Our team has decades of experience and a passion for what we do. Each person brings their expertise to the group, which results in an integrated team approach to our work. While we are specialists in BC, we serve clients throughout Canada with the Destinate Group.

Simone Carlysle-Smith

Project Manager, Research, Strategy, Marketing, Client and
Team Liaison

Simone has worked with over 50 communities throughout BC during the past 20 years in various tourism consulting, teaching, research, marketing and project management roles. She can provide leadership or support for your destination marketing organization function specializing in rural communities and consortia. Whether a single project, temporary support or ongoing services, we can help.  

She is a specialist in the Destination BC Cooperative Marketing Partnerships Program and the Province of BC Municipal Regional District Tax program and was the team lead to launch the Route 97 touring and exploring program with North Central Washington

In her private practice serving a variety of rural communities in BC, she also taught the development of community tourism for BCIT and facilitated workshops for Tourism BC. Simone was one of eight consultants contracted by Tourism BC to launch the provincial Community Tourism Foundations program. This multi-year program generated over 100 tourism plans for communities throughout BC. As the program evolved she joined the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) in 2009 as the Community Development Specialist, representing Destination BC, to ensure communities accessed co-operative funding for marketing and provided expertise to support the implementation of their tourism plans. Simone’s role evolved to lead a team to manage the marketing services for rural communities/consortia who needed destination marketing service support as Managing Director of Symphony Tourism Services.

Since 2014 Simone led the consumer research program for TOTA and created the Communities Research Program. In addition to supporting small businesses with research, the community program utilized the integration of mobile data with Environics Analytics research providing custom consumer profiles by market or visitor data sources. This program has evolved to the five regional destination management/marketing organizations known as the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat (BCRTS) in support of the tourism industry. 

Simone returned to her business roots in 2020 to follow her passion to connect with clients. She looks forward to exploring other opportunities to grow her business with strategic alliances of like-minded individuals who have a passion for what they do and to help others.

For a complete list of the communities, Simone has worked with click here.

Steve Nicol

Lions Gate Consulting,
Strategic Planning, Economic Development, Economic Analysis,
Feasibility and Business Planning

Steve Nicol of Lions Gate Consulting Inc has been providing strategic, business and economic planning assistance to the tourism industry for 28 years. As a Certified Management Consultant he has prepared over 100 business plans, feasibility studies, strategic plans and economic assessments for economic and tourism development agencies as well as for the private sector and First Nations. He has served as a facilitator for Destination BC’s Community Tourism Foundations program since 2007 providing tourism planning assistance to dozens of communities across BC and the Yukon. His business planning and feasibility experience extends to major tourism infrastructure such as visitor centres, hotels and museums to destination attractions including theme parks, gardens and outdoor adventure operations.

Steve has studied extensively the social, cultural and economic effects of land and resource use on tourism values and interests through his work evaluating provincial land use plans, marine plans, outdoor adventure and wildlife policy and impacts associated with major projects engaged in the federal and provincial environmental assessment processes. Steve holds a MBA from the University of British Columbia and is a Certified Management Consultant with the Canadian Association of Management Consultants.

For a complete list of Steve’s clients click here.

Roger Handling

Terra Firma Digital Arts,
Creative Director

Terra Firma Digital Arts specializes in graphic design and creative direction for the tourism sector providing comprehensive design suites incorporating logo and brand development, visitor guides, recreational activity and way finding maps, website development, social media tools, digital campaigns, press kit, image bank, print campaigns, brochures, travel show booths, Power Point presentations and principle signage (billboards, community signs etc.).

Roger has worked with many BC-based tourism organizations over the past 30 years. Creative services were provided for the Similkameen Valley Planning Society, Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce, Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Vancouver Island Tourism Marketing Alliance, Vancouver Coast & Mountains Tourism Association, the District of Mission, the District of Tumbler Ridge, Bella Coola Valley Tourism, Campbell River Tourism, the Central Coast Regional District, Sunshine Coast Tourism, the Town of Gibsons, the City of Williams Lake for Central Cariboo, the Kaslo and Area Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Comox Valley, Tourism Powell River, Boundary Country, Route 97, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association,  District of Sechelt, North Thompson Valley Marketing and Lower North Thompson Tourism among others.

