“A Destination Research Trip: Savannah, GA”


It’s a word I made up.

I define it as the condition of two or more entities who compete for the same customer, but are in complimentary markets.

It is the premise behind a recent trip I took to Savannah, GA, one of America’s charming southern getaways.

Savannah_Forsyth Park 1

I have been fortunate enough over the past ten years to develop great relationships with my fellow tourism marketers. And one of the things that I have enjoyed the most over these years, is the idea that we are all willing to help each other and share information for the good of the tourism cause. It’s that whole “a rising tide lifts all boats” mantra. At the end of the day, our industry is not about competition. We don’t really “compete” head to head with each other, because not many people take the same trip every year. Most people are always looking for something new and different to experience in their travels.

In order to be a great marketer, we have to seek out the best in our industry to learn what they do, how they do it so well, and find ways to make it applicable in our own destinations. Lexington is a city that we market using four major brand pillars: horses, bourbon, craft beer and food. But this city also has a lot to offer in terms of arts, culture and history, but the real story hasn’t been told yet. So we looked into other cities that we believe do arts, culture and history well, and also have some similarities to Lexington. While there were plenty of cities to choose from, we discovered that Lexington has a lot in common with some other southern cities, such as Asheville, NC, Charleston, SC, Franklin, TN, and Savannah, GA.

After some internal discussions, we decided to visit Savannah, in hopes to learn more about their tourism product offerings around architecture, history and food. The team at Visit Savannah was awesome! Prior to our destination research trip, they provided us with recommendations on where to stay, tour guides to use and even connected us with some industry partners to interview. Upon our arrival, they placed a Savannah Swag Bag in our rooms, full of #VisitSavannah goodies.


Over the course of three days, we immersed ourselves into the destination, learning as much as we could about architecture, culture, history and food. We talked to the tour guides and business owners in and around the city. We talked to the fellow tourists who were on our tours. We even spent a couple of hours at the Visit Savannah offices, talking with the marketing team about our respective destinations. The more we learned about Savannah and their successful tourism initiatives, the more we realized that we had the same potential in Lexington – we just need to package it better.

We left Savannah energized about the potential of what we could help build in Lexington to increase our tourism offerings for visitors as well as locals. And Savannah gained another fan in me!

We look forward to seeing what we can make happen in Lexington as we continue to #ShareTheLex.


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