I was having this discussion recently with a DMO CEO that has several celebrities that live in her town. Besides the fear that your celeb will screw up...do we tend not to use them in DMO promotions because of the concern that our celebs aren't cool enough or resonant enough to cause consumers to realistically consider our destinations?
I don't think I'm all that different from other travelers in being fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes. Well, maybe a little. But don't you want to get into the kitchen at a trendy restaurant to watch culinary wizardry? Don't you want to be backstage during soundcheck?
Last week, I saw an online story about a Destination Marketing Organization preparing to interview five candidates for its recently vacated CEO position. And the candidates were NAMED in the story.
WTF? I get the people's right to know, but this is simply insane. I know most of the candidates...and they would all be strong choices in any search.
But, I have to ask whether the process, in it's need to be "transparent," didn't deprive the destination of an even larger pool of qualified candidates.
Hell, if I was running a DMO and knew my name would be revealed in the search process for another destination...I'd be outta there in a New York minute. So, how many qualified candidates said "no thanks" because they would be outed during the process? Because, in this Google world...everybody back home would know that they were entertaining other offers.
I get the public's "Right to Know." But, when it comes to searches...it works against the community's best interests.
Hell yeah, have some Florida pride. Help the economy. Get Uncle Ned to drive on down for a week or so. Spend some money. Employ some people. That's how it works. Just get Floridians to send an invitation to everyone they know.
And there's a video. A really well done video...that communicates why this is important.
But, Charlie (can I call you Charlie?). You're playing sneaky panther games with this strategy. This so works, if you back it up with the serious cash you need to invest in Visit Florida.
If not...like I said. Sneaky panther games.
And I'd be intrigued if anyone knows in which 60s movie that line was spoken. Hint: it was spoken to Hal Holbrook.
The definition of insanity is said to be doing the same thing over and over...and expecting a different result.
That's what's going down in Colorado this week, as a number of that State's Representatives want their Tourism Office to go dark. Again.
When they did it last time, it became one of the most quoted case studies in the Destination Marketing industry. In the first year after shuttering the Department, Colorado went from the Number 1 preferred destination to, wait for it...Number 17. The State forfeited tens of millions of dollars of sales, room and property taxes over the next five years and shed thousands of jobs. A net loss for a State that really should know better.
Has no one in the Legislature read the case study? Do they think history won't repeat itself?
Or, do they not care...because the Tourism Industry doesn't vote? And, at the end of the day, that's all they really do care about. They say they care about jobs. They say they care about keeping taxes low.
They really only care about getting re-elected. Or this insanity wouldn't be happening. Again.
Catching up on my reading over the weekend, I found another gem from last fall...this time in DMNews.
Rory Carlton and George DiGuido square off in a point-counterpoint discussion of whether postal mail marketing is more effective than e-mail based promotion in the magazine's "Gloves Off" section. Rory maintains that e-mail has jumped the shark, becoming the new junk mail...allowing the old junk mail to make a comeback. George counters by citing postal mail's cost and inability to evoke an immediate response.
Of course, they are both right. Smart marketers know when each strategy is appropriate for the target and the moment. And thus, neither strategy should be ignored based on personal bias.
Last week, I did a presentation on the marketing opportunities provided by the explosion of social media (video clips up soon on our website). I could see skepticism in the eyes of more of the travel professionals in the room than I would have liked. In the eyes of others, I saw dismay at the realization that they had fallen so far behind the curve.