Episode 137

Travel as a HR Benefit?

Episode Description

In this episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast, Rilee Buttars, CEO & Co-Founder at Dónde, joins us to talk about how her company is changing the way that consumers save for travel. Listen to learn more about Dónde and why it is such a unique innovation in the industry.

"We wanted accessibility and a broad range of options for any type of traveler. If you want to go to Disneyland, awesome. If you want to go visit your grandma for her 90th birthday, we're going to get you there." -Rilee Buttars

Meet our Host and Guest(s)

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Rilee Buttars
  • Position: CEO & Co-Founder at Dónde
  • Favorite Destination: Jordan
  • Dream Destination: India

“Travel as an HR Benefit?” – Show Notes and Highlights

Show Highlights:

Dónde is a consolidated space to solve fundamental issues found in traveling.
Two things that stand in people’s way of going out to travel are cost and time.
Dónde works with companies to help them offer travel as an actual HR benefit for their staff.
Dónde started January 2020, right before COVID.
People put money into the Dónde wallet and they spend it on travel through Dónde.
Part of Dónde’s process is guiding people to make travel affordable and exciting.
Investors were willing to invest in a travel-based business when the travel industry has struggled because they believed in the vision.
Biggest mistakes people make in marketing:

  1. No branding
  2. Not utilizing the website
  3. Customer experience


Resources Mentioned in the Podcast: 

Destination Marketing Podcast
Adam Stoker
Rilee Buttars
Influencer Marketing for Destinations
Jacqueline Crane
Jess Darrington

Episode Transcript



Rilee Buttars: [00:00:01] We wanted accessibility and a broad range of options for any type of traveler. If you want to go to Disneyland, awesome. If you want to go visit your grandma for her 90th birthday, great! We’re going to get you there.


Adam Stoker: [00:00:20] Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Destination Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Adam Stoker. As always, we’ve got a great show for you today. We’ve got a friend of mine here in the studio in person, which over the last year has been very difficult to do. Her name is Rilee Buttars and she is with Dónde. Rilee, welcome to the show.


Rilee Buttars: [00:00:39] Hi, thank you. I’m excited to be here too,


Adam Stoker: [00:00:42] We are excited to have you. Yeah, it’s nice to be in person. Well, Rilee, you are part of a startup and I’m excited to talk about that today because you guys have really created an innovative product but before we do, we’ve got a couple of icebreaker questions. I guess before, even then I should let everybody know, me and you met in college like what, 12 years ago?


Rilee Buttars: [00:01:04] Yeah.


Adam Stoker: [00:01:05] Or something like that. It’s been a long time. It’s kind of fun to get back together.


Rilee Buttars: [00:01:09] You don’t say, it that ages us.


Adam Stoker: [00:01:10] Yeah exactly.


Rilee Buttars: [00:01:12] It sounds like way too long ago. It makes me sad.


Adam Stoker: [00:01:14] It really was a long time. Anyway, we’ll talk about that as we go I guess as you tell your story. First of all, we ask everybody, what’s your dream destination? If you could go anywhere in the world Rilee, where would it be?


Rilee Buttars: [00:01:29] You know, I hate this question because I want to go everywhere in the world and I feel like I’ve just barely scratched the surface even though I’m doing a travel start-up. I would say what comes top to mind is India. I say that because I’ve been to India before, but when I went I only stayed in the Southeast, in Chennai. I feel like when people go to India they have all these stories and these landmarks that they’ve seen and I’m just like I’ve been to this country and I’ve never seen it. I feel like it’s calling me because it’s a unique culture. It’s so rich and so vibrant. I feel like I need to experience it again. I need to dig deep into it.


Adam Stoker: [00:02:10] Yeah, it’s like coming to the US and only going to Oregon. Right.


Rilee Buttars: [00:02:12] Exactly.


Adam Stoker: [00:02:14] It’s a very small piece of the whole experience.


Rilee Buttars: [00:02:16] Exactly.


Adam Stoker: [00:02:17] Tell me a couple of the things that you would do then if you went back. What activities would you participate in? What landmarks would you want to go see? Cities that you want to visit?


