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Topics For Events

Looking for a fresh new speaking topic?  Choose from one of the popular ones below, contact us for a full speaking menu of topics currently available, or have us tailor a presentation to your needs.  We pride ourselves on our ability to translate intimidating research subject matter into presentations that are as interesting and entertaining as they are helpful and informative for your audience.

Our Topics:

THE VIEW FROM THE OUTSIDE: USING PERCEPTION AND IMAGE TO YOUR ADVANTAGEWithout thinking about it, we file away information about places from other people, social media, TV, radio, magazines, and ads to create an image of that place in our minds. Of these, the most powerful are recommendations and word of mouth. So how can communities know what’s being said about them and what impact image and reputation is having on visitor volume? The talk will explore ways to identify your reputation in the minds of outsiders as well as tactics for revising, revamping or changing the conversation.
IF YOU MEASURE IT THEY WILL COME: A USER FRIENDLY GUIDE TO RESEARCH-BASED SUCCESSIn a world with increasing complexity, “spray and pray” marketing is no longer effective. Marketing decisions must be made with proof and for good reason, and the only way to find out how to successfully reach and convert visitors is by conducting research. Research eliminates the need for guessing and provides a road map to success, which is particularly useful for destination marketers working with boards. This session explores current marketing challenges for destination marketers, how to conduct the research you need to get the answers you want, common types of tourism research studies, and how to use results.
THE ART AND SCIENCE OF DESTINATION AUTHENTICITY: HOW TO CREATE CONNECTION AND TRUST WITH TRAVELERSAuthenticity means genuineness, reliability, honesty. It is an emotional resonance with a message and experience. In a tourism setting, authenticity refers to a visitor’s personal evaluation of how well their expectations and impressions from a destination hold true during a visit. In other words, did their experience match up with their expectations? Perceptions of an authentic experience can foster visitors’ trust, satisfaction, and commitment with a destination. Most importantly, authenticity creates a connection that makes visitors want to share their experience with others. This session explores how to combine the science of perception research with the art of brand and message development to deliver on authenticity and enhance the visitor experiences.
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS: MARKET SEGMENTATION FOR DESTINATIONS How well do you understand your visitors? Many destination marketers make marketing decisions based purely on guesswork or assumptions of who they think is visiting. In truth, it's much easier to reach your visitors when you know who they are and how to best communicate with them. In addition, showing your stakeholders that your decisions are based on research and data helps them feel a lot more comfortable. This session addresses the importance to destination marketers of bringing their visitors into sharp focus: the kind of people they are, the lifestyles they lead, their likes and dislikes, what drives their purchase behaviors and decisions, and where they come from. "Segmentation" is a small word that has many meanings. This talk explores different ways of segmenting visitors to a destination, tools available, and how segmentations lead to marketing and strategic action.
NATURE, NURTURE, AND EMPATHY: HUMANS AND THE NEW MARKETING NORMALVisitors and other types of customers are easier to understand when you know what drives them. As humans, what drives us is often grounded in very good reasoning although not always expressed in rational behavior. We didn’t always have money, or the internet, or even commerce, but certain things about humans, like our love for storytelling, our need for each other and our passion for anything innovative haven’t changed in thousands of years. In this session, both biological (nature) and cultural (nurture) concepts relevant to travel marketing will be explored. Topics will include empathy and its role in word of mouth marketing and reputation; the backlash against advertising noise towards tried-and-true “grapevine” or “grassroots” information channels; technology as a tool just like spears and spear-throwers; our knack for innovation; and the adaptation of anything that makes our work easier.
SPINNING YARNS: WHY STORYTELLING IS IN OUR DNA AND WHY YOUR STORIES MATTER TO VISITORSOral narrative (storytelling) has been the chief basis for the creation and continuation of culture itself. Before there was writing, people told stories to communicate knowledge and experience in social contexts. These stories were also shared with others in faraway lands, when people traveled. The stories traveled with them. And when they returned home, they brought with them exciting new tales of exotic places and people. In fact, it is believed by most historians and psychologists that storytelling is one of the many things that continue to define and bind our humanity. Understanding others’ experiences through story is something that is so ancient in our species that we are biologically wired to connect with and understand others. This session explores how destination marketers can create compelling story driven content for marketing campaigns, creating a more emotional and authentic connection with consumers.
TRAVEL INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT: STAYING AHEAD OF THE GAMEWhat’s the latest in tourism that destination marketers need to know? How is the environment changing and how should they plan for the future? This session explores trends and patterns in travel, tourism and hospitality and the implications each trend has for your marketing efforts. Topics include connectivity, the "new" marketing journey vs. the "old" marketing funnel, online trends, generational changes in travel patterns, and more.

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You can choose from one of our current topics or contact us to customize a topic that fits your needs and audience.

See what people have to say about Gray Research Solutions:

We have worked with both Shannon and Heather for several years now and as a partner they understand the complexity of a DMO campaign. If you need research for your destination or visitor center call…

Southeast Tourism Organization

Working with Gray Research Solutions has helped us improve our ability to market our brands based on customer needs. Shannon and Heather are both very professional and responsive!

Marriner

Working with Shannon and Gray Research Solutions was truly a treat for me! Her knowledge of how to harness data and analytics was exactly what my firm needed! Thanks Shannon

Sarah Cait