Episode 151

Crafting an Agritourism Experience With Neha Shah

Episode Description

In this episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast, Adam is joined by Neha Shah, Director of the Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau. Listen to learn how Neha's one-person marketing team was able to not only boost stakeholder engagement in her destination but also educate stakeholders on the importance of social media and how to use it effectively.

"Information is a CVB director's currency and it's critical for us to be able to reach the visitor." -Neha Shah

Meet our Host and Guest(s)

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Neha Shah
  • Position: Director - Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Favorite Destination: New Zealand
  • Dream Destination: Maldives, Iceland, different parts of Asia

“Crafting an Agritourism Experience With Neha Shah” – Show Notes and Highlights

Show Highlights

  • Chatham county focuses on agritourism aside from being a farming community.
  • Chatham County started social media courses for stakeholders to create and promote online content.
  • Neha mentioned that to be able to generate stakeholder support on community transformation,  make sure to be genuine and be good stewards in working together.
  • It is important to help stakeholder businesses to see things from the visitor perspective.
  • Neha advises DMOs to give their vision a voice and that it has to be consistent.

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

Episode Transcript

Neha Shah:               [00:00:00] The more information that they provided and an easy way for me to access it versus emailing them all the time, I could just see something, share it, or package it in a different way. And I think it finally came to an understanding of this is my currency. Information is a CVB director’s currency. And that’s critical for us to be able to reach the visitor.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:00:20] Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast. I’m your host, Adam stoker. As many of you know, I own an advertising agency that helps destinations do a better job of getting the right message to the right visitors at the right time. And I’ve got a great guest today on the show and her name is Neha Shah. Neha, welcome to the show.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:00:41] Thanks, Adam. I’m happy to be here.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:00:44] Thrilled to have you, and we’ll talk about it in a few minutes. But I know you’re a longtime listener of the show and it’s fun to have people that have listened for a long time come on and actually be guests, so, we’re glad to have you.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:00:56] Thanks. Same here, it’s exciting.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:00:57] Well, because you’re a listener, the questions I’m about to ask you, you probably had some time to prepare. So, first of all, Neha, what is your dream destination? If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:01:09] You know, I heard that question on previous ones and I wanted to change it up to say, here’s my top three.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:01:18] Hey, I’ll break the rules for you.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:01:20] So, I’ll say, the Maldives is one. Definitely, Iceland, I have not been to yet. Different parts of Asia. But definitely the Maldives. There’s just so much to explore. But I’m definitely a beach person being a Floridian, so, I’ll go with that first.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:01:41] Oh, man. Okay. I feel like the best social media posts that I have ever seen have all been- I’ve had some people tell me that you say Maldives, Maldives, I’m not sure which one it is, but it is the most beautiful images that I have ever seen. I mean, people with those over-water bungalows out there and you can just go on a water slide right into the ocean from your bungalow, It’s a dream. I would love to go there.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:02:10] They say a picture’s worth 1000 words, but they use that one picture 1000 times and it never gets old. And that is definitely the dream. Just remote, natural beauty, and something you’ve never done before.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:02:24] Yeah. So, who gets to go with you?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:02:26] Oh, my gosh. I know my whole family would want to come. My parents would probably jump on that pretty quickly.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:02:33] I’m only letting you take one, one person. Who’s coming?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:02:38] My dad’s birthday is next, so, I’ll end up sending them. So, I better think about that. No, it’s definitely a girls’ trip with my mom.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:02:47] Nice. I love creating arbitrary rules that don’t matter. So your mom, your mom wins. That’s good to know. Okay. So, you mentioned Iceland, I think. And what was your third one? I got caught up.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:03:01] I got caught up, too. I mean, pretty much all of Asia.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:03:05] Asia, that’s right. Okay. So, give me a quick why Iceland? Why Asia?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:03:10] Iceland, again, just the natural beauty I haven’t been. And it’s pretty untouched despite the popularity of the destination. And really just the wonders, natural wonders, but I try really hard to go to all of the UNESCO world heritage sites. So, Asia definitely the temples and architecture, it’s just like falling into a history book.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:03:41] I’m hearing a pretty diverse set of motivations for your travel habits here. I’m hearing heritage. I’m hearing beach and relaxation. I’m hearing natural wonders. I mean, you just love the world, it sounds like to me.