Rilee Buttars: [00:02:26] Well, I think the North is just geographically was different than where I went and all the big cities, like Chennai, is a very big city. It’s very busy. It’s known for being, I mean India, in general, is just a busy place. Right? Chennai is one of those. I definitely got a taste of it. I mean of course, I want to see the Taj Mahal and I really want to go deeper into the history of India. Stereotypically I also am a yoga teacher. I feel like I have a sense of kind of that background, I just like I need to go into it. I might go do some like Ayurvedic type of stuff because I’ve also done-


Adam Stoker: [00:03:04] What’s that word?


Rilee Buttars: [00:03:06] Ayurvedic. I can’t say quite well.


Adam Stoker: [00:03:07] I am not familiar with that term. What does that mean?


Rilee Buttars: [00:03:10] It’s like the rich ancient kind of medical system that originated in India. It’s based on kind of these, they call them doshas or your constitution and there are three different types, you can kind of be a mixture of them. I think of it kind of like a personality type but they were able to say okay if this is what’s happening to you based on your dosha, this is how we would address that. They are able to get at root causes very early, early on. It feels very ancient but so effective even today. Right.


Adam Stoker: [00:03:43] Interesting.


Rilee Buttars: [00:03:44] I would love to go back and does a little bit more of that. I want to do all the tourist things but I also really just want to go into more of the holistic and the mindfulness that kind of originated in India.


Adam Stoker: [00:03:57] Does Tommy gets to come on this trip? Or are you flying solo?


Rilee Buttars: [00:04:01] I feel like on some of that more mindfulness approach, I might want to do it solo. I’m not a solo traveler though so Tommy-


Adam Stoker: [00:04:10] Tommy just needs to figure out what to do that day.


Rilee Buttars: [00:04:13] Exactly. I don’t go places on my own. I’m not a very good person by myself, but yeah I think he can come but-


Adam Stoker: [00:04:21] Nice.


Rilee Buttars: [00:04:22] I might want to do some soul searching on my own.


Adam Stoker: [00:04:23] I like it.


Rilee Buttars: [00:04:24] Yeah.


Adam Stoker: [00:04:25] Okay. All right, that’s a good one India.


Rilee Buttars: [00:04:27] Yeah.


Adam Stoker: [00:04:28] In fact, I don’t know that’s been one of the answers on the show.


Rilee Buttars: [00:04:31] Really.


Adam Stoker: [00:04:32] We have such a variety of answers. It’s kind of fun.


Rilee Buttars: [00:04:34] Nice.


Adam Stoker: [00:04:35] What about your favorite trip you’ve ever been on? I know you’re well-traveled. I know it’s hard to choose one but just give me one that stands out to you.


Rilee Buttars: [00:04:42] Yes, I always kind of give this answer but my favorite is Jordan. I’ve been to Jordan a number of times and each time is different. I originally went there to work for the summer with their government doing some research for them and that was awesome.


Adam Stoker: [00:04:59] Oh wow.


Rilee Buttars: [00:05:00] I learned a ton. I was able to make friends. I learned about the culture and the language. I don’t speak Arabic but it was amazing to go and have people interpret for you and then learn some of the languages and really connect with people. I was there for about four months but this last time I went, I’ve been there about four times. This last time I took Tommy and we were able to go together and experience this culture that I have grown to love and appreciate. Right? It opened up my mind beyond in ways that I never even imagined like just learning about Islam and the language and their culture.


I love the Middle East. I love that tiny little country in the middle of it. It’s a very small place but it has such an impact on the world. It was great to have him come and see it and meet all the people that I know. Yeah, it was just really — I love the food. We were there during Ramadan so that was really nice. It’s a very interesting experience when you’re there and you’re among people that are worshiping and practicing that and you’re not but you just have this reverence about it that is so beautiful.


Adam Stoker: [00:06:09] You talk about, it opened your mind, right? Have you ever seen the movie War Dogs?


Rilee Buttars: [00:06:14] No.


Adam Stoker: [00:06:15] Okay. It is probably for the best. Right? That’s my interpretation of Jordan because I don’t have any experience with Jordan. No frame of reference but in that movie they were smuggling guns across the border of Jordan. I picture like you’re running for your life. I know that’s not accurate at all. It’s just what’s portrayed in movies but that’s why travel is so fun I think it is because you see these new cultures. It opens your mind. We all have these built-in stereotypes of what a destination is like, what a culture is like and to go have that changed and to see it for yourself has got to be pretty unique. Jordan sounds really unique.


