This is the new look of Zeitgeist Consulting's e-newsletter.
Edmund Bartlett Returns to Lead Jamaica Tourism

Guy Didier Hyppolite Appointed as Tourism Minister of Haiti

Karine Mousseau Named New Head of Martinique Tourism

Francois-Laurent Nivaud Appointed Director of Massachusetts Tourism

Michele Saran to Lead Tourism Nova Scotia

Traverse City’s Brad Van Dommelen to Head the Virginia Beach CVB

Jennifer Conway to Take Reigns at the Binghamton CVB

Wendie Vestfall Now Leading the Kent County DE Tourism

Beverley DeSantis to Lead Tourism Kamloops

Mark Holbrook Takes Reigns at the Marion OH CVB

Lee McMichael Named Director of the Gainesville GA CVB

Angela Sumner Returns to Lead the Lumberton Visitors Bureau

Kristi Lee Heads the Leavenworth KS CVB

Jon Grace to Replace Judy Barton at Bell County KY Tourism

Marion Carrick to Lead Destination Southern Downs

Kerrie Kuiper Promoted to Top Spot at the Fort Dodge CVB

Brazilian Tourism Minister Henrique Eduardo Alves Resigns

Natchez Fires Kevin Kirby…and the CVB Board

Jo Kathmann Set to Retire from the ILLINOISouth Tourism Bureau

Claudia Moody to Retire as Director of the NE TN Tourism Association

Ron Peck Resigns Top Spot at Walla Walla Tourism

Connie Kuehl Retires from the Killeen TX CVB

Lexi Bass Resigns Kilgore TX Tourism Post

Anthony Cordo Steps Down at the Victoria TX CVB

Libby Pataki Resigns Top Spot at the Putnam County NY CVB

Linda Bacon Steps Down from the Newton IA CVB

Unalaska CVB’s Randy Shinn Steps Down

Cecilia Smith Out at the Cullman Chamber

Virginia Beach CVB CEO Jim Ricketts Dies Days Before Retirement

Khalid Al Zidjali Named to Manage the New Oman Convention Bureau

Visit Savannah Celebrates 40 Years

Destination Queenstown Celebrates 30 Years

Visit Fairfax’ Barry Bigger Named to HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds

DC's Elliott Ferguson Featured on MarkLives.com

L.A.’s Ernie Wooden Featured in Skift

Brussels’ Patrick Bontinck Featured on EuroNews

Istanbul’s Ozgul Ozkan Yavuz Featured in Skift

Cayman Island Tourism’s Rosa Harris Featured on TravelWeek

North Dakota’s Sara Otte Coleman Featured on KX News

Spokane’s Cheryl Kilday Featured in Successful Meetings

Beverly Hills’ Julie Wagner Featured in Luxurious

Abilene’s Nanci Liles Featured in the Reporter News

Rockford’s John Groh Featured in the Register Star

Holland’s Sally Laukitis Featured in the Grand Rapids Business Journal

Dubuque’s Keith Rahe Featured in the BizTimes

Stueben County’s Jake Buganski Featured in The Leader

Bayou Lafourche Area CVB’s Timothy Bush Featured on STS Connections

Belleville IL’s Cathleen Lindauer Featured in the News Democrat
DMAI. The future's so bright, we should invest in Ray-Ban.

Music Completes the Destination. 3 DMOs breaking new ground.
As if Destination Marketing isn't tough enough at the local level, the shit going down in some States is enough to consider another career. Yes...the very States that are supposed to plow the road for us are increasingly making it more difficult to market our stunning destinations. For example:

I've watched as Sunshine Laws in Florida have scared off the vast majority of potential qualified applicants to succeed Nicki Grossman at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale CVB.

I’ve watched as a vendor’s lack of sophistication and attention to detail (and a media’s appetite for “gotcha”) resulted in the hasty resignation of an accomplished DMO pro and a public outcry for future marketing to be handled by in-state agencies.

And, I’ve watched nut job politicians in North Carolina and Mississippi pass laws to legalize discrimination based upon sexual preference, ignoring the backlash and loss of business that Indiana experienced before reversing a similar action last year.

