Episode 136

Changing Jobs in a PandemicTimothy Bush

About Our Guest

Timothy Bush

This week on the Destination Marketing Podcast, we are joined by Timothy Bush, Chief Tourism Development Officer at Spartanburg, South Carolina. Listen to hear his experience with starting a new job during the pandemic, and how Spartanburg has been able to overcome challenges during this unprecedented time.

"A brand is not a logo, it's not a tagline, it's about the essence of what a visitor feels when they step into the community." -Timothy Bush

Episode Highlights

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Timothy Bush
  • Position: Chief Tourism Officer – Spartanburg, SC
  • Favorite Destination: Canada
  • Dream Destination: New York City

“Changing Jobs in a Pandemic” – Show Notes and Highlights

Show Highlights:

  • Spartanburg, South Carolina’s natural beauty is second to none. 
  • Spartanburg has sports, leisure and meetings market and exceptional food and cultural vibe that attract people to visit. 
  • Sports leisure has helped Spartanburg’s travel industry stay afloat during the pandemic.
  • Outside seating allowed restaurants dining experience during the pandemic.
  • The pandemic has allowed innovations to happen that cause destinations to be better. 
  • Two funding sources of Spartanburg: 
    1. General funding
    2. Destination Marketing fund 
  • Important focuses of Timothy in his work in the destination field: 
    1. Branding
    2. Storytelling
    3. Messaging
  • Storytelling accentuates branding by telling a story of why they should be in your destination.

 

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast:

Episode Transcript

Transcript:

 

Timothy Bush: [00:00:00] A brand is not a logo. It’s not a tagline. It’s really about the essence of what visitors build when they step into your community and what we want them to really and truly feel. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:00:20] Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast. I’m your host, Adam Stoker. Great show coming for you today. We’ve got a friend of mine, he’s in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His name is Timothy Bush, and he is the Chief Tourism Officer for Spartanburg and Timothy, welcome to the show. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:00:38] Hey, thank you for having me. Good to be here. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:00:40] We’re excited to have you. Before we dive into kind of our normal questions, I know that you’re an active listener of the show. In fact, that’s how we connected you. You reached out from being a listener. I’d love to know how did you find the show and kind of what made you decide to hang on. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:00:58] I was listening to another podcast, I won’t say which from when. I can’t give anybody any free advertising, but listening to another podcast and it recommended yours to me. I said, “Ok, interesting.” And so I started going through your content and thought, “Oh, this would be great to listen to,” and so on many of my drives from wherever we’re working out that’s generally what I’m listening to is a podcast. And yours is one of those that I listened to on a regular basis. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:01:29] Oh, how great. Okay, well, I’m curious. I’ll have to ask you afterward who that show is that you were listening to. If you’re listening to me while you’re working out, I feel like I need to start bringing a little more energy to the show. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:01:43] I have preferred to work out in the morning times. So for me, it is a great way to start my day with something creative, gets my mind thinking about my workday, so it really does help me focus. So your energy level is absolutely fine. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:02:01] Alright, I don’t need to ratchet it up. That’s good because I think at this point it would be hard for me to change my cadence here. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:02:08] No, no, you’re great, you’re great. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:02:10] Well, Timothy, we got a couple of questions that we like to ask everybody that comes on the show to kind of get the conversation started. So tell me what’s your dream destination? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:02:19] So my dream destination is actually in New York City. I know that is not as glamorous as some of the destinations that people have thrown out when they do the podcast but for me, New York is one of the places that I have just always wanted to get to, was planning to go prior to the pandemic and obviously that that didn’t happen. So I really want to get to New York as soon as I can. I’m a theater lover and so you just have always wanted to go and see some shows on Broadway. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:02:52] You mentioned that New York might not be as glamorous or exotic as some of the destinations that get mentioned on this show, but with a destination like New York, there are so many different things that you can experience in New York. I mean for anybody that’s been, you didn’t even scratch the surface of what you can do there. So I think New York’s a great answer. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:03:14] Yeah, I just am a fan and somebody who studies my industry as much as I possibly can, I love looking at creative and know other destinations are doing. So New York and company, I think they do a phenomenal job with their marketing and so it’s just kind of inspired me to want to visit. But also I think again to your point, there are so many experiences to be had beyond Broadway. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:03:40] Yeah, your love of theater. I mean you’re going to the right place for sure. I’m going to ask you a question though and hopefully, it’s not an uncomfortable question, but New York over the last year I think has become obviously a hotspot for COVID. So I guess my question is when do you feel like it’s going to be a time for you to feel comfortable making that dream trip to New York? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:04:03] Yeah, I think hopefully in the fall potentially the big, great time. One thing I want to avoid is to know I think the fall potentially would be a great time, my birthday’s in August and so we were planning to go in August, but the pandemic kind of put a hold on that. But hopefully, it’s my plan to try to get back sometime in the fall. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:04:30] I think it’s a good plan because by that time vaccinations will have continued to ratchet up a lot and we’ll be pretty comfortable with social distancing and masking at that point if necessary. I think you should by then be able to have a great New York experience. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:04:45] Yeah, I hope so. Get my trip is really going to be contingent on if theaters are reopened. I know there’s a plan for that and so I think everybody is just itching to get back to some stimulus of normalcy and definitely, the theater a place for people to get out and enjoy some entertainment is going to be a welcomed addition. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:05:07] Awesome, awesome. Okay, well, I hope you get to take that trip in the fall. I want to ask you your favorite place you’ve ever been. What, what’s your favorite trip you’ve been on? I know you’re well-traveled. I know you’ve been a lot of great trips and you don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. So, just give me kind of the one that really stands out to you right now that you’ve been on.

