THE CORE BENEFITS A destination marketing team at work
Posted on 07/19/2016 | About Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
I have an image of people who go to work with a dance in their step, smiling at the gal at the coffee shop, doing high-fives with residents on the street. When they read the local news they nod their head approvingly because the community news is their market intelligence. The staff at Destination Cape Breton know that a tourist office couldn’t pay for the positive exposure the region gains from it’s own citizens.
Cape Breton has some enviable advantages. First they get the geography, in an impressive meeting of ocean and mountains on an island that contains a salt-water fjord within it. Whales just waiting to be watched, in waters filled with lobster, snow crab, oysters, mussels, scallops and mackerel.
In February when the world was reacting to Donald Trump’s threat to build a wall on the border with Mexico a local radio host in Cape Breton offered an alternative to American voters. Rob Calabrese set up a website touting the charms of the Cape Breton to those who want to escape a Trump presidency.
The message was received by every news outlet in Canada and across the US, including CNN, and RollingStone.com. In fact in March President Obama mentioned Cape Breton Island in his state dinner hosted for Prime Minister Trudeau.
By April hotels and B&B’s sold 30 percent more overnight stays in rooms compared to the same month last year. Traffic on Cape Breton’s tourism website tripled, resulting in about 3,500 bookings and requiring the hiring of two full time staff members.
Recently Virginia’s Mike Evans and his girlfriend were travelling in Cape Breton. They did a boat tour on Big Bras d’Or, had lunch and then commenced on the Cabot Trail.
When they stopped for gas at the Wreck Cove General Store and Gas bar Evans noticed that his credit card was missing, but wasn’t sure where he left it behind.
Not to worry; store owners Brent Partland and Jenn Rhodes offered to find it for him.
They retraced the couple’s outings, discovering the card was left behind in a restaurant. Partland didn’t just tell the young couple he found the card, he offered to do the two hour drive each way to pick it up for them, as he was going into town the next day anyway.
When Evans offered money to Partland he wouldn’t consider it, saying, "That's not why I did it. I did it so he could continue to enjoy his vacation, not for any monetary gain, that's for sure. For us, it's just the way we do things out here. We try to live as honourably as possible. If somebody comes in and needs help or anything, we try to help them out."
Evans took to social media to share his experience of the generous spirit of the people he encountered in Cape Breton and news outlets are covering his story.
And yet again, Destination Cape Breton has the residents (connected shareholders) to thank for the latest marketing achievement.