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:03:58] I really do. I mean, that’s the whole thing about vacationing. You learn about yourself. You learn about somewhere else. You go and push yourself to do things or see things and take chances. I’ve traveled alone so much. I really loved the challenge of trying to find something on my own, navigate, deal with different languages and not having much to go on. It’s kind of cool.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:04:26] Tell me about that because I’m kind of a needy person who needs to be around someone when I travel. I don’t love to travel alone. Well, I don’t know if I love traveling alone because I’ve never done it, but tell me a little bit about the appeal of traveling alone and maybe some of the benefits, and also maybe the challenges that come along with it.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:04:49] Yeah, definitely challenges. I mean, I would love to not travel alone, but I’ve also always decided I’d rather not wait for someone. So, I’d rather just go. What is cool is that triumphant feeling of finding the places that you’ve tentatively planned on going or checking it out. It is something that’s rewarding to explore and fill a day with spontaneous and planned activities that you kind of created on your own. I think it’s definitely challenging dining by yourself, or getting around sometimes, or just the logistics of having someone there to tag team. But sometimes you just forget all that once you’re in that beauty of whatever you’re looking, at or you’re seeing, or museum exhibit, or a natural wonder, or architecture. We’re just sitting in a cafe and just watching people while you’re on vacation and they’re doing what you would be doing back home, just going to work, getting their coffee in the morning, grabbing paper in hand and just cranking out emails, and here you are able to escape that for just a little bit.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:06:09] Yeah. It’s interesting because what I’m hearing about you, and I think this will be a little bit of the theme of the show because we’ll get into this later in the show too, but you’re a doer. And you’re not going to sit and wait for other people’s schedules to line up to travel. You want to go somewhere even if you have to go by yourself, you’re going to go.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:06:26] I’d say that’s definitely true. I appreciate that. So, thanks for saying that.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:06:31] Yeah. I think what you’ve done in your destination which we’ll get into is probably a result of being a doer and not just waiting for everybody else to get their stuff together before you get going. But I guess I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, Neha. I want to know your favorite trip you’ve ever been on.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:06:49] Oh, here’s another two answer questions. So, I will definitely say New Zealand because that is where I had always planned to go but I happened to reunite with my first cousins. We lost touch when they moved from India very randomly. I applied for grad school, Ph.D. program or was looking into a Ph.D. program in New Zealand and my cousin who is an engineer happened to be working there completely not in her field, found they were overloaded with applicants and inquiries, and she happened to be one of four people who received a batch of emails to go through and mine was in that batch.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:07:38] No way.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:07:39] Yeah, it’s a true story. So, she emailed me and we were back in touch ever since as if we never stopped being in touch. She’s a first cousin so we’re extremely close and we always said we would go there, we would see each other again at some point. I visited her a few years ago, and it is stunning. New Zealand is spectacular. I mean, it is everything that you see, that you hear, they’re not selling it, overselling it at all. The other destination I really, really love is Japan. I went there a few years ago. I had a chance to spend almost two weeks there, go around, sort of live almost like a local. And watching the Olympics recently, it just brought me back to all of those cool places that I felt bad for the people who were there who couldn’t go exploring.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:08:36]] You are very well-traveled. And you’re just checking things off your bucket list. I mean, New Zealand for me is really high on the bucket list for me. And Japan is there too. You’ve gone on some amazing trips. So, your dream destinations are really cool but also the trips you’ve been on. I want to get in a little bit to your story. And I think your story will play into why you ended up traveling to some of those locations. And the fact that you found your first cousin, the way you did and reconnected there, that that’s great, too Tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up where you are today.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:09:14] Thank you. When I was at undergrad at the University of Florida, I knew what I didn’t want to do, which was Medicine, Engineering, Law, some of those one-word titles. And I had a tough time knowing in the Business Administration field what exactly I wanted to do. I knew I didn’t want to do sales necessarily. I knew I didn’t really want to do finance, but I just didn’t hone in on exactly what it was. And I had a wonderful professor Dr. John Kraatz, who taught an undergrad course in Tourism. He had a tourism certificate. I really felt that I had an affinity for it. And I also loved it. But I just didn’t know that you could actually do or pursue a career or an education and what you really love to do, which is write and travel.

 

So, I was able to write some papers with him. Dr. Kraatz was extremely supportive and encouraged me to apply for grad school. I did that and found it completely different from undergrad and didn’t realize or expect that. We continue to work together. I also lost touch with him. He actually was in New Zealand for a time. So, there’s a common little thread there. But he is definitely a mentor and I’ve always been inspired to go into that career because of him.

