Have you been using a lot of new technology at Discover Albany to reach visitors?
Yes, I would say we are; that’s probably true for all of the tourism promotion agencies. We’re constantly seeing new technology develop and be brought to us. I know that Discover Albany hasn’t particularly used it, but virtual reality, for example, is one of those areas that’s actually being used in tourism. The state is using it, which benefits all of the agencies in the state. For example, using drone technology to get footage of the entire city of Albany, we couldn’t have done that previously, it would have been way too cost prohibitive. Then, being able to take it and affordably get edited video turned around quickly, so if somebody says, “Hey, we’ve got a great opportunity, an ad became available, and we need someone to fill it at the last second,” we can very quickly pull together a 15-second ad. The production cost would’ve been insane even just a few years ago.
Tell me about how technology is impacting your membership.
We’re definitely not finding it harder to retain members, we actually have been growing our membership. I think we’re able to reach people easier, and those businesses that can benefit from what we do see is much more often because we are on social media. We’re using it to tag them and show that we’re engaged with them and bring their presence into what we do on a daily basis.
What kind of regional projects have you seen that have had a strong impact in drawing visitors?
I would say each region has been working a little bit more closely together, but also the state as a whole. Ways that we’ve done that is really looking at New York state as an attraction or looking at a particular region as an attraction and recognizing that visitors don’t see county lines. They come, and they want to do whatever they can do within their traveling distance, whatever their comfort level is. If they’re driving, they’re going to cross from Albany County to Saratoga County, or down into the Catskills, if that package is of interest to them. Collaborating, among the regions, has been a really big impact for us.