Episode 131

Last But Not Least on the Road Trip- Bill Miles with Hilton Head, SCBill Miles

About Our Guest

Bill Miles

In this episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast, Adam takes the show on the road to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Here he is joined by Bill Miles, President & CEO at Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce & CVB. Listen to hear them talk about Hilton Head as a destination and how Bill's long career there has helped them to be specially equipped to handle the coronavirus pandemic.

"Before the pandemic, the resident piece was an important piece to us, but one that we didn't focus on nearly as much. We're finding that by doing that, as a lot of other destinations are, our residents are starting to appreciate the value of the visitor much more than they did pre-covid." -Bill Miles

Visit Hilton Head Island: https://www.hiltonheadisland.org/

Episode Highlights

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Bill Miles
  • Position: President & CEO Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Visitor and Convention Bureau
  • Favorite Destination: Maui
  • Dream Destination: Bora Bora

“Last But Not Least on the Road Trip- Bill Miles with Hilton Head, SC” – Show Notes and Highlights

Show Highlights: 

  •       Through the years, Hilton Head Island’s drive market has always been their bread and butter and remained relevant throughout crises.
  •       Priorities from 2020:
    1.     Take care of the safety of the residents
    2.     Own people, partners and business safety
    3.     Marketing the commitment to visitors
  •       2021 will focus on the value in the resident piece.
  •       Learnings from 2020:
    1.     Tenacity
    2.     Patience
    3.     Compassion
  •       Hilton Head Island as an organization showed how quickly they can do things during the pandemic crisis and will continue to keep up with that pace in the coming years.
  •       Bill points out that a destination wins when they have a commitment to the organization, do hard work, and working smart.

 

 

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast:

Episode Transcript

Adam Stoker:           [00:00:00] Hey everyone before we jump into this episode, I just want to let you know we were on the road in Hilton Head and we had a few technical difficulties. And so the audio that you’re going to hear is going to sound a little bit different than maybe what you’re used to here on the show. I want you to know that we even debated, do we release it? But I got to tell you the interview with Bill Miles was so good. We felt like we had to publish it. And so I just want to make sure you understand what the sound quality is going to be like. If you feel like you’d rather read the transcript, just know that we upload the transcript for every episode to destinationmarketingpodcast.com and that might be a place for you to go read through that transcript if you find the audio difficult to listen to.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:00:45] Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast. I’m your host, Adam stoker. We’ve got a great show for you today. We told you last week that we are on the road in the southeast. We stopped in Savannah for our first stop and now we’re at our second stop at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina and we are with Bill Miles, who is the President & CEO of the Hilton Head. Is it Visit Hilton Head, I can say?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:01:10] It’s Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce as well as Visitor and Convention Bureau.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:01:14] Okay, Alright. Well, we’ll say Hilton Head for the sake of this conversation today because it’s a mouthful. But Bill, welcome to the show.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:01:22] Thank you. It’s great to have you guys on Hilton Head Island.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:01:25] We’re excited to be here. And first of all, before we dive in, I want to talk about the fact that we are in our first destination that has a studio built out for video, audio and photography. That’s exciting. You guys have your own studio here.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:01:40] Well, we’re very excited about it. Unfortunately, our board leadership had the foresight to encourage us to invest the money to do that. This was pre-COVID, but right as COVID was getting ready to take over. So the timing couldn’t have been better.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:01:53] That makes a lot of sense. And you know, content creation for destinations was important before COVID. But now it’s even more and more important and we’ll dive into that today, I’m sure. But Bill before we get too deep, I want to ask you the same question we ask a lot of people that come on the show. What is your dream destination? If you could go anywhere in the world? Where would that be?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:02:13] Well, you’re going to say this is cheesy but I’m going to say it anyway, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. I’m probably not the first one that has done that, but I got to stay loyal to the hometown and it is a dream destination. It is a dream destination for me to live here and work here. And just one that I absolutely love.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:02:33] Well I think that’s a great answer. Bill, I am going to push you a little bit on that and ask you to do other because we’re going to learn a lot about Hilton Head today. Tell us about another one that you’d like to go to someday.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:02:44] Yeah. You know I think Bora Bora might be a great place to experience. An African Safari would be something at some point in time that I would probably enjoy. So those are a couple, but I’m pretty happy here at home.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:02:58] Two very different types of trips there. You’ve got an African Safari and then you’ve got a tropical island of Bora Bora, so it sounds like you need to hit both to get that variety.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:03:09] I like the way you think.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:03:11] Well good, Bill. How about one of your favorite trips not to Hilton Head South Carolina that you’ve ever been on?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:03:17] You know, that’s a good question and so many great trips have been out there. But I think the most, the special trips that really stick out to me are with family and with my wife and two kids and it’s a number of years ago in Maui that we were all fortunate enough to go there and spend a little over a week. It was just great family time and being able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, the water. Then another one I just mentioned was a great family trip to San Diego. My son’s a golfer, professional golfer and this was when he was still a junior golfer and was playing in a tournament out at Torrey Pines and we went out there and rented a house and one of my sisters came and my wife’s mother came.

