Successful storytelling starts here

“Storytelling” is the new vogue. We have progressed from “native advertising” (a description I thought slightly racist) and “sponsored content” to “storytelling”.

Okay, but what if you’re not a storyteller? What if you’re telling the wrong story? What if you’re overlooking cool stories within your organization? Not everyone has a story (or news) sense or understands how to present what is important in a lively, compelling way. For some organizations they are happy just to have something on-line and overlook the potential for maximizing their message.

For example, I recently participated in a familiarization trip for meetings professionals. This was an opportunity for a destination to showcase itself, its meeting and event infrastructure, and introduce local professionals and partners to clients from across North America.

One of the partner websites has a page directed to meeting professionals. Curiously, the lead focus is their “second largest ballroom”.

Their second largest ballroom is an attractive space, but I didn’t understand why a supplier would attempt to start a conversation with their second best asset. A member of the sales team explained that it was the city’s most popular ballroom, which is why they lead with it. Bingo!

That makes sense, but not the way it is presented to the world. The website should include the story the sales rep told me about its popularity. That’s where the storytelling starts. You need a professional storyteller to draw out the information and present it in the strongest possible way to stand out in a world of competitive storytelling.

Storytelling is part of the sales function. It shouldn’t be left to the technology team to handle. Their forte is delivering your story to all the places and platforms people congregate in in the digital world. They know their business. They don’t necessarily know yours. Too often busy executives hand sketchy ideas and details to their webmasters to install on-line. Unfortunately, the webmaster doesn’t know which ideas, facts, details and stories are the important ones for your clients. So what is presented to the world, in reality, satisfies only an internal audience and fails to address client needs.

A professional storyteller can solve those challenges and set you up for successfully servicing your clients. Destination Doctor helps you tell stories that sell.

By allanlynch

Is print retro chic?

The beauty and challenge of the digital world is the vast information flow. The challenge is the volume of seductive diversions that lead many of us away from our original search.

A recent study by PEW Research found that 50 percent of Millennials still prefer, and place a high value on, print. The PEW findings support a Huffington Post piece published on February 2, 2015 (Sorry, Ebooks. These 9 studies show why print is better). American University linguist Naomi Baron, in explaining university students’ preference for print, maintains that while digital is convenient and easy to read on-line, it comes with distractions, encourages multi-tasking, skim reading and poor comprehension.

As a result, print, while often pronounced dead, seems to be in a type of resurgence. I see a parallel with vinyl vs digital music among purists.

Yesterday I received a digital copy of a new print magazine launched by the Quebec City Convention Centre. I was staggered by the professionalism of this title.

Earlier in the month I read of the launch of a new print magazine for Silicon Valley! A print magazine – dead tree technology – is seen as the way to stand out in Ground Zero of the digital world. Print, for Silicon Valley residents, stands out and carries a greater weight. Perhaps they find attraction in the retro chic of print.

VisitBritain, which last year announced a new social media focus, refocused in March to produce their own print magazine as part of their marketing thrust. Expedia – the on-line booking agency – also produces a print magazine. As does AirBnB.

A conversation with a Vancouver meeting executive amplified the challenge of a purely social media presence. She tried to call up her company’s blog while we spoke. She couldn’t access it. Her company’s software blocked her from opening another link. This executive says she receives over 100 emails a day. The bulk of them are sales pitches, which she deletes without opening. However, when something comes via snail mail, she is more inclined to devote time to read it.

Three weeks ago in London I saw bookstores filled with readers. On the Tubes, out of every four people reading, three were reading print – either a book or newspaper. Those holding print products were younger. It was Baby Boomers who had the electronic readers (maybe drawn by the large print function…). The Saturday I flew back to Canada, The Guardian produced a 20-page book review section! Even in Canada, book sales are up 5%.

Maybe those titles which struggle, struggle because they don’t offer their readers much in the way of information, ideas and entertainment. With so much cannibalization of content there is a lack of originality.

That struggle to provide engaging, useful and the right information and story translates to social media. It’s pointless to be on all social media platforms if your message isn’t the right message for the audience you hope to attract. The competition for attention exists. It’s the destination’s and property’s duty to be pertinent. And if print isn’t part of your marketing mix, the disciplines of print newsgathering and story-telling still stand up.

As one former publisher wrote, “I don’t know where media is going but I think being interesting, credible and seductive will remain important.”

Destination Doctor can help with your story telling and curating the right facts for your audience. Whatever media you employ.

The digital dilemma: cashless clicks

Who hasn’t heard the expression ‘everything old is new again’?

So it is in the world of advertising. Every advertising agency rep and media salesperson has been told of William Wrigley’s observation. He founded the Wrigley Company which manufactures Juicy Fruit gum and other legendary brands. Wrigley famously said, “I know I’m wasting half of my advertising budget. Now, if someone could just tell me which half.”

A new Ad Waste Survey conducted by New York and San Francisco-based Demandbase found “B2B marketers are realizing that while their digital advertising strategy may be reaching a large audience, it’s not necessarily delivering the right results. This ad waste dilemma isn’t new – most companies know that they are wasting a significant part of their digital ad dollars, but the problem is they don’t know which part.”

Demandbase says markers need to adjust their strategies to focus on “solutions that can deliver more effective advertising, personalization and sales programs to the specific accounts that will really deliver business results.” In other words, targeting their marketing.

