Making the Most of Tailwinds in Destination Marketing, with Andrea McHugh

Episode 124:

Andrea McHugh is the senior communications manager for Discover Newport in Rhode Island. Andrea has been in the media and communication space for more than 20 years. Her experience as a magazine editor, copywriter and regular contributor to regional national, an international newspapers, magazines, and websites give her a unique and first-person perspective when serving her organization.

In her role as senior communications manager at Discover Newport, the official Destination Marketing Organization for Newport and Bristol counties in Rhode Island, she has developed a comprehensive communication strategy ranging from amplifying key messages with media to conducting and coordinating all internal and external communications.

Andrea was recognized by Providence Business news 40 Under Forty program and has served on the boards of PRSA Southern New England, and Habitat for Humanity, the editorial board of Engage Newport and the Marketing Committee of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. She had spoken both as a presenter and panelist and multiple topics including public relations, communications, brand awareness and development, social media and more.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Andrea McHugh about challenges that come during the off-season and when local officials are skeptical about the value of tourism. There is also so much opportunity out there right now. When tailwinds are strong, how do you capitalize on that momentum? Listen in and find out.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to embrace and market your off-season
  • Making locals your allies in destination marketing
  • Working with local officials to educate on the benefits of tourism
  • Looking well beyond your region for tourism partnerships
  • How to manage the ebb and flow of visitors with greater consistency

Follow the Money

Sometimes local politicians do not see the value in supporting tourism. But when you show them the tax revenue generated, that makes the case for you. Andrea shared how, in her words, “Part of that solution is constantly sharing the data about the economic impact of tourism. In tourism, we can see exactly where the taxes have grown and when there’s an opportunity.”

This education is not once and done. As new officials come into the office, the data needs to be shared and the case made all over again.

Thinking Outside Your Region

Sometimes opportunity for cross-pollination happens far from your back yard. When Bermuda, New York, and Co, and Destination Newport discovered they were all hosting sailing regattas, they decided to connect those dots for potential visitors who follow that distinctive recreational activity.

What opportunities are there for your destination to partner with other places hosting similar events or attracting similar visitors? That can be a great form of coopetition!


Episode Transcript

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