 

So and again, to me, it’s all about family and togetherness and being able to relax but relaxing with the people who you love most.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:04:05] It sounds like two amazing trips. My wife and I went to Hawaii, we went to Maui in November so I know exactly what you mean about how amazing that trip is. Were you able to play golf when you were in Hawaii?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:04:17] Yes we did. We played two rounds and step by the ocean a lot too.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:04:22] Did you, did you play the Kapalua Plantation of course by chance?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:04:26] We wouldn’t have been there and miss that. We actually did.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:04:29] Yeah. I played that course too when I was there and it was a lot of fun. I didn’t play very well, but we had a great time.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:04:36] If I had to bet on it, I would bet that you probably played it much better than I did.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:04:42] I don’t know. Maybe we can compete to see who is the worst at golf, do that another time. Well, Bill, thanks for giving us those answers. I talked to so many people, the travel and it goes along him and family and it’s the same for me and I think the same for a lot of people and Hilton Head to me, it seems like the perfect family destination. I came with just my wife a couple of years ago and we have every intention of coming back with the kids. Our favorite activity I think that we did was riding our bikes in Sea Pines and riding through that neighborhood, I always joke that we had to actually get off of our bikes to walk around the alligators a couple of times because they’re on that little trail. But what an incredible destination for families here.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:05:28] It really is. It’s just miles and miles and miles of bike paths that you mentioned. And so you’ll see all day long families out on the bike paths. We have over 100 miles of bike paths on the island. The alligators are always something that attracts attention and pictures and, they’re great to look at, but always need to stay away from them and don’t feed them.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:05:52] Yeah, don’t, you probably have to really harp on that. Don’t feed the alligators.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:05:55] That’s exactly right. We do message that a lot.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:05:58] Got it, we’ll talk more about Hilton Head as a destination, but first of all, give us a little bit of your background, I know you’ve been here a long time in Hilton Head, so tell us kind of how you started and how do you ended up where you are today.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:06:12] Well, I had never thought about working for a Chamber of Commerce and I was graduating from college and needed to have an internship to graduate. Just so happened that a girl that I had met down in Florida was going to be down there for the summer and I had a fraternity brother that was down there that’s working for the Chamber in Daytona Beach. And so I got in touch with him and was able to have an internship down there and I learned what the chamber world was all about, the tourism business, the tourism industry and quickly knew that that was my calling and what I really enjoyed and wanted to put my life’s work into.

 

And from there I went on and my first job was in Raleigh, North Carolina and spent a couple of years there and then came on to Hilton Head Island. I have been here for the last 32 years.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:07:03] Thirty-two years of the same destination.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:07:06] Just celebrated that last week. And as I told them only another 32 to go, 32 down, 32 to go.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:07:13] So Bill, tell me a little bit about how Hilton Head especially has changed in the time that you’ve been here in your capacity.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:07:23] What’s really been great to see while there have been changes, but what the eco planned community that Charles Frazier envisioned and developed back in the 1950s has really remained that pristine destination that it was intended to be. When you look at our sign ordinances, we don’t have neon signs, we don’t have street lights and that was by design so you can see the moon and the stars at night. One of the most powerful people on the island through all the years has been what we dearly referred to as the tree lady and she was the person or in our local government that before you took a tree down, you had to have her approval to take it down.

