Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 17


advice
to Live By
perfectly understandable, especially in
the immediate aftermath. “Our point
of view was, if you come back to visit us,
you’re helping bring back our economy
and getting us back on our feet quicker,”
schulz adds.
Creating an image and getting the
public to understand fully what’s happening is central to marketing. “One
of the things we told the people of New
jersey was they’d need to stress geography, that not all areas of the shore were
devastated,” adds schulz. “In our case,
a lot of people misunderstood that the
BP oil spill wasn‘t associated directly
with New Orleans. some field reporters
covering the spill were broadcasting
from New Orleans. People would see
the Mississippi River in the background
and assume it was covered in oil too.
But the gulf is 100 miles away from us.”
this presented another opportunity
to set the record straight. Pictures
and stories from New Orleans, taken
by tourists there, revealed there was
no oil. “While we don’t ever deny the
tragedy in these events, “adds schulz;
“we also don’t want tourism to suffer
and people to lose jobs due to misconception.” she goes on; “as a destination,
we have to be very credible and honest
with people.”
Being honest is something of a calling
card for gulf Coast tourism in the wake
of the oil spill, where one of the largest
battles is to mitigate the negative publicity. It could be argued that communities
along the gulf Coast were being frowned
upon through some form of guilt by association. the BP oil spill was ultimately
the result man-made error, as opposed
to Mother Nature’s wrath in the form a
hurricane.
BP has since created an aggressive
marketing campaign, with tV advertising and full Web presence, touting the
area as having the best tourism seasons
in years, as explained through testimo-

nials of businesspeople from New Orleans to the towns dotting the coast. the
message is clear, but it’s easy to distrust
the corporate machine behind it. BP’s
campaign is slick and could be easily
criticized and dismissed by skeptics as
propaganda.
But the message is truthful—the
situation along the gulf Coast has
greatly improved. Bookings have been
steady and the area is growing. On the
alabama coast, bookings were down
50 percent in 2010, the summer of the
spill. 2011 set a tourism record and 2012
beat it. “Ironically, the silver lining
from all the coverage of the oil spill is
that people learned that alabama isn‘t a
land-locked state and we have 32 miles
of white, sugar sand beaches,” says Kim
Chapman, public relations manager for
gulf shores and Orange Beach tourism. “We were honest about the spill
with our guests. People saw images of
the spill and thought the entire gulf
was like that. We told them what was
really going on.”
Where there was opportunity to
rebuild, people took advantage and
formed partnerships. “Entrepreneurs
were willing to make large investments
into the area;” says Beth Carriere, executive director of the Mississippi gulf
Coast Regional Convention and Visitor’s
Bureau. Casinos like the golden Nugget,
Harrah’s and an MgM with 1,800 rooms
plus a Hard Rock Café and Margaritaville sprouted. In addition to casinos and
restaurants, the area’s infrastructure
was repaired and renewed; bridges,
roads, plus new plantings and trees.
“this was a call to action for us to do the
things we always said we were going to
do,” she adds. “the important thing is to
be truthful about what’s going on. In today’s economy, the visitor can’t afford to
take a chance on that one-time vacation.
you don’t want people to show up and
be disappointed.”

Make plenty of announcements
but be truthful in PR and all
public statements.
While it’s an opportunity to stress
the positive message of a rebound,
don’t over-promise and then underdeliver. Word-of-mouth from visitors
who’ve had a positive experience
is invaluable.
show yourself off.
You can offset the lingering affects
of negative news footage by delivering images of your own. Use three
positive pictures for every negative
one. Live cams on the Internet give
people a compelling, daily account
of progress. “We had staff going out
with flip cameras taking shots and
video of the clean beach, proving it
wasn’t full of oily birds;” says Carriere. Get your allies involved. “We are
resilient, and we have generations
of families who love to come here
to the water so they helped initiate
spreading the word.” This can all be
done on a limited budget.
Utilize all social media.
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram,
and Twitter are ways to give daily
updates, keep people informed and
also keep you on their radar, as is
visitor testimonials on travel site
forums like TripAdvisor.
encourage travelers and planners
to call ahead and get the latest,
accurate information.
Keep websites and Facebook
pages current.
If, in the end, Mother Nature wins
out every time, the best thing everyone can do is prepare and help
one another. “This sort of thing
happens,“ says Chapman. “It’s how
you rebound and rally around each
other that matters most.“ Plus, in
the end, hard work and honesty will
pay off. That’s advice everyone can
take to the bank. —Robert Ulrich
july-august 2013

\ destinations

17



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013

Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013
Contents
At the Fifty
The Thrill Is On
Leder(hosen) of the Pack
The Masters of Disaster
Sea for Yourself
Reaching Out
All About Safety
In Their Honor
A New Sheriff in Town
The Beach is Back
Multi-Use Makeover
All in the Family
Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
Ohio
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Florida
Georgia
North Carolina
South Carolina
Museum
Shopping
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - BB1
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - BB2
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Cover2
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 1
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 2
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Contents
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 4
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 5
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 6
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 7
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 8
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - At the Fifty
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 10
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 11
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - The Thrill Is On
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 13
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Leder(hosen) of the Pack
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 15
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - The Masters of Disaster
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 17
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Sea for Yourself
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 19
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Reaching Out
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 21
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - All About Safety
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - In Their Honor
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - A New Sheriff in Town
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 25
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - The Beach is Back
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 27
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 28
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 29
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 30
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Multi-Use Makeover
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 32
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 33
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - All in the Family
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 35
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 36
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 37
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 38
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 39
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 40
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 41
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Illinois
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 43
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Indiana
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 45
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Michigan
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 47
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Ohio
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 49
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Minnesota
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 51
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Wisconsin
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 53
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Florida
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 55
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Georgia
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 57
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - North Carolina
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 59
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - South Carolina
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 61
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 62
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 63
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 64
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 65
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 66
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 67
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 68
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 69
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Museum
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 71
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Museum
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 73
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 74
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Shopping
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 76
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 77
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 78
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 79
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - 80
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Cover3
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2013 - Cover4
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