Andy McNeill talks with Adam Stoker, the President and CEO of Relic, an advertising agency that specializes in the tourism industry, about rural destinations and why companies should consider going to these places rather than conventional destinations. Adam tells Andy that one of the unique things about rural destinations is the ability to offer a more unique experience than major destinations, making meeting and event travel a more memorable experience for the team. He mentions that rural destinations have Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) and Destination Marketing Organization (DMOs) that work together to promote these locations to bring in events and continue to generate visitation.
Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.
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How to Have An Incredible Experience When Choosing Rural Destinations
Traveling for business doesn’t have to be plain and boring. But how do we get away from the usual places everyone’s been to? In this spotlight episode of Destination Everywhere on how to have an incredible experience when choosing a rural destination, Andy McNeill invites Adam Stoker to talk about rural destinations and how you can choose one for your meeting and travel locations.
Adam Stoker is the President and CEO of Relic, an advertising agency specializing in the tourism industry. Adam has worked with destinations for nine years, consulting with leisure travel, stakeholder engagement, destination branding, meeting planner, convention meetings, and marketing.
First, Adam tells Andy about the Convention and Visitors Bureaus and Destination Marketing Organizations present in different states in the country. They work together to promote the destination and, depending on the location, have a marketing team and convention and events sales team whose job is to bring in events and place them in a hotel with the right destination. These organizations are funded by transient room tax or lodging tax.
Different ways rural destinations promote themselves:
- Social Media
Adam goes on to share the rural destinations he frequents and thinks would be great choices for others.
- Bryce Canyon, Utah
This destination in Utah has no traditional convention center, but they used their resort called Ruby’s Inn to host smaller meeting areas. Since the start of COVID, they had a campaign called “Upgrade Your Dust” which aims to promote visiting their place to go hiking and use hiking equipment again and upgrade your dust from your garage to the dust in Bryce Canyon.
They offer an intimate outdoor experience opportunity with an incredible view of Bryce Canyon a hundred yards from the rest.
- Beaufort, South Carolina
Beaufort, South Carolina is a beautiful destination located right in the middle of Charleston, South Carolina and Hilton Head, South Carolina. It was a challenge for them to compete with these major destinations with budgets and media spending to promote themselves. To stand out from the competition, Beaufort South Carolina launched a podcast called The Inner Coastal podcast and brought in local stakeholders to talk about the destination and the unique experiences it can offer.
They have the Kazoo Factory and museum. A lot of films have been made in this location as well and visitors can fully experience these .
- Vernal, Utah
Vernal, Utah is two and a half hours outside Salt Lake City and three and a half hours west of Denver. It’s a big oil community, and they built a state-of-the-art convention center with breakout rooms unique features for catering, so organizations don’t have to worry about food when they come here.
They have a Dinosaur Land with a wall of bones, a rock wall on the side of the mountain where you can find chiseled out hundreds of dinosaur bones. They also have white water rafting that is great for summer.
- Knoxville, Tennessee
This is a place with welcoming people and great dining choices. They have a town square with dining establishments and musicians that play music in the middle of the town square.
Best dining experience for a great family trip and has great natural beauty.
- Laredo, Texas
What is typically perceived as cowboy Texas has so much more to offer. Although it’s a border town, it’s a peaceful town with agencies to keep everyone safe.
You can experience authentic Mexico without leaving the USA.
Discover other great destinations at www.destinations-everywhere.com.
About Adam Stoker
Adam Stoker is President/CEO of Relic. He’s been working with destinations for nine years, consulting with leisure travel, stakeholder engagement, destination branding, and convention/meetings marketing. He has been featured in the Utah Business and Utah Valley Business Magazines’ 40 Under 40 issues. He now speaks on different industry subjects at tourism conferences across the country, most recently including Utah Tourism Conference and the Texas Travel Summit. As one of the up-and-coming industry thought leaders, Adam’s impact on the industry is just beginning.
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