 

And so the great canopy of trees that we have island-wide is really part and parcel with our government remaining strong and committed to what that early vision of Hilton Head Island was. Now. Has it grown? Yes, it’s grown, it’s grown in population. We have a permanent population right now, about 40,000 people. And then we have about 2.7 million of our closest friends that come to come to visit us every year.

 

So our amenities have grown, our amenities have gotten better. Our restaurants have gotten better and more of them. Our arts and cultural community has grown over the last 30 plus years. But really remaining true to who we are as a destination from the 1950s to the 2020s is really being consistent all the way along and we’re very fortunate for that.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:08:58] Yeah, I’m getting the vibe you don’t like to put the focus on yourself or take the credit, right? But you have taken some pride over the years and seeing this destination continued toward the vision that the original plan was for it to become. So you said dining has improved, amenities have improved, the visitorship has increased significantly. That’s going to feel pretty good to see all that growth happened under your jurisdiction.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:09:27] It really does. It’s our visitors, our guests that really have allowed us as residents to enjoy all the great things that we have. As I mentioned a destination of 40,000 permanent population but yet probably the amenities of a city that 250,000 but yet still small in size when surrounded by ocean on one side.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:09:50] Yeah, not as easy as it sounds to be able to do that.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:09:54] That’s right. Exactly.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:09:57] Well let’s talk a little bit about Hilton Head as a destination. You mentioned something as you’re talking, you said that like the tree lady that was a great example of you guys have stayed true to you said to the plan. I would add that to the brand of Hilton Head. Your brand even though it’s been a little painful at times has stayed consistent throughout. And a lot of people were complaining about regulations when we’re managing a destination or sign ordinances and all of that type of stuff. But it seems like you guys have really benefited by sticking to the brand and not allowing bits and pieces here and there to stretch outside of what you see, or brand experience or customer experience to be.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:10:44] We absolutely have and that’s been so important throughout the years and it has helped us in several different instances that I’m sure we’ll talk about as we move throughout this podcast.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:10:56] Great. Well one of the things that, once again, 32 years in the destination, I want to pick your brain forever, I think. But as we talked about that, this is not COVID, what we just went through, this is not your first, right? You’ve gone through several crises that have hit the industry, including September 11th and how it affected the industry in 2001, the housing crisis of 2008, and now COVID. I’d love to hear a little bit of as you take a step back and look at the last 32 years, what happened in those situations that helped the destination, even though it was an awful crisis each time helped the destination progress?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:11:38] Well, I think the first thing has been the rallying of the community and after September 11th, we rallied the community. There was great patriotism in America and, it was everybody that was bonded and pulling for the United States locally as well as nationally and somewhat globally. Then where we’ve really seen the parallels with all three is being a very strong drive destination has something that has helped us weather the storm quicker than many other destinations along with not only having fabulous beaches, great golf, but as you mentioned, tremendous outdoor activities and whether that’s biking, whether that’s kayaking, whatever those things might be, you can do it all right here and you can do it in a safe manner. And after September 11th, safety was upon everybody’s mind first and foremost and the same during COVID, although the way both were handled was totally different.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:12:40] Yeah, completely different. Right? But, the ability to have those outdoor activities, I think that’s a great point. And then you talked about focusing on the drive markets. So do you feel like the drive markets is something that you always focus on or is it something that when there’s something like this, that’s what you revert back to? Tell me the difference in strategy between the drive market and maybe your wider-reaching markets that you have to –?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:13:08] Yeah, that’s a good question. The drive market through the years has always been kind of our bread and butter. And when Hilton Head Island was founded and I mentioned Mr. Frazier, he looked at the Ohio market and thought that was just about the right target for a day’s drive to get to Hilton Head Island so that the Ohio market has always been very strong for us and we’ve always been a very, very good drive destination. Now, where we’ve won in the last decade has been that of air service. So airplane problems, 9-11, COVID, people still want to get in their cars and travel to smaller destinations like Hilton Head Island and we’ve remained relevant and fortunate throughout those times.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:13:53] Great, great. Well, I’ve got more questions, but I think we’re going to take a quick break and when we come back, I want to talk about what you learned in 2020 that you feel it’s really going to help your destination thrive.

