Finish strong at the end of the year - start with a review and purge of business card piles (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Business card collection – it is time to purge this drawer & make room for pens or flash drives or something (photo by Sheila Scarborough)


You only have a day or so left to start the year off right.

All the over-achievers have already gotten to Email Inbox Zero, set up their integrated marketing program through next December, crafted a blog editorial calendar, and even gotten a pedicure to organize their toes.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are still finishing off the eggnog.

What can you accomplish with limited time as a regular destination marketing person?

Review the Year – Pat Yourself on the Back

Take a moment to celebrate your successes.

You can’t do more of what works until you review and acknowledge what worked.

We’ll start….

Among other things, this year we’ve continued as the preferred online training partner for the National Scenic Byway Foundation, started a social media training package for about 90 staff and partners with Wisconsin Main Street, helped our industry as part of the team running #tourismchat on Twitter, joined the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association and spoke at their conference, and as Media Partners promoted events we liked including the SaveYour.Town small town development webinars and the TACVB (Texas Association of CVBs) conferences.

What are you proud of this past year? Tell us down in the comments….go ahead and brag on yourself!

What did you do that moved you directly toward your overall goals?

Clear the Decks

Let’s start with the bane of most people’s existence….overwhelming amounts of email.

Look, you are not going to get to all of it before January 1. You can still clear it out over the next few weeks, but be reasonable.

Go into your main work email inbox, and move every email from before, say, December 20 to another folder labeled something like “In Progress” or “Working.” You are not going to get to all of those items right now, and you need an immediate mental victory.

Clear out your inbox so you can see past the clutter, then vow to both respond a lot more quickly to anything new coming in from now on, and unsubscribe when something comes in that you know you don’t really care about any more.

Set up a plan to review the old stuff that you moved out of the inbox – say, 25 to 50 emails a day until you’re caught up – then try the ideas in this post about how to manage email.

Next, if you have not trimmed disinterested subscribers from your own CVB, DMO, attraction, business, or hotel email list in awhile – those who have not even opened your last 15-20 emails – make a note around mid-January to run a short re-engagement campaign.

You can say something like, “Hi, we’ve noticed you haven’t opened many of our emails lately. If you still want to hear from us, click this link or we’ll plan to unsubscribe you by XYZ date.” Then, do it.

We did this with our own Tourism Currents tips and trends email list recently, and our open rates have skyrocketed, because now the people left on our list really want to hear from us.

Next, do you have piles of business cards laying around from conferences and networking events? Be merciless – flip through all of them, connect on LinkedIn if you know they’re a good fit for your network, and toss the rest of them. They are little rectangular cardboard bits of guilt at this point.

Finally, if you use any offline/print folders to organize your work, get them set up and get folder tabs labeled, etc.

Review Strategy & Long-Term Goals

We saw this question the other day on Twitter – “Do you have a job, or a mission?”

How is your work making a difference in the world?

What are you doing for your destination, attraction, business, or hotel that really matters?

Solid digital destination marketing is hard work. If you don’t keep your “eyes on the prize” you’ll never be able to stick with your plans in today’s challenging, fast-paced environment.

Review your overall strategy document and goals for the next few years. Everything you do should flow from them.

Review Trends & Try One Thing

Take a look at one of our recent posts about trends in tourism.

Try one thing that is new to you that you’ve never tried before.

**  In video, for example, start with shooting video from your phone if you’ve never done that, all the way up to your first Facebook Live or Periscope video or Instagram video or 360 video or looking into hiring a drone videographer.

**  Send that first tourism-related Snapchat snap.

**  Try a simple Facebook Page Sponsored Post.

**  Look at that #eventprofs hashtag on Twitter (if you’re in Sales trying to reach event planners) or #birding hashtag on Instagram (if you’re trying to reach influential birding people.) Learn the hashtags used by your niche markets.

Just push yourself a little, with one tool, for an hour or so. The first step is the hardest.

That’s it.

Go enjoy your New Year’s champagne.

See you on the flip side….

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