 

But as far as the career itself, my first job was working for a non-profit. I was doing event planning, marketing, press releases, public relations. So, I had a chance to do all of the different facets of a role that a CVB does for the destination. And I’ve also worked in events. And I’ve worked at a hotel. So, that kind of built the groundwork to do, the paying your dues part, going through that experience of being burnt out after events and after working front line, but you have to work your way up.

 

So, eventually, I was able to work for Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is completely flash forward and decided any day that becomes very routine or any week that becomes very ordinary is when I’ll know it’s done.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:11:43] And so far so good. I would imagine.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:11:46] Yeah.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:11:48] You talked to me before when we were on our kind of preparatory call, you mentioned that you’re a one-person show there that your department is a one-person department. And we touched on it earlier that you’re a doer and sometimes there are benefits from being able to just take action without having to go through some of the red tape that you have to go through with the team. Would you mind talking to me a little bit about what it’s like running a visitor’s bureau like yours on your own and some of the challenges, and maybe the good things that come from it as well.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:12:22] Yeah. It’s definitely a mixed bag. You definitely have autonomy. It can be daunting because you just have a self-check. So, you’re trying to figure out by instinct and kind of what you know and past experience. You have your industry partners and your colleagues and your counterparts that you can talk with, but at the same time, you’re accountable. So, that’s both rewarding and fulfilling and also it can be scary. I think, over time you become experienced. You know what works. You really get to know your destination. And for one person where rural destination surrounded by more metropolitan areas, I just have a different approach.

 

In a big larger Convention and Visitors Bureau, I don’t know that I would necessarily have working relationships with each of my visitor business, tourism and hospitality partners. Here, I know their families. I know their personal stories. I know their backgrounds. I know their inspirations which makes it a better opportunity for me to help promote them. So, it’s kind of like we are a marketing firm and all those businesses are clients.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:13:50] Yeah. I’ve made a mistake so far and we didn’t even call out the name of your destination. So, why don’t we have you tell us what is the destination that you’re working at, your title there, and a little bit of an overview of the destination?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:14:06] Sure. So, the destination is Chatham County, North Carolina. It’s a collection of cities. Pittsboro-Siler City is the Convention Visitors Bureau. We serve the entire county. We’re right in central North Carolina, so, our neighboring partners are part of the Research Triangle region. So, we’re near Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro. Those are some that are probably a little more known to the audience. We have a huge county, 707 square miles that is very diverse in its geography and landscape. So, everything from nature-based assets to farms. We’re probably growing in farms more so than in other areas. And we have everything from budget to luxury. So, we don’t have one claim to fame, which is nice. So, we have multiple visitor profiles.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:15:04] Yeah, you mentioned those farms. Tell me a little bit about the agritourism that has come out of having so many farms in the area. That was a really interesting part of our conversation before.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:15:15] Yeah, it was. You and I were talking about being foodies. And who doesn’t incorporate food into the itinerary, whether it is a diner that has local flavor or an upscale farm-to-table restaurant? But what’s really cool is that we don’t just have one type of eatery. We have a growing interest. When I started, there were a few Farmers Markets and now we have a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday market. And the markets are more than just picking up your produce and jams and flours and going home. It’s music. Sometimes you’ll see the chef. Sometimes you’ll have cooking demonstrations and things like that.

 

So, all of that interest about where the food comes from that you can actually go visit these farms. There’s always an interest in that with our visitors because we romanticize the hard work that it takes to work on a farm. And it’s a great place to visit because it’s something different, something you don’t necessarily have in your backyard or even in your mainstream life necessarily. So, to go see that is fun. And then of course the craft beverage business is growing, beer, wine, spirits, cider, mead. So, we’re really growing at a gradual pace but those are some of the things that really encompass agritourism with everything from beekeeping to vineyards.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:16:53] Got it. Okay. So, I’m thinking about, I mean, at one point, your county was more of a farming community, and what you guys have done over the last several years is add that agritourism layer on top of that. Tell me a little bit about the transformation. And as you were going through that transformation, was there resistance? How is it perceived now with your local stakeholders compared to what it was before?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:17:22] It’s kind of interesting. I think that every CVB director goes through this where locally a lot of people don’t understand, or realize, or appreciate necessarily the things that are every day to them are fascinating to a visitor. So, our guests have increasingly wanted to see the full circle. Maybe they pick berries, maybe they have a tradition of doing that in the summertime or having tomato sandwiches. And then that’s grown into, we have a culinary institute at our community college. They teach sustainable farming. They teach obviously all of the things that it takes to create your own restaurant and your own menu and be an entrepreneur and the business skills you require.

