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Tourism Director Hits the Road for Good Cause
NMC has had the pleasure of working with the Maine Office of Tourism since 1993, sharing all Maine has to offer with people throughout the world through public and media relations.
No one understands that opportunity more than today’s Monday Maine Maven, Carolann Ouellette.
Carolann was named director of the Maine Office of Tourism in February 2011, after having been with the Office since 2007. In this role, she provides the strategic direction and planning for the major elements of the Tourism and Film Office’s integrated marketing programs, including advertising, media relations, international promotions, research, product development and special promotions.
Carolann’s background in tourism is well illustrated by her experience in the hospitality industry.
A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Carolann was chef/owner of an award-winning Maine restaurant and managed lodging properties in the state. She has a strong background in outdoor recreation as a white water rafting Registered Maine Guide and former manager for an outdoor recreation outfitter.
Carolann is an avid traveler and resides in Hallowell and Jackman, Maine, where she enjoys skiing, snowmobiling, fishing, hiking and paddling.
1. Carolann, how has marketing Maine tourism changed with the impact of social media?
We are able to connect directly with more people and engage in deeper conversation. We are able to spread the word farther and faster. Social media also allows for more flexibility. We can react quickly to trends and adjust strategies if necessary.
2. What is the most important marketing tool to promote Maine tourism?
I don’t think there is one most important tool. I think it’s most important to have an integrated marketing mix.
Having the right mix is the key to success.
3. How do you work with the tourism industry so they can help reinforce the brand?
It’s our job to get visitors here and it’s up to the industry to give visitors the best possible experience. Our research tells us that once visitors come to Maine, they return again and again. That is testament to the tourism industry in Maine.
There is also a very strong and effective Hospitality & Tourism Alliance in Maine who is our conduit to the industry. The Maine Tourism Association, Maine Innkeepers Association, Maine Restaurant Association, Maine Merchants Association, Maine Campground Owners Association and Ski Maine make up the Alliance.
It’s very important for us to hear from the industry. We conduct meetings in each of the eight tourism regions annually to share information on what we’re doing and we have the opportunity to hear from the folks who are on the front line everyday.
We are now competing globally and it’s time to be fresh and innovative in our approach to marketing Maine. We are diligent in our efforts to reach more potential visitors through a variety of marketing tactics. We must reach our customers on an emotional level.
In addition, today’s consumers have expectations that are evolving at a rapid pace. From using multiple electronics devices at one time, to small screens, to mobile check-ins, technology is changing the way consumers vacation.
We want to be sure Maine is meeting those expectations.
Carolann is currently participating in the 2012 Fire Ball Adventurally, a 2500 mile, action packed trip. Competing against 40 teams, Carolann teamed up with “Timber” Tina Scheer to form the Bangor Riverdrivers.
The focus of the Fireball Run is the Race to Recover America’s Missing Children, an awareness campaign to recover missing and abducted children. Each team represents a missing child from their home region and will distribute over 1000 posters throughout the trip.
The Bangor Riverdrivers represent the efforts to find Ayla Reynolds from Waterville, Maine, who went missing this past December.
You can follow Carolann on Twitter @CarolannFBR.