Company Culture

Tempest helps destination orgs stake their ‘little flags on the internet’

The marketing team at the Center City firm offers a comprehensive set of services to get your next getaway spot on the map. Here's what it's like to work and grow there.

Tempest team members exploring.

(Courtesy photo)

Tempest pushed you to book those tickets for your next vacation. And yes, without you realizing it was them.

At least that’s the goal of the firm’s Integrated Marketing team. The Center City-based Tempest is a destination marketing firm, meaning they help tourism agencies and visitor bureaus across North America draw in tourists. Tempest supports more than 200 US locations.

Tempest has a two-fold approach: first, its destination management CRM software, iDSS. Second, the marketing team’s designers, web developers and SEO specialists whose work nudges you to visit one of Tempest’s client destinations.

“It’s a really cool field since you’re basically telling everyone to go on vacation all the time,” said Les Johnson, an art director at Tempest. Before joining Tempest in October 2021, she worked at Visit Philly, the city’s own tourism agency, for about seven years.

Les Johnson. (Courtesy photo)

Johnson designs websites for Tempest’s clients. She likes to think of the user interfaces she creates, which are then brought to life by the talented development team, as “a little flag on the internet” for each destination.

New projects typically begin with a trip to the location itself so Johnson can design something that incorporates its look and feel. A 2013 University of Arts alum, Johnson said her past design experience helps her “take the spirit of a place and translate it to an authentic online representation of the community.”

For example, a trip to Olympia, Washington, inspired Johnson to highlight the destination’s tall trees and surrounding Puget Sound on the destination’s website. Now, the website development team is creating the user experience that will bring Johnson’s designs to life to web visitors.

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“We want you to get at least a little bit of a sense of the community that you’ll be visiting because that’s part of what makes going to a different place so nice,” she said. “That way, you begin to dream about where you’re going and what you’ll experience once you arrive.”

While Johnson maps out the design of client websites, Ivan Yap helps push web traffic to the sites as an SEO analyst at Tempest.

Using Google Analytics, aHrefs, and other analytical tools, Yap provides critical insight into search trends that empowers Tempest’s content development team with the guidance they need to write optimal title tags, meta descriptions, meta keywords and the common queries people type in when they’re looking for a specific site. He thinks of his job as identifying the building blocks of a highly trafficked website.

When Yap graduated from Temple University in 2021 with a MIS degree, he never expected his first post-grad job to be in the tourism industry.

“I did not know anything about destination marketing organizations,” Yap said. “But analyzing travel research trends online gives me an opportunity to help our clients develop content that will deliver the important information to help travelers get the best experience during their trip.”

Ivan Yap. (Courtesy photo)

Yap joined Tempest in October 2021 and quickly observed how well tech integrated with the tourism industry. When booking a trip, people likely interact with the internet every step of the way: searching for where they want to go, visiting a destination agency’s website to learn more, booking flights and accommodations.

“A lot of the industries we see today, whether it’s finance or healthcare, are diverting towards the technology side of things,” Yap said. “That’s what we do here. We are the technology community that is driving some of these hospitality and tourism industries forward.”

Tempest’s team made adjusting to an unfamiliar industry easy for Yap. Fellow Integrated Marketing team members were always willing to answer his questions about ongoing projects, he said. Some coworkers have helped him with personal matters, such as sending rental listings when they knew Yap wanted to move.

The casual, friendly working environment at Tempest has been a plus for Johnson, too. She enjoys the weekly team-wide lunches Tempest hosts every Tuesday.

One more plus of working with Tempest’s Integrated Marketing team? Johnson said everyone is pretty laid-back — which may be expected at a company in the business of telling you to take a trip and put your feet up.

“There’s a lot of stuff that we do here, so there’s a lot of places for people to fit in,” Johnson said. “But I’m pretty chill and I think most people here are, too. That kind of person would just thrive here. It’s really nice to work on exciting projects with like-minded people.”

Learn more about Tempest
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