Leslie McLellan is a destination marketer based in Southern California, USA and is an expert in tourism marketing on small budgets. Leslie has built two DMO’s from the ground up with very little money and very little staff – and in this episode of Tourism Tweetup the Podcast we will be talking about how that is possible and how DMO’s can engage their communities to help with marketing.
You can find out more about Leslie on her tourism blog JustASmallTownGirl.us. where there are many tourism marketing tips for small destinations.
Leslie McLellan starts by sharing with us her story about starting a DMO (or Regional Tourism Organisation as we often call them here in Australia) – from scratch in Lake ArrowHead in Southern California in the early 90’s. They were funded by a small grant each year as well as a bed tax.
Leslie worked in this role for 21 years and went through all facets of marketing, traditional through to social media.
She is currently in her third year of working with a new DMO in California called San Jacinto Valley with no budget.
Leslie says a large part of the marketing success has been through working with bloggers. Listen in at the 7.30 minute mark where we discuss in more detail about working with bloggers and the successes had.
We also talk a little about a big travel bloggers conference called TBEX – see http://tbexcon.com
At the 10 minute mark we discuss why Leslie works with bloggers rather than traditional PR for this specific destination. Really interesting points here.
Social media and blogging is a great gift as it means you can focus on your niche and get as specific as you want to be.
From the 14 minute mark we talk about the importance of community engagement and how things took a positive turn once Leslie brought the industry and community together. Leslie provides three great practice ideas;
- Provide generic tweets and Facebook posts for community members to rework and use
- Bring back community meetings to understand the DMO vision and to together work on the direction for the destination with a focus on collaboration. “regular community meetings where everyone has a voice.”
- Signage, communicating the social networks and hashtag to get all visitors and the community involved.
From the 24 minute mark Leslie discusses her favourite social media channel and the story behind why.
Leslie finishes with some of her plans and insights about Periscope. You can listen to episode 34 to learn more about Periscope.
You can connect with Leslie on Twitter https://twitter.com/LeslieMcLellan