Driven by a collective concern about how the tourism industry can most effectively start recovering from the devastation brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, a group of tourism veterans with decades of experience are joining forces to ‘give back’ to the industry they love.
Brought together by Ralf Garrison, mountain travel and tourism veteran, the group includes individuals from a variety of specialty niches. Their stated goal is to help any destination-related tourism business create a plan based on updated data and best practices to navigate a path to whatever the new normal will be for the tourism industry. Recommendations will be based on the ever-changing and emerging guidelines for operating a variety of tourism-related businesses in this new environment.
Initial efforts are focusing on quantifying the economic impacts of the pandemic—specifically on the travel and resort industries and their communities, establishing a set of metrics to track the return to economic viability and establish best practices for re-opening. Ultimately, the plan is to establish and test a set of assumptions about the new realities that consider consumer confidence, comfort, and financial security in the months ahead.
Board of Directors Named -
The Insights Collective has named Tom Foley, Brian London and Susan Rubin-Stewart to its inaugural Board of Directors. Read the full announcement here.
Jane Babilon spent 10+ years working for DestiMetrics (later Inntopia Business Intelligence) in a variety of roles but primarily as an Account Manager focusing on Southeast clients. In this role she worked to ensure that clients were getting the most value out of their lodging research programs. During this time, she also represented the company at conferences and trade shows in support of existing and prospective clients. Most recently she has worked with Insights Collective, a pandemic economy think tank, striving to help destination tourism industry organizations navigate the everchanging situation created by COVID-19.
A native of Virginia, Jane holds a degree in marketing from James Madison University and has also worked as a Market Analyst and Director of Member Services for a nonprofit. After 14 years in Colorado, she and her husband recently relocated to Mooresville, NC.
Dave Belin is the Director of Consulting Services at RRC Associates. He brings strong analytical skills and a common-sense approach to help clients understand the implications of research findings. Dave works closely with RRC’s travel and tourism clients, including DMOs, hotels, attractions, and ski resorts. His work has formed the basis of numerous strategic and marketing plans for communities, resorts and a wide variety of clients interested in research related to tourism.
Chris possesses a diverse background in public and private planning. A founding partner of RRC Associates, he specializes in practical applications of research techniques including survey and qualitative research, modeling and applied analysis to solve problems in tourism and recreation, city planning, administration, and business applications. Parks needs assessments are particular areas of specialization. Chris has overseen numerous community/citizen surveys in towns and counties throughout the United States which provide input to resorts, parks, recreation, trails, open space, and planning needs assessments. The results of these studies typically become incorporated into master plans and other strategic or policy-oriented documents and are used to guide decision-making in a variety of settings.
Barb Taylor Carpender, CMM, CHSC
Barb Taylor Carpender, CMM, CHSC is the founder of Taylored Alliances. Her primary focus centers around collaborating with client organizations to further their B2B engagement through the management and facilitation of customer advisory boards; focus groups; and, strategic-focused board retreats. She also is a founding member and Managing Director of Global Advisory Network, a network of like-minded industry facilitators and leaders. BT is a recognized leader in the hospitality and meetings industries and among other credits has become the recipient of industry-wide tributes including:
The 2005 Leadership Award for the Meetings Industry Council of Colorado
2006 MPI International Supplier of the Year
Inducted into the Colorado Meetings + Events Hall of Fame with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013
Conferred in 2015 with the Industry Legacy Award in Honor of Sandy Gerety from MPI Rocky Mt Chapter
Tom Foley is the Senior Vice President of Business Process and Analytics at Inntopia and was previously a co-founder and the Director of Operations for DestiMetrics Resort Intelligence. Tom brings a contextual view to destination travel analytics, believing that sharp focus and understanding of localized data is derived from a broad perspective that starts at macro-economics and drills down from there.
Ralf Garrison is a destination travel industry veteran, generally recognized as a thought-leader, innovator and a serial entrepreneur resulting from the various businesses that he has founded over the years.
Most recently, as the Covid virus became a pandemic with related economic consequences, Garrison helped establish Insights Collective, a pandemic economic Think Tank. as a platform to help the destination resort travel industry decision makers as they track the forces at play that will make up a new reality and separate the winners from the losers.
Known both for his research-analytics and storytelling, Garrison is most likely to be found at the confluence of research data, analytics and narrating the resulting stories. His presentation style has been described as “a natural storyteller, witty, sometimes irreverent, but rarely boring”.
Garrison sometimes works independently and when in collaboration with other colleagues, works from, The Advisory Group Inc platform, (www.adv-grp.com ).
Brian London is a respected research consultant, economist, and editor-in-chief of Travel Industry Indicators - Trends, Outlook, and Commentary. In his leisure & hospitality consulting practice he works with both destination organizations and private businesses with a focus on operational performance and customer experience. He travels extensively for corporate consulting, speaking, and helping develop research programs. He and his wife, Shana, have one son and live in Jacksonville, Florida.
Carl is a strategic thinker, thought leader, and innovator in the tourism industry. As the president and chief strategist of SMG Consulting, Carl has developed and implemented a wide range of services designed to improve the competitiveness of destinations. Most recently, he has developed new approaches for destination tourism strategy that tap into a destination's creativity as a unique competitive asset. He also develops effective change strategies that link a DMO's capabilities to the ever-changing market environment. Carl is a trusted advisor to CEOs and senior executives throughout the industry.
Carl has written extensively on business and strategy issues for the tourism industry. A frequent guest speaker and panelist at industry conferences, Carl serves on two different State Tourism Committees, including Visit California's Research and ROI Committee and the Travel Nevada's Tourism Marketing Committee. Carl is also a partner in the Travel Analytics Group research firm, and he is a strategist in the Insights Collective, a national tourism think tank.
Contact Center Consultant
Susan Rubin-Stewart’s 25+ years of experience in the makes her a recognized leader. She has a proven track record
The contact center is the ideal place in the tourism infrastructure business to truly understand how the pieces come together. It’s the place where supply and demand are put together, organized, packaged, bundled, and distributed.
In addition to her contact center work, she works with The Advisory Group and other industry leaders to understand the data that is important to good business decisions, assisting business owners and leaders to identify, track, assemble, and analyze information in a data-driven decision-making model. Included are the destination and resort side of the model and the relationship between the public sector and the ski company.
Jesse True is an outdoor industry executive with 20+ years in the industry who enables innovative advances in resort and hospitality settings. He is a ski resort subject matter expert with experience at world-class organizations like Copper Mountain, Intrawest Colorado, and Vail Resorts. Jesse’s strategies deepen relationships while positively transforming processes, improving revenue, and inspiring people in a variety of areas, including international sales, marketing, public relations, digital connections, terrain park advances, golf destinations, special events, and strategic partnerships.