 

I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently from destinations around the world of, “Adam, why does my destination need a podcast? You talk about it on your show, but why? “So it’s a great value add for a visitor because once they get to your destination, that podcast episode can be a guide. Then it can also provide a way for them to learn about all the different things there are to do and see. And you can take the people that are listening and you can do what I call nurturing those contacts over time. And if you do an effective job of storytelling with your podcast, you get to access that audience through every stage of the funnel instead of renting an audience and not knowing which stage of the funnel that audience is in when they’re on Facebook or Instagram or a magazine or billboard or whatever it is.

 

So if any of you have considered doing a podcast, I would really look into it. It’s the long game. I would look at what it takes to start one. We obviously have a product at Relic. Every destination needs to start today and do a podcast. You will reap the benefits over the next several years and years and years.

 

[00:15:25] Okay, Bill, before the break, when we were about to dive into what you learned in 2020 what you think is really going to help Hilton Head Island in 2021. So tell us a little bit first, what were the key learnings from 2020 that were important to you?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:15:38]. We got out of the gate very, very fast knowing that safety was first and foremost on everyone’s minds. And so we quickly implemented a Path Forward Program and that’s where our community came together over the course of probably a week in different business segments to set up best practices for whether it be hotels, home and villa rental companies, restaurants, childcare facilities, arts and cultural spaces, to set with those best practices we’re going to be.

 

And so once we did that, we started marketing that and letting people know that the commitment that the business community and the residents have made the Hilton Head Island about safety first. And our goal was realizing that we wanted our residents to be safe first, our colleagues, our employees, our associates to be safe. And if both of those groups were safe, we would certainly have a safe environment for visitors to come to. And by doing that, we were able to certainly build up occupancy much quicker than our competitive set.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:16:45] So I think that’s interesting how you outlined those priorities because I’d like to ask you if those priorities are going to stay the same moving into 2021 is we’re going to take care of our residents first. In this case, it was for safety, right? Second, we’re going to take care of the people that work here and make the customer experience what it is. And the third we’re going to take care of the visitor. Are those priorities that recalibrated I think for every destination in 2020, are those priorities going to stay consistent for you in 2021 or is there some reshuffling that needs to happen for you guys here?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:17:22] You know, we just completed or actually started today the refreshing of our strategic plan in the three areas that you identified will be right there’s the top three for us. Before the pandemic, the resident piece was an important piece to us, but one that we didn’t focus on nearly as much. And we’re finding that by doing that as a lot of other destinations are, our residents are starting to appreciate the value of the visitor much more than they did pre-COVID.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:17:54] So that’s one of the biggest positives that I feel like has come out of the pandemic for every single destination, especially those that were proactive in communicating with stakeholders is that people understand the value, especially the tourism-based economy like Hilton Head South Carolina. People understand the value of the DMO more than maybe ever before because everything shut off. What do they look to for leadership had to come from the DMO?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:18:20] That’s right. One thing that being able to get our message out during COVID it seemed like it got much easier. You couldn’t meet so you were looking to be more creative, more proactive when it comes to the world of Zoom. It comes to the telephone, tomorrow we’ll be holding our 44th town hall, our power hour tele-town hall that we have leaders from all over the country locally as well as all over the country who speak on those calls.

