Local ambassadors best salesmen for R.I. attractions
WORD TRAVELS FAST: Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau President Martha Sheridan calls destination-marketing organizations perfect conduits between local businesses seeking to get their message out to a larger audience.
Martha Sheridan has more than 20 years of experience in destination marketing, and has accrued awards that underscore her ability to market not only Providence and Warwick, but the state.
In 2010, Sheridan received the Rhode Island Hospitality Association’s Mary Brennan Tourism Award for outstanding achievement in tourism promotion and was named RIHA Woman of the Year. She is also the recipient of the Meeting Professionals International New England President’s Award and the MPINE Supplier of the Year Award.
This year, Sheridan was presented with the Morris J. Gaebe Profile in Excellence Award from Junior Achievement of Rhode Island.
PBN: What is destination marketing and how can it be an economic engine for Rhode Island?
SHERIDAN: Destination marketing is promoting and representing a particular destination for the purpose of generating meetings, conventions and leisure visitations for the community. Tourism is already a major economic generator for the state of Rhode Island. Beyond that, tourism exposes the state to new audiences that could potentially relocate here as residents or new businesses.
Destination marketing has gone beyond the concept of placing advertising in publications in the hopes of enticing people to your community. It’s gone beyond that to product development. For instance, I’m working with cultural and historic attractions within Providence to develop cohesive itineraries and tours that are more user-friendly for the visitors. So we’re trying to coordinate hours of operation and build collaboration between attractions to find connections to the stories that are meaningful to the visitor. The end result could be a printed guide and map and audio tour, a mobile app and a companion website.