 

Timothy Bush: [00:05:26] I have to say Canada went to Montreal and Vancouver on a work trip and was also there for a conference and just really loved those cities, primarily because of just the natural beauty that they have. One thing I can say about me in particular in relation to my career is I love places that are just beautiful and they don’t have to try too hard. So that was my feeling about Montreal and Vancouver was those are cities that just have an abundance of natural beauty and they’re not really working too hard to create that. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:06:03] Okay, all right, so you like kind of organic beauty, not manufactured beauty in that sense? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:06:10] I do. I think that those places are just very authentic in nature. It’s just an unmanufactured beauty that they capture and I think that what’s cool about that is the natural landscapes that really have a very unique story that they demonstrate through that natural beauty and I think that’s something that just draws me into a place is a place that just builds very natural and organic. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:06:42] I like it. Okay, how long ago was that trip? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:06:45] At 2017. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:06:47] Okay, not too long ago. Are we going back? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:06:50] I would love to go back again as soon as we feel comfortable to really get out again. There’s definitely going to be back on the bucket list for us to do great. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:07:00] Great. Well, I’ve only been through a very small part of Canada and it was on the Alaska Highway and it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life. So I know I was on the other side of Canada from where you were, but there definitely is a lot of natural beauty in Canada. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:07:18] Yeah, I mean, I just think it’s a beautiful country. Again, those natural landscapes are just so pretty. I actually find them a little therapeutic to be in that type of nature. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:07:32] Absolutely. Well, Timothy. Thanks for that. Thanks for letting us get to know you a little bit. Tell us about your background and kind of your story and how you got into tourism. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:07:42] So 16 years ago I was working as a reporter for a small newspaper in Louisiana little community called DeRidder Louisiana. It is 45 miles north of Lake Charles. Louisiana. Of course, Lake Charles is a name that most people would be associated with because of the hurricane that happened last year. I was working at the paper and the lady who had the job at the tourism commission had become a friend of mine and she decided that she was going to leave that job and get a job within her profession, which was psychology. She looked at me and she said, you know what? You could be much better at this than I am. 

 

So I covered the tourism commission as one of my assigned beats every month. So I went to the meeting and wrote the story and so I kind of had some association and some familiarity with the board members and interviewed and they hired me and that’s how I got started. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:08:44] Oh how cool. So how many years ago was that? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:08:47] I’m on 17. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:08:48] Okay? Coming up on 17. So you’ve been in the industry for a long time then and you know, so you were at that tourism bureau and then where did you go from there?

 

Timothy Bush: [00:09:00] From there, I went to the Ruston, Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau in North Louisiana, close to home, about 30 minutes from where I grew up in Monroe, Louisiana and I stayed there 7.5 years at the VP of Sales and Marketing. W

Adam Stoker: [00:09:13] Wow, okay. And then where?

