Interview with Rhett Skelton, Executive Vice President, Skylight Intelligence

Stefan Wendel Stefan Wendel Programme Director, EU Corridor 1 Rotterdam-Genoa
Interview with Rhett Skelton, Executive Vice President, Skylight Intelligence

We caught up with Rhett Skelton, Executive Vice President for Skylight Intelligence to ask him a few questions ahead of his participation in our panel "Data-driven place branding strategies" at the City Nation Place Global Conference.

CNP: How do you see the relationship between the perceived values of a city, region or nation and the place brand?

RS: Destinations need to have a clear understanding of how perceptions may differ from their ideal brand, in order to bridge gaps through campaigns, messages and other efforts. To understand the public’s perceived values, destinations should employ tools like social listening to gain first-hand and real-time insights into what people are saying about their brand.

CNP: What impact is the increase in “fake news” having on your own approach to place branding?

RS: Bots - like most technologies - are amoral—wielded for good or evil. Chat bots help traveller’s find new locations, while other bots spread “fake news.” Destinations need to understand how this technology can help attract new visitors, as well as how it can be used to mitigate false claims.

CNP: Do you think the job of place branding is easier or more challenging now than it was five years ago? And why?

RS: As more places look to increase their tourism or business revenue, and as newer generations seek more immersive and interactive experiences, DMOs face two challenges: differentiation and finding new ways to attract visitors. Because the Live-Work-Play model can be applied to most places, organizations need to identify, or create, unique ways to position their destination.

The Place Brand Portfolio is City Nation Place's searchable portfolio of Awards case studies from the past five years.