10 Aug ROOST staffers attend DMAI 2016 conference
ROOST staffers Ashley Andrews and Kerry Blinn had an educational and exciting experience at Destination Marketing Association International’s annual conference last week in Minneapolis.
The conference began Monday, Aug. 1, and ran through Wednesday, Aug. 3.
It included a variety of interesting speakers, workshops, and opportunities to meet people from other destination marketing organizations throughout the country.
Ashley, ROOST’s conference sales and service manager, was officially introduced at the conference as one of DMAI’s 30 Under 30, a prestigious program that identifies and provides opportunities for young professionals in the destination marketing field.
Ashley said that being recognized as part of that program was one of the highlights of the conference for her. She was the first to be called onstage, since the announcement was done in alphabetical order, which was both exciting and nerve-racking. She got to do a lot of great networking with her 30 Under 30 peers throughout the conference.
She thought the various keynote speakers at the conference were great, including the closing one with Andrew Zimmern on the transformative power of travel, and one by digital marketing guru Jay Baer, who encouraged sales and marketing teams to work together. This gave her some great ideas about how ROOST can tighten up the relationship between its sales and marketing teams to get better results for both.
Other key points she took away from the experience:
• Sales must embrace social media – leads are more likely to close when utilizing social media
• Sales people who use social media are more likely to out sell their peers who don’t.
• There’s still a divide with salespeople on if they use their personal Facebook pages to connect with clients.
• I also took away reasons why a Meeting Planner needs a DMO – we are a one stop shop, have expertise in the area, communicate with the hotels, one point of contact, offer site tours & exclusive experiences and have connection with venues.
For Ashley, who spends her days planning conferences but isn’t used to attending them, the event was a huge learning experience just by seeing how the conference was run and what idea she could pull from its organizers.
Kerry, destination master planning coordinator and administrative assistant to ROOST’s CEO, was excited about a few sessions that had a lot of information about planning — one about tourism master planning and one about strategic planning. She got some great ideas from those workshops that she expects to put into practice as she tours the region with CEO James McKenna working on destination master planning.
Kerry spent a ton of time networking at the conference. She attended a session about events as a demand driver, and at it she talked with a man who is on the committee for site selection for the Gay Games, similar to to the Olympics but with an LGBT focus.
She also talked with a woman from a county CVB in Maryland who was having trouble with marketing her entire county as a whole. The woman was intrigued by the way ROOST markets its various regions within its counties by highlighting the various differentiating characteristics of each area, and she told Kerry she would contact her to use that as a model for her restructuring efforts.
Kerry also spent a lot of time talking to the crew from Visit Syracuse, and she learned that they keep their eyes on innovative DMOs in the area and counts ROOST among those.
Both Kerry and Ashley said it was a highlight of the conference to visit the new U.S. Bank Stadium during the
conference’s opening celebration. The stadium is the new home for the Minnesota Vikings professional football team, and the DMAI event there was the first private event in the building — Ashley said it even smelled new.
A drum line welcomed the group to the new stadium.