“When You Share an Attraction with Other DMO’s”: Rhonda Salisbury – Show Notes

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic Agency
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Rhonda Salisbury
  • Position: CEO of Visit Yosemite Madera County
  • Favorite Destination: Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
  • Dream Destination: She loves the beach, any beach, but a water bungalow in Tahiti is definitely a top choice

“When You Share an Attraction with Other DMO’s” – Show Notes and Highlights

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About Rhonda Salisbury

  • In her teens, Rhonda didn’t like school. After convincing her grandmother, she was able to complete her high school education at a trade school where she learned business skills including bookkeeping and typing. She wanted to be a secretary. 
  • While doing a puzzle of Yosemite, she realized that the Pines Resort at Bass Lake had a secretary and learned they were hiring. She applied and was hired! That was the start of her tourism career.
  • At the Pines Resort, she worked as a secretary and soon ran most of the resort. For about 10 years, she was on the board of directors for multiple resorts and loved working with the tourism bureau. When the tourism bureau needed a marketing director, she stepped in. Then, when the CEO retired, she was able to move into her current position.

Visit Yosemite Madera County

  • Visit Yosemite Madera County has many attractions in addition to Yosemite National Park that make it a well-rounded destination to visit. However, having one of the entrances to the national park in their destination is a big point for marketing. 
  • Many people will come to Bass Lake and never go to Yosemite There are plenty of things to book into your trip. 

Visit Yosemite Madera County and the Coronavirus

  • In Eastern Madera County, they have zero cases confirmed. This is most likely due to the rural nature of the area and the ability to easily social distance. 
  • On the contrary, this is impacting the mom and pop shops in the area that depend on tourism. Rhonda is really concerned about the small businesses in her community.
  • The children’s museum, which was always on the edge, has already had to close.
  • As a whole, the destination is expecting a 40-50% loss of income from occupancy in lodging locations. 
  • She can’t wait to get people back and lodging with them again. She met with her chamber and talked about who is open, what their plan of action is, and what to do to make visitors feel safe in the destination.
  • To help families with the “stay-at-home” order, they worked with Relic to create not only a robust activity packet with coloring pages, masks, and other items related to their welcoming committee, but also a children’s picture book. On their website, you can download all of these items for free. 

The Welcoming Committee

  • Rhonda first met the host and Relic CEO Adam Stoker at the DMA West conference. He was at the booth and they were able to see the Vern and Al campaign that Relic produced for Uintah County. She already had the vision for her own animated campaign and this was the right time to meet to make it a reality. 
  • Now, you have mascots like Ricky the raccoon, Mr. Mead the saber-toothed cat, and B’Lake the bald eagle to guide you around the big attractions of Visit Yosemite Madera County. 
  • Often, the mascots will show up and participate in events in the local areas as well. 
  • These mascots have shown the locals how much there is to do in their hometowns, but have also brought fun to visitors.
  • Each mascot has a trading card that can be collected in their area of the county. If you collect all the trading cards, you can be entered to win a free vacation in the area. Rhonda was surprised that a group of millennials came up from the Bay Area and were able to complete all the trading cards that can be collected in each area. They loved it! It’s applicable to more than families.

Challenges

  • When creating the welcoming committee, Rhonda found it hard to pick the locations and try to be inclusive. She didn’t want to leave anyone out. However, she knew that, if successful, this would be a campaign that could grow and evolve. They are adding a new character that will be introduced this fall.
  • It can be challenging to commit to an illustrated campaign unless you are ready to dedicate 2-3 years because of the time commitment it takes to create. Rhonda says that once created, she too fell in love with the characters and their personalities. It’s definitely worth it in the end. Now, she has a look that is completely unique and something that makes her destination, as one of the entrances to Yosemite National Park, stand out.

Overall, you need to know and love your own destination. Recovery will be different for each one. It’s time to go back to the basics and find out what you can do for partners to keep them alive.

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

Touchpoints by Adam Stoker on Amazon

Visit Yosemite Madera County Activity Packet

Visit Yosemite Madera County Website

Destination Marketers LinkedIn Group

Destination Marketers Facebook Group