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Episode Info: Subscribe to The Destinationists on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or Google PodcastsIn Episode #017 we talk to Jon Mamela, Chief Marketing Officer for Tourism Toronto about the game-changing work they’ve done with Expedia to market Canada’s largest city as a stopover destination.In a lively discussion, Jon says that although Toronto had positive word-of-mouth it was not top of the list for American travellers – worse, it was perceived as an international destination with all of the downside of a long-haul flight without the up-side of Europe. At the same time Air Canada was acquiring more long-range aircraft and was focused on promoting Toronto as a major hub for their long-haul routes.Tourism Toronto saw the opportunity to partner with Expedia to exploit the OTA’s vast reservoir of data on travel behaviour and promote the city as a stopover for travellers from the US and UK who could break up the trip without incurring additional flight costs.“Expedia really knew how to build the user experience in a way that connected both what a consumer traveller was looking for and as a means to introduce creatively and logically how to integrate a stopover into the experience of booking,” he said.Despite industry stakeholders sometimes giving stopover campaigns a lukewarm reception, Mamela says everyone was behind the strategy. “It was a complementary program accounting for a smaller percentage of our budget in terms of what we do,” he said. “It could definitely stand alone.”Toronto looked to Iceland and Portugal for insights about successful stopover marketing although North American destinations were slower to see the stopover opportunity. Toronto’s long-term commitment to the strategy has paid off with continued growth in interest level, search intent, and overall airline and accommodation bookings to the city.In Trend Monitor in this episode co-host Andrés declares Google’s BERT algorithm update “one of the most important things to care about in marketing”. He said: “Google has made big changes before, but this has been described as a quantum leap forward in the way that search processes things.” He suggests the change will have a big impact on travel marketers who will need to provide much more specific informational content and avoid generic product information.And in Campaign News, Andrés and Lauren question the timing of the launch of a new brand platform for Northern Ireland amidst uncertainty around Brexit. Called Embrace a Giant Spirit, Lauren notes that there is a lot to like about the new brand with the giant “speaking to the idea of the people, of the big-hearted people, and spirit referring to the kind of experience a traveller can have in terms of awakening your spirit when you're in the destination”. But given that it was still unclear how the UK’s exit from the EU would impact travellers to Northern Ireland, both Andrés and Lauren were puzzled by the timing of the launch. “We can only assume t...
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