Rilee Buttars: [00:06:58] Yeah. They have a wonder of the world so that also helps, right? I have seen Petra is incredible. Even just like the nuances within their markets, I love it.


Adam Stoker: [00:07:09] Great. You’re back in the US.


Rilee Buttars: [00:07:12] Yeah.


Adam Stoker: [00:07:14] You didn’t stay.


Rilee Buttars: [00:07:15] I didn’t stay.


Adam Stoker: [00:07:16] You guys are based here in Salt Lake. Right?


Rilee Buttars: [00:07:18] Right.


Adam Stoker: [00:07:19] Awesome. Well, let’s get to know a little bit of your background and your story we can touch on. You went to BYU and that’s where I got to know you and Tommy at BYU, a long story that I got to know Tommy really well. We played a lot of basketball together. It’s kind of fun to reconnect with you guys. Tell me about your background and how you ended up where you are today and then we’ll get into Dónde and what you do.


Rilee Buttars: [00:07:42] Yeah. My background is in advertising. Obviously, that’s where we met and that program is freaking fantastic. What you go through and the experiences that you have are so great. I felt like at the end of that I was well prepared to get a job and that’s great for undergraduate education but there was something I had the opportunity when I was in the middle of my advertising program to go to India. It was my first time abroad, which is very interesting. It’s culture shock from day one.


Adam Stoker: [00:08:15] Yeah.


Rilee Buttars: [00:08:16] The moment you get off the plane is just like whoa. I think I was 19 at that time. Going to India and having that experience, I don’t know, like it opened or unlocked something in me that was like there has to be more. So I loved advertising. I think it trained me in a way that it’s like I knew how to problem solve, I knew how to creatively think and think outside the box and solve problems. I just wanted more. So I went and did an undergrad or I guess a minor in International Development, did Sociology and decided I wanted to go get a Masters. Instead of going off and working in New York or Chicago, like my other cohort, I was like I’m going to go to more school. I went and do the Masters at BYU. I went to BYU and stayed there for eight years, a long time.


Adam Stoker: [00:09:05] That’s a long time.


Rilee Buttars: [00:09:06] Yeah, I feel like I should have done Ph.D. or something but I did Masters there. It was so awesome and that’s where I kind of really got to travel. I spent every summer working, doing research, and yeah it was incredible. I fully intended to leave my Masters and work for some research-impact consulting firm. Tommy is in Advertising. He was working at McCann at the time. They were doing a photoshoot and their talent didn’t show up.


He called me and said, “Hey, can you get down to the park?” I went over there and met the film agency that was doing the commercial and the shoot. By the end of the shoot they were like, “Hey, do you want to come work for us? “ and that’s it. That sounds fun. That’s what I did instead. I worked for that film company for about a year and then one of our clients was Pluralsight and I was there to shoot one day. They pulled me aside and said, “Do you want to come work here?”


Adam Stoker: [00:10:01] It sounds like going on TV shoots is like the most profitable thing.


Rilee Buttars: [00:10:05] I know, I love the story because I’m like, I don’t know how this happened. I worked for Pluralsight, learned tech and then finally made my way back around to Advertising. From Pluralsight, I went and worked at a local agency here in Salt Lake called Contravent and I was there for about 4.5 years.


Adam Stoker: [00:10:22] Awesome.


Rilee Buttars: [00:10:23] That’s a long story but that’s my background.


Adam Stoker: [00:10:25] I like it. You have obviously done several things. You did tech, you did film, and you did advertising, right? Why are we creating a tech startup called Dónde and what is Dónde?


Rilee Buttars: [00:10:39] Yeah. I think the conversation does kind of come back to advertising. Tom and I were sitting there one day and we were like, “We have all these skills, we want to do more, like what can we actually do and what could create impact in the world.” As we were discussing, it was like what created an impact in us? What changed us? My answer always is travel. Travel is the thing that expanded my worldview, changed my paradigm, and made me who I was.


We said, “Okay travel is so awesome!” Well is travel even accessible? Can you do it? If you don’t do it in your undergrad or your graduate program like I did or study abroad. We said, “How do we make travel more accessible? How do we make this type of travel that’s immersive and more accessible?” We came up with the idea of creating a company that created retreats that adults could come on and it would be immersive and exploratory and really impactful. We went out and said, “Hey, do you want to come on this experience with us?” Everyone’s like, “That sounds awesome. I can’t afford it and I can’t get time off.” Then we said, “Oh, so that’s not actually the problem. The problem is people can’t afford to travel and they can’t get the time to do it.”


