Episode 148

DI Live With Ted Sullivan and Bree NiddsTed Sullivan & Bree Nidds

About Our Guest

Ted Sullivan & Bree Nidds

In this episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast, Adam takes the show on the road to the Destinations International Convention in Baltimore, Maryland. He is joined by Ted Sullivan, Chief Marketing Officer at Zartico, and Bree Nidds, Vice President of Sales at Discover Lehigh Valley. Listen to their discussion about the future of the tourism industry and the importance of collaboration and partnerships.

“Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone and do something completely different. I learned a lot from the European DMO’s about how they relate to their resident first before the visitor. If you have happy residents, then they’re the biggest ambassador of that destination.” -Ted Sullivan

“Partnership is going to be very important — partnership beyond our own destination. When we get that world heritage designation, we have to then partner outside with the other world heritage sites. That’s going to be critical for us.” - Bree Nidds

Episode Highlights

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Ted Sullivan
  • Position: Chief Marketing Officer at Zartico
  • Favorite Destination:
  • Dream Destination:
  • Name: Bree Nidds
  • Position: Vice President of Sales at Discover Lehigh Valley
  • Favorite Destination:
  • Dream Destination:

Show Highlights

Zartico helps take data and talk about the growth where people are moving. Help tell that story to your boards, to your community, to your residence using that data.

Destinations using Zartico data:

  1. Visit Panama City Beach Music Festival
  2. Tampa’s Super Bowl and WrestleMania
  • People are using data to tell a story a little bit better.
  • Zartico works on competitive benchmarks in the destination industry using pool of data.
  • Ted advises destinations to be prepared to get out of your comfort zone and do something completely different, think of the overall effect for your fellow resident and people visiting your community and making lives better.
  • Community alignment is one of the cool things happening in the Lehigh Valley and Destinations International.
  • Lehigh Valley now focuses on conventions, meetings and events.
  • Lehigh launched a meeting’s recovery campaign throughout the pandemic to educate clients and prospective clients.
  • Sports has sustained a lot of DMOs during the pandemic.
  • Lehigh is on the tentative list for a World Heritage site.
  • Bree points out that smaller destinations are consistent with bringing visitation to the area and that should be recognized and capitalized.

 

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

Episode Transcript

Adam Stoker:       [0:00:00] Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast. We are here in person which feels great at Destinations International. We’re in Baltimore. And I’m sitting down with one of the most impressive — Well, Ted, you’re super impressive, too. I was going to say the company was impressive, Ted, but I don’t want to undermine just the weight that you carry when you walk into a room. I’ve got Ted Sullivan with me from Zartico. Ted, welcome.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:00:29] Well, thank you very much, Adam. Good to be here.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:00:31] And what I started to say is that what Zartico has accomplished breaking into the industry has been one of the most impressive entrances to the tourism industry that I’ve seen. You guys started out as Entrada Insights, and now you’re Zartico. I want to talk a little bit about that rebrand today. But before we do, give us a little bit of your background, who you are, and how you ended up with Zartico.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:00:54] Got it. I’ve been in the industry for 25 years. Actually, I went straight from bartending to bought a call center when actually people used-

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:01:01] A natural transition.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:01:02] Yeah. It was like, why not? It seems like the natural thing to do. So, my buddy and I bought a call center and we started selling call centers and services DMOs. We had Missouri Tourism and then we end up getting about 40 to 50 DMOs and answering phone calls, and shipping, and travel guides. That was my first experience in tourism database marketing. So, I progress from there. I stayed about 15 years there then I joined MMGY Global, the agency about 10 or 11 years ago. Six years there, heading up their business strategy and development.

 

Then I joined the nerds. I went over to the ADARA side because I thought data is next. I want to learn more about it. I want to get in the kitchen with data. I want to figure out how we can do this and really start focusing on marketing attribution. Did that for a couple of years in the States and I spent the past four years in Europe working with European DMOs. I came back during Covid because two or three of my very best friends started a company called Entrada Insights. They said we want you to come back to the States and work with us on blowing this thing up because this is something we’ve always, as a group, dreamed of doing together.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:01:56] And it’s finally come to fruition, right?

