A PODCAST FOR TOURISM

AND TRAVEL PROFESSIONALS

Hosted by our Tourism & Destination Marketing General Manager, Bob Gilbert, Tourism Heads & Their Tales invites travel and tourism leaders and influencers to share their take on key industry issues. Throughout the series, we will bring you into the conversation with top professionals who are shaping the industry. We’ll speak to research gurus, destination marketing professionals, airline leaders, policy makers, hoteliers, and travel agents… all with unique tales and perspectives that they’re ready to share.

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Kristen Reynolds

Today we welcome Discover Long Island president and CEO, Kristen Reynolds. In this episode we’ll hear about Kristen’s background and journey to Long Island, NY.

We discuss a wide variety of topics including the relationship with New York City, engaging the local community and the importance of shared values, partnering with county officials and economic development, the art of storytelling, the Discover Long Island podcast, the new $2.8B planned convention center, conference hotel and connected airport expansion, new direct rail connections to Grand Central Station, and the future of the industry in disruptive times.
Listen & Subscribe:

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Roni Weiss

Join me in the latest episode of Tourism Heads & Their Tales. Today, our guest is Roni Weiss, Executive Director of Travel Unity, a non-profit focusing on increasing diversity in the world of travel through individual and community empowerment. Listen as we discuss key aspects of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). We talk about the need for DEI standards in travel and tourism, the rationale behind starting Travel Unity and its short and long goals and objectives, the marketing support that Travel Unity makes available to other organizations, the Travel Unity Pledge and why DEI is more important than ever, and so much more.

Listen & Subscribe Part One:

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Listen & Subscribe Part Two:

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David Lorenz

On today’s Tourism Heads & Their Tales podcast episode we are joined by a prominent tourism industry leader, David Lorenz. Dave leads tourism for the state of Michigan under the brand Pure Michigan as Vice President. Listen as we discuss wide ranging topics including the history of the Pure Michigan brand, authenticity and how to blend reality and aspirational messaging, the marriage of tourism and economic development, brand marketing post-pandemic, the international inbound recovery, and so much more.
Listen & Subscribe:

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Rita McClenny

Rita McClenny is president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation and serves on the board of directors for a wide variety of prestigious industry associations. In today’s episode, Rita shares her career journey and discusses the greatest challenges facing the Commonwealth of Virginia while reviewing the recovery efforts and how grant programs support this regionally. We’ll also learn about how the iconic Virginia is for Lovers ad campaign slogan still resonates after more than 50 years since its launch, the status of inbound tourism, the impact the film industry plays in tourism, we’ll even learn where the actual filming location for Dirty Dancing took place 35 years ago (Spoiler Alert – Pembroke SW Virginia!) and Rita’s points of view on current issues and future trends in tourism.

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Greg Takehara

Greg Takehara has been the CEO of Tourism Cares since May 2019. He previously served on its Board, acting as Chairman before becoming CEO. His career has spanned thirty-four years in the travel industry. He is on the Board of the US Travel Association and has sat on the Boards of NTA and the IGLTA Foundation (International LGBTQ+ Travel Association), as well as numerous industry committees.

In today’s episode we take a journey with Greg looking at how Tourism Cares started, has evolved, its rebranding, and its future. We discuss the impact of the pandemic on a non-profit organization, evolution of volunteerism, sustainable and responsible travel, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Tourism Cares educational webinars and events such as Meaningful Travel Summits – domestic and international, and understanding that we all may be on different journeys to sustainable travel, but we’re all headed toward the same place.

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Stuart Butler

Stuart Butler has a university degree in Rocket Science (yes, Rocket Science) and applies that inventive approach to his role as CMO for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce & CVB, the official DMO for the Grand Strand. Listen as we discuss how he leverages cutting-edge technology and takes a scientific and innovative approach to everyday marketing challenges. Stuart, a native of the UK, discusses how he challenges the status quo and is redefining destination marketing. Discover how his focus on the visitor management of several data providers together with very creative consumer messaging has resulted in being the top RevPAR coastal destination in the country, per STR.

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Catherine Prather

Catherine Prather is a recognized face of leadership in the travel industry. Joining the National Tour Association in 1994, today she is president of the organization, whose members create and promote packaged travel to, from, and within North America.

