Brand USA Talks Travel

40 Episodes

By: Brand USA

This new podcast will elevate the conversation concerning international travel to the United States by speaking with leaders in our industry. Subscribe to hear key answers to timely questions, delivered in five minutes. Brand USA is the nation’s destination marketing organization. We work closely with more than 900 partner organizations to invite the world to explore the exceptional, diverse, and virtually limitless travel experiences and destinations available in the United States of America.

Live From IPW: Behind the Scenes at with Rick DeLappe
Today at 4:10 AM

We catch up with Rick DeLappe, Interagency Program Manager for the National Park Service, as he celebrates both 25 years of and his own retirement. We learn about the agency's dedication to continuous improvement through forward-looking technological developments, the breakdown of international visitors to, and the pros and cons of using Google translate.

News About Visa Wait Times and New Technology with Dan Mickelson
Last Friday at 4:10 AM

Dan Mickelson, Chief of the Immigration and Employment Division in the State Department's Visa Office, answers tough questions about visas for international travelers. Dan provides insight into the action plan for improving wait times, and shares upcoming innovations that will streamline the issuance of visas to millions of applicants.

Update On International Travel Recovery from Staci Mellman and Jackie Ennis
Last Thursday at 4:10 AM

Brand USA's Staci Mellman, Senior VP of Integrated Marketing, and Jackie Ennis, VP of Global Trade Development, walk us through data-driven analysis of recovery in major travel markets around the world, and the likelihood of visitation to the United States in the near future.

Live From IPW: Growing International Visitation to the USA's National Forests with Toby Bloom
Last Wednesday at 4:10 AM

Toby tells the story of America’s public lands, describes working with the Nez Perce tribe, explains environmental interpretation, and delves into how she uses the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or 'forest-bathing', to help travelers connect with nature. Toby Bloom is National Program Manager for Travel, Tourism and Interpretation, US Forest Service.

Live From IPW: Macharia Davis Details the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
Last Tuesday at 4:10 AM

Get a master class on how ESTA facilitates international travel, and clearly understand how and why a visit to Cuba affects the visa process. Macharia is the Branch Chief for the Electronic System for Travel Authorizations (ESTA) and the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS), as well as a travel industry liaison for the Office of Field Operations. He’s also an outstanding karaoke performer.

Live From IPW: Brand USA Talks Travel Celebrates 100 Episodes with President/CEO Chris Thompson

What more fitting place for Brand USA Talks Travel to mark our 100th episode than on the floor at IPW, with none other than Brand USA's President and CEO Chris Thompson? Chris was our first guest on Episode 1; he rejoins us now to look back on key milestones and achievements over the last decade of promoting the USA.

Live From IPW: Building a Tourism Master Plan with Visit SLO CAL’s CEO, Chuck Davison

How does a DMO add significant lift from new markets? Find out how SLO CAL did it. We also tackle a few seriously tough topics, including how homelessness impact visitations, and the correlation between vacation rentals and local housing availability. Most importantly, Chuck fills us in on the lasting importance of only doing work that benefits the community you serve. With special guest host Aaron Wodin-Schwartz.

Live From IPW: America's Protected Lands and Natural Refuges with Cortney Solum and Peter DeWitt

Live from San Antonio, our coverage of IPW continues with Peter DeWitt, Outstanding Natural Area Manager, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse for the Bureau of Land Management, and Cortney Solum, Writer/Editor for National Wildlife Refuge System. Peter and Cortney shed light on the challenges and successes facing our nation's National Wildlife Areas and Protected Lands, including redistributing visitation away from over-crowded sites, the boundless appeal of the American landscape, and how nature delivers joy in any language.

Live From IPW: Growing International Travel Through Innovation, Planning, and Change with Geoff Freeman

As tourism professionals from all over the globe converge in San Antonio, Texas, we kick off our series of IPW 2023 podcasts with Geoff Freeman, President/CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. We talk about what Geoff has learned through his work in various industries, why it’s important to think big, and discuss turning obstacles into opportunities.

Get Details On Destinations International's Annual Convention in Dallas with Don Welsh

Don Welsh, CEO of Destinations International, shares insight into DI's annual convention, held this year in Dallas, Texas. Learn about the workshops and career development, Don's tips on attracting event sponsors, and why this year's convention is titled "Reimagine."

The Importance of a Trip Planning Tool For Tourists

Is a trip planning tool a must for a DMO? Find out how potential tourists use one of the largest trip planning tools in the world and how that tool can be white-labeled for your local destination website. Meet the Global Head of Klarna Trips, Anoop Goyal and Steve Effron, Accountable Lead for Klarna Trips Content.

Cutting Edge Education, Networking & Fun Coming to ESTO 2023 in Savannah

Nan Marchand Beauvois gives us a sneak peak of what to look forward to at ESTO, 8/19-8/22 in Savannah, Georgia. Hear about the seminars, speakers and activities…plus find out Nan’s actual first name! Jody Raida also explains how to enter your destination video for Brand USA’s Storytelling Awards presented at the conference. Nan is U.S. Travel’s SVP, membership & industry relations and GM of ESTO. Jody is the Principal at Lemonade, a content consultancy.