Adam Stoker: [00:11:46] Yeah.


Rilee Buttars: [00:11:47] That’s where Dónde came about. It was based on that fundamental problem of access to travel and how we wanted to solve it. We decided, okay, let’s go to the company. Let’s figure out a way that we address this issue by directly going to the thing that stands in people’s way the person or the entity that holds the purse strings and also holds the key to their time, that’s where the problem that we tried to solve and obviously tech is the way to do that. Dónde essentially is trying to make travel more accessible to people because we believe that travel can change people and we do that by kind of addressing each one of those barriers.


We do a company match reward policy. The company puts money into this bank account, the employee contributes and then they have all this money amassing over time. To solve the planning stress that goes into actually figuring out what you want to do on your travel or your trip, we have like itinerary creation tools. We also help them understand what’s out there, inspire people about what’s accessible, what they can do with their time often to plan their trip, and then all of the bookings happens in the platform. It’s all this consolidated space to solve those fundamental issues that we found about 3-4 years ago.


Adam Stoker: [00:13:05] I love it. You’re working with companies to help them offer travel as an actual HR benefit for their staff.


Rilee Buttars: [00:13:14] Exactly.


Adam Stoker: [00:13:15] I love it. That’s interesting. You guys started it when? When did the idea come about? When did you launch the company?


Rilee Buttars: [00:13:22] I think roughly 2018-ish, 2017. The story is really interesting because I, as an academic, I can claim that somewhat, I just know how to do research. We came up with this idea and this problem we’re like, “Okay let’s actually go see if we’re just not crazy.” I spent a year doing tons and tons of research and what is really nice is that yeah all the research points to that, this is the best solution. You find research about PTO is the second most desired benefit but no company actually has any software or any solution to driving more effectiveness to this benefit that they offer so that was really big for us. What are the key things that stand in people’s way of actually going out to travel?


We thought of the cost and the time and every single research pointed to that same thing. I was able to kind of prove our thesis just by doing research, secondary research. It started because I met up with another friend from advertising, Owen Fuller. I presented him this idea and he said that’s awesome. I’ve been thinking similar things. We kind of brainstormed together, pulled the team together, and just started. Essentially we incorporated last January 2020 everyone knows that. March rolled in, it’s horrible.


Adam Stoker: [00:14:43] That’s what I’m going to ask you. You started a travel company right before COVID.


Rilee Buttars: [00:14:47] Yeah.


Adam Stoker: [00:14:48] How did it affect your plans? How did it change your plans? What did you learn?


Rilee Buttars: [00:14:52] Well it affected Dónde drastically. We thought we could move a lot faster. We thought that just doing the research and talking to people, we had something that was golden. We’re like, we’re just going to go out and make this immediately. It definitely slowed things down. It was really tough to think that you have a really great idea and all of a sudden the world has been completely shaken. I mean, you go and talk to people. They say travel is not coming back for 3 to 5 years. Good luck.


That’s what you hear. It’s traditional here to know a lot, but it wasn’t what we expected at the time that we expected it. It slowed us down. I would say there’s roughly like three months there, I don’t even know what we did. We didn’t do anything because we were paralyzed by the unknown but then we decided, let’s just build this thing. Let’s go. Let’s have faith and hope that the world is going to come back. I think one year later we launched it and everything is flowing back to normal into some degree, right?


Adam Stoker: [00:15:53] Different markets, different destinations.


Rilee Buttars: [00:15:55] Exactly.


Adam Stoker: [00:15:56] Yeah, that’s great and so now that you’ve launched, tell me how it works. Do you have destinations that are on board or do you have a comprehensive solution where an employee can choose just about any destination in the world and decide where to go? Can they see costs beforehand so that they can know exactly how much they need to save in order to be able to go on that trip? Tell me a little bit about how that part of the business works.


Rilee Buttars: [00:16:22] Yeah. The fundamental thing in the business is that people put money into the Dónde wallet and they spend money through Dónde. We never wanted a user to feel trapped like it is their money. The only thing that we add, the parameter that we add is that they have to spend it on travel. In our platform, they can book a flight, they can book a hotel, they can book an Airbnb, they can rent an RV, or they can get a car. We wanted accessibility and a broad range of options for any type of traveler. If you want to go to Disneyland, awesome. If you want to go visit your grandma for her 90th birthday, great. We’re going to get you there through an air ticket, right?


