This episode of the MarketScale Hospitality Podcast takes a moment to remember Herb Kelleher, the Co-Founder & former CEO of Southwest Airlines, who passed away on January 3, 2019. Ginger Hardage, former Senior Vice President of Culture & Communications at Southwest Airlines, joins the podcast this week to share stories and memories of Herb.

This week’s episode also takes a look at the trend of travelers seeking out off-the-beaten path travel destinations. What’s behind it and how can the industry capitalize? MarketScale correspondent Maggie Shein chats with Erin Francis-Cummings, president and CEO of Destination Analysts, about this trend.

The Legacy of Herb Kelleher

Herb Kelleher, the late Co-Founder and CEO of Southwest Airlines, was a larger than life figure in the world of travel and hospitality. His influence can be felt far and wide throughout the airfare landscape. Ginger Hardage, former Senior Vice President of Culture & Communications at Southwest Airlines, joins the podcast to remember her former boss and share stories about the man that he was.

“Herb Kelleher loved people and he didn’t think air travel should be relegated to the wealthy,” she says. An important part of Herb’s legacy was his mission to bring airfare to the masses.

She also reflects and shares anecdotes about his sense of humor and the unique ways that he grew the company. A great leader doesn’t just shine in the best times, though. They also shine in the worst. Hardage thinks back on the way Kelleher handled crisis, particularly September 11, 2001. Hardage speaks with pride about the way Kelleher and Southwest Airlines committed to weathering the aftermath of that terrible day without laying off a single employee.

Last but not least, how can you talk about Herb Kelleher without mentioning his love for whiskey? Hardage reminisces on his affinity for Wild Turkey, and how that same light-hearted attitude translated to an appreciation for his customers.

Small Town Travel: Opportunities and Considerations for the Industry

While big city travel is still being done, one big trend on the rise is travelers opting for smaller town or off-the-beaten path destinations. According to Erin Francis-Cummings, president and CEO of Destination Analysts, there are a number of reasons for this trend; a few being a search for an authentic experience, while seeking social approval for their sense of adventure.

On this episode, Francis-Cummings talks to MarketScale’s Maggie Shein about the behaviors and choices of travelers that are apart of this trend are making when it comes to lodging, eating and shopping. They also discuss primary considerations and marketing tactics that the industry can use to capitalize on the trend.

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