How training helps a CVB, DMO, or tourism partner

How training helps ballet class example JS Stewart on Picfair

A lifelong learning mindset can give you the knowledge and confidence to respond to any challenge.

Lifelong learners (is that you?) have the confidence to succeed in today’s fast-paced world, because they have the knowledge.

It would be a lot simpler if marketing communications stayed the same over time, especially the digital tools.

You would figure out how social media or digital marketing work for your destination, attraction, hotel, or tourism partner business, and that would be the end of it.

  • New platforms wouldn’t pop up and cause a frenzy.
  • Current platforms wouldn’t add or subtract features that you then have to re-learn.
  • Platforms you’ve mastered wouldn’t get acquired by another company and then change, or worse, shut down and disappear.

But that isn’t reality, is it?

You and your organization have to keep learning, or fall behind.

Update 25 May 2021: Great article in “Training Magazine” – What Will Learning Look Like in 2021? – key trends include the need for upskilling/learning agility, more data literacy, ability to collaborate on remote teams, and need for diversity of expertise.

As professional social media and digital destination marketing educators for over a decade, here is how we think that training (the new fancy word is “talent development”) helps you, your staff, and your destination:


1) Ongoing training plus a personal lifelong learning habit give you the confidence to face change


Change is scary.

Feeling foolish because you haven’t mastered something yet is scary.

We understand.

We would like to be able to relax and “rest on our laurels,” too. Coast along on what we already know. Not have to scratch our heads over new things, when what we know used to be good enough (or was even cutting edge.)

However, we’ve made it a habit to always be in learning mode, to convince ourselves to try innovative tools, to attend workshops and conferences that improve our knowledge, and to allow ourselves to mess up or not always have all the answers when we’re still learning something new.

We try to learn every day – just 30 minutes of reading or watching video, if that’s all the time we have – or at least a few days a week.

We experiment with new tools and features even when they aren’t our personal favorites. Neither of us are big into podcasts, for example, but they are increasingly popular, so we learned how to make simple audio content by repurposing some of our blog posts.

When you spend time to regularly study, try, fail, and grow, you develop the confidence needed to say, no matter what you’re facing,

“I will learn this. I’m smart and experienced. I’ve figured out other things that scared me. I know once I dig in, I may not set the world on fire with this particular skill or tool, but it will not intimidate me.”

Boost your confidence, and understand that knowledge is power.

Boost your partners’ confidence.

Keep learning yourself, and make sure that your staff and partners get educational support, too. We can help, because training and development is what we do.


2) “Making yourself smart” makes you a more competent CVB, DMO, or partner


If there is anything that the last year or more of upheaval has taught us, it is that your marketing skills need to be up-to-date and flexible, your mindset must be agile, and you can’t let perfectionism and/or control freak tendencies keep you from reacting quickly to changing circumstances.

Destinations, attractions, hotels, and businesses must be ready to use social media and other digital tools to respond to the needs at hand.

A lot of businesses finally had to embrace the internet, social media, and ecommerce, for example, even after ignoring them for years. Even DMOs got into online sales, like the Shop Iowa site supporting Iowa retailers across the state, and the Gateway to the Blues Store from the Tunica, Mississippi CVB.

It was useless to say, “That’s not what we normally do” or “I don’t know anything about that.”

There was a change. There was a need. People had to flex, learn new tools and systems, and make things happen.

You must know how to use digital platforms to help you fix real world problems.

Is overtourism a problem for you? Are your outside spaces like parks overrun? You need to know how your Facebook Page, blog, or Instagram can help guide visitors to less-crowded locations.

Maybe you have the opposite problem: not enough people visiting. How can your social media and digital assets attract visitors to the places that most need them? Hotels have had to come up with new ways to fill rooms – like day passes for remote workers and “schoolcations” for families with kids in Zoom classrooms – and then promote them via email and social media.

You can’t be an agile destination marketing pro without knowing how to competently use every tool in your tool box.


3) If you don’t keep learning and growing, you can’t succeed in marketing communications


At some point, a motivated person who is willing to learn new tools and techniques is going to beat you.

Not willing to learn, change, and grow? Prepare to fail.

Sorry to be harsh, but we’ve spent years watching reluctant people who know they are behind, but who absolutely REFUSE to educate themselves. They’d rather quit or retire than keep up.

Age is a real factor, we’ve found.

Remember how we talked about confidence? Sometimes the least confident staff member or tourism partner is the most experienced in every other aspect of their job, but they lack confidence in digital marketing because they lack knowledge, and don’t want to admit it or fix it.

They assume that “the young ones” will take care of all that social media stuff.

We assure you, the “young ones” may know where all the buttons and filters are on their phone or in a digital platform, but they’re still learning, too.

They would much rather have you teach them what you know from years of experience, in exchange for them teaching you some of their digital tricks and techniques.

It’s a much better situation than the boss not having a clue what their job entails, and not even trying to get up to speed.

If you would like a digital tools tune-up on today’s best practices, or if you have new staff members or partners who need a little guidance, contact us and let’s talk.

We are fully vaccinated and ready to help you with the travel rebound.

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