Picture this: The creative manager for a visitors bureau in a Michigan town that is known for its German heritage and hearty chicken dinners meets Tempest, a Philly-based digital solutions provider. Tempest helps destination marketing organizations (DMOs) across North America draw in visitors through web design, content marketing and a community-driven CRM solution, iDSS.
That’s how Ashley Pratt was introduced to Tempest — while sitting on the other side of the table as a client.
“We were stuck between Tempest and one other firm, and the difference between the two was, I would say, the personality of Tempest. We felt like we were working with people, and not just people who were checking boxes and signing contracts,” said Pratt, who joined Tempest in October 2021. ”We couldn’t work with somebody who wasn’t willing to take the time to understand us, and I feel like Tempest is very good at understanding the personality of destinations.”
Pratt is the web project manager for Tempest, communicating directly with Tempest’s destination clients and working with them throughout the different phases of a website build. Pratt coordinates with the client’s and Tempest’s teams – from creative to development – to fulfill all project milestones, arrange approvals and answer questions.
Pratt is based in Flushing, Michigan and previously worked at the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau for more than seven years. Frankenmuth is among the 200 US locations that Tempest supports.
Reflecting on nearly a year spent at Tempest, Pratt told Technical.ly what it’s like being the company’s only Michigan-based employee, why she chose Tempest, and how we can get one of those “world-famous” chicken dinners delivered to Philly (JK — but we should’ve asked).
After working with Tempest as a client, what made you want to apply for a job there?
When I began looking for a new career opportunity, I knew I wanted to keep working within the tourism industry. It is such an exciting industry to be a part of because every destination is unique, and no matter what is happening in a person’s life, they will always find time to travel. Being a part of someone’s travel experience is special.
As for choosing Tempest, it goes back to the personality of the company. It is a place with a come-as-you-are vibe (as the girl with bright magenta hair) and I was drawn to the idea of working with such a friendly and adaptable team.
In order to efficiently and effectively work with so many different DMOs across the country, you have to be able to connect on a personal level with the individuals who work there. Tempest excelled at this while I was at the Frankenmuth CVB, which inspired me to want to be a part of that as well. [For a more in-depth look at how Tempest’s Integrated Marketing team builds their client’s websites, read this.]
Plus, everyone at Tempest is so great at welcoming people, and I felt that on my first day.
How do you stay connected to the rest of your team while working remotely in Michigan?
I feel very connected with my team even though we’re hundreds of miles apart. We prioritize checking in with each other through internal meetings and with regular communication via Slack. Work-related conversations aside, we also use Slack to share personal stories, whether that be recent vacation highlights, a personal win or a funny TikTok video.
Tempest also does a really great job of making sure that we all have ample chances to connect with one another in person. My first week of work conveniently aligned with the start of our annual Tourism Academy conference. It was the first one post-COVID, so it was really good to be able to meet and get to know everybody face-to-face.
I returned to the Philadelphia office a few months later, so there’s always opportunities every few months where we can get together with at least a few people from the company to be able to work in person together, which is really nice. While I’ve only met most of these people in person two or three times in the past year, I feel like I know them as closely as I would a person sitting at the desk next to me every day.
On the project side, do you feel like your experience at a visitors bureau helps when you’re talking to Tempest clients?
I feel like it gives me an upper hand because I can see the project we’re working on from both sides. If there are different obstacles that we have to work through together, I can understand the stress or questions coming from the DMO side. It allows me to level with our clients and offer solutions based on my experiences at a DMO, which I’ve found is really impactful.
What I love about working on the Tempest side is the variety of destinations I get to work with. There are some other Michigan towns that Tempest is coordinating with, and I’ve also now worked with standout destinations like Jackson, Mississippi; Pensacola, Florida; and Colorado Springs, Colorado, to name a few.
Nearly a year in, what stands out most about Tempest’s team?
First and foremost: we’re all pet lovers. But seriously, I would also say that everybody is really friendly. As mentioned earlier, during my very first week, the entire team — consisting of people I’ve never met before — made an effort to connect and ask me questions about my life and where I’m from. That type of culture is difficult to fabricate, and the care that everyone shows for each other here makes me so happy to be a part of this team.