Editor’s note: Although Discover my Cleveland is a Cleveland business, its scope includes all of northeast Ohio and has a special monthly Geauga County feature trip. Lynda Nemeth is the former Director of Destination Geauga.
GCPL: When was Discover My Cleveland Founded?
Lynda Nemeth: Discover My Cleveland began in April of 2013
GCPL: What is the story behind your business? How did it begin?
LN: Our business is actually referred to as a Destination Marketing Company (DMC). It is our job to connect the dots for people that are coming in to the Greater Cleveland area. The company was actually begun by Lynde Vespoli in 2013 who saw ‘a gap’ that needed to be filled. When groups were coming into the area to plan events the hotels were very good at helping get heads in beds, the transportation companies were adept at lining up transportation, and the venues wanted to book their locations for the events; but there was no one to seamlessly put it all together into an event …. and… Discover my Cleveland was born.
In 2017 the creator of the business found herself having to move out of state due to her husband having to relocate. Pegi Dickson and I had been working together for over 5 years in the tourism office in Geauga County, and decided Discover My Cleveland would be a great new adventure.
GCPL: What challenges did you face in getting started & how did you overcome them? What challenges do you face in your day-to-day operations, and how do you overcome them? What is your favorite part of owning a business?
LN: While we were well versed in travel and tourism; we soon discovered a Destination Marketing Company was a whole new challenge. Since we assist all types of groups every call is different and sets us in motion with unique needs to fill. A Motorcoach group looking for a simple tour guide to see the city. Or a convention coming into the area with thousands of attendees that need everything from hotel rooms to airport shuttles, off-site entertainment to venue tickets, every job is just a little different. Although keeping to our Geauga County roots once a month we do run a fun bus trip out of Geauga County into the Cleveland area to have a little “Day of Discovery.”
GCPL: What resources did/do you find most useful in helping you to start, grow, and maintain your business (Books, software, training materials, databases, etc.)?
LN: We are very fortunate and keep current with trends by going to a variety of trade shows and working with entities like Destination Cleveland and the state of Ohio. We also refer to our ‘Bible’ the Best Practices in Destination Management written by the Association of Destination Management and is full of great advice and best industry practices for every scenario.
GCPL: What advice do you have for people who want to start a business?
LN: My advice for people that want to start their own business is to follow your heart. Pegi and I both really enjoy what we do. We went into business together because we both recognize we have different strong suits. Some parts of business that I really enjoy she does not, and vice versa this makes it perfect for us to work together.
GCPL: What kinds of training and education did starting your business require (College, trade shows, seminars/conferences, etc.)? Have you ever used the library to help with this?
LN: One of the things that we do share is the love of the library! We often compared notes as to what we were reading even before owning this business and enjoy many of the same authors. Recently our travels took us to the Cleveland Public Library and we were able to explore the new FRONT exhibit that is there until Sept 30. We also have the opportunity to check out the great view from the 10th floor, and investigate the Tech Center which we had no idea was there. Although we love our Geauga County Libraries it was interesting to see the Cleveland Public Library that they have now joined forces with. I guess it is just one more way to “Discover My Cleveland” ?
Lynda is currently reading Paradox by Catherine Coulter