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.

Tom Garzilli

Brand USA is our nation’s DMO, tasked with showcasing the USA as a premier travel destination. In this episode we welcome Tom Garzilli, Chief Marketing Officer for Brand USA. During today’s episode Tom will dive into Brand USA’s mission to create and build incremental inbound visitation from around the world to impact the diverse experiences our country has. We’ll also discuss which international markets are recovering post pandemic, understand how creative storytelling continues to inspire mature and emerging markets, and discover new trends and how to leverage opportunities with the numerous programs and tools within Brand USA. No better way to kick off a new year of Tourism Heads & The Tales.

* Note: Tom Garzilli recently announced that he’ll be pursuing other ventures away from Brand USA at the end of the month and we wish him the best.

Kellen Kruse

The Short Term Rental market has exploded over the years and today is a key segment in lodging options. Today we’re joined by Kellen Kruse, Head of Tourism Solutions & Partnerships for AirDNA, the leading authority in Short Term Rental data.

On today’s episode, Kellen will share the history of AirDNA and where it’s headed, and unpack how they are able to provide meaningful data and trends to destinations and how DMOs can leverage this data. We’ll discuss the difference between Smith Travel Research and AirDNA data, hear about Short Term Rental TOT (transient occupancy tax), and gain actionable insight on these potential revenue impacts. You’ll learn about hot travel trends and get an inside look in to the future of this dynamic market segment. Another unmissable episode!

Caroline Beteta

Tourism Heads and Their Tales welcomes Caroline Beteta, universally acknowledged as one of the most influential global leaders in travel and tourism.

Caroline serves as president & CEO of Visit California. In addition to navigating California tourism, she currently serves as a member of the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, which advises the Secretary of Commerce on issues that affect the U.S. tourism industry, and is on the Executive Committee of the World Travel and Tourism Council. Previously, she served as Chair of the Board as well as Acting CEO for Brand USA, where she provided strategic direction for the $200 million global program, interfacing with national congressional leaders and the administration.

Listen as we discuss her background and address current issues including crisis management, overcoming recovery obstacles, funding, international marketing, data aggregation, trends, and Caroline’s thoughts on the future of tourism and more.

This is an unmissable episode.

Back to the Future of Tourism

Today’s episode of Tourism Heads & Their Tales features multiple guests, all from previous episodes! Catch up with tourism leaders from the across the country and what they are thinking about the future of tourism in this compilation episode. Guest speakers include: Wes Rhea, Kristen Reynolds, Greg Takehara, Rita McClenny, and David Lorenz.

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Amir Eylon

Tourism Heads & Their Tales welcomes Amir Eylon, President & CEO at Longwoods International and arguably the most frequent business traveler in tourism! Listen as Amir shares his insights and advice on key issues of the day including cultivating the power of local engagement and new ways DMO’s can engage the community, how tourism strategy impacts economic development, how ARPA funds are best utilized, his point of view whether geo-location data is still valuable after changes in digital privacy policies, and a look at the future of Destination Management, and much more.

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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.

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Bob Gilbert


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!

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