 

And in the beginning, we had just a huge response of listeners each week on that. And still today we’re still probably in the 2200 to 2500 listeners each week.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:19:06] Wow. That’s, I mean, considering how long it’s been since COVID, that’s a lot of people still attending those meetings.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:19:13] It is. People say, how are you going to continue to do it? I said, as long as we continue to have the numbers, obviously we’re getting a message out from a national perspective, but we’re also getting a chance to tell a little bit about what we’re doing as well to an audience that size that we really haven’t ever had a chance to do.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:19:29] Yeah, I would say for destinations that are listening to Bill right now, I think that’s a really important thing to look at for your destination. Maybe the Zoom call doesn’t make sense for every destination, but how are you going to distribute the important information that you have access to as a DMO and distribute that to all your local stakeholders so that they can feel informed and understand how to operate their business effectively as well. Way to lead out on it.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:19:55] Well, thank you. Going back to your last question on some of the things that we learned one is as we move forward in the group meeting space, knowing that the hybrid meeting is probably going to be there for a while, it puts destinations like us without a civic center in play for larger meetings because of those larger meetings, which usually might not be able to come to a destination like Hilton Head Island. If it’s going to be hybrid, we’re big enough for the hybrid meeting. So that’s opened up a new group of meeting planners and other businesses that we’re working on to bring their meetings to Hilton Head Island.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:20:30] So it’s almost like that change in the meeting’s marketplace of now we can’t congregate as 500 people or whatever the numbers are. It’s almost like it makes you even more poised to be the right destination.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:20:44] Right. So we’re excited as we move into 2022 to be able to approach it in that way.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:20:52] Great. So tell me something else that you learned in 2020 that stuck out to you.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:20:57] You know, I learned that tenacity, patience. We’ve heard a lot of people talk that they’ve never, never worked harder during that period and I agree we as an organization, I’ve never worked harder, but yet we probably have never found our work as rewarding. Just to see that hard work pay off and see it pay off for people to continue to be employed, for businesses to continue to be successful and knowing that what we were doing made such a difference and it had to be quick turnarounds. We talked about the path forward. We didn’t have a month to have a bunch of meetings on that. We knew that there were going to be two meetings per segment. And by the end of the week, the report would be written on the weekend, translated to Spanish the following week, and it’s got to get on the internet. It’s there are videos that are going along with it and then some radio promotion that’s going on with it and it’s got to happen just that fast and it did. And it’s because of a great dedicated team that committed community to making that happen.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:21:57] Yeah. So you mentioned two attributes that were really interesting and kind of not opposing very different, right? Tenacity and patience.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:22:06] Right, right.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:22:07] Those are two very different attributes and yet I think it was critical. You had to have tenacity. You had to be proactive, but then you also had to be patient, and understand that everything has to happen at the right time. Then the impact of what we do as destinations and you touched on it in what you guys did in reaction to the pandemic, you have the ability as a DMO to save a business, right? That might potentially go out of business. I mean Colby and I talked to a business this morning where we ate that one of her comments was, “I hope we make it,” and that puts a different level of effort I think in the DMO as you realize the impact it had on these people’s lives, that they can keep their business, but they can also be a continued part of your customer experience. Right? And so I think that tenacity is a little easier when you understand the impact that you can actually have on the destination.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:23:10] It certainly was. There was also a Help 4 Hope, a group that we partnered with and raised I forget how many thousands of dollars that we provided each Wednesday I believe it was cards and those cards were given to people that were out of work and it was, we had relationships with a number of different restaurants and so you would come by pick up your car, you’re unemployed, you take that card to a restaurant, they would provide you with to-go meal for a family of four. So we’re keeping, we’re feeding people that are unemployed, friends who are unemployed, neighbors who are unemployed. We’re keeping other friends employed in those restaurants and we’re also helping the bottom line of those restaurants. And it was a great effort.

 

The Watterson Family Foundation and partnered with our organization to make that happen. And you talked about something rewarding and being able to stand out there each week and talk to the people as they came through. It was cars just lined up and lined up and lined up. We only could do so many a week and we couldn’t get everybody every week. And that part of it hurt when you got to the last card. But it really made a difference in many people’s lives. Many friends live a crucial, crucial time.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:24:30] And you don’t come up with something like that by doing things the way we’ve always done it, right? You had to make a lot of changes in the pandemic hit and had to think in ways you never have before. I mean, there’s not a lot of DMOs, probably a year ago thought they’d be helping hand out food, right? But that’s what had to happen. And it sounds like you guys really jumped into action. Tell me about how some of these things that you learned in 2020 are going to propel you guys into 2021 and what are the things that you changed is going to continue into 2021? Isn’t like, as the pandemic slows down, what’s going to stay and what are you going to abandon?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:25:12] Right? And how, what we’re going to continue with is the way that we’re reaching members, residents, guests, in communicating with them. And today we’re sitting here and you mentioned in the intro, sitting in a studio. We didn’t have this studio very long pre-pandemic. But to be able to produce our own videos here, our own podcasts, and other things helps us to really get our message out in a quick way.

