“The New Normal”: Will Seccombe – Show Notes

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic Agency
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Will Seccombe
  • Position: President and CEO of Connect Travel
  • Favorite Destination: Will appreciates each place he has traveled for its own unique history and culture
  • Dream Destination: To return to Lake Como, Italy

“The New Normal” – Show Notes and Highlights


Show Highlights

  • Adam Stoker just released his first book titled, “Touchpoints: The Destination Marketer’s Guide to Brand Evaluation and Enhancement.” You can get this book on Amazon for Kindle or in Paperback.

Will Seccombe’s Experience in Crisis Communications

  • Will has been working in tourism marketing for over 30 years. He has been through many crises, as well as created marketing plans for them including 9/11, the Florida oil spills, the great recession, hurricanes, wildfires, and floods.
  • Through them all, Will says they have their similarities; however, he does not see the Coronavirus crisis as being the same. This is really a life event and at this unprecedented time, we need to respond differently.
  • This crisis is going to change consumer behavior, psychology, and the way people travel for years and years to come. 
  • Although this will be different, it’s important to keep hope and perspective. Those past events were earth-shattering as well. Tourism came back and it will recover in this case too.

Responding to this Crisis

  • Humans have a desire for exploration and travel that is not going to change. It might even be enhanced by working from home and staying and sheltering in place. It will be a matter of safety and providing a safe customer experience.
  • Will’s hope is that we rally together as an industry and take advantage of the time we have to plan. It will not be a quick bounce-back. 
  • Things will be focused locally on reconnection and building before we start thinking of planes and flight travel.
  • You’re pipeline, or funnels, are empty right now. So what can you do? “If there ever was a time to try something different, it’s right now because you’ve got nothing to lose.”
  • According to Will, successful DMOs require two things working together to better the community: a visionary public sector leadership, and an active, engaged, private sector leadership.
  • Having employees that are bought in and dedicated to the organization are also important.

Tips for Recovery Campaigns

  • Take time to think about your why and what you have to offer. Think about who your audience is and who you want to target. Identify triggers and marketing that you want to bring back.
  • Consider these things from a marketing perspective and a community perspective. Make sure everyone is on the same page with the plan.
  • Three things you can do to come out as a winner in this situation: collaborate, innovate, and have out-of-the-box thinking.

Think Outside the Box

  • Think of other ways that tourism can gain revenue. Will brought up the fact that maybe there are sources of revenue that tourism could be exploring? Maybe it’s selling and sourcing new health-related products. Maybe there’s another way to address this struggle.
  • Any little bit helps and can be the difference between making a profit or going out of business.
  • Ed Harris, chief marketing officer at the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board, discussed how Valley Forge, as a DMO, functions on a membership basis. The community members know and care about tourism because they are bought into helping the area succeed.
  • How are you going to ease fear? That’s going to be one of the most important things when people start traveling again. The smile is another big part of the travel industry. How can you communicate that with a mask? Engaging your employees in these areas is important.

What Connect Travel is Doing to Help

  • For the next eight weeks, Connect Travel is partnering with Streetsense for webinars that will help the tourism industry. One has been about tour operators and international development, international airline companies for future plans, and more. Another has been about the general marketing ecosystem.
  • These webinars are interactive discussions where destinations can ask questions and hear the thoughts of others. 
  • They’ve talked about the challenges of coming back online – is everyone going to be competitors? How are destinations going to get their messages out in a heavy political advertising environment?

We are going back to the old normal? We are going to a new normal? Let’s find a way to get there successfully together.

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

Touchpoints by Adam Stoker on Amazon

Will’s Article: “Think Different! Destination Marketing Organizations in a post-Coronavirus World”

Etihad Airlines Article: “Etihad To Try Symptom-Detecting Technology At The Airport”

Connect Travel Webinar Series

Connect Travel

Destination Marketers LinkedIn Group

Destination Marketers Facebook Group