My response to the Florida trainwreck is HERE. To the next two, here's my take:

The debacle in Rhode Island is still unfolding…but, a fairly innocuous slip-up has cost former Massachusetts Tourism Director Betsy Wall her new position as CMO of Rhode Island Tourism. And, it was a tandem of Social Media critics and a media ravenous to prove they’re smarter than everyone else in the room that blew this one way out of proportion.

I can’t imagine that Betsy didn’t ask, “we’ve checked that all the scenes are Rhode Island, right?” It’s what we do, as Destination Marketers. And, I’m sure everyone nodded their head because the guys that edited the video probably didn’t think to ask the Rhode Island videographer who shot a Rhode Island kid on a skateboard whether they were actually in Rhode Island when that moment occurred.

And, now, we’re hearing that the DMO pros in the State weren’t consulted, as was promised when the Governor announced she was going to spend a half million on a rebrand as part of an aggressive (by Rhode Island standards) $5 million entry into Destination Marketing. Instead, they say they were shown finished work product as a fait d’accompli a few months ago. Another recipe for disaster.

But, given the wrath of media attention, you’d think Rhode Island just enacted anti-LGBT legislation. Holy buckets…it was an honest mistake. And, it’s not like “Warmer. Cooler.” is the worst slogan ever trotted out by a Tourism Board. We can all recite plenty that are far dumber.

And, that’s why my recommendation is to never do the big reveal. I know you’re real proud of what you’ve created in shop class…but the chances of being heralded as the next Don Draper is akin to winning the lottery. Better to begin using new video and messaging quietly…and come back around next year, proudly pointing to a sensational uptick in clicks, pins, posts, likes and visits because of the changes in strategy and messaging you made last year.

So…speaking about the stupidest thing a State can do, let’s talk about the “so called’ Religious Freedom bills popping up around the country. In the past month, North Carolina and Mississippi approved their respective versions, resulting almost immediately in parody Tourism ads (Here and Here) that likely have been seen more often on YouTube and Facebook that those States’ official Tourism ads.

What part of “we should check to see what happened in Indiana,” do today's politicians not understand? Indiana lost millions due to cancelled conventions and visitation. I know that most legislators don’t give a shit about small business owners and workers in the hospitality sector. But, this is willfully forfeiting millions of dollars in State Tax Revenue…all to make a statement?

But, here’s the real kicker. Even when Indiana quickly recognized their mistake and reversed their legislation, the stigma lingers on; the damage done, as only 28% of people believe the State to be welcoming to all people.

The social upheaval in the run up to the presidential election has less to do with the vision of Trump and Sanders…and everything to do with a populace that feels insignificant and unable to strike back at what it hates about a system that lies like a rug and  fails them at virtually every possible point. States that pass unnecessary laws that only serve to inflame are presenting consumers with a gift-wrapped opportunity to strike back in the only way they know how. And, that’s not spending their money in your State.

The Travel and Tourism industry in Georgia fought back against their anti-LGBT legislation hard…so hard that the Governor ultimately vetoed the bill.

The forces of evil were smarter in Mississippi, where the Governor coordinated the votes he needed behind closed doors and rammed the bill home in a day or two. In North Carolina, they didn't even hear the train whistle. Language was introduced at 9. Voted on at 10. Signed by dinner. Really?

Yeah...not the way government is supposed to govern. In return, Springsteen cancels North Carolina (and is called a "bully" by a Legislator who hilariously spits back that Justin Bieber hasn't cancelled...can anyone be more clueless?) and Bryan Adams cancels Mississippi. And, conventions, companies (like PayPal, Lionsgate Pictures, the producers of Wicked and the NBA) and potential visitors are rethinking their plans for future investment in these two great States.

What will happen when your State Legislators come looking to do it to you? 

It's not all bad news, however; there is a bright spot on the horizon. The strategic reorganization at Destination Marketing Association International surely appears to place a significant focus on Advocacy, something from which each of these examples could have benefited. We can't be complacent. We can't think it won't happen here. And, DMAI will, more than ever, be there to assist when these man-made crisis occur. If you're a DMO that is not yet a member, it's time to rethink that decision.

All of our work can be dashed in mere hours by today's breed of politicians that care no more about what's right for their constituents than a giraffe is worried about missing this week's premier of the "Real Housewives of Dallas."

Be vigilant, my friends




Bill
 
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