 

We’ve evolved from that to food trucks. I mean there used to be food trucks along with construction sites all over the time since we’ve been growing up and now it’s just much more elaborate. Things that were old are now new again and we have a Bed and Breakfast Celebrity Dairy. It’s an inn. It’s a working farm. They make award-winning goat cheese. They’ve done farm to fork family dinners forever. Before people realized that was just this big, big deal that you could go in, have food on the farm, then take a tour, and see the goats and that sort of thing. Now there’s goat yoga and people want to get married at the farm. It’s definitely become a multi-layered business and that’s what Agritourism is about. It is learning about these farms, not just visiting them, and having kind of a commercialized packaged experience. It’s very different each time you go.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:19:21] Yeah. One of the things I get a kick out of when I think about Agritourism is I’m imagining these people that whether they have a farming business or a business that supported the farming community or whatever it was, the transition from being in that business to now adding the tourism layer on top of it. There’s a lot of necessary education that has to take place along the way. I mean I would imagine that social media management wasn’t a priority for a lot of these farming organizations prior to the Agritourism layer and now you’re asking them to provide more content and value to visitors. You actually created a course to help a lot of these business owners learn what they needed to be effective in managing their social media. Tell me how that came about and what it’s been like to roll that out.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:20:10] It was kind of exciting and a little amusing. I mean, I remember when social media came out and people were, it was just that it was social and silly. It very quickly became a pretty serious business and being resourceful, being part of a small CVB, not being able to afford the same thing as our competitors as far as print newsletters and brochures and things like that. We had to be very creative and social media gave us that avenue. It’s also about getting information. I mean, some of the people I work with either didn’t have an email address or if they did, they weren’t online very much.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:20:54] They didn’t have an email address?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:20:56] Yeah.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:20:58] I mean, that’s a whole new challenge in and of itself as far as engaging those stakeholders.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:21:02] Absolutely. There was a lot of that. I think over time people realized, they also had to add more work. They’re tweeting from their tractors and I’m like, “Send me a picture. Send me information.” Something that’s part of their everyday work life they just did not find fascinating. I’m telling you, people would eat that up if you posted on social media. It became a situation of, “Let’s start with the class Friending Facebook and Tackling Twitter. I couldn’t believe how many people came to the class. It grew into an academy. It was talking about social media policy, do’s and don’ts, tackling the issues of, “I don’t have time” and saying, “Okay, well let’s create a calendar.

 

Let’s pick 10 things that people don’t know about your business and start rolling them out gradually not all in one day. Let’s start taking good pictures. Let’s start being conversational. Let’s start talking about more than just your business. Let’s support our ancillary businesses. Let’s give some credit when you find a news article that you think would be helpful to share. It was so much more than that. Initially, it was just privacy settings too. As soon as you learned some of these settings they’re going to change. It was also important the more information that they provided in an easy way for me to access it versus emailing them all the time asking what’s new. I could just see something, share it or package it in a different way. I think it finally came to an understanding of this is my currency. Information is a CVB Director’s currency and that’s critical for us to be able to reach the visitor.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:22:53] With these courses is this you’re standing up in a room in front of a group of people that’s at their desks or is it more, you’ve created an online way. If they didn’t have email addresses, an online course isn’t going to help them that much, I guess.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:23:08] No.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:23:09] How did you do that?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:23:10] That was the interesting thing. It was a lot of trial and error. I started with saying, “I’m going to stand in front of this class. You’re all going to come. I’m going to have a PowerPoint. You’re going to watch all of this.” Then I realized it has to be hands-on. I said, “Bring your laptops. Bring your phones. We’ll make sure we have Internet options and everything and we’ll go.” That evolved. Then it was, “I’ll come to your workplace because this is critical.” A lot of it was small classes one-on-one after the big classes. Then it became just, “Okay now, what about Pinterest? What about Four Square?”

