~ A Black History Month Feature ~
Left to right: David Jackson, Kris Smith (and family), Karin Aaron
What sparked the idea for KKD Tourism Advisors and brought the three of you together as managing partners?
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic took a professional yet very personal toll on us. In a matter of days, we watched our industry deteriorate, affecting thousands of our colleagues, industry partners, local small businesses, and friends to a virus that we could not control. This was personal and we were affected, too. Our desire to be a part of the solution contributed to creating KKD tourism advisors that would serve as the outlet to our partners and ourselves while we navigate this recovery together.
As advisors to DMOs and attractions in particular, what is your key point of differentiation?
Our diverse, professional background. The tourism industry is a mixing bowl of destinations, hotels, attractions, sports, events and more. The three of us spent decades in various destinations, market segments and in leadership roles. This combined expertise allows us to work with any partner of any size.
How does your depth and breadth and years of experience, including DMO leadership, benefit your clients?
Our combined 100 years of experience is a long time! The travel industry has survived this setback before and fortunately, we have the solutions to apply. Our connection to advocacy groups, travel data and trends offers solutions for quick fix problems. We know the questions to ask and have been successful in using our experience and personal brand to benefit our clients.
Tell us more about SMERF — social, medical (military), educational, religious, fraternal — plus sports and why this is an important prospecting area for tourism recovery.
The SMERF market, traditionally used for weekends and social groups, is a great option for visitors who are more comfortable traveling with family and friends. Targeting this market is ideal as leisure group and staycations fill the void until groups, meetings and convention related travel return. Sports, in particular outdoor sports is perfect because it allows for social distancing with limited interruption for competitive play. This is important as people start to gather again and will be the dominate market segment thru the spring /summer season.
Is KKD Tourism Advisors all about small-to-medium sized DMOs?
No. KKD is a multi-lateral tourism firm that will work with any organization regardless of type and size. We recognize that everyone needs help. Our experience and thought leadership is available for any organization seeking a partner to help them recover quickly. This is why we were formed. This is why we are here.
What can you do for larger destinations that are short on resources but still need to ramp up for recovery?
KKD can immediately jump in with sales and marketing support. This includes managing your social media channels and convention sales prospecting. Other support include, tradeshow representation (in-person and virtually) as well as sports RFP/Bid response, tourism (community) readiness training and development of sustainable tourism projects for the road ahead. Simply put, there is no ramp up time in working with us. You do not have to train us and we can jump right in.
What’s your favorite inspirational quote for 2021?
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” —African Proverb