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Visit Lake Norman, with Cyndi Bartley

Episode 153:

Cyndi Bartley is the Operations and Marketing Director at Visit Lake Norman. Throughout her entire professional career, she has been devoted to the hospitality and tourism industry. She began her role at Visit Lake Norman in 2007 as a marketing intern and continued to advance her position and responsibilities to her current role today. During her time here, she continues to enhance their ambassador and internship programs. Bartley enjoys continued education and networking through conferences and learning sessions. Currently, she is in the process of undergoing Destinations International’s CDME program.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I am joined by Cyndi Bartley, Operations and Marketing Director at Visit Lake Norman. She delves into the marketing tactics and strategies that have been successful in drawing traffic to a small destination.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Cyndi’s journey to Operations and Marketing Director at Visit Lake Norman
  • The multi-functional nature of Cyndi’s position, and how she prepared for it
  • How Cyndi’s and her team maintain a competitive edge in the travel and tourism industry
  • What enables Visit Lake Norman to continuously improve their marketing processes
  • The challenges that Visit Lake Norman is currently facing, and how they plan to overcome them
  • How Visit Lake Norman’s internship program is impacting their capacity
  • Different roles that Cyndi’s interns assume
  • How interns are selected, and the responsibilities that they have
  • Why Visit Lake Norman is collaborating with other organizations in the area
  • What is in store for the future of Visit Lake Norman

Visit Lake Norman

After a lot of moving around, Cyndi’s family finally settled down in the Charlotte area of North Carolina. When she transitioned into high school, she gained a better sense of direction for what she wanted to do in her career. Business seemed like a field that aligned with her aspirations, and Cyndi was drawn to the specific niche of marketing. She received her bachelor’s from UNC, but her passion for marketing developed well before that point.

Cyndi is now the Operations and Marketing Director at Visit Lake Norman, and she has been with them for 13 years. However, she started as just an intern. She never could have predicted that she would end up in a leadership role, but hindsight is twenty-twenty. Looking back on her career, Cyndi’s early professional development with Visit Lake Norman is one of the main reasons she became a successful marketing leader. She had the opportunity to dive deep into every facet of the organization, which prepared her to wear a number of different hats in the future.

Maintaining a Competitive Edge

Travel and Tourism is an extremely competitive industry, so to win foot traffic for Lake Norman, Cyndi and her team had to go above and beyond. Being with the organization for over a decade is a huge advantage for her. Cyndi has seen everything that has worked and everything that hasn’t. She has also seen all of the tactics of surrounding tourism boards which builds a distinct profile of their competition. Visit Lake Norman works hard to constantly refine their efforts and create a polished appearance that portrays them as a larger destination than they actually are.

With Cyndi at the helm, Visit Lake Norman has experienced a lot of success, but with new successes come new challenges. As their organization grows, they struggle to maintain enough manpower to meet demands. It is difficult to consistently produce high-quality content and marketing collateral when they don’t have enough resources to do so. That means new creative is the first to get cut. But Cyndi is combatting that deficiency with a robust internship program, providing Visit Lake Norman with bodies in the form of marketing, product design, and sports marketing interns.

Increased Manpower Through Internships

Every year they bring more bright minds on board, creating meaningful content and increasing Visit Lake Norman’s capacity in the busiest season of the year. Cyndi worked hard to augment the program, which now gets upwards of 30-40 resumes a year and continues to grow. The interns are able to provide important resources to Visit Lake Norman because they follow a stringent plan from day one. But that is not to say they aren’t given some degree of free rein over their work. Each student is placed in a role where they can contribute to the big picture and exercise their strengths. So, Cyndi’s team always wins together because they are always on the same page.

What’s in Store?

Visit Lake Norman has some big things on the horizon and their team is working diligently to promote their message in new ways. That means producing new video content, creating innovative marketing initiatives and campaigns, and exploring different platforms that they aren’t currently leveraging. Bartley is also making a greater effort to collaborate with other organizations in the area to reach a larger audience and they have already experienced great success with that. Visit Lake Norman is taking major strides in the travel and tourism industry, and they are a model organization for marketing small destinations.

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Episode Transcript

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