Behind the Often Weird and Always Surprising Wonders Explored by Atlas Obscura’s Dylan Thuras and Doug Baldinger

We explore the curiosity that drives content creation about America’s strange and wondrous places. Doug Baldinger, Vice President at Atlas Obscura, and Dylan Thuras, founder of Atlas Obscura, discuss their unique approach to travel podcasting, books, websites, and video production. We also hear about the new episodes of GoUSA TV’s “Small Town, Big Story."

Resources for Brand USA’s Destination Marketing Partners with Cat Reith

The Brand USA marketing team’s focus for the next year is on consumer campaign integrations, targeted media distribution, in-market collaboration, and building out our partner resource center. Cat Reith, Brand USA’s Senior Director, Partner Marketing Program provides the details and dishes a bit about her personal journey in travel and tourism.

Determining the Monetary Value of Video Minutes Watched with Odyssey’s Ryan Thompson

When a consumer of travel content watches video, what is the value of that time? With the prevalence of FAST channels, on-demand apps, and social media, this is a highly relevant, yet complex issue. That’s why Ryan has assembled a committee of America’s destination leaders and major travel brands to solve this equation. Learn about the “Content Value Initiative” and how the results benefit destination marketers, production companies, and agencies. Ryan Thompson is Senior VP at Miles Partnership and Founder & Managing Director at Odyssey.

USA Travel Insights with Geordie Greig, Editor-In-Chief of The Independent

Geordie shares primary motivators for British travelers in 2023, describes travel stories that resonate, and reminds us of the tremendous variety of experiences that the USA offers to international travelers.

Hostels in the USA with Russ Hedge

Did you know that American hostels welcome 2.5 million travelers each year? Russ Hedge, CEO of Hosteling International USA, details the history of hostels, talks about how they’ve changed, and how hosteling achieves sustainability goals. Russ has also served on the boards at US Travel, The Alliance For International Exchange, and the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Industry and Government Working Together in Travel, with Aaron Wodin-Schwartz

While many experience Brand USA's work, relatively few understand the structure. Aaron Wodin-Schwartz, Brand USA's Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, illuminates what it means to be a public-private partnership and discusses implementation of the Travel Promotion Act.

State Legislators and Funding Travel Initiatives with Walter Leger III

Get the insider perspective on state legislators from the CEO of New Orleans & Company, Walt Leger, who spent 12 years serving District 91 in Louisiana. We also hear interesting tips on partnering with local institutions, and discuss whether it makes sense to promote travel on Twitter.

Celebrating International Women's Day with Staci Mellman

Meet Brand USA's new Senior VP, Integrated Marketing, Staci Mellman, as she fields questions from colleagues related to female empowerment, advancement, and learning from role models. We also discuss her first international mission to Australia.

IPW 2023 in San Antonio, Texas: What To Expect with Malcolm Smith

Nobody knows IPW like Malcolm Smith, so he’s the perfect person to get you prepared. We discuss country registration stats, the fun evening events, and since Malcolm is a San Antonio native, you’ll get tips for places to check out on your visit. Malcolm Smith is U.S.Travel's Senior VP of Business Development, and General Manager for IPW.

Behind the Scenes of Family Travel Programming with Steve Harris

Meet TV Director Steve Harris and hear about the unique challenges of creating family travel shows. We learn about his experiences directing the new GoUSA TV series "Ellis Family Vacation."  Plus, we discuss equity and inclusion behind the camera.  Steve Harris is CEO of Sneakertopia and Head of Development for Workaholics Entertainment Group.

Tripadvisor Talks 2023 with Steven Paganelli

Did you know that consumers often view over 40 websites before making travel plans? Steven Paganelli enlightens us on many surprising facts, figures and trends he's seen at Tripadvisor, who recently surpassed one billion reviews. Steven is Director, Destinations, Hotels and OTAs, Americas at Tripadvisor.

Creating The U.S. Civil Rights Trail with Lee Sentell

Hear behind-the-scenes stories about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and “To Kill A Mockingbird” author Harper Lee. We also learn what it takes to create UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Lee Sentell has been Alabama’s Tourism Director since 2003.

Exploring the 2023 Car Rental Vertical with Don Moore

We return from winter break with Don Moore, EVP, Business Rental Sales & Global Corporate Accounts at Enterprise Holdings - and a Brand USA board member. Don shares over three decades of industry insights, talks international expansion, and gives us a glimpse at future technology.

Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Brand USA MegaFams

How can YOU participate in a Brand USA MegaFam? The answer to that and many other questions are answered by two MegaFam veterans, Suzy Shepard, Brand USA's Director of Global Trade for Asia Pacific, and Amanda Davis, Brand USA's Senior Manager, Global Trade for UK and Europe. Suzy and Amanda provide insight into these unique on-the-ground experiences, and share a few of their favorite memories from 22 Mega-Fams in 8 markets.

