. Rove is a leading tourism data, analytics, and consulting firm focused on helping tourism organizations become more data-driven, so they are better positioned to navigate change, maximize travel visitation, and ultimately drive revenue growth. On our podcast, James talks about how destinations are using mobile location data to inform their early recovery plans, how residents sentiment data can help with recovery and rebuilding and how collaboration will fuel the future of tourism.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • James’ vision with Rove and the services they offer
  • The two areas in which Rove works with tourism organizations to help them utilize data
  • How Rove has used data to help tourism organizations navigate the pandemic
  • The tourism dashboards Rove is building all over the world, and how they work
  • How Rove is tracking resident sentiment to support destinations and drive tourism traffic
  • How mobile location data and other sources are being used creatively to help destinations recover
  • What role data will play in transforming destinations to fit the “new normal”
  • How this data collection and analysis process will eventually be able to span multiple destinations and entire regions

Rove Marketing

James Sauter is a partner and co-founder of Rove Marketing. Rove is a leading tourism data, analytics, and consulting firm focused on helping tourism organizations become more data-driven, so they are better positioned to navigate change, maximize travel visitation, and ultimately drive revenue growth. On our podcast, James talks about how destinations are using mobile location data to inform their early recovery plans, how residents sentiment data can help with recovery and rebuilding and how collaboration will fuel the future of tourism. He explains how we can better use data to plan for the future during these uncertain times.

The Power of Data Collection

Before COVID, everything pointed to massive growth in the tourism industry. It was a major opportunity for Rove to get in on the ground floor and help tourism organizations make better decisions by leveraging data technology and their insights. They accomplish this by providing full-service consulting and data collection services under one roof. And data collection is more important now than ever. It has played a huge role in understanding what is happening in the travel industry as consumer trends/government regulations change. Using that information, DMOs can plan the best course of action and pivot as needed.

How to Use the Data You Collect

One of the areas where James’ team found its stride was with mobile location data. As we work through this fragmented reopening process, it is important to know where people are, where they’re visiting within a location, how long they’re staying, and their demographic. This can help destinations drastically during the early stages of recovery. They are also using creativity to leverage data in other ways, such as sourcing rating and review information. Rove can pull all of the reviews for restaurants, hotels, attractions, etc. and put them into a scale to track performance. Obviously, when COVID hit, there was a dip in data for this tool, but everything is proving extremely valuable as tourism reopens.

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/

Sep 9, 2020

In Destination on the Left’s solocast episode, we share the process that our team recently developed to reset our forward-thinking mindset. We found that when you challenge yourself and your team to move past the perceived limitation of uncertainty and stay focused on the future, many opportunities will appear. This solocast is an opportunity to discuss our company’s experience and the tools we used to get back on track during the pandemic’s challenging times.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to assume a solutions-oriented, forward-thinking mindset during this challenging pandemic
  • The meeting agenda we use for our team strategy meeting
  • How to implement the processes from Gino Wickman’s “Traction” in your own organization
  • The benefits of performing a SWOT analysis to generate forward-focused questions that guide your team’s discussion
  • How to use Traction’s IDS process to solve unique business problems that arose during your strategy meeting
  • How to create a forward-focused gameplan and define every team member’s role so you can execute with maximum efficiency

Working Together to Plan for the Future

In Destination on the Left’s solocast episode, we share the process that our team recently developed to reset our forward-thinking mindset. We found that when you challenge yourself and your team to move past the perceived limitation of uncertainty and stay focused on the future, many opportunities will appear. This solocast is an opportunity to discuss our company’s experience and the tools we used to get back on track during the pandemic’s challenging times.

Strategic Meeting

One of the first pieces of our process is the meeting strategy. Using techniques from Gino Wickman’s book Traction, we run through financials, new projects, accomplishments, upcoming projects, and our current business plan that was updated in May. Our business plan depicts the Traction model, which includes our core values, mission, vision, marketing strategy, and 3-year picture. This segues into a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). From there, we move to forward-focused questions segment about our team and performance as an organization. Then, we used those questions to identify goals that will carry us through the end of the year and into 2021.

Identify and Solve Your Issues

The IDS format is another Traction piece that we have used to maintain a forward-thinking mindset. With this method, you first identify the problem you want to solve, then collect feedback from your team, and work together to figure out the best solution. In our case, it was whether or not to renew our lease given the current circumstances of COVID-19. We weighed the pros and cons of working from home, and the IDS process prevented us from talking in circles so we could reach a solution. Once everyone on your team understands the gameplan and knows their role in how you’re going to move forward, you will build momentum extremely fast.

Additional Resources:

Sep 2, 2020

Sanger is the leading ambassador and advocate for museums in New York. She produces programs that promote best practices and deepen connections with members and constituents. She seeks new programs and funding opportunities for museums and the organization; maintains and develops relationships with stakeholders including museum professionals, industry partners, state and federal funding agencies, private foundations, local, state, regional, and federal government officials, and leaders of peer institutions and arts organizations. Created a state-wide partnership with Smithsonian Institutions Museum on Main Street Program. Doubled organizational membership and income. Instrumental in legislative initiatives to secure new state funding sources for museums.

Destination on the Left is joined again by Erika Sanger, Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York State! She made her first appearance on Episode #25, where we talked about the role of museums in New York State’s tourism and economic development. But a lot has changed since then. On our podcast, Erika discusses the different ways museums continue to innovate and change to meet visitor needs during the pandemic. From online and virtual programming to redefining the physical spaces, this part of our industry is doing everything possible to adapt.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Erika’s role as the Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York State
  • How the changes Erika’s organization has made over the last several years prepared them to pivot during the pandemic
  • How Erika has helped and supported other members of her industry throughout the pandemic
  • Which parts of the museum have taken the largest hit from the pandemic, and how that will impact them moving forward
  • The silver linings to the global pandemic and its impact on museums
  • How museums have leveraged different platforms to create a profound virtual experience for visitors to enjoy at home

The Museum Association of New York State

Erika Sanger is the Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York State. She made her first appearance on Episode #25, where we talked about the role of museums in New York State’s tourism and economic development. But a lot has changed since then. On our podcast, Erika discusses the different ways museums continue to innovate and change to meet visitor needs during the pandemic. From online and virtual programming to redefining the physical spaces, this part of our industry is doing everything possible to adapt.

Stretched Thin, But Still Fighting

It has been nearly six months since the global pandemic shut down our world economy, closed borders, and brought the travel industry to a complete standstill. We are doing everything in our power to keep up, and the levels of creativity and collaboration in the travel industry are evolving at an unprecedented rate. As the world slowly re-opens under limited circumstances, associations like the Museum Association of New York State are leading the charge, helping the struggling industry stay afloat and build momentum.

The Post-COVID Museum Experience

All of this change and adaptation begs the question, what will the post-COVID museum experience and landscape actually look like? With such a massive economic hit, many of the client-facing positions of the industry have been eliminated. We have lost so many future leaders of their respective fields, and the only thing museums can do is hope for more support and continue to be resilient. Increased social media presence, data collection, and a general pivot to virtual was the ultimate savior of museums at this time. They are creating the virtual mirror of the museum experience as we know it, and it has seen great success.

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