 

Timothy Bush: [00:09:16] Then I went to Macon, Georgia. I’m the Marketing Manager there for almost two years before coming back to Louisiana in 2015. to be the President/CEO of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism about an hour outside of New Orleans in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. Stayed there up until October of 2020 and then I relocated to Spartanburg, South Carolina. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:09:42] Okay, so in the pandemic, everybody’s hunkering down, kind of staying home and staying close and you said, you know what? I’m going to pick up and I’m going to move from Louisiana to Spartanburg, South Carolina. What made you decide to make such an impactful decision during the pandemic? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:10:02] Going back to my answer about Canada. I came and I visited and just off to this place is just truly beautiful in the upstate of South Carolina. Just the amount of open space and just beautiful trees and the foliage that’s here. It really just kind of drew me in. Again, I’m from Louisiana, so I know beauty when I see it because I think there’s a lot of natural beauty in Louisiana. But I also think that there’s a tremendous amount of beauty here in South Carolina. That was one of the reasons. But also I felt like it’s a great opportunity to expand my horizons within the different sectors, different parts of the country and Spartanburg has a lot to offer. 

 

I mean we have about 400 square feet of meeting space. We do a ton of sports fitness here and so it’s a destination that’s just growing. I think one of the other things that was really big for me, I guess, I love an underdog story. So one of the things that I found as I was researching coming here is a lot of times people just don’t see Spartanburg as a great destination. But one of the things that I’ve always enjoyed is going to a place and interpreting it for potential visitors and allowing them to see with a fresh set of eyes. I think that that’s what I’m able to do really, really well with destinations I’ve worked on before. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:11:32] So you like to go to a destination where not necessarily already on top, but you can go make a significant impact and kind of see the results of your work because they are a little bit of the underdog. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:11:44] I do, I do if it’s my personality really well, because I’m a person who loves a challenge first and foremost, and then I think also as a person who’s been counted out in life, I think that may give me a different perspective of how I work and how I approach things. So coming here and seeing all the potential that Spartanburg has to be just a jewel in South Carolina as a destination just really appealed to me. We’re already making significant gains. I mean, in terms of sports, I mean we are doing tremendous sports business and doing tons of people to our market. I think that speaks well to the team I work with, but people are beginning to really understand the value that our destination really holds well. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:12:30] You know what? That’s a good segue for us. I’d love to have you give us kind of an overview of what is Spartanburg, South Carolina and why is it a great destination? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:12:40] Well, I mean first and foremost the natural beauty that’s found here. That is just honestly, second to none. In my opinion, actually this morning I got to spend time in Hatcher’s Garden. It is a recreational area here in Spartanburg and it is just so incredibly beautiful space of land right here in our city. So when you just are anywhere in the city, you can just see that natural beauty. I think secondly, it is the opportunity to attract people to this market from the sports, leisure and meetings market. 

 

We have great facilities for sports, we have great facilities for meetings and also I think we have just amazing partners that we get to work with every single day. Then also our food scene is an emerging food scene. I mean, a lot of farm to table restaurants – 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:13:37] Now we’re talking. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:13:38] Right. We have lots of small, locally-owned restaurants that are exceptional. Those range again from just burger places to fine dining. A lot of people ask the question, “Why did you go to South Carolina? Oh, are you missing Louisiana food?” I’m going to be honest and say that I missed Louisiana’s food. But the perception that there’s no good food in South Carolina is a myth. I certainly have not missed any meals since I’ve been in South Carolina. Sometimes I feel like it’s showing that’s why I’m in the gym at 5:30 in the morning. Just trying to get that little weight off of me. 

 

But also, I think what’s really great about it is our downtown, our cultural arts. Spartanburg does have an artsy vibe to it with what we have at the Chapman Cultural Center and all the partners who are part of our cultural community. I think those things make Spartanburg unique. I think it’s great that for a city the size of Spartanburg that we have, a philharmonic, we have a great art museum we have, Ballet Spartanburg. So there’s a lot of cultural arts within our community. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:14:55] Yeah, yeah. You clearly have a lot to offer there in Spartanburg. You mentioned sports and I want to go back to that because it sounds like sports was critical for Spartanburg to kind of get the community through the pandemic last year. Tell me a little bit about sports and why it is so important to Spartanburg as a destination?

 

Timothy Bush: [00:15:15] Definitely. To the first point, yes, it was very critical to help us that flow during the pandemic. I often describe sports as a central part of our makeup of what we do. I mean, actually, it’s number one of the benefits that were driving primarily because it’s outside. So a lot of people felt comfortable coming here and playing soccer and softball and baseball and the basketball, which is inside, but there’s a lot of comfort in that. And we’ve worked really hard to make sure that we keep people safe, which has also been really important for the work that we’ve done with our community partners. 