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:01:57] It finally has come to fruition. It has. It was one of those things where people like, I want all my data in one place. I wanted to make sense. I want to tell stories about it. I want to justify what my DMO does. It totally, completely not just fill in hotel rooms. And we’re like, you know what? Let’s build that. Let’s build that platform to get that story out and justify everything that a DMO does within a community. And that’s what we’ve been working on.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:02:18] I like it. One of the hardest things as a CMO to oversee is a rebrand. You guys went through a rebrand from Entrada Insights to Zartico. Tell me about the process. Tell me what it was like. And tell us what Zartico means.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:02:33] Thanks. Actually, the day I was getting ready to move over, the CEO Sarah Lehman told me, hey, we have to change our name. And really, she’s like, well, Entrada actually is a Spanish word. And if we ever want to go global, in any country that speaks Spanish, there’s going to be about five or six companies with Entrada in there, and we’re like, okay, so we’ve got to change that. So, we thought about it. Actually, our company changed from this idea of being a junk drawer of DMO data. That’s how we started. We’ll take all your data and we’ll clean it, we’ll do that, and you can use it. And then we came and were like actually we’re taking this data and bettering the lives of the residents, we’re improving the experience for the visitors, and we’re also organizationally transforming the DMO and making them more efficient. They’re using the data. They’re getting different staff members. And we’re like, it’s time to change just who we are, anyway.

 

So, Zartico came out. I hired an agency out of Kansas City. They were some of my buddies when I worked at MMGY. Started their own agency Native Digital. And they took us to this process. And first, the big thing we’re like we want a word that doesn’t exist anywhere so we can copyright and trademark it. The second thing was we always used to have this fun thing with spirit animals. What’s your spirit animal? And they’re like if you ever really done much research about an arctic fox, arctic foxes make 90 kills a day. They’re the most adaptable animal in nature. They can go from 100 below to 100 degree temperature. They change their fur. They’re loyal. They’re independent. They’re smart. And I was like, I kind of feel like you guys are like arctic foxes but we want a word that embraces that, that keeps art in the middle because of all the science that everything you guys do with all this data, art is in the middle of it and that’s the storytelling that affects the community. And then Z words are fun to say. Okay. So, I took that. I was like, you know what? I kind of like all of that. So, we use Zartico. That’s how it came about. And cool swag. You always got cool swag.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:04:20] Absolutely.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:04:21] That’s how Zartico came about.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:04:23] I love it. Okay. What a great story. I want to talk a little bit about what Zartico does today because you mentioned you guys started as you would clean the data. You’re like the junk drawer of data, you said. Today as Zartico, what is your mission and why do people hire you?