That’s our fundamental belief is that no one feels trapped and it is available and accessible to everyone but one of the other elements is that we want people to feel inspired and to understand what’s out there. What destinations are available? What experiences? Before I got into this business, I had no idea. The wide range and variety of options out there is just very overwhelming. It’s like I guess I could book through Expedia but that’s way too intense. You kind of get stuck in this rut and really don’t know how to expand the horizon of what’s available and what’s possible. That’s also on our ticket, is how do we present awesome experiences and destinations to people. How do we show them the cost? Yeah, that’s kind of how it is. Everything feels very similar to Expedia. You get in and you can book a flight.


On the experiences side of it, we present, “Hey, here’s this awesome experience to go to Bluegrass Festivals and drink bourbon in Louisiana. Awesome. You can book that and it’s like $2,000 or whatever. We present them these options and then people can just book it directly in the platform and it’s all about saving too. Right? We definitely want them to say this is the price of it. Here are some deals that you can have or if you want to go in this epic adventure to Italy, here are some ways to save money. Part of our process is guiding people to make travel affordable and exciting.


Adam Stoker: [00:18:29] Got it.


Rilee Buttars: [00:18:30] It’s how do we mix those two together.


Adam Stoker: [00:18:32] I like it. We said the name several times and I feel like I failed to ask you what does Dónde mean? It’s kind of funny. I take it for granted a little bit because I speak and understand Portuguese, I understand Spanish so as soon as I saw it, I knew what it meant, but I think a lot of our listeners may not. Help us understand the word Dónde and what it means.


Rilee Buttars: [00:18:54] Yeah, Dónde means where and I thought what’s one of the most common phrases out there and Dónde esta kind of came up.


Adam Stoker: [00:19:05] Yep.


Rilee Buttars: [00:19:06] Where are you? I’m not a Spanish speaker either, but I grew up taking Spanish lessons in high school, I’ve been to Spanish-speaking countries and it feels very familiar to me, but you’re right not everybody knows these words or these phrases. It means where and I came up with it because I was sitting there, it’s like what’s one word that can encapsulate what we want to do? I actually thought of Cuando first, when am I going to go take time off? Right? I was like, no, that doesn’t have a better ring. Dónde has a better ring to it. We went with Dónde.


Adam Stoker: [00:19:42] It does. I think it’s really on-brand with what you guys are doing and it makes people think, where? Where are we going to go? I like it. Another question that I had for you, most of our listeners are destinations, tourism destinations all over the world that listen to our show. A couple of things that I think you could give really valuable advice for the people listening. One is you see people as they’re planning their trip because your entire platform is built around planning the trip.


Rilee Buttars: [00:20:13] Yeah.


Adam Stoker: [00:20:14] The question is what type of content is most valuable for people booking a trip to generate that interest? You talk about how you’ve got itineraries, you’ve got some different content that’s more like guiding people towards the right destination. What type of content should destinations be creating to generate that interest and make sure that as somebody is researching a certain type of vacation, that their destination is included in that search?


Rilee Buttars: [00:20:42] That’s a really great question. One thing because our name is Dónde. That is the beginning of the search is where do you want to go? What is the destination? Right. We present information based on a destination that’s our hope, right? That’s our intent with how we build out our library and present that. I think for destinations, what’s interesting is you have a wide range of travelers, they know this right? You’ve got the traveler that’s like wants everything booked for them. They show up and they’ve got step 1, 2 and 3 from arrival to departure. You also have these people that they just want to know what’s out there. Where are these really unique destinations that I can go but then I’ll figure it out?


I think what’s important is to have a variety of options that you can hit each persona that you can be attractive to the one that wants to be taken care of and the one that just wants to know where to go and then they’ll figure it out. I think it’s being able to combine your content in a way that is accessible to all different types of travelers. I guess if that answers your question.


Adam Stoker: [00:21:52] I guess a wide variety of content types, don’t just focus on one type whether maybe video, right? Don’t just do video.


Rilee Buttars: [00:21:59] Yeah.


Adam Stoker: [00:22:00] Although you may find jobs if you do video shoots. I just want to make sure everybody hears that because it sounds like it. Rilee, that’s the way you went from job to job is doing a video shoot.


