“Standing Out from the Competition”: Robb Wells – Show Notes

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic Agency
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Robb Wells
  • Position: President & CEO at Greater Beaufort - Port Royal Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Favorite Destination: Disney World with his daughters
  • Dream Destination: Texas to learn from Aaron Franklin to make brisket, or Memphis, Tennessee for someone from Rendezvous to help him prepare his own ribs

“Standing Out from the Competition” – Show Notes and Highlights

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Background

  • Robb Wells started his career selling CPAP machines. While at a local trade show, Robb was approached by someone who recognized him as having some marketing prowess and asked him to consider a marketing position with the Economic Development Corp who also ran the tourism division.
  • On the first day of his new job, Robb showed up to be told they had changed his position. He was no longer part of the economic development team, instead, they put him in charge of the tourism division.
  • Robb’s favorite part of his job is not only getting people to travel to his destination, but also assisting them when they get there. He loves hearing from people that visit, and those who come back because they fell in love with the destination as well. 

Beaufort, South Carolina

  • Beaufort, South Carolina is surrounded by highly recognizable destinations such as Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. Making Beaufort stand out takes strategic thinking.
  • For smaller destinations like Beaufort, buying your way into notoriety isn’t an option. For Beaufort, they utilize travel writers to share their own unique perspectives on Beaufort and really draw new audiences in. 
  • To determine the right target audience, research was done through the local university research panel. The research was gathered from social events that took place in the area to give a baseline of who visitors were.
  • Once the research was finished, they realized Beaufort’s audience was based around psychographics instead of demographics. The people who came were based around their interests. Age, marital status, and other demographics didn’t hold any factors.
  • Robb found success in reaching people by allowing travel writers with matching audiences to Beaufort’s to come and write about it. 
    • This PR approach was incredibly successful for Beaufort. They hosted a travel writer who ended up extending their stay. This writer’s story pitch ended up in the New York Times with Beaufort as one of the top 52 destinations to visit. This small article brought in a surplus of information requests from the New York market. 
  • During their research, they discovered 51 to 55% of people coming to Beaufort were first-time visitors. What was really interesting was that over a quarter of their visitors were not only returning guests, they had come five or more times. Beaufort has its own ambassador group who share their favorite places to stay, things to do, and restaurants to eat at.
  • The job of a DMO here in Beaufort is not to bring in millions upon millions of visitors. The DMO role is to make sure that the tourism economy is at a level that helps balance the quality-of-life in Beaufort —  to enhance the ability to have great dining and pristine beaches.
  • Their ad campaign was also designed to resonate the “inner coastal” lifestyle, as Robb put it. The ads showcase the happy silhouette of a person with images of the destination in the body. They found people who want to get out of the everyday run-of-the-mill life, to get away to the coast, and enjoy life in a different way. 

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

Visit Beaufort

The Inner Coastal Podcast

Destination Marketers LinkedIn Group

Destination Marketers Facebook Group