 

It was almost just folded into my regular meetings with them about marketing because I try really hard to meet with everybody individually or as complementary businesses to say, “Hey, this is what’s going on. Let’s meet quarterly. What are you all doing? We’ve got press trips coming up different things that we need to discuss.” It was kind of a crash course because a lot of these people email or not, they were on Facebook. They were communicating for personal and I said just push yourself a little bit harder and think about what this means to your business, especially when your business doesn’t have a website or you can pay someone to create a website for you.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:24:37] Yeah. Okay. Now have your courses have become so advanced that your agriculture partners have mastered TikTok? Are we there yet?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:24:46] I think the biggest thing is just giving them advice. It’s funny because I attend social media classes as well. I remember someone saying before you put your brand on TikTok because you could be mocked mercilessly, really have it down and that’s one thing I think it’s important to remember. I was always telling everyone in class, when they were nervous about Twitter and whether it was worth their time. I said auto post, connect the two Facebook and Twitter so it just posts automatically. Take a look and lurk and see what everyone else is doing and see if it’s worth it.

 

I felt like initially, it was one of my measures of how many people can I get to take these classes with me so that we kind of share the message or we start promoting through social media. My hope was that the need for the classes would be reduced, maybe some more discussion on occasion or questions or collaboration, but just at some point, everyone is going to become more of a master at it or they’re even going to hire someone or they have in the house. I mean your kids can do it.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:25:59] Yeah.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:26:00] In a lot of instances it was always meant to just be reduced or go away where everyone was savvy.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:26:08] Yeah. I was joking about the TikTok thing, but I think you make a really good point of, sometimes you just want to kind of sit back and wait and see. The stuff that you’re talking about, I mean you’re going to people’s offices and you’re helping them logistically actually figure out how to manage their social media. You’re doing this academy where you’re standing up in front of everybody. They have got their laptops. I mean I would call it more of an event like a workshop. This is destination management. Right? You’re not just marketing the destination. You’re managing not only the product but the way that product is portrayed publicly. You’re managing your touchpoints. Right? Tell me a little bit about what leads you to be willing to drive to these people’s offices, help them set the things up that they need to, and really manage your destination.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:27:00] Sometimes people need to see the success. They won’t see it necessarily through the marketing lens unless you can help on that end. It doesn’t mean that’s not their skill set, but they’re so consumed with running the day-to-day operations of the business, paying their taxes, and doing paperwork. Yet I have a responsibility and accountability to brand the destination. Have visitors become aware of us. Have film scouts interested in filming or doing photo shoots. Have sporting event organizers come and want to do events. Brides or meeting planners want to hold meetings, occasions and celebrations.

 

There are so many markets that I need to reach and unless I can speak eloquently about someone’s business and authentically, I can’t sell it. It all ties together. We have caterers. We have carriage rides. We have this and that. If I don’t know what’s going on, then it becomes a very generic cutesy destination that you could drop anywhere. I want them to have a say in shaping the brand but the CVB has the tools to really pull that together, that’s our goal and that’s our responsibility.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:28:27] Got it. Okay. As you’re focusing on this destination management and you’re really trying to manage what I call all the touchpoints that your organization has with the outside world. I think it’s a fascinating thing for me to look at that. I don’t know that without you doing all the things that you’ve done that the destination could have made the transition from an agriculture community to an Agritourism product. I know you’re not all Agritourism. I know there are other components of your destination but it’s a major transformation for the community.

 

I’ve got to imagine that there was a lot of work that had to be done to help the community see your vision for where it needed to go and to get on board. What has it been like to try to generate that stakeholder support so that you can continue to move things forward?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:29:19] That’s really insightful because it’s all true what you’re saying because it was a long hard road. It’s never done because you have new businesses. You always have a different set of people that you feel like you need to explain. “Here’s what I do. We don’t charge. We are part of the government. We are responsible for being good stewards of the visitor tax, the occupancy tax, and the visitor’s pay. We want you to succeed. We want to work with you.” That’s kind of your calling card but until sometimes there are results, it’s hard for someone to understand. I think those are some of the challenges. I don’t think I know any other way to do it if you’re completely hands-off and you’re in an office and you’re just doing a website and doing social media without really knowing the product. It’s not going to transform.

