The Straights from Magellan

How “chainy” is your community?

The term “Generica” dates back at least 19 years and is widely attributed to Barry Pitegoff, vice president of research for Visit Florida in the early 2000s.  It’s been a staple of tourism marketing discussions ever since. As noted then by Pitegoff, “The strategic marketing implication is that if everyplace looks the same, why go […]

Tourism will help save American retail, the oft-overlooked economic engine of the sector

We’ve known for years that shopping is one of the leading destination activities for leisure travelers.  No, it’s not usually a motivator of destination selection, but the siren call of tourism-driven shopping has always been a major economic stimulant of a local economy.  It may not be as sexy as the allure of food and […]

This summer, be kind when you unwind

I just returned from a week-plus vacation trip across the American Southwest with my wife and daughter.  The journey was our first trip of any substantial length since the pandemic commenced, and we had a great time seeing the classic sights of the Southwest: Santa Fe, the Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas. But […]

What I Learned at My Summer (and Fall) Job

Before most of us worried about paying the rent or saving for a child’s college education, there was the summer job.  Many of us worked summer jobs in high school and college that may not have been relevant to our future careers, but which still shaped our lives for many years to come.  Whenever I […]

Another Reason to Market the Mask

While my own fair city of Asheville has been under a mask wearing mandate for the last month, many states and cities are just now beginning to implement similar restrictions within their jurisdictions.  These requirements have added another element to the already fine line many destination marketing organizations and hospitality entities are walking right now–the […]

How Much Will Your Visitors Feel in Control?

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always work in places that aren’t Vegas, but I often look to the smart people out in the desert for clues to trends in consumer behavior and then watch how they respond.  I don’t think any destination pivots as well as Las Vegas does. You may have seen the new […]

Dazed and Confused

Alright, alright, alright. We get it. There are all kinds of people who want to flaunt their scorn of social distancing, masks, and other coronavirus-related restrictions.  Their videos and photos make for good social media fodder that spreads virally (pun intended).  They spark outrage and distrust of our fellow humans. But I still believe most […]

The Hospitality Sector’s Next Big Challenge: Everyone Else’s Hospitality

One of the more insightful pieces of coronavirus-related tourism research I’ve read in the last few weeks comes courtesy of the folks at Destination Analysts,  as part of their ongoing surveys of American travelers about their intent to travel.  These findings are a couple of weeks old and while I’m sure the indicators continue to […]

Six Steps for Planning a Post-COVID Marketing Recovery

As a planning consultant who’s hired to offer counsel to my valued clients, it pains me to say this, but… I don’t know any more than you or anyone else does about what the future looks like.  My crystal ball is hopelessly broken. As I said in my last blog post, we all need to […]

Planning in an Ambiguous World

Once upon a time during job interviews I would ask one question without fail: “Are you comfortable with ambiguity?”  Naturally, the job candidate always said yes.  But the point of the question wasn’t to solicit a response that was better than another candidate’s.  No, it was to make the candidate realize they were entering a […]