Rilee Buttars: [00:22:08] Exactly.


Adam Stoker: [00:22:09] Focus on multiple types of content so that you’re reaching the different types of travelers. Right?


Rilee Buttars: [00:22:15] Yeah. Sorry. To be more specific, I do think that type of content and the format of that content can be utilized in various ways. Being able to reach someone through video or through social whatever. Right? I think there are various ways to put your content out there and I think it’s important because you have a wide variety of travelers out there and how they’re going to hear about it.


Adam Stoker: [00:22:37] Yeah, great. What about destinations that are listening, if they’re like, “Holy cow, this is a great idea. I want my content included in the platform.” Is there a vehicle for them to upload their content into Dónde’s platform or is that like phase two or three or what’s the plan there?


Rilee Buttars: [00:22:58] Yeah. We definitely want those partners. I think that’s really important to us to be able to serve up awesome content and for it to be accessible for all types of vendors. Right now there is not a way for them to automatically just do it themselves. There’s no like self-serve portal for that but yeah, if someone wanted to be in our platform and to say, “Hey, we are this destination. We’ve got these types of itineraries. We’ve got these types of experiences that people can book or plan.” Then we could definitely put that in just manually right?


Adam Stoker: [00:23:32] Yeah.


Rilee Buttars: [00:23:33] We can just say we can make that connection and we can build it out for you because for us it’s like I said, it’s the breadth and the depth of our options that we serve up to our users.


Adam Stoker: [00:23:45] Okay. People should be providing you content. We will give your contact info at the end of the show but it seems like a great way to make sure destinations are in the conversation. If you’re going to start hitting people through their employment before they actually know Dónde they’re going to go right. Before they know they’re going to do research in your platform to make that decision.


Rilee Buttars: [00:24:06] Yes.


Adam Stoker: [00:24:07] They are going to try to understand how much do I need to save before I can go on this trip. That’s the time to hit him with that content. We’ll tell people at the end of the show how to get a hold of you and to send you content to upload into the platform.


Rilee Buttars: [00:24:19] Yeah, exactly. I think that’s amazing. That’s what we want, right? People planning, saving, and making it the best trip ever, finding things they didn’t know exist, destinations they didn’t know existed, and then being able to eventually just book it, right? It’s that whole thing that whole process happens in Dónde.


Adam Stoker: [00:24:35] Awesome. Let me ask you a question. You guys did something really interesting and that’s during a pandemic that affected the travel industry, the way that it did. you were able to raise a seed round of funding. The reason I bring that up for our destinations that are listening, it’s a really good sign to me that investors are willing to put into a company that’s going exclusively into the travel space. It says a lot for the future of travel and tourism and optimism is a really important part of my show. Right? Tell me a little bit about what it was that made these investors willing to invest in a travel-based business when the travel industry has struggled so much over the last 12 months.


Rilee Buttars: [00:25:17] Yeah. Great question. We at first didn’t know if we would be able to rise because there was some pessimism in the market, right? There were a lot of negatives, I guess guesses out there to say what was going to happen to travel. I think what makes the difference is our go-to-market strategy. Consumer travel is a trillion-dollar industry, right? We’re trying to capture that and do it through B2B or through the company, right? It’s a very unique thing. That’s what helped us stand out is because, we are a marketplace for content, for providers, and for vendors but we’re doing it. We’re accessing the eventual consumer through their company, which is very unique.


I think that’s what attracted people to us and they believed in that vision. They believe that you’re right, you can capture market share by doing this approach. I think that helped us also. Everyone loves travel and what’s unfortunate, but kind of fortunate is that COVID made everyone stay at home. All of a sudden investors started to say, “Oh my gosh, the world is going to rebound and travel is going to come back in a crazy amount and so let’s catch that wave.”


Adam Stoker: [00:26:26] Yeah.


Rilee Buttars: [00:26:27] I think the optimism is there. I think people are super hopeful. Even just with the two months where things have kind of started to come back to normal, we see people traveling to Hawaii and Mexico and traveling to all of the national parks, right? Travel is something that is inherent. This is what helped me keep hope as I listened to a podcast with Brian Chesky from Airbnb. He said that “Travel will rebound. It’s rebounded after every recession, disaster, and war etcetera. Right? Even times when we didn’t think it could, it did. Travel, I don’t even know if it’s inherent, but people want to explore. We want to adventure.