 

But the sports market for us had just been growing already. And because of COVID and North Carolina being shut down to some extent, we were able to pick up some additional events that we probably would not have been able to get otherwise. But what that’s done is it’s allowed people to see the type of events that really can be held in our community. We have a great facility, Tyger River Park, that hosts tons of softball events year-round and also does programming for the local community as well. 

 

So it really has helped us to stay afloat. I describe it as the business that hotels want, but we’re still struggling a little bit with Monday through Friday corporate and business travel, which is slowly coming back, but not quite at the level that we needed to be. I think there’s a lot of opportunities to bring those markets back and so that sports market has just been an essential key to keeping our hotels moving in a positive direction. And that was, you need to see it turning a little bit more. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:17:08] For a lot of destinations, sports seems to be kind of the foot in the door that gets a lot of people to come back, right? They’ll come have a wonderful time at a sports tournament and learn so much about Spartanburg that they didn’t even know and then maybe they come back for business or they schedule an event in the destination. Are you seeing that as kind of the same process in your destination? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:17:33] Yes, definitely. We’re definitely beginning to see more of that within the market. I mean, I think right now between now and the end of the year we have 18 boarding events that are scheduled to take place and honestly we’re adding more every day.

 

Adam Stoker: [00:17:48] Wow. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:17:49] So I mean we’re in a great position. I mean we have great geography in South Carolina, so we’re very easy to get to you from Atlanta, 2.5 hours away from Atlanta, just north of Atlanta. Asheville is an hour away, Charlotte’s by an hour 15 minutes away. So in terms of location, Spartanburg is positioned really, really well. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:18:10] Great. Well, one of the things you mentioned in our conversation that we had before, the destination did something that I think really added some charm to Spartanburg and it was kind of a byproduct of the pandemic. You guys shut down Main Street and the restaurants and dining establishments that were downtown moved their seating outside to allow for outdoor dining. It sounds like it was a really, really good thing for the city of Spartanburg. Tell me a little bit about the process of making that decision and then what you’ve seen is the results of making that decision. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:18:47] Obviously for me, I was not here at that time. I came in October, but that was something that had dotted the summer time of 2020 when the city made that decision to allow for outdoor dining and to close off Main Street. I think what it’s done is made downtown even more of a destination because now people have the option to eat outside and feel a little bit more comfortable. I think that is really important. 

 

Restaurants are vital to any community and the way that I think about it is that with every restaurant that we have is an opportunity to allow visitors to experience those places. When restaurants close then we lose an amenity that we no longer have. The goal, as far as I’m concerned, is to make sure that we keep all businesses’ vibe. Because when people come to our community, when people do start to feel comfortable returning, then those amenities need to be there to help showcase our community. 

 

Often I describe it as we being the tourism arm are not the sole curator of the experience, but those people who provided our restaurants and our hotel partners and our attractions. So with every one of those places, there has an opportunity to engage. And to me having those restaurants be able to kind of move into the streets really helped to ensure that process so the city of Spartanburg did a great job in allowing that to happen. I think the response to that had been overall favorable, but of course, there are some businesses who don’t agree with the decision. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:20:46] Yeah, tell me about that. So if the businesses don’t agree, is it because they’re non-dining establishments and it hurts the traffic going by or why would there be a negative response to that? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:21:01] You hit it right on the head with some of them think that not having the street open, hurt the ability of their clients to pull up in front of their stores to shop. That’s really where it sinuates for a lot of those businesses. But what I will say is is that downtown Spartanburg has over 3000 downtown parking spaces. So we also have again plenty of parking for people. Also, we have a valet shuttle service that’s also running to help get people to where they want to go within downtown as well. So our city has really created a lot of options to allow people to be able to come downtown and still experience what they have. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:21:49] Yeah. And so what have you guys done to try to — because obviously from a tourism standpoint, it’s great to have the Main Street becomes such a more kind of habitable location where people can gather outdoors and not have to worry about crossing the street and stuff. But obviously, I can see the argument of these businesses too. How do you address that with these businesses to help them be a little bit more comfortable with that decision? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:22:15] But we actually just recently extended outdoor dining for another several months. During that time the city is going to – 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:22:27] Does that include the closure of Main Street continuing? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:22:30] Yes. Yes. So the plan is to really take the next couple of months and study that and then make some formal recommendations at some point, probably in the fall to determine whether the street would remain close to open back up. But I think that the city really is doing is due diligence to make sure that they make the right decision that benefits the community the best way possible. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:23:00] So it could become permanent. But they want to make sure that they’re evaluating it correctly and making a well-informed decision? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:23:06] Definitely. I mean this had been honestly a hot button issue for our community and I’m sure maybe in some other communities as well. But again, I really commend the city on their diligence to really hear from businesses, at city council meetings conducting the research and surveys that they plan to do to engage everybody to make a decision that’s going to move our city forward. I know for me when I showed up here in August 4, my own site visit prior to taking the job, I was just so incredibly impressed with the vibe of downtown. When you drive by and you see all the people that are outside, you really can see the impact of that decision and what its meaning for those businesses. And I think that’s critical that we really focus on what decision makes the most sense. 