 

It’s a lot of these goods and services and attractions and eateries and chefs. They all have their moment to shine in their stories. We want to be the ones doing the storytelling and positioning that. I think I’m probably getting off track from your question, but really, it’s a one person at a time thing. It’s hard to really convince someone when you’re trying to sell something or convince someone. I think that the biggest goal for me is to be genuine. If they’re skeptical, you just have to show them. They either come around or they don’t. We will work with you either way. It is kind of our thing, but we really want to work together.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:30:59] Well it’s kind of a snowball. Right? You get a few people on board. Those people help you get more on board and it kind of continues to go and go and then people start to see the success and they’ll buy in even more. One thing that I know you mentioned in our previous call that it’s important to you to help your stakeholder businesses see things from the visitor perspective. How do you do that?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:31:22] We did talk about this. It was interesting because I still face this a lot. The businesses that are not necessarily visitor businesses are all in about, “Hey, I need to work with you.” They may not necessarily be a direct visitor business and then the ones that are, I try to tell them this is how you would fit into an itinerary. This is the type of guest that’s coming into your establishment or asking for your service. It’s just like anything else where you don’t know what something can lead to but it’s also, if you know your product, where these people coming from, and what’s their story. You don’t necessarily hear from everyone, “How did you hear about us or how they found you?”

 

When you have any destination, your visiting friends and family market is huge. They’re going to take you around to the places they love to eat and to see. It’s my goal to say as a visitor, I see this, or here’s what I see in your business that is not just a local resident who would patronize your shop or your restaurant or even your B&B for a celebratory weekend or to put up their family. You are pet-friendly. This is something that’s very hot right now and this is trending. We want to get on it. I think it just takes that one bit of success sometimes. I know that keeps being the resonating theme, but as a business owner, someone who has to work 24/7. It’s our goal to really help them where they don’t have as much time, but if they answer some questions, we can kind of put them in the right direction. It also helps us overall with our larger strategic marketing plan.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:33:15] Yeah. Well, how rewarding for you to have watched this destination transform over the last several years, to see your vision continue to be realized, and make more progress towards where you’re trying to go. If you could give another destination, maybe boil it down to your main piece of advice that you give someone else who’s preparing to approach some of the challenges and struggles that you’ve dealt with over the last several years. What advice would you give them?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:33:44] I would tell that person, “Keep faith in yourself. You were hired because you’re the expert. You’re going to have detractors. Just know and believe in your product and you take what you can out of it. Whatever you sow in it, there’s bound to be someone else who sees that. You have to give it a voice and really —

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:34:08] Hold on. I want to stop there real quickly because I thought that was really powerful. You have to give your vision a voice and it has to be consistent. I think that’s a really important piece of advice. You can’t just have the vision. You’ve got to have a consistent voice behind it to help push it forward. I like that advice.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:34:25] Thanks. Yeah.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:34:27] Sorry. You can go ahead with the second half now.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:34:28] No. Gosh. I mean that’s really the crux of everything is there are going to be good and bad days. I think we focus so much on the negative sometimes that consumes us or we feel like, “Okay, how can we fix something?” When you look at the triumphs, no matter how little you feel like, “Okay, I’m making a difference,” and that’s what we are here to do. It is to just make a difference.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:34:52] Awesome. Well Neha, if people want to learn more about you and your destination, what’s the best way for them to do so?

 

Neha Shah:               [00:34:599] Our website definitely visitpittsboro.com. We also have a lot of social media. We are on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. They are the main ones and the handle on Instagram and Twitter is at @pittsborocvb but yeah, definitely find us. Check out the website. We are constantly trying to keep it up and work on it.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:35:24] Great. Well, Neha thank you so much for taking the time and sharing your experience with us today. It’s been really valuable for me and I’m sure for our listeners.

 

Neha Shah:               [00:35:32] Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure. I’m really excited about working with you in the future as well.

 

Adam Stoker:           [00:35:37] Absolutely. Same here. Thank you. Thanks to everyone that’s listening. We appreciate you taking the time. If you enjoyed today’s content, don’t forget to leave us a rating or review that continues to help us grow and find people like Neha who found us through listening to the show and now another great guest for you guys to listen to. Thanks, everybody and we’ll see you next week.

 

Hey everyone, we’ve got some exciting news over here at the Destination Marketing Podcast. I’ve talked a little bit about the network that we’re creating and we are adding several new podcasts to the Destination Marketing Podcast Network. One of the podcasts that I’m really excited about is called Influencer Marketing for Destinations and that podcast is put on by Jacqueline Crane. She is the Director of Long-Form Content and PR at Relic along with Jess Darrington, who is not only our Social Media Manager at Relic, but she’s also an influencer herself. The two of them are going to be talking about influencer marketing from both sides as the destination, but also as the influencer tips & tricks, what to watch out for, and how to do it more effectively. I am really excited for this podcast.

 

Tune in and look it up on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify, anywhere where you listen to your podcast and you’ll really enjoy this one.