The Destination ENV team is beyond thrilled to welcome Emily Hines to our growing ranks. As our newest content manager, Emily will be focusing her efforts on Visit Cincy while helping support all our destination clients.
Emily comes to us with a diverse marketing background, including an extensive understanding of community management, content creation, and social media strategy.
Her previous destination marketing experience includes Travel Marquette and Visit Bloomington, where she produced regular blog content, collaborated on digital campaigns, and created and curated content for the brand’s social presence.
When she’s not creating killer content for our destination clients, she’s building her own brand as a freelance travel writer and blogger. Her travel blog Em’s on the Road showcases her adventures around Michigan and beyond (with her husband and adorable daughter Fern at her side).
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
That is tough! Outside of the United States, I’d say Turkey. I love architecture and food and they have both in spades. While in graduate school, I took a historic preservation/city planning class that took us around the country for a couple of weeks and it was incredible.
In the United States, I’d say a Southeast coast destination like Savannah, Georgia or Charleston, South Carolina. I grew up in coastal Georgia and love any chance to get back home to the Southeast. Both destinations have all the things I love – architecture, great food, shopping, and gorgeous scenery. I also have a soft spot for Maui. We lived there for a few years after college and return whenever we can.
What are the top destinations on your list that you haven’t traveled to yet?
Kauai, Spain, and Banff/Lake Louise.
Are there any destinations that stand out to you for their current marketing efforts?
Visit Williamsburg was all over my social feeds last fall because of a massive influencer campaign. They activated micro influencers and mega influencers including Julia Berolzheimer and saw some impressive results. I appreciated their approach of tapping influencers of all sizes to test performance and reach a variety of audiences.
Visit Savannah is also a consistent leader in the space. Their branding, tone, and visuals are on point and make you feel like you’re strolling the square in Savannah. They released a podcast last year that offered a deeper look into famous Savannah places and stories like the Olde Pink House and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Finally, Visit Lexington does an incredible job holding true to their content pillars. Everyone knows they’re the horse capital of the world and an epic bourbon destination. Their pillars are on the front page of their website, highlighted in travel guides, and woven throughout their social media. They also do a great job adapting to the ever-changing social media landscape and embracing vertical video in Instagram Reels and TikTok.
What trend in destination marketing are you most excited about?
I’m excited to see how TikTok will continue to transform the DMO space. With its algorithm based on user intent and solving a problem, TikTok made a big splash and captured everyone’s attention during lockdown. I look forward to seeing how DMOs can take advantage of this to create content for the platform moving forward.
What are some of the most common hurdles or challenges you come across with destination clients?
I think the most common challenge DMOs face is focus. It can be difficult to know where to focus your efforts when the digital marketing space is always changing. Focusing on owned channels first is always a good idea because that is the space your brand has the most control over. Once you have a handle on that content you can branch out into earned and paid.
Is there anything you wish more destination marketers were doing? Any common missed opportunities?
I wish more destinations would embrace long-term partnerships with content creators and influencers. Booking a trip is a much longer selling cycle than purchasing most consumer goods. Trips take time and planning, so activating influencers for one month or one post will likely have little impact overall. Destinations should be creating long-term strategies with creators, like bringing them in every quarter to showcase a destination’s seasonality or promote its shoulder season.
What are some highlights from your work on destination clients?
My entire experience at Visit Bloomington is a highlight in my career. From campaign ideation to copywriting to social media management, I was able to work on everything in the digital content space.
Also, creating website content for Travel Marquette’s 2019 campaign was really exciting. At the time, I was a relatively new resident in Marquette, Michigan and was able to experience the region through the lens of a visitor. I think the element of discovery and enthusiasm really came through in all of the articles.
What do you like most about working at Destination ENV?
It’s exciting to work with an agency that has teams of experts that support each other. The SEO, performance, and creative teams all work hand in hand and I love to collaborate with people that have expertise in different areas and all work toward the client’s goals.
I also love to travel, so it’s exciting to work in this space. Every town and city has something to offer and I love introducing people to places they might have never thought of for a vacation. Tourism is also a major industry in the United States and it feels good to help make a real impact in communities.