TL;DR: Podcasts are an emerging medium, and the tourism industry is well positioned to tell branded stories beyond trip ideas and imagery. We tested this at one of the largest travel conferences in the U.S. with DMOs from across the country.
Despite being old technology, podcasts are all the rage, especially over the past few years, the tourism industry included. However, there hasn’t been a consistent, stand out series produced by a destination marketing organization (DMO). Even my home city of Melbourne has only managed six episodes in the past year. With this in mind and DMA West 2018 on our calendars, we planned to show attendees how to easily produce a podcast all on a fancy Late Show With David Letterman-esque booth in the exhibitors space.
Create a Topic with a Hook
The topic at hand is one we’re quite familiar with in our work: The intersection of tourism and social media. We decided to stir the pot a little with the opening question, “Is social media destroying tourism?”
We reached out to DMOs we’ve worked with as well as destinations we met on the ground at the conference. Each interview took a 10-15 minute chat to discuss the looming questions, and each shared challenges as well as opportunities social media poses for a destination.
Don’t Wing It
Hot Tip: you can’t just wing this.
As part of our prep work, we researched the DMOs planning to attend the conference, and in some cases, we scheduled screening calls to uncover interesting topics beforehand.
For the destinations we met at the conference, it was a simple chat in advance to find and focus on a particular threat or opportunity that social media poses to their destination.
It also helped to lure unsuspecting interviewees because, let’s face it, our booth looked really cool.
The biggest challenge was our environment: While the our exhibitor’s booth was cool, it wasn’t sound proof. The background noise of a couple of hundred attendees could drown out our sound, if we didn’t get our levels right.
Invest in and Test Your Equipment
It was crucial to test the sound quality before we left Portland. This helped us to identify new gear we needed, which was also tested before we rolled out for Spokane. This ensured that we weren’t scrambling to get everything together in a new city or unable to record at all.
Decide on a Flow, Structure, Tone and Stick with It
What was challenging is making our guests feel welcome and relaxed on the microphone. Essentially we learned to open with having them imagine the microphone isn’t there, guide them through a natural conversation with prepared questions, and if they’re nervous or feel that they’ve messed up, remind them that most things can be fixed in post production.
We were lucky enough to speak with passionate tourism professionals from Davis Country Tourism & Events, Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, Lake Tahoe Visitor Authority , Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau, Visit Santa Barbara, Visit San Juan Islands, and Mt. Hood Territory.
While we couldn’t include everyone’s full chat, we are excited to release the 2018 DMA west podcast for your listening pleasure.
If you have an answer to the question “Is social media destroying tourism?” tweet at us.