The hashtag #IfIHadMyWay was trending the other morning. As with every topic on Twitter, some comments were sweet, some were clever and quite a few were political. I chose not to comment at the time, especially with an opinion on politics because I've learned that is one area where I have little chance of ever having it my way. The subject got me thinking about our work as a creative firm serving the tourism marketing industry.

If I had my way, no destination would use "Eat, Stay, Play" ever again in their marketing message. Ever.

If I had my way, tourism promotion budgets would be determined by how cool the destination's story is and not by the unfortunate circumstance of its local or county tax revenue. In other words, small towns with awesome attractions and fascinating tales to tell would have budgets commensurate with larger personality-lacking cities.

If I had my way, tourism marketing professionals would understand that adequate is not OK. Mundane is not acceptable. Mediocrity is actually damaging to your brand. In an industry where people daydream about their next vacation, your marketing material had better be equal to their dream. An ad written and designed by the boss' niece because she's "good at art" is not OK. A Visitor Guide with headlines in Comic Sans portrays a destination as, well, a joke. A shaky, YouTube-quality video does not appeal to someone dreaming of a fun-filled getaway.

If I had my way, travel expenses for at least one leisure trip per year would be tax deductible. Why not? The reason politicians argue for reducing taxes is that it puts more disposable income into people's pockets that they can inject into the economy. Why not encourage folks to take a nice getaway and spend their money in hotels, spas, restaurants, gift shops, theme parks, campgrounds and museums. Not to mention buying gas, souvenirs, camping supplies, concert tickets, beer & wine and other things that all generate tax revenue.

A platform like that just might get me elected.


6 Walnut Avenue • Vinton, Virginia 24179

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