Market Research: A Roadmap Through a Pandemic, with Amir Eylon

Episode 173:

A thirty-plus year veteran of the Travel & Tourism industry, Amir leads the entire Longwoods International team responsible for the development and execution of all facets of the organization – from program development to customer acquisition and retention.

He joined Longwoods in 2015 from his previous role as Vice President, Partner Engagement with Brand USA, the public-private partnership serving as the destination marketing organization dedicated to increasing international visitation to the US. He led the team responsible for helping to increase Brand USA’s partnership base and ensuring that participants received excellent service throughout Brand USA’s deployment of joint marketing programs. During his tenure, Brand USA grew its base to 475 partners, comprising destination marketing organizations, convention and visitor bureaus, attractions, travel brands, airlines, and tour operators.

Prior to joining Brand USA, Amir served as Director of the Ohio Office of Tourism. Under his leadership, the state’s marketing programs realized a tremendous return on investment and contributed to the growth of the state’s $40 billion tourism economy. The programs he developed leveraged industry and nontraditional partnerships that generated $14 in new state and local taxes for every $1 invested and included active participation by thousands of Ohio’s tourism-related businesses. He has also served as Executive Vice President of the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, Assistant Director of the Ohio Tourism Division, and Sales & Marketing Manager with the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau.

He has been recognized with a number of Industry honors including Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing award (2014) by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI); The Ohio Tourism Industry’s Highest Honor, The Paul Sherlock Award; and The State of Ohio Distinguished Service Medal.

Amir holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Dayton.

In this episode of Destination on the Left, Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International, joins us to share his story and talk about market research in travel and tourism. Amir discusses some of the trends he has seen as DMOs rush to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, and he talks about the changes in traveler sentiment as the pandemic continues to unfold.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Amir’s journey into destination marketing and the travel and tourism industry
  • How Longwoods Intl. is tracking traveler sentiment
  • How Amir is seeing destinations respond to the global pandemic
  • How Longwoods Intl. is adapting their business model to meet the needs of the COVID-19 crisis
  • How destinations are using creativity to respond to the pandemic
  • How traveler sentiment has changed since the pandemic was declared a national emergency
  • Why crises produce some of the travel and tourism industry’s best work
  • The short term and long term responses we are seeing in DMOs across the country

Traveler Sentiment Amidst the COVID-Crisis

Amir Eylon is the President and CEO at Longwoods International, a respected leader in market research that helps drive destinations toward their goals. Amir and his team have been tracking traveler sentiment for years, but in the midst of this global pandemic, Longwoods International has started tracking traveler sentiment every week. Their objective is to inform and serve the travel and tourism industry as we collaborate to determine the best response to the COVID-crisis.

Researching Traveler Sentiment

Amir is a marketer who happens to run a market research company, so he speaks our language. He understands how to use research to produce robust marketing strategies and he has been in the travel and tourism industry for almost thirty-two years. In destination marketing, research not only provides us with a roadmap of where to go, it provides us with information about whether our strategy is working. It enables us to accomplish more with our ideas and resources which is especially important when the going gets rough.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Some of our industry’s best work has come out of crises. And be it 9/11, the great recession, or the COVID-crisis, the great minds of travel and tourism have continued to shine by taking creativity, collaboration, and partnerships to a new level. Traveler sentiment has changed drastically since the pandemic was declared a national emergency. The numbers are not necessarily surprising, but it’s not all bad news either. The silver lining in all of this is that Americans are still looking to travel in the next six months. Many trips have been postponed or canceled, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and a beacon of hope that we will all make it through.

Episode Transcript

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