Join us for a great discussion about the origins of NTA, the fight for member advocacy, the pandemic, labor shortage issues, and economic impact, IPW takeaways, NTA events such as Contact and Travel Exchange (TRex), Foodie Tourism, Faith Travel, Tourism Cares’ role in the industry, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion code of ethics, and so much more.

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Liz Bittner

Liz Bittner is President and CEO for Travel South which is the largest regional alliance in the USA. Join Liz and myself as we talk about the genesis of Travel South and how it has evolved. We discuss cooperation between states with common interests, the value of inbound tourism, leveraging the outdoor recreation, foodie tourism, Brand USA and much more. Join us on Tourism Heads and their Tales…

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Travis Christ

For three decades, Travis Christ, known for his transformational thinking, has been at the forefront of integrated marketing for some of the world’s most iconic travel brands including American Airlines and Continental Airlines. In his current role, Travis is Head of Marketing for Avelo Airlines – America’s first new airline in more than a decade. Hear Travis talk about the background to Avelo launched in the pandemic, the selection process for new destinations, its marketing strategy, new routes, and how agility is a key to success. Join us on Tourism Heads and their Tales…

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Bob Gilbert

Bob Gilbert has led Hospitality Sales and Marketing International for 26 years. His knowledge and experience are second to none. Bob and I discuss the challenges and changes in the world of hospitality hitting on key topics that include distribution, channel management, technology, revenue optimization, and talent acquisition. Join the two Bob Gilbert’s on Tourism Heads and their Tales…

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Brian Wright

Join us as Brian Wright, Head of Marketing for Mammoth Lakes Tourism, California discusses why understanding the voice of the community is vital to marketing a destination and that we are all stewards of these special places we call home. We talk about key takeaways from the Pandemic and the impacts increased visitation has on marketing decisions in smaller sought-after outdoor rec destinations, the value of data-driven decisions, risk-taking, and much more. Join us on Tourism Heads and their Tales.

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Esra Calvert

Esra in a couple of words humanizes data. Her background includes Zartico, Virginia Tourism Corporation, and Virginia Tech. Hear Esra’s insight on trends that the pandemic accelerated, dispelling the fear of data, transformational technology, what’s important for DMO’s to measure, community-based marketing, the Big Quit and changes in workforce behaviors, accessible affordable data, and so much more. Join us on Tourism Heads and their Tales.

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Nan Marchand Beauvois

Nan is a very well-known leader in travel and tourism circles. As a senior vice president at the U.S. Travel Association for over 11 years, she always has her finger on the tourism pulse. Listen as we explore Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations, commonly known as ESTO, US Travel Association’s National Councils, advocacy, Capitol Hill, and Roger Dow. Join us on Tourism Heads and Their Tales.

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John Percy

John has been at Niagara Falls USA for 23 years. He is a very well-known leadership figure in the DMO world. We talk with John about crisis management, agility during and post-Covid, industry resilience, motor coach market trends, Destinations International, communications with key stakeholders, leadership, community shared values, and much more. Join us on Tourism Heads and Their Tales.

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Wendy Kheel

Wendy is universally regarded as a research analyst guru in travel and tourism. Her experiences include LA Tourism, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Disney. Today she works with Tourism Economics market intelligence platform Symphony. We discuss Wendy’s personal points of view on what data DMOs should be looking for post-pandemic, and what’s trending in the research space such as cookies, KPI shifts, demographic changes, visitor behaviors, and more. Join us on Tourism Heads and Their Tales.

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Bob Gilbert

MEET YOUR HOST:

Bob Gilbert

Over his 30+ year career, Bob has had the privilege to have worked with iconic global brands including Disney, Choice Hotels, Yosemite and Shenandoah National Parks, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center, and Best Western International, and served on the boards of the U.S. Travel Association, National Tour Association, and as an elected commissioner for Visit California.

We’d Love to Stay in Touch!

    Case Studies

    Virginia Tech – New Brand Positioning Advertising Campaign
    3M – Go To Market Strategy & New Product Launch

     

    Virginia’s New River Valley – Economic Development, Market Research, Branding, and Target Market Advertising and Sponsorship Campaign
    Virginia’s Crossroads – Regional Tourism Rebrand

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