 

I mean I think that when you look at other communities that have outdoor dining regularly, you again see the impact. So for some people they didn’t have to make the decision. Outdoor dining had been a part of their business model for a long time, but for a smaller destination, that is something that had been added I think because of COVID its allowed a lot of us to be able to look at things from a different lens and have a different perspective. I think that’s what it’s really been able to do is now we’re looking at things on a different perspective and going, okay, maybe there could be a long-term strategy for this. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:24:50] Makes sense. That’s how people are winning from the pandemic is if there were innovations that happened that could cause the destination to be fundamentally better, taking those innovations and making them permanent when it makes sense, and that’s what the city sounds like it’s evaluating. But it seems like a great way to approach it to make sure that we’re not just innovating temporarily, but we’re innovating permanently. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:25:13] I think I think, you know, for me is it’s about the long game as I think about it is what we’re trying to achieve. The closing of the street is really a short-term situation, but I think we’re really focused on how do we create more programming and opportunities in and around downtown that add value, not just for the community but also for tourism as well. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:25:41] Yep, yep. Makes sense. Okay, another thing you talked about in our prior conversation that I found really interesting, you have two funding sources. Can you explain kind of what those two sources are and how that works? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:25:54] Sure. We have our general funding that comes from the city of Spartanburg and the county of Spartanburg and then we have our destination marketing fund, which is a marketing partnership that none of our hotel partners pay into. The way that works is that every one of those properties charges hotel guests an additional 2% on their room fee. Then that money is sent to us and it’s a 60-40 split between us and our hotel partners, so we take 60 and the hotel partner gets 40. So we use our 60 for marketing and then they’re able to use the 40% for marketing opportunity to benefit their properties as well. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:26:40] Well, I’m sure that’s a great thing to be able to have two funding sources to pull from and it’s got to help you guys to be able to be more aggressive in your marketing. So that’s an interesting concept of having those two different funding sources. I want to move on though because I want to make sure we have plenty of time to talk about what it sounds like is your biggest passion in marketing and that’s branding and storytelling and messaging. Why is that so important to you? And tell us a little bit of your philosophy on branding and a destination.

 

Timothy Bush: [00:27:12] Throughout my time in tourism. Adam, I don’t know how many conferences I’ve been to in my life. I don’t really even want to dare to tally that up to even know how many I’ve been to. One of the things through managing branding projects and work with destinations, the thing that always resonates with me is a brand is not a logo, it’s not a tagline. It’s really about the essence of what a visitor feels when they step into your community and what we want them to really, truly feel. To me, the branding is the value proposition that really allows from our side to be able to say to a visitor, here’s what you’re going to get when you come into our community. That brand promise really set us on for me. I think that’s really important. I think particularly now more than ever as we are in this COVID moving toward a post-COVID world, those are the things that I think we all have to focus on. We have to focus on what our community does better than anyone else because again, we all have similar attributes and things. 

 

But what sets Spartanburg apart from any other destination? Why should somebody want to visit here versus visiting someplace else? That’s our challenge. That’s our responsibility. To be able to articulate that to a potential visitor. The storytelling part of it is now that we’ve identified why you should be here. The focus of the storytelling is now let me tell you the story about why you should be here. Those things to me go hand in hand. So the story just accentuates what that brand is. So we’re always making sure that we’re advocating and talking about the destination from that value point that is so incredibly important. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:29:21] Yeah, I think that’s such a good take on branding for a destination and especially the dynamic between branding and storytelling because if the brand that you’re trying to develop or push for your destination doesn’t match the story, you’re doing it wrong, right? So we got to make sure that the story of the destination and the story that you’re telling match. I think that’s a critical component of branding. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:29:50] Honestly, I think a lot of destinations are in that same spot. We should all be trying to figure it out now. I think COVID has given us an opportunity to really refine messaging the right way and think about who really is my audience and who should I be really speaking to? Am I speaking to them in a way that I’m trying to build a connection with them? In my previous destination, we developed a brand promise which was sampling to be a destination that was full of flavor and more personal. What that’s centered on is as a community that it was somewhat rural but had swamp tours and amazing food and some cultural attraction. 

