Saturday, May 11, 2019

Evoking Feeling and Crafting Lifetime Memories in Travel: Chicago's North Shore Annual Tourism Luncheon


Evoking Feeling and Crafting Lifetime Memories in Travel: Chicago's North Shore Annual Tourism Luncheon

**Disclosure: I was invited as a guest to Chicago's North Shore Annual Tourism Luncheon. However, I received no compensation. Opinions are 100% my own.

Evoking Feeling and Crafting Lifetime Memories in Travel: Chicago's North Shore Annual Tourism Luncheon

How is your destination evoking feeling and crafting lifetime memories? We honed in on this concept during Chicago's North Shore Annual Tourism  Luncheon. This idea explained by keynote speaker Joe Veneto of Veneto Collaboratory really spoke to me because this is truly what many small businesses strive to do every single day. When we work together to create these experiences in our towns and across our regions, we forge a wealth of meaningful adventures that connect visitors with a destination emotionally. Joe Veneto's keynote speech yielded many insights that anyone in tourism, hospitality and customer service can learn from in regards to this topic.

Opening Remarks on Tourism in Chicago's North Shore:

Holly Allgauer-Cyr welcoming us to the luncheon with opening remarks at Chicago North Shore's Annual Tourism Luncheon
Holly Allgauer-Cyr welcoming us to the luncheon with opening remarks.
Our wonderful luncheon began with opening remarks by Holly Allgauer-Cir who is currently on Chicago's North Shore Board of Directors and General Manager of Hilton Chicago-Northbrook as well as Gina Speckman the Executive Director of Chicago's North Shore. We learned about the treasures in Chicago's North Shore and the great strides the community has made in welcoming visitors.

Executive Director of Chicago's North Shore Gina Speckman makes remarks at the Annual Tourism Luncheon
Executive Director of Chicago's North Shore Gina Speckman makes remarks.
I nearly cheered when Gina Speckman expressed, "Residents are our best ambassadors!" As someone who works directly with small businesses as well is a local ambassador herself, I can say this is true! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of our wonderful local ambassadors out there! I do believe that when it comes to travel, destinations should not neglect reaching out to the local community. Community members and small business owners are incredibly knowledgeable about the gems in our region.

Crafting Experiential Adventures With Lasting Emotional Impact 

Joe Veneto of Veneto Collaboratory Discusses How To Craft That Memorable Experiential Experience.
Joe Veneto of Veneto Collaboratory Discusses How To Craft Distinctive Memorable Experiential Adventures
Joe Veneto works with destinations on molding those unique and truly experiential adventures. He discussed his work with Philadelphia in regards to their murals. Murals were created to cover graffiti and revitalize communities. To take that further, tours were added as well as the ability to paint murals. Painting is something truly tangible and connects the visitor to the destination in an emotional way. Pretty neat!

I was delighted to learn that he worked with one of my favorite fun spots -- the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin! At the National Mustard Museum, they focused in on something entirely distinctive and exploratory -- a mustard pairing experience which pairs mustards with different food items including dessert. A slight bit zany but fun!

Joe Veneto with National  Mustard Museum Founder Barry Levenson.
Joe Veneto with National  Mustard Museum Founder Barry Levenson. 
Joe also stressed the Five Stages of Customer Connection. I cannot stress enough -- each stage is important! These stages are:
  • Information and Buying Process; Points of Entry
  • First Impressions
  • During the Experience
  • Lasting Impressions
  • Future Connections and Follow-up
As someone working with small businesses, I can tell you each point is critical. In my work, I always treat my customers as friends and family. I think it makes hitting these goals easier rather than looking at someone as a client or customer.

Travel Matters:

Travel Matters was the motto for this year's National Travel and Tourism Week. At the luncheon, we touched on how much travel matters to our communities not only in terms of jobs but in terms of supporting local businesses and encouraging cultural attractions. What I would like to add to the concept of Travel Matters is that many of our community members, business owners and more travel and bring treasures and concepts back to our communities elevating that richness and flavor. Travel matters and invites growth, insight and changes in perspective.

Tree Top at Ravinia:

The luncheon was hosted at Ravinia inside Tree Top which is fantastically perched in the trees.

Spiral chandelier as I walked up to Tree Top at Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois
Spiral chandelier as I walked up to Tree Top.
The setting was perfect and I can tell that Tree Top is ideal for a number of functions.

Beautiful setting at Tree Top at Ravinia.
Beautiful setting at Tree Top at Ravinia.
I did rather enjoy the large soup and salad luncheon buffet. Delicious! Plus, I had a cup of tea of course!

Lovely lunch at Tree Top.
Lovely lunch at Tree Top.
On my way to the luncheon, I sauntered through the Sculpture Walk at Ravinia. I admit it was a little eerie yet calming to walk through Ravinia totally quiet!

Admiring Ravinia's Sculpture Walk
Admiring Ravinia's Sculpture Walk
A few more ideas to ponder:

Additional Key Points
  • Aim towards scratching beneath the surface with travel experiences. Craft experiences that will leave a lasting impact on the emotional bank account.
  • When you are depositing into that emotional bank account, your visitors will create that buzz for you.
  • Be knowledgeable about the communities in the adjacent areas. Travelers are looking at a much broader package than just what is in your town and city. Visitors don't necessarily look in terms of staying in one town or city; they are looking at the broader package and the number of quality, distinctive experiences the area provides.
  • Do not overlook business travelers. Many extend stays a little to enjoy something at the location. Involve them in remarkable experiences as well. Then, they will want to come back for longer stays with family!
Overall:

Chicago North Shore's Annual Tourism Luncheon introduced key concepts that not only help the region as a whole but can be distilled down to individual businesses and even community members. The annual luncheon was a great way to learn where we are in tourism and see where we are going. Joe Veneto was a wonderful speaker and easily illustrated ways to craft meaningful, memorable and experiential moments for visitors. The luncheon was an incredible learning experience!

Evoking Feeling and Crafting Lifetime Memories in Travel: Chicago's North Shore Annual Tourism Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Joe Veneto

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