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 miles blog

Our team has lots of great ideas - and we're willing to share
Account Director/Senior Content Director

4 Content Hacks from a Former News Journalist

As a former news reporter who once worked in a high-stress, fast-paced, you-better-not-get-scooped environment, I sometimes laugh (just a little) at the deadlines I face as a travel content director these days. “We need a story on the best five best craft breweries in the state,” a client might say, “and we need it within the next month!”

Are you kidding me with this? I used to research, report and write multiple stories every day – sometimes in as little as 15 minutes, just to make sure we made the next press run and “got the story” before anyone else.

And while the constant buzz of that newsroom seems worlds away now, some of the basic lessons journalism taught me still very much apply in the world of travel marketing. So when your own content needs seem overwhelming, remember these four key takeaways from the world of “old school” journalism that still resonate today.

1. Hustle to Get the Story

You may not fear competition in your own area to tell your stories because, well, they’re yours. (Why would some other destination want to talk about great things to do in your town?) But don’t forget, they are also

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Video & Print Production Manager
Content, Online Video

Video Pre-Production: It’s All in the Details

Recently, during a rogue “cold snap” here on the Gulf Coast, we were talking about our favorite cold weather indulgences. Among some common fan favorites (hot chocolate! cozy sweaters!), one of us mentioned a recent adventure making Beouf Bourguignon; a rich French stew and proverbial marathon of cooking with umpteen ingredients and preparation styles that would consume the better part of a Sunday afternoon. It occurred to us, while neatly slicing the mushrooms, that video pre-production is a heck of a lot like cooking. Stay with us here.

Much in the same way that the details of preparing the meal are essential to the end product, preparing for a shoot operates much in the same fashion. The finesse taken to extract the desired flavors out of your ingredients is the same attention to detail that’s required in planning: burning the pearl onions will ruin your stew, just like forgetting to obtain a permit may ruin your shoot! Ok, enough cooking metaphors, here’s the video team’s recipe for perfectly planning a video shoot.

Planning Your Meal – Never Overlook the Importance of Time

Julia Child once famously said in

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Account Executive

Big Island Inspiration

Kilauea volcano has been the main attraction on Hawaii Island (a.k.a. the Big Island) for the past 33 years, and has always fascinated me. Of course, it has been around for a couple hundred thousand years, but it didn’t really start getting media attention until the early 1980s.

I’ve visited it several times, but until last week I had never witnessed the lava actually pouring into the Pacific. We had been above it in a chopper on a no-flow day. We had hiked to the bottom of it on a trail that could be called the mouth of the Earth . . . two incredible vantage points for sure, but nothing like the show we saw on our recent visit.

To get to the point where Kilauea is adding acreage to planet Earth, you need to walk or bike four miles atop a crushed gravel road from the historic fishing village of Kalapana. Sadly, this is the town mostly destroyed by Pele’s wrath over the past three decades. All those images you may have seen

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Content Manager

7 Secrets from Screenwriting for Creating Great Travel Content

Our culture has an insatiable appetite for storytelling. With more streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Seeso emerging with original programming, hundreds of channels featured on cable TV, and serials now offered via podcast, people are more plugged into storytelling than ever before. 

If you want users to take a break from binge watching and engage with your content, you need to feed their hunger for narratives. Here are seven tips from screenwriting to help better tell a story with your destination marketing:

#1: You Have Less Than 8 Seconds to Grab Your Audience’s Attention

In movies, the opening image sets the mood and lets the audience know they’re entering an exciting new world. Similarly, a carefully chosen banner image, a cleverly crafted headline or personalized content can make or break a user’s experience. Grab your audience on the home page and set up the story of your destination quickly to entice your user. You don’t want to lose anyone to one of the other dozens of options listed in the search results.

#2: The Power of Dialogue

If there is one earmark of all good

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Account Director/Senior Content Director
Content, Trends

4 Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2017

The good folks at Content Marketing Institute recently shared their top trends to watch for the coming year, but it’s interesting that their “crystal ball” predictions aren’t really new revelations at all. However, research does paint a clear picture that these four trends will likely keep setting the travel marketing world on fire in the coming months. Here’s a quick snapshot …

TREND #1: Buying Influencers

Old thinking was, when you wanted to build your audience you launched targeted advertising and marketing promotions to reach that group. Now, you can just acquire the audience. In addition to organically growing leads or acquiring an existing database of consumers that you still have to court, more destinations are turning their attentions to working with powerful social influencers. And, in the process, automatically gaining the already loyal audience that comes with them.

Tip #1: Know a popular restaurant critic whose followers take his or her recommendations to the bank? Get that person to come explore (and talk about) the great dining scene in your town – and their fans will follow.

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Director of Research and Online Marketing

Our Top Blogs and Insights from 2016

The Miles team shared many insights, takeaways, case studies and research summaries during 2016. The topics covered everything from LGBT tourism trends to Google’s changing role in destination content. Below are our top 10 blog posts based on readership from 2016 — catch up on the ideas and insights you may have missed this year!

1. LGBT Tourism: Travel Trends and Lessons in an Emerging Market

Mark Sanders, May 2016

2. Destination Websites that Drive Travel (overview of the 13 CVB website conversion study sponsored by Miles)

Chris Adams, May 2016

3. When Tragedy Struck, WV Tourism Office Put Residents First

Steven Keith, July 2016 

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Video & Print Production Manager
Content, Trends

Top 5 Video Predictions for 2017

As we bid 2016 adieu, the Miles Video team takes a gander into the benevolent video production crystal ball to see what 2017 has in store. After consulting our video tarot cards, we have the following predictions for ways to elevate your tourism videos in 2017. Hold on to your Osmo, it looks like we’re in for an exciting year ahead!

#1: Sound Design

While it can mistakenly take second stage to the visuals, sound can make or break your video. Sound design requires thoughtful consideration and planning. Good sound seamlessly merges with the visuals to provide the viewer with an immersive experience; bad sound will distract your viewer, potentially destroying whatever message you were trying to convey no matter how beautiful the footage might be. Music needs to match the tone of the video and style of the edit. Voiceovers need to be high-quality recordings. On-camera segments need to be as free of distracting background noise as possible. 

Where it makes sense, the addition of natural sound (“nat sound”) from the destination can elevate the finished product by adding a subtle level of depth that further brings the

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Director of Research and Online Marketing
Research, Trends

State of the American Traveler – Mobile Edition

The latest State of the American Traveler research from Destination Analysts focuses on the continued growth of mobile devices as increasingly important to all parts of travel and tourism. From inspiration and dreaming (e.g.: watching videos) to trip planning, booking and actual “in market” experiences (e.g.: sharing experiences via social media), smartphones are moving into the center of travel behavior. 

At our November Next-Generation Mobile Webinar, Destination Analysts’ Erin Francis-Cummings summarized the key results from this study, and Lara Ortiz and Kim Palmer of Miles looked at critical best practices in design, development and optimization to take advantage of all the features and functionality of the latest smartphone technologies. We also looked at how more than 230 DMOs globally have adapted to this mobile centric landscape — including a specific discussion on the pros and cons of apps vs. mobile web solutions.

You can see the Next-Generation Mobile Webinar, review the slides and also take a look at the DMO Mobile Global Readiness Index here:

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