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:04:39] People hire us, I think it’s kind of when you hire a plumber, you hire a personal coach or something. They’re like, you guys have amassed a great pool of talent at the DMO space. Especially after COVID, this is when data is so incredibly valued for telling that story. It’s kind of like this George Bailey moment of It’s a Wonderful Life. We got to see what it was like without tourism. And now tourism is coming back. It’s like what are you going to do with that gift you’ve just been given? So, at Zartico, we will help take this data and talk about the growth where people are moving. Are you getting people from relocation? Are your schools improving? Are your roads improving? All of it. And we will help you tell that story to your boards, to your community, to your residence. And we will use that data to do that. That’s what we provide. So, they provide a service, we provide advisers. They take that data and go meet with the clients and say here’s what we would recommend doing based on the trends that we’re seeing.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:05:32] I like it. Okay. So, tell me about a couple of destinations and maybe how they’ve used your data.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:05:38] All right. A good example, Visit Panama City Beach. Every year, they had this music festival that the DMO would invest quite a lot of money if you want a grant for this music festival. The CEO and the team there are like I just want to make sure this is actually in our best interest. I mean these music festivals are coming here. Do a lot of people come out from out of town or is it residents? We took a look at the geolocation data of that music festival over four days and found out that a majority of the people that were at the festival actually were residents, not people coming in from out of town. And then they looked at some of their parade data and other things and events they were having. They were able to show that people really come in town for these events, bass fishing and everything else, like let’s move our money to that. So, they were able to make that case of what to invest in and what not to invest in.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:06:21] Didn’t mean it was a bad event. It just meant that they shouldn’t be investing as much as they were into it.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:06:24] Exactly. It’s a wonderful event that they took pride in. They’re like, if our job is to bring people here, maybe it should be spent on these other events that will bring people there.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:06:34] Interesting. Okay. Give me another one because that was a really good example.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:06:38] Tampa. We tracked everything around two big events this year. They had the Super Bowl. My Kansas City chiefs went down there and got their ass kicked. But we were tracking that just to see where people are moving. And they learned a lot of great stuff. Kansas City became the top 10 in their market. They never spent a dime in Kansas City. Saw that. So, they saw how many people came to Tampa moved around for the Super Bowl. Just a few months later, they had WrestleMania. And WrestleMania is a completely different demographic. And we all might have our own ideas with how the differences are. Found out that the people that came from WrestleMania stayed longer, stayed in higher-end hotels, actually, went to more restaurants and bars. Now, there are some variables there based on Covid but made a case for WrestleMania is actually really good for us. Yeah.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:07:18] Very interesting.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:07:19] It was just interesting. So, that’s how people are using data to tell a story a little bit better.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:07:23] I like that a lot. Okay. So, what’s next? I mean what are you guys working on that’s on your road map? I mean obviously, the feature roadmap for a SaaS company never ends. But what’s some of the stuff you’re excited about that’s coming?

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:07:35] I’ll go ahead and let you guys under the hood. This is something I’ve been wanting to work on for a while. I actually truly believe that with competition comes progress. DMOs were all so nice. We don’t compete as much. We compete on poaching for staff, budgets, and about five other things. If we’re really going to compete, why don’t we compete in the metrics that really matter? We’re going to be measuring stuff differently. So, what we want to do is create competitive benchmarks in the industry. So, competitive benchmark on marketing and what your marketing is doing. Competitive benchmark on relocation, residents’ sentiment about these things. Three or four different data pools go into each one of these outcomes. Then Memphis can compete and look at their resident happiness, first Nashville, first New York, first Baltimore. You do things like that, you get diversified funding. You change your staff. You improve the lives of our visitors because you actually move the needle in certain things that were positive for the community. That’s what we’re working on now, it’s competitive benchmarks.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:08:28] So, if I understand correctly, you’re taking the pool of data that you’ve generated from the clients that you have around the world. And you’re looking at what those benchmarks are averages across the data set and saying, okay, you’re either below average or above average so here’s the thing you need to work on.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:08:44] Exactly. And then here’s how you rank in your skillset. Because we don’t really have that right now. We talked about conventions. Here’s what convention came in town. This convention came in town. What about the parades? If there are certain destinations that have pride parades, how did that parade do this year versus last year, versus the parade in Miami, versus the one in Fort Lauderdale? That’s what we want to do. We have the data, we’ll start building those independent benchmarks.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:09:05] I like it. Okay. Ted, the most important piece of advice you can give a destination that’s listening.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:09:11] Most important, be prepared to get out of your comfort zone and do something completely different, the way you brand yourself, market yourself, how you resonate. I learned a lot from the European GMOs about how they actually relate to their resident first before the visitor because if you have happy residents, the visitor, they’re the biggest ambassador. They’re going to help that. They’re the biggest ambassador of that destination. I would say think a little differently. Don’t think about just hotel rooms. Think about your overall effect on your fellow resident and people visiting your community and making lives better. Make it a bigger picture. That’s what I would say.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:09:44] Awesome. Ted, thanks so much for spending a little bit of time with us today.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:09:47] No problem. That was fun.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:09:48] If people want to learn more, what do they need to do?

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:09:49] Go to zartico.com or you can just drop me a line on LinkedIn or Facebook or follow our Arctic Fox that’s on Instagram.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:09:59] Great. We’ll keep an eye on Zartico because you’re going to hear a lot more from them over the coming years. They have made a huge splash in the industry. They’re going to continue to do so. So, thanks a lot.

 

Ted Sullivan:         [0:10:08] No problem. Thanks, guys.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:10:11] Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast. I’m your host Adam Stoker. We are still here in person at the Destinations International Summit. We’re really excited. We’ve got a great guest today. Her name is Bree Nidds and she is with the Lehigh Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau. Bree, welcome.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:10:30] Yeah. Thanks, Adam. Thanks for having me here.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:10:33] Yeah, excited to have you. This has been a fun conference so far. What’s been your main takeaway so far?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:10:39] I’ve been here for a while now. I came in early for CDME and got all educated over the weekend. And then I feel like the party is just now beginning for me. And now that everyone’s kind of descended upon Baltimore, it’s been nice to see everyone get back together. The inner harbor is super cool. It’s my first time in Baltimore. I love water sports. I love seeing all the sailboats and boating activity, marine life. So, it’s cool to be staying right down here.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:11:08] Great. I want to come back to the CDME in just a moment after we get through some of these initial questions because Colby and I were actually both supposed to start our CDME in Banff in April of 2020. And obviously, that all got derailed a little bit by COVID.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:11:23] Derailed. You and I both. All three of us were supposed to start in Banff.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:11:28] Were you going to go there, too?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:11:28] I was, yes, which I hope they book it there again because I’m excited. I want to explore Banff for sure.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:11:34] Yeah, me too. Well, let’s start with a couple of questions, a couple of icebreaker questions that we always do. It’s kind of a tradition on the show. First of all, what is your dream destination? If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:11:46] I’ve had the great opportunity to live in quite a few places, work in a few destinations now. I went to college in Hawaii so a lot of people could say that that’s like a dreamy kind of when you think of a quintessential destination for tourism, that’s one. So, I would have to say on a broader scale, a beach destination. If not beach, lake kind of community, anything that’s surrounded by water is the dream for me.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:12:18] So, no specific beaches that you haven’t been to that you’re just like, oh, I got to check that off my list.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:12:24] No. I think it’s just water, honestly. That’s why I like being here too, being about the harbor, so yeah.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:12:29] Okay, awesome. So, knowing that you’re a beach person, what’s one of your favorite trips that you’ve ever been on?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:12:36] I was pleasantly surprised when I went to Barcelona in Spain. I went across the pond and it’s almost like the Miami, they call it, of Spain. It was just a great trip. I went there for a New Year’s kind of blowout bash with one of my friends and was very pleasantly surprised with that port city. Super cool. So, again, that kind of water feels.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:13:02] Yeah. I’m hearing a theme here.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:13:03] Yes. So, Barcelona.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:13:06] Okay. When was that?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:13:05] That was a couple of years ago for the New Year. And it’s temperate, the climate. So, you’re there celebrating the New Year but you’re not freezing your tucas off. So it’s really nice.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:13:16] So, that’s the first. We haven’t had the word tucas used on the show before that. Congratulations.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:13:21] Thank you.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:13:23] Oh, that’s fun. Okay. So, you went to Barcelona, the Miami of Spain. I haven’t heard it compared that way before. Is it just because it was kind of the party coastal town of Spain? Is that kind of where it gets that nickname?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:13:36] Well, funny enough I’ve never been to Miami so it’s hard for me to compare it. It’s just what I heard people saying so I kind of adopted that name but I think it is because it has the vibrancy, it has the amenities, super big airport [0:13:50] to international travel coming in and out of there. So, I think that’s kind of where the comparison comes from.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:13:55] Okay, makes sense. I want to go back to your education. You said you went to Hawaii and did your college there. So, what university where you at?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:14:04] I was at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It’s there on O’ahu, just outside of Honolulu but kind of near the city. And at that time, Honolulu had a million people there. So, while I was dealing with the culture shock of moving from North Carolina to Hawaii and I think I was moving into a big city, as well. That’s what a lot of people don’t realize about the place. So, I got my undergraduate degree there. I studied communication. But the cool thing about Hawaii is that any industry that you work in there is related to tourism. In some capacity, I didn’t know that at that time but it really became a part of my narrative as my career journey progressed. And just the fact that I said I was in Hawaii for about five years doing school, teaching surf lessons, that’s all a very tourism-related thing. So, it helped me in my destination career.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:15:00] Absolutely. My wife and I actually went to Maui in November of last year. It was like the first week they had opened up so it was incredible. There was nobody around but we did surf lessons.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:15:13] Awesome, good.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:15:14] It’s funny that was such an important part of our experience in Hawaii. It really is, like those little businesses are such a big part of the visitor experience, right?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:15:22] That’s frontline hospitality for the island of Hawaii. That’s how they touch so many visitors, it’s through surf lessons. And that’s the memory that visitors take with them. So, I’m glad you got to experience it. Now, did you pop up?

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:15:35] Well, pop up, I believe that is an open term. No, I wasn’t able to do it without him shoving me onto the window. So, he grabbed the back of my board and kind of gave me some acceleration and then I could get up but I wasn’t able to catch the wave on my own. I’m still working on that.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:15:52] All right, good. There’s time.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:15:54] Yeah, there’s time. We definitely have to go back.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:15:56] Yeah, good.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:15:57] Okay. You told us a little bit about your background there. Tell me kind of the linear story of how did you go from Hawaii and going to school, and teaching surf lessons and everything to your role now at Lehigh Valley?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:16:11] Yeah, I mean like I said that Hawaii narrative really followed me. And when I decided to leave Hawaii moved back to North Carolina where I’m originally from, I actually moved into a beach destination in N.C. because I was like I got to stay by the water and kind of stumbled into the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau. When I was in Hawaii, I was also a student-athlete so I was on the sailing team there. As I mentioned, I like boats so I like water.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:16:38] Yeah, fitting the theme here.

 

Bree Nidds:          So, being an athlete, Wilmington at the time, they were looking for someone who had a background in sports. I kind of fit some type of build that they were looking for, and that I had Hawaii experience and I had sports experience. No hotel or direct tourism experience but they really took a chance on me. So, I stumbled in and really focus on the sports market. Then we talked a little bit about my path up and I worked for a Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge which was really cool to go from when you talk about the different types of destinations, you have your beach destinations and your mountain destination. So, I was like let me try something a little different here.

 

So, I went up and was in Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, focused primarily on the sports development side of things. And now, here I am in the Lehigh Valley. So, I’m like a little hurricane going up the coast, North Carolina, Virginia, and now up in Pennsylvania. So, here I am.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:17:38] And you’re inland now. You’re Lehigh Valley inland but you’re not so far from the water that you can’t be happy, right?  

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:17:45] No. I mean, you’ve got the Jersey shore, you’ve got Lake Wallenpaupack to the north of me, and the Poconos which is not far. So, I find my ways to get a fix.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:17:55] Nice. Okay. Well tell me a little bit about Lehigh Valley as a destination, but then also your role now in your current place at Lehigh Valley.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:18:07] Yeah. It’s really interesting, and I mentioned this earlier that I have to mention two other places to talk about the Lehigh Valley so people get a sense of the geography and where it’s located, so, an hour north of Philadelphia, an hour and a half west of New York City. I think one of the cool things that’s happening in the Lehigh Valley right now and Destinations International, is kind of woven into what they’re talking about here this week. Community alignment, that peace is so important for a smaller destination like the Lehigh Valley. We’ve really latched on to that concept. And something that we’ve done that’s really cool is we’ve aligned with our Economic Development, our Chamber of Commerce, and then you have us, the tourism development side of things.

 

So, we’ve all wrapped our arms around a concept made possible in Lehigh Valley. So, the chamber uses that, our economic development uses that, and we use it. Now, we always say visitors don’t know lines, or county lines, or city lines. Well, visitors in that capacity, if it’s economic development, if there are partners through the chamber or our tourism entities, they now don’t see the line of who’s using this made possible campaign. So it strengthens our voice. It’s really cool to see it kind of just took off right before the pandemic and I’m so grateful that we all aligned ourselves throughout the pandemic because it just strengthened our community relations. People knew that they were supported and that we were still kind of perpetuating that message of, hey, what is made possible in the Lehigh Valley. And we kind of promoted it that way. So, just a really cool kind of thing going on.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:19:54] Yeah. I’ve got to imagine that that alignment that you guys created between your organizations kind of set the tone for what the community had to do to pull together and work together. I mean, a lot of businesses needed extra support to be saved. And I’ve got to imagine that alignment you guys created, contributed to that for your destination.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:20:12] Absolutely. Chambers, Economic Development, Tourism Development, they all have their own missions that they’re trying to accomplish. And I get that. That’s totally fine. Chambers, they are seen in the community sometimes way more than we’re seeing. So, if we align ourselves with that N.C., sometimes our partners just recognize the Chamber more. So there’s that built-in credibility if they know there’s some type of alignment going on than economic development, businesses that they’re going after. We want to make sure now I focus on meetings, conferences, sporting events. I want to make sure that the meetings that I’m looking at align with the type of business that they’re looking to bring in. So, it’s just all synergized.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:20:58] Yeah. I like it. It’s brand consistency at every touchpoint, right? Well, you mentioned you’re focusing now on conventions, meetings, events. So, what is your current role?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:21:07] I’m VP of Sales so I oversee the strategy related to meetings, conferences, you name it, sporting events. We also are a pretty festival-heavy destination. So, I like to weave festivals in there too because I think it’s important to retain those, bring in some new ones. So, that’s kind of what I always like to mention as well.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:21:28] Nice. Okay. So, as you’re looking at the convention event space now, we’re here in person so we’re starting to see some events coming back. I think that trend will continue. Tell me what you’re seeing right now as you’re trying to bring events to your destination.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:21:43] We did launch a meeting’s recovery campaign throughout the pandemic and that was really to educate our clients. Even our current clients, our prospective clients, we’re like hey don’t forget, we still have all these brick and mortar spaces that when we do get back to meeting, we’re here and we’ll support you in that. So, it was more of an educational campaign in that way. I’ve been saying since the beginning of the year that Q3 is going to be the time that we’re going to see meetings and events really start to come back. Sports has done its thing.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:22:20] Sports has saved a lot of DMOs, right?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:22:23] I mean if you haven’t heard it from destinations already, I mean, if you will in your next couple of sessions because that’s definitely sustained us but I am hopeful that some of these smaller meetings, corporate, even association that we’ll start to see the uptick in that here in the next couple of months, I think people just need to start dipping their toe again. This event is an example. It’s not at its full capacity. They’re offering a hybrid option. It’s cool. That’s a nice adaptation of our industry but they’re dipping their toe. And I think that’s what we need to just start seeing.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:22:57] I like it. Okay. Tell me maybe something unique that your destination is doing or has done, it’s probably better to say it, that you feel like other destinations can maybe benefit from hearing.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:23:09] Well, I’ve kind of already I guess beat the community alignment piece. I think partnership is going to be a very important partnership beyond our own destination. We’ve got the community alignment kind of figured out so we’re going to keep that going. But when we think about we are currently on the tentative list for a World Heritage site. One of our historic sites is on that list. So, with that, the Statue of Liberty they’re on the World Heritage Site list. Independence Hall in Philadelphia is on that list. When I told you our proximity to those cities already.

 

So, when we actually get that World Heritage designation, we have to then partner outside with the other World Heritage sites. I think that’s going to be critical for us. It’s something I know you asked like is there something you’re doing now that I think that’s the next thing that we’re going to start doing that I would encourage other destinations to look at other like-destination, say, how can we leverage the same type of visitor that’s going to come to your destiny? How can I piggyback and say, hey also while you’re just come over here? So that’s what I think will be our future.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:24:26] Well, it makes a lot of sense too because you mentioned that no visitor looks at state lines, or county lines, or city lines as they’re planning a trip, right? So, if you can collaborate with other destinations that are a key part of your visitor experience, it’s going to be great to be able to do that.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:24:44] Oh, absolutely. And on the back end, you always are like okay, but I have to measure everything. But that’s our job to figure out how to measure it all. Just keep them coming, keep the visitors coming and we’ll make them happy and we’ll figure out the measures of our success on that.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:24:58] What a good problem to have, right?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:25:00] Yeah, for sure.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:25:01] Enough people coming to where it’s hard to measure. We haven’t dealt with that for a while in a lot of destinations.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:25:06] Sure. It’s definitely good.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:25:06] Well, what’s one big piece of advice that you can give anybody, any destination right now as they’re trying to generate meetings and opportunities and things like that in their destination, what advice would you give them?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:25:21] Advice, I think it’s a new revelation that a lot of us have had. The smaller destinations maybe more rural communities have really bubbled to the surface and they’ve been the stars of tourism for the past 18 months rather. So, I think I really just hope that that continues. I hope that some of these larger organizations, destinations international or the PCMAs of the world that they recognize it is the smaller destinations that are consistent with bringing visitation to the area. I think big cities, do an amazing job at what they do. But I think there needs to be a continued focus and appreciation for some of these smaller communities that have kept our country’s domestic travel up. That kind of thing to support.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:26:18] I totally agree. And I would add one thing. I hope that the smaller destinations that might be listening will capitalize on the momentum that they’ve achieved over the last 18 months and leverage that into a permanent flow of visitors instead of staying stagnant and allowing those visitors to eventually migrate back to the urban cities that they’re used to.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:26:39] As the visitor profile continues to diversify, as the world opens up a little bit, as we get more meetings coming in, a corporate business that travel, the profile is going to be less leisure and then more diversified. I want that so badly, so, I’m with you. I think that keeps the momentum going, keep diversifying that visitor profile to your destination and keep rocking your smaller destinations. I mean we’re a smaller destination. I’m feeling good about us.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:27:10] I like it. I like your enthusiasm, your ambition. Thanks a lot for coming on today. We appreciate it.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:27:15] Thank you, Adam.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:27:17] And if people want to ask you questions or learn more what’s the best way for them to get a hold of you?

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:27:22] I’m fairly active on LinkedIn, I have a Twitter, Bree Nidds, you can find me there. And of course, email bree@discoverlehighvalley.com. So, pretty accessible.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:27:32] Perfect. Well, thanks again and we’ll enjoy the rest of the conference here.

 

Bree Nidds:          [0:27:37] Thanks, Adam.

 

Adam Stoker:       [0:27:45] Hi, everyone. You’ve probably heard the episode that I recorded a few weeks ago with Laurie Jo Miller Farr from The Travel Vertical and eTourism Summit. I’m so excited. We’ve got a great new show coming out where Laurie and I will be going through the week’s news that you probably see in The Travel Vertical email that goes out. If you haven’t subscribed, you most definitely need to subscribe to The Travel Vertical email. But in addition to that, we’re going to be every other week rounding up the news from the industry. We’re going to talk about what positions are available in the industry. So, if you’re looking for something, looking for a change, make sure you tune in because you’ll find out the latest jobs that are available.

 

We’re also going to talk about the amazing ideas that we’re seeing in the industry, whether it’s a creative campaign, an innovative tactic, a unique partnership. We may even talk about something outside the industry that is really relevant for all of you that are listening. So, if you’re looking for more industry content especially in the form of a podcast, you’re not going to want to miss this show. It’s The Travel Vertical Podcast hosted by me and our friend Laurie Jo Miller Farr from The Travel Vertical and eTourism Summit. We’re going to do it every other week. You’re going to love this content. It will help you stay up to date with what’s going on in the industry.

 

 

 

 

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