 

But the most authentic Cajun people in my opinion, anywhere in Louisiana, I go was not to try to be some overly manufactured destination. We simply want to be who we were, which was unapologetically Cajun community when our restaurants were not glamorous but if you went into one, you’re going to find some amazing food and then also the lagniappe of that which is the people that you had a chance to kind of interact with, the cooks and the chefs, and all those people who again deliver the experience. That’s what I think was so incredibly important. 

 

And so, as a transition to Spartanburg, I’ve taken those lessons with me and working in the same space to make sure that we’re doing that and being consistent with that messaging and that kind of tone of voice of who we are and what we offer. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:31:34] Absolutely. Well, Timothy, you’ve obviously got a lot of experience with several different destinations. If you could boil down your main piece of advice you would give other destinations that are listening, what would you boil it down to? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:31:47] Oh wow. I think I would boil it down to just really focus on who you are. Again, we’re all in the same place of trying to get marketing messages out to prospective visitors and the concern that I have is everybody is trying to speak to everybody, but the goal should be how do I make sure that my message is resonating with the right people? How am I getting above all the noise and chatter? Because there’s a lot of movement within the DMO space right now. Everybody’s trying to figure out how to speak to their customers and get them to come back to the destinations. 

 

The goal, in my opinion, has really got to be how do we stand out? How do we make sure that our messaging is really resonating where we’re seeing the things that we want to see, what are our KPIs that are important and defining those things and how to focus on the message. Also, I think it’s important to really be nimble and to be flexible and recognize that we are in a time of change and it doesn’t like that’s really going to change anytime soon. So I think that ability to be flexible is also going to be really important if we all work our way through this pandemic, hopefully the post-pandemic world. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:33:14] I like it. That’s great advice. Timothy, thanks so much for coming on. How can people learn more about you and Spartanburg? If they want to learn more? 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:33:23] If you want to know more about Spartanburg, please visit our website at visitspartanburg.com. You can find my information on the website as well. I’m happy to always chat with other destinations. I find a lot of value in just commiserating with my colleagues over a glass of wine about the challenges that we all face. I think that’s one of the most positive things that I can say to your last question is don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call somebody and ask questions and build that network of people that you rely on for information. 

 

I know that I certainly have those people for me and it continues to serve me well. I tell people all the time, I think I’m reasonably intelligent, but I’m also smart enough to know what I don’t know, and also smart enough too to ask people who may know better. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:34:13] What a great piece of advice to end on. Timothy, thanks so much for coming on and sharing your experience and your knowledge with us. It’s been really valuable. Thanks a lot. 

 

Timothy Bush: [00:34:23] Thank you so much. I really enjoyed it. 

 

Adam Stoker: [00:34:25] Great and thanks everybody for listening. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please make sure to leave us a rating or a review. Otherwise, we’ll see you next week when you’re in the gym at 5:30 a.m. 

 

Timothy Bush: [ 0:34:34] I’ll be there. 

 

Will Seccombe: [00:34:42] Hello. I’m Will Seccombe with Connect Travel and we’re excited to be partnering with the Destination Marketing Podcast to promote the eTourism Summit which is coming in September 20th to the 22nd in Las Vegas. We’re thrilled to be celebrating our 22nd year of the eTourism Summit, which is really historically been the go-to event for digitally savvy tourism marketers. And this year we’re really excited because we’re going to be collocating with US Travel Association and IPW. Which is to bring a whole dimension of the tourism industry together in one place at one time as we work to recover from what has been a devastating year for the travel industry.

 

This year we’re celebrating the 4th annual eTSY Awards celebrating excellence in digital tourism marketing. And we’re also launching a new program, Emerging Tourism Stars, which is really to highlight some of the amazing talent that has come up through the course of this last couple of years and these Emerging Tourism Stars and partnering with MMGY Global on that exciting entry. 

 

So check us out at etourismsummit.com. It’s going to be an amazing event and we certainly hope that all the Destination Marketers can make an effort to be in Las Vegas in September as we really work to see tomorrow and move our industry forward in the amazingly challenging time. 

 

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