The Italian Perspective on Visiting the U.S. with Gaia Guarino

How do Italian tourists feel about visiting the United States? Gaia Guarino, Editor of TTG Italia, shares how Italian visitors to the U.S. are increasingly interested in authentic experiences in cities off the beaten path. We also discuss how the job of a travel agent has changed in recent years, the effect of the strength of the U.S. Dollar combined with inflation, and how American holidays are perceived in Italy.

Communicating the Value of International Tourism to Political & Community Leaders with Al Hutchinson

Drawing on decades of DMO experience, President/CEO of Visit Baltimore Al Hutchinson shares his perspective on advocacy. We also discuss elevating Black, Brown & Minority Business, and kick around the relatively new concept of “Slow Travel.”

British TV Host & Travel Writer Richard Arnold Offers the U.K. Perspective on Travel to the USA

For decades, Richard Arnold has been entertaining and reporting to huge audiences in the United Kingdom. We discuss why the United States stands out to European travelers, and the power of American music, TV, and film across the world; Richard also shares his personal love affair with Dallas, Texas. We couldn’t resist… we also asked him about his favorite celebrity interviews.

Making Music City Resonate By Owing a Unique Selling Proposition with Butch Spyridon

Butch Spyridon has led Nashville to become a $7B-a-year destination through its iconic Music City branding and image. Butch recounts some of the risks he took to put Nashville on the map, including the creation of two major destination-first films and embracing activations to bring in more tourists. Butch has been President/CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation since 1991.

Update on the Hotel Sector with Chip Rogers of AHLA

Meet Chip Rogers, President/CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Chip explains AHLA’s mission, expounds upon the intersection of Hotels and Destinations, and addresses the opportunities for employment in the hotel industry.

Inside the Mind of the Irish Traveler with Journalist Nicola Brady

Join us for a close-up of Ireland’s travel industry landscape. Often lumped in with England, Irish travelers constitute a unique market of their own - one with a strong connection to the U.S.A. We touch on how U.S. Destinations can obtain coverage from the Irish press, the enduring power of food in storytelling, and the dangers of being on overbooked press trips. Nicola Brady is an award-winning travel writer whose work appears regularly in the Irish Independent, Evening Standard, The Independent UK, Condé Nast Traveler and others.

Lessons from Capital Region USA’s First Global Travel Exchange

We welcome back Scott Balyo, Executive Director of CRUSA, to discuss trends he heard from buyers and suppliers. Plus, learn how CRUSA funded this debut event, its planning timetable, and the challenges of covering such a large territory.

British Journalist Uwern Jong Talks About the Importance of Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion in International Travel

In this episode, we’re talking experiential travel. Learn how diversity, discovery and discernment are key to serving LGBTQ+ and Luxury travelers and hear about coming trends. Uwern Jong is co-founder and editor-in-chief of "Out-There" magazine.

Bubba O'Keefe Explains How a Small DMO Attracts Large Numbers of International Tourists

Anyone who loves the Blues, or wants to create a specific marketing proposition about their destination, will enjoy hearing these stories from Bubba O'Keefe, Executive Director of Visit Clarksdale in Mississippi. Renowned as the home of the crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil, Clarksdale is 120 minutes from Memphis and boasts none of the glamour of big cities; even so, it attracts tourists from all over the world.

Best Practices with Destinations International’s Don Welsh

Time to soak up the wisdom! Don shares what he's learned throughout his 35+ year career in the travel industry, including the value of MICE, how travel conferences can improve, DEI, and his organization's upcoming Advocacy Summit. Don Welsh is President/CEO of Destinations International.

Live From Travel Week: International Marketing Beyond the Gateway with John Percy

To conclude our coverage of Travel Week from Frankfurt, Germany, we speak with John Percy, President/CEO of Niagara USA. John offers words of encouragement to smaller destinations about international tourism, and presents his first-timer impressions of Travel Week.

Live From Travel Week: Chief Marketing Officer Tom Garzilli with Travel Week Highlights

We hear about the Buyer-Supplier meetings, the Media Forum, CEO Summit, the relationship between content creation and distribution, and the future of live and virtual industry meetings.

Live From Travel Week: Through the Eyes of Travel Journalist Jacqui Agate

Live from Frankfurt, Germany, we explore hosted trips for journalists, working with local PR representatives, and the secret conversations that travel journalists have when destinations aren't around. Jacqui Agate is a freelance travel journalist whose work appears in The Eye, The Times, National Geographic, Wanderlust, and more.

Live From Travel Week: Jennifer Andre of Expedia

From Frankfurt, Germany, we discuss fostering inclusivity in tourism, attracting families to visit the U.S., and the synergy between VRBO and Expedia, plus search volume. Jennifer Andre is Vice President of Business Development at Expedia Group.