“Using Strategic Partnerships and Tools to Promote a Destination”: Jessica McClellan – Show Notes

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic Agency
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Jessica McClellan
  • Position: Manager of the Convention and Visitors Bureau at the City of Mesquite, Texas
  • Favorite Destination: Durban, South Africa
  • Dream Destination: China and Scotland

“Using Strategic Partnerships and Tools to Promote a Destination” – Show Notes and Highlights


Show Highlights 

About Jessica McClellan

  • Jessica is well-traveled. Her favorite trip was to Durban, South Africa where she met kind people. She went on a safari, saw the Drakensberg Mountains and heard the Drakensberg Boys Choir, stayed in a little thatched-roof hut, and swam in the Indian Ocean. 
  • With Scottish Heritage, she looks forward to going to Scotland this August to gather with a group of McClellan’s — her worldwide extended family members — to learn about her genealogy and visit McClellan’s Castle.
  • People and relationships are a huge part of travel and her job.


Jessica’s Background

  • Jessica used to work for the State of Utah. It can be hard going from a big state with lots of resources to a small destination, but that doesn’t stop Jessica. She loves that she has autonomy and she can pivot easily and make changes quickly. 
  • At the State of Utah, she spent a lot of time doing RFPs and putting things out to bid. Now, she has complete autonomy with her budget. 


Visit Mesquite, Texas

  • Being the head of Visit Mesquite, Jessica loves the autonomy. Compared to the State of Utah, she views this position with much more flexibility. She loves relationships as well, so when Good Morning America was coming to cover the town, she was excited and able to quickly put together a private rodeo during the day. She compiled all the plans within nine days!
  • At the beginning of her new position, she was told to create a new brand. She created focus groups of stakeholders in the area and called a meeting. Calling the meeting helped her show that she was leading the group. She built strategic relationships with the economic development department.
  • Every day, Jessica comes into the office and looks at a long spreadsheet of tasks that need to be accomplished with a column for priority. She re-sorts the priority list every morning to see what needs to be done. Then, she spends her morning on strategic thinking: mission, vision, and big picture things. All of this helps her accomplish tasks and delegate tasks to her team to be more effective and efficient.
  • Jessica loves Artificial Intelligence (AI) because she likes making data-driven decisions. She was able to put out an RFP and get a digital marketing SEO firm. 
  • She also suggests the book “The Algorithmic Leader” by Mike Walsh.
  • As a small destination that is relatively unknown, it’s fun to try many different digital tools that help you see a lot of growth. 


Digital Tools

  • Google My Business: This is free for businesses to use when updating your listing on the search engine. Often, the public is on mobile devices and don’t realize that the listing Google populates is not your website. You need to make sure your listing is accurate because people, especially older generations will treat it as your website. Jessica has set up training and sat by many of her stakeholders to help them learn these tools and keep their listings updated. 
  • She also collaborated with many stakeholders to hire a company to film virtual tours for 26 local businesses in the city with the intent to add those virtual tours to their Google My Business listing.
  • TripAdvisor: Your listing on TripAdvisor is free too. Jessica has trained many of her stakeholders on how to update their listing there as well. 
  • No matter what it is, a blog post, photos, and more, they should put it on their Google My Business and TripAdvisor page.
  • These tools have been successfully working. They’ve seen a big increase. TripAdvisor called and told her “we’ve never seen this.” She has been able to bring up the average daily room rate in her city $11 — that’s unheard of.

The cost of marketing, in general, is free.

Jessica had a friend share with her at the Google marketing conference that soon the only way to stay relevant will be to create amazing content. Google is taking over engines, but not content.

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast