Lorne Edwards & Jane Vukovich: Driving Economic Growth Through Storytelling

Lorne Edwards & Jane Vukovich of Visit Phoenix on the Skift Meetings Podcast

Skift Take

Explore how Visit Phoenix leverages meetings and events as powerful engines for economic growth and community engagement, redefining the impact of destination marketing beyond the confines of tourism.

Visit Phoenix is redefining its role in the community. It is positioning itself as a key player in economic development through strategic storytelling and event management. “We are an economic development organization,” stated Lorne Edwards, chief sales officer at Visit Phoenix. Edwards highlighted the organization’s commitment to driving visitation and showcasing Phoenix’s unique cultural narrative.

Behind the Scenes of the Super Bowl

Hosting the Super Bowl required extensive preparation behind the scenes, making it the standout experience for the Visit Phoenix team. Edwards recounted the emotional impact and pride of executing such a prestigious global event. “All of the work that had to go into it for years and years in advance to really pull off such a marquee global event was pretty profound and still sticks out to me as one of those sort of seminal moments,” Edwards said, emphasizing the meticulous planning involved.

Shifting Planner Conversations to Intellectual Capital

The dialogues between Visit Phoenix and event planners have evolved significantly. There is now a greater emphasis on intellectual capital and immersive experiences over mere logistics. “You’re trying to bring in the destination,” remarked Jane Vukovich, director of destination services at Visit Phoenix. Vukovich and Edwards agreed that integrating the destination’s culture and intellectual strongholds into events has become a priority.

Collaboration Is Key

Reflecting on the pandemic’s impact, Edwards expressed the necessity for enhanced collaboration within the meetings industry. “Let’s not waste a good pandemic,” he said, calling for transparent conversations and joint efforts to elevate the industry’s profile. The goal is to foster partnerships enabling the city to leverage its intellectual and cultural assets during events fully.

Through innovative storytelling, attention to detail in massive undertakings like the Super Bowl, and a shift towards integrating intellectual capital into events, Visit Phoenix strives to offer transformative experiences for attendees. Despite challenges and the need for continued industry collaboration heightened by the pandemic’s lessons, it aims to set the bar for destinations eager to make a lasting impact on visitors and residents alike.