Adam Stoker: [00:27:07] We have to.


Rilee Buttars: [00:27:08] We want to see loved ones. There’s hope for sure.


Adam Stoker: [00:27:10] Yeah, I like it. That’s one thing I wanted to make sure is very clear for our listeners because there’s been a little bit of despair in the industry over the last 12 months but the fact that investors are willing to start putting their money towards travel-based companies and new platforms in the industry, I think that’s a pretty good sign. I think we should take that as a really good sign.


Rilee Buttars: [00:27:30] Yeah.


Adam Stoker: [00:27:31] Cool. All right. I’m going to pivot a little bit in this conversation. You have been doing marketing and film advertising for a long time. What is the biggest mistake you see people make in their marketing?


Rilee Buttars: [00:27:46] Oh, it’s a good question. I think what would be one of the mistakes is that one, do not focus on brand. I think the brand is everything and they’re like, yeah, that’s not true but it is. It matters like people really gravitate to the brands that matter into the brand that are saying something and the brands that are impacting you, right? Brand matters and the way that you architect that experience and the look and feel all matters. I’m always going to say from an advertising perspective that it matters. You should have a beautiful website, you should have really beautiful content imagery because it goes further. If someone, if they go to your website and it doesn’t work, they don’t trust you and trust is critical. I would always say that, yes, it does matter. Make it beautiful.


Adam Stoker: [00:28:35] I like it.


Rilee Buttars: [00:28:36] I don’t know that and then just customer experience, that should always be top of mind.


Adam Stoker: [00:28:41] Yeah, I like it. The mistake you see is people not focusing on brand, not utilizing branding and just focusing on the bottom of the funnel director’s box.


Rilee Buttars: [00:28:51] Exactly because it’s expansive, right? You have to find the right designers, the right photographers and yeah, it does feel a little bit scary to put money towards that, but I always think it pays off.


Adam Stoker: [00:29:01] Yeah, I think it does too. In fact, we had an episode a little while back about how during the pandemic, we were able to kind of monitor the performance of several destinations analytics. The destinations that had invested more in brand prior to the pandemic were the ones that were at the top of the priority list for when people started looking at travel again because they had done such a good job of branding prior. The destinations that hadn’t spent money on branding were slower to get their interest to come back because people, the destinations are top of mind, have spent the necessary time, energy and money on nurturing their brand and getting their brand out there as much as possible.


Rilee Buttars: [00:29:50] Exactly, I agree.


Adam Stoker: [00:29:52] Great. Well Rilee, anything I haven’t asked you that you think would benefit our audience.


Rilee Buttars: [00:29:58] I don’t know. I just love the connection between that destination and where, I don’t know, I just love it. I think Destination Marketing plus the kind of approach and the brand that we’re taking is a really great fit. It makes me happy.


Adam Stoker: [00:30:15] You’re saying destinations plus Dónde equals success.


Rilee Buttars: [00:30:18] Yeah. Exactly.


Adam Stoker: [00:30:22] I like it. Well Rilee, how can people get a hold of you if they’ve got additional questions for you, whether it’s about your business, your platform, your experience, whatever.


Rilee Buttars: [00:30:29] Awesome. Yeah. Just info@godónde.com. That’s our web and our email is godónde.


Adam Stoker: [00:30:36] Let’s spell Dónde just to make sure everybody’s got it.


Rilee Buttars: [00:30:38] D-O-N-D-E.


Adam Stoker: [00:30:40] Perfect. Okay info@godónde.com.


Rilee Buttars: [00:30:43] Yeah.


Adam Stoker: [00:30:44] Awesome. Well Rilee, thanks for coming on today. It’s been a lot of fun to chat with you and catch up with you.


Rilee Buttars: [00:30:48] Yeah.


Adam Stoker: [00:30:49] I see that you’re doing something so unique and cool for the industry.


Rilee Buttars: [00:30:53] Yeah, we’re excited. Thanks for the time.


Adam Stoker: [00:30:55] Absolutely. Thanks to all of you for listening. If you enjoyed today’s show, today’s content, please make sure that you leave us a rating or a review, wherever it is that you’re listening to our show and other than that 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. 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. So tune in, look it up on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify anywhere where you listen to your podcast and you’ll really enjoy this one.


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