For those who love statistics the Demandbase study found that 96 percent of digital campaigns reach significant numbers of consumers who aren’t in their targeting mix and 71 percent say their campaigns do not meet expectations.

It’s worth remembering another old-school rule: that 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers. If you’re engaging in digital campaigns are you appealing to real and potential customers or just bored people clicking around the web? The next question is: do your tech people know your business, product, service and understand your customer? They have a talent for technology and getting a brand into multiple digital platforms and spaces, but what about the message? Are places and producers winning the click war, but failing to cash in with actual sales?

Contact Destination Doctor for help with your digital dilemma.

By allanlynch

My new column

I have a new column, The Supply Side, in Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine. The column focuses on the business events supplier issues, concerns and ideas. My first column was just published on February 10th.

I have long specialized in covering the meetings sector. I cover Canada and certain issues for LA-based Association News and contribute to MPI’s The Meeting Professional as well as my 24-year-long relationship with M&IT.

Without sounding immodest, I doubt anyone in North America writes more about the sector that I do.

Traditionally the magazine has been about bringing planner issues to the forefront and news and ideas which are important for them to know. The Supply Side expands the conversation by giving voice to supplier issues, thus making M&IT a truly two-way idea exchange.

The first column is found here:

I’m pleased with the ideas in the column I just filed for the March/April issue of M&IT.


By allanlynch

Websites are missing the meetings market


I have just completed two, extensive back-to-back group meeting assignments. This is my 10th year for this title. Between the two assignments, I visited 128 websites for fact checking. About 11 had the information I required. Year after year after year I encounter the same problems and issues with property, venue and destination websites when it comes to servicing the meetings market. My frustrations with website content are echoed by professional meeting planners.

People, stop wasting your money and potential clients’ time. Hotels, resorts, meeting venues and destinations claim to understand the client. No doubt you do on a face-to-face basis, but your websites and on-line presence fails you and your potential clients.

With potential planners researching websites 24/7, bad information, missing information and poorly presented information can cost you money. Whether you’re an event venue, a hotel or a destination, you’re not the only game in town. The world is on-line so everyone is your competition. You have more to worry about than the property down the street, tho’ if that property has a sharper website and on-line presence they’re beating you by making it unnecessary for the client to wait around for pertinent and accurate details from and about you.

And this is a problem for multinational brands as well as solo properties.

The current fashion is to tell stories. But what if you haven’t told it in the right way to engage the targeted market? Since most managers aren’t storytellers, you may be missing the more interesting story or story angle.

What needs to be done to make you competitive isn’t rocket science. Usually a few hours, maybe a day, and you’re ready to roll.

Having spent money for an on-line presence doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve gotten it right. Most companies hire a webmaster or an agency to build a site for them. These people have a talent for technology and marketing. They know how to deliver your message through various on-line options. However, they don’t necessarily know your business or the client needs. They may ask you questions, but if they get casual or sketchy information that’s all they can work with. Then they, on your behalf, make the mistake of perpetually supplying insufficient information to the market you’re trying to sell.

Having slogged through thousands of websites it’s apparent that what happens is that the person building the site uses what others have put on their sites as a guide, thus the information gaps spread to become an industry standard.

Enough with the madness! Hire someone (yes, like me) who understands what your group clients want and need to know if they are to consider your property, venue or destination as a place to bring business.

This is a relatively easy fix. It usually doesn’t require redesigning a website. It’s about correct content, presented in an easy-to-follow way. Between my time and your webmaster’s it’s probably less than a day’s work. Can you afford not to re-examine your site and message?



Study says property websites matter most

A just released study of meeting planners and meetings market in North America had three key findings:

  1. RFPs submitted directly to hotels or via national sales offices declined from the number sent in 2013, while those sent directly to CVBs remained the same.
  2. Meetings of 1,000 or more attendees make up the largest meeting segment.
  3. Destination websites and trade shows mattered more to planners than traditional and digital advertising.

Given the importance of websites and trade shows in reaching meeting planners, how does your website and trade show presence perform? Are you hitting their hot buttons? Are you even providing the basic information they need and in a way planners want?

Based on travel and interviews with hundreds of corporate, association, in-house and third party planners Destination Doctor can provide content and critiques to make you competitive.

Contact us via

All emails responded to in 24 hours or less – depending on travel schedule.

By allanlynch

13 Mistakes Properties make Pitching Planners

I recently travelled with a group of North American meeting planners. After one site inspection, which, like the others, was well done, a California-based planner made a very poignant observation that caused colleagues to nod their heads in agreement.

It sent me to my files to compile a list of frustrations and comments other planners have made about site inspections, property websites and collateral material.

I am available to work with an individual property, chain, destination or tourism authority to help sellers hone their pitch by avoiding these hiccups. The great news is that fixes can be accomplished almost immediately, with negligible cost.

By allanlynch sells for significant $$$

Many domain owners will look with envy at the deal with just closed for the sale of

According to the Associated Press the booking site has 3.4 million monthly visitors. The buyers own the Las Vegas Sun newspaper, Las Vegas Magazine, Las Vegas Weekly and a number of websites. AP says the buyer is paying $15.5 million in cash, $9.5 million in stock, $10 million in stock options and depending on the three-year performance up to another $3 million.

This should send everyone scurrying to see what names they own and haven’t developed. That puts pressure on to create and own great content. Contact me:

By allanlynch