Taking Calculated Risks in Travel Marketing, with Jennifer Barbee

Episode 120:

Jennifer Barbee is a serial entrepreneur, professional speaker, and all-around boss. Jennifer and her partner Kristen created the agency Destination Innovate in 2017, in addition to running to successful digital branding agencies. She has been named Stevie® Female Entrepreneur of 2013, 2014 in Advertising/Media/PR (U.S. and Europe), ranked #17 in StartUp Nation’s® Top 100 Moms in Business and has represented some of the country’s leading brands, affectionately dubbing her the “dot com diva” and the “Harvard of Internet and Travel”.

Jennifer wows crowds with her unique brand of humor and real talk. She is a tireless advocate of women entrepreneurs and regularly hosts success schools and offers private coaching. She continues to offer her digital strategy expertise to consulting and speaking at conferences around the world.

Jennifer is also a mom of four and is an avid coffee and mimosa enthusiast.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Jennifer about risk-taking in travel marketing. It may push our comfort levels, but it can pay big dividends compared with the status quo. We also talk through some great marketing strategies and tactics you can start using right away – from Facebook tools to DMOs.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The importance of calculated risk-taking
  • Finding the gaps in marketing that others are not exploring, and getting there first
  • Taking advantage of “now” opportunities, not non-existent “forever” strategies
  • How to bring gender equity to leadership roles in the travel industry
  • Ingredients for successful collaboration
  • How DMOs can share with smaller stakeholders marketing secrets they can use themselves

Embracing Risk

Expedia and Travelocity took big risks if you can remember back to those early days of the internet. Millennials, just sit back and let us tell you the story. At the dawn of the 21st Century, a flight and hotel aggregator was literally wishful thinking. Jennifer talks about how Expedia and Travelocity took that wishful thinking and some great coding expertise and created some dramatic disruption in the industry.

Jennifer invites us to not be afraid of risk. There are so many calculated small risks you can take to make a bigger impact with your marketing budget, like putting the story in the hands of the visitor. She offers some great examples of personality-driven websites that target a specific segment you want to attract. When a visitor tells you what they like, you can target the right message that engages, building a relationship, and bumps up your visitation numbers.

Travel Marketing Hacks

We also discuss a fascinating social media hack destination marketers can use. It’s great for large organizations but even better for the smaller hotel or attraction. It’s a really great platform for the small BNB or the small hotel owner who only has 20 or 60 rooms to take control of the booking. You can do a double dip there, building awareness and doing good in marketing, but also utilizing a booking engine with no fees attached. We dig into the specifics of how you can make this happen on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Jennifer is an amazing resource who is always willing to ask tough questions, give unexpected answers, and generally get the conversation to the level where big ideas can turn into action that makes a real difference in your organization.


Episode Transcript

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