Episode 24: Tourism Professionals as Lifestyle Developers, with Valerie Knoblauch
In this episode, you will learn about why collaboration at the regional level makes a huge difference from Valerie Knoblauch.
Valerie is President and CEO of the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection where she has worked since 1984 when she was hired as the organization’s first employee. In her role, she is responsible for guiding a team of tourism marketing professionals who are charged with promoting all of the fun experiences offered in Ontario County and the Finger Lakes region. Valerie thrives on the challenge of figuring out people’s motivations to travel and translating that into marketing programs that inspire travel to the destination where she lives, works and plays. Prior to beginning with the Finger Lakes Visitors connection, Valerie worked as a Tour Guide and Public Relations Manager for Gold Seal Vineyards in Hammondsport, NY after a career as a High School English teacher at Red Jacket Central High School.
Valerie loves to travel – imagine that. She also enjoys bicycling, wine, gardening, photography, and cooking. She loves the theatre, especially live theatre and musicals, and likes history – especially as it is interpreted to put into place “where we are today …”
Valerie is blessed with a very large family, many of whom have settled in the area. She has been married to her husband Kurt since 1982. They have three sons and three wonderfully diverse daughters-in-law and three grandsons. Valerie has friends across the world, because of her career in travel and tourism and because of her multicultural family. She loves learning every day from all of the characters in her life.
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
- The importance of analyzing your strengths and weaknesses, and surrounding yourself with people who complement your skill set.
- How the regional Hike & Bike collateral piece and her ‘Slice, Dice & Spice’ event were ahead of the curve in showcasing local assets.
- Using creative ways to meet the challenges of stretched resources.
- The importance of communicating ROI to stakeholders and knowing which metrics to report.
- The importance of agreeing, up front, what the desired outcome is when collaborating
- The indirect impact of a thriving tourism industry.
- Using research and a strategic marketing plan to identify opportunities for extended stay and return visitation.
- Reaching visitors while they are in the destination to encourage extended stay and return visitation.
- How Ontario County engaged their Board of Supervisors with National Tourism Week.