 

I just want to circle back to what you were talking about during the pandemic and that the Help 4 Hope piece that I described. If we weren’t in a pandemic time of critical need, it would have taken six months, eight months to even start to think about doing a program like that. That program came together probably in three weeks. And because you knew the need was there, the hurt was there. So it’s shown us as an organization that how quickly we can do things. And so we got to keep up with that pace. And I don’t want our group to slow down just because if and when the pandemics over, we got to we have to keep our foot on the gas, as I like to say, this year we keep our foot on the gas and steer it in the right direction. As long as we’re doing that, I like our team just challenged and work hard and being able to see the results happen more quickly than what we were ever accustomed to it’s very rewarding.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:26:36] So how do you see your team doing that right now? What are you seeing right now where your team is keeping their foot on the gas? Give you some examples of what you’re seeing.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:26:44] Yeah. So one of those would be a marketing plan that we’re in the process of producing and we tweaked our marketing plan probably eight months ago. Now, we’re working on our 2022 marketing plan. But being able to get that done and in a much quicker timeframe and not worrying about as many meetings. I think that’s one thing that’s helped because cutting down the number of meetings but becoming more productive and more relevant.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:27:10] Yeah, I like it. So less meetings, more productivity and it sounds like the marketing plan is a little bit more malleable to or you’re not just sticking with the same plan for the entire year.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:27:22] Yeah. And that’s been fun to think outside of the traditional box that we got so accustomed to. But the pandemic that’s forced all destinations as we all know to think differently. But also look at our different approaches to marketing.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:27:35] What else do you look into in 2021? What’s going to stick with you as an organization that maybe you learned from 2020?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:27:42] I think it’s compassion. I think we’re a more compassionate organization. I think people have become more passionate about our destination, realizing how special it is when you have families from just New York for example. And mom and dad are able to work remotely and kids are going out to school virtually. They’re coming here for three months. The real estate on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton has been off the charts during the pandemic that the challenge now is the prices have been terrific, but the inventory is so low.

 

But being able to know that this is where people want to come. They want to come here to get away from where they are because one, they feel safe, two, it’s a beautiful destination and three, why would you ever want to like a place else?

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:28:30] You know, I think you might be the right guy to be selling Hilton Head with the sounds of it.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:28:35] I hope so.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:28:38] I would think so. So, Bill, you’ve been doing this a long time obviously. Tell me some of the most important things that you feel like you’ve learned over the years that would help people that haven’t been in the industry in years.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:28:52] Yeah. I think commitment and realizing that you have to be committed to your destination, to your organization and knowing that you have a place there and we all want to move up the ladder quickly, but maybe slow down that climb on the ladder, make sure you get it right. The hard work always pays off. There are people that think that my hard work isn’t being noticed and recognized hard work pays off and smart people pay off. I always like to say smart wins.

 

What I like to do is if I can find somebody when we’re interviewing him, that is what are you passionate about? I don’t care what you’re passionate about, but if you have the ability to be passionate about something, you’re going to have the ability to come in and listen to our mission and vision and the things that we do and become passionate about that

 

So finding the best people that we can find and then find out where they fit in best within the organization. If we’re looking for a specific type of job fill, that’s great, we want some background with that, but that’s not all to consider it.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:30:00] If I were a destination or a person with a destination listening to the show right now, I would ask myself, am I displaying the passion that I have for what I do, and if I’m not passionate about it, maybe I need to reconsider what I’m doing. But if you do have that passion, it must be shining through. But one of the things you said Bill before you mentioned that is don’t try to get too fast climbing that ladder, right? I think that’s a piece of advice that I wish I had received earlier in my career. I remember when I came out of school, it was 2009, was trying to get a job at an advertising agency and it was like the worst time ever to try to get an advertising job, right?

