Marketing and Communications Director,
Erie Sports Commission
While impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns, Emily implemented virtual tours to sustain bookings when clients couldn’t visit in-person. For the tours, Arlene piloted its 360 Editor and CMS, using location-based 360 photography and annotations.
We asked Emily a few questions:
What is Erie Sports Commission and what are your duties as Marketing and Communications Director?
The Erie Sports Commission is a division of VisitErie that works to promote Erie, Pennsylvania as a prime destination for sporting events. We connect with sporting event directors from around the country to show them Erie’s venues and amenities so that they will host tourism-driving events here. As Marketing and Communications Director of the organization, I direct all outward-facing initiatives, from our website, to branding, email marketing, print and digital collateral, public relations, advertising and more.
How did you get started in marketing?
I majored in English writing and communications, so it was a natural transition into marketing when I graduated college.
How do you stay ahead of the curve in marketing? Are there any resources you recommend?
I’ve made sure that my personal social media feeds include marketing-based resources, and try to make time for webinars and online courses when I can. My favorites are those from MarketingProfs and The Daily Carnage Facebook group. I’m also reading “How to Market to People Not Like You” by Kelly McDonald.
Tell us more about your virtual tours. Why did you decide to offer them? What results did you see?
It became clear midway through 2020 that we would not be able to attend conferences or host in-person site visits anytime soon, so we started exploring doing virtual site visits. Immediately upon launching our virtual tours, we booked six virtual site visits with high-level targets. We coordinated meetings with not just our own team, but venue directors, and incorporated images and video of our destination to the virtual venue tours that Arlene created. Creating an engaging meeting like this was a great way to kick-start conversations about hosting future events in Erie, and provided them with a memorable first meeting.
What does successful marketing innovation look like to you?
It looks like adjusting and adapting when traditional means no longer work. If the last year taught us anything, it’s that we have to adapt to new ways of thinking and working in order to maintain operations.
What marketing trend do you see as the next big thing for your industry?
Virtual tours are gaining popularity in sports tourism. Events are still looking for future sites, and until we can physically bring event owners to our site, they are the next best thing.