 

And so I ended up taking an internship for $10 an hour at an ad agency and I thought that I deserved a much better title or a much better job. I had graduated already, so I’m like, “Why would I take an internship? That’s for students.” It was probably one of the best decisions from a career standpoint that I’ve ever made, right? And it helped me move at the right pace in trying to go up that corporate ladder. And I think inside of a destination too you have to learn things kind of piece by piece by piece and sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know until three years later and you look back, you have to train somebody to do that job.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:31:24] Right.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:31:25] So I wonder if we’re talking about that, do you have I don’t want specific examples like throwing someone under the bus, but what do you feel like are some of the important concepts to learn in order as you climb up the ladder to maybe eventually be the CEO of a destination?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:31:42] First of all, don’t be afraid to do anything. And anything to me means whether you see a light bulb burned out or you know that we’re having a meeting in the park as silly as this may seem, but the boss and the dry in the parking lot out here we’ve got the congressman coming and a group coming, this is our home as well. So it’s all simple. It’s whether you’re the first one to make the coffee, whether you’re the second one in unloading the dishwasher, turned the copy machine on. Those are some of the basics. That’s not part of your job, but that shows that you’re committed and you’re taking care of your coworkers. I’m helping my coworker by doing this.

 

Think of your coworkers as family. For our team to think do we get along 100% of the time? Absolutely not. But most of the time? Absolutely. And just being again, it’s going back to that compassionate piece and our team is also our customer. Like for our leadership or executive leadership, there are customers too now we have to make sure they’re taken care of, provided with the best benefits that we can, the best working environment, the nicest office working space that we can do.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:32:54] Great. That’s great advice. Well Bill, is there anything that I haven’t asked you you think would benefit our audience?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:33:02] It’s a great question. I’m sure there is. I am going to tell your listening audience that this one might go just a little bit shorter today, just a little bit shorter because when Adam and we came in here they want to talk about golf on Hilton Head Island and we have 40 plus wonderful golf courses and it’s probably 67 today here on Hilton Head Island. That’s in the great state of South Carolina. And, so they’ll have a tea time in about 15 minutes. This show was scheduled to go for an hour and a half today, 90 minutes. But all of a sudden either my content by answering the questions isn’t very good or they just really want to get to the golf course and hopefully, it’s the latter.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:33:45] It’s all in the spirit of research, Bill. We just want to make sure we know the destination. If we’re going to publish your podcast.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:33:52] I’m not sure whose face is redder now, mine or theirs, but the horse is out of the bar and soon the golf cart is going to be out of the garage.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:34:03] That’s right. Well, you know what? He’s right, we are going to go play some golf after this. So we will wrap up the episode, but Bill, if people want to learn more from you or connect with you, what’s the best way to do so?

 

Bill Miles:                [00:34:14] Sure, my email is bmiles@hiltonheadisland.org is a good way to do that. Also on LinkedIn, I think LinkedIn we originally met and then always excited to hear about and see that the great work that you all are doing and looking forward to exploring other opportunities for us to work together in the future so you can come back and play more golf and eat some of the great food that we have and enjoy our beaches.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:34:41] Sounds great. Well Bill, thank you so much for coming on for sharing your expertise, your knowledge and for throwing us under the bus here about our golf outing.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:34:48] Hey, one last thing, I’m just going to hold you up, one last thing. Our appointment was today was scheduled for three o’clock. These guys come walking in here at 12:30 like, “Yes, is Bill available? Could we go ahead and get this done?” You know, I’m trying to eat lunch and I just put my lunch down and said, “Forget about that. Whatever we can do to make this podcast the best.” And then the truth really came out that they wanted to get out on the golf course. We’re just we’re all about hospitality here. So anyway, I don’t mean to hijack the show.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:35:17] Thanks again. We sure appreciate it.

 

Bill Miles:                [00:35:21] Thank you. Great to see you.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:35:23] And thanks everybody for listening. If you enjoyed today’s content, please make sure you leave us a rating or review wherever you listen to your podcasts and other than that, we’ll talk to you next week.