Terra Firma also produces work for many independent tourism-related businesses such as West Coast Wilderness Lodge, Rockwater Resort, John Steel Rail Tours and the Sunshine Coast Bed & Breakfast Cottage Owners Association.

In addition to his tourism clients Roger also works extensively with the environmental sector, economic development sector, health care and supplements manufacturers, the arts and culture sector, book design for national publishers, libraries and provincial early education programs.

Philosophy and Awards

“Developing simple, effective designs that emphasize the importance of the primary idea within a communication piece has been my driving philosophy throughout my career. This philosophy has led to a strong sense of satisfaction in my work as well as recognition from various organizations.”

Katt Stearns

Consulting, Social Media, Workshops & Keynotes

Katt Stearns digital specialist, supports businesses and organizations knowing they have a shortage of time, resources and expertise to master the ever changing digital landscape. The way we communicate online has changed, and is continuing to change, as we move through these unprecedented times.

We have had the pleasure of being featured and recognized for our achievements in a number of areas. Here is just a sample of some of our achievements:

  • Nominated for 2014 BC Entrepreneur of the Year
  • 2015 Canadian Internet Marketer of the Year
  • Keynote Speaker for Younique Conference in Chicago with 12,000+ attendees
  • Feature in the Province 
  • Online Marketing Column for the Today Media Group
  • Featured in numerous publications
  • Featured speaker social media HR Conference
  • Guest facilitator at Social Media Camp
  • Guest Speaker at Social Media Mastery
  • Panelist at Canadian Marketing Conference
  • Recipient of BC Hydro Green Champion Energy Award for work with Thompson Rivers University

War Room

Programmatic Advertising Agency

War Room, a Vancouver-based digital agency has been an advertising partner with brands all around the world, across different industries since 2010. They combine high-touch relationships, human expertise, and expert programmatic advertising to deliver performance-driven results. Their tried-and-true winning methodology drives impact for companies and helps them hit their business goals. 

Paid advertising can be daunting and overwhelming, so having an expert in the industry as your advertising partner can benefit a business greatly. War Room consolidates and manages campaigns across all ad platforms, which are fine-tuned for different budgets and objectives. Their online advertising services are 100% programmatic. Types of advertising they offer are Search, Display, Native, Social, Video, Audio, Digital Out-Of-Home (think digital billboards), Metasearch (hotel) ads, Travel ads (Online Travel Agencies), and more! The coverage is vast and wide and audience-targeting can be laser-sharp.

An important aspect for DMO’s and their business location is to be able to attribute destination visits to online ad spend and measure success. War Room’s Klick&Mortar technology enables businesses to quantify the impact of their digital advertising efforts through actual destination visits. By doing so allows businesses to better adjust the budget, predict consumer behavior and ROI for future campaigns.

One of War Room’s specialties is tourism and Destination Marketing Organizations. War Room has worked with the team for over 6 years and executed the programmatic advertising for the North Thompson Valley, Similkameen Valley and Boundary Country, Working with various DMOs highlights include Destination Greater Victoria, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA), and Tourism Sun Peaks. Their portfolio also ranges from adidas, Vancouver Canucks to Science World. War Room knows how to customize campaign strategies for each of their clients’ industries. 

Take a research based digital campaign War Room ran for TOTA for Route 97 as an example. 9,700 physical visits to the region, 7.7 million dollars economic impact, which was 137% Return On Investment (ROI) is a testament that partnering with a programmatic advertising agency works. 

War Room brings fresh ideas to the table. Advertising is fluid and ever-changing in the landscape today, so it’s important to be swift in adapting. The tourism industry can often be seasonal, so the team knows how to make campaigns work during low-season and year-round. For each brand, War Room helps effectively communicate the unique value and experience with highly-targeted audiences.

Take a look at War Room’s client case studies here.

Darren Robinson

Photographer, Digital Imagery

Commercial & Tourism

Darren Robinson Photography

Darren has been working in tourism and marketing for many years in addition to his photography. He understands the goals of clients to capture the uniqueness of each destination. Darren has been working with the team for 10 years creating inspiring imagery to motivate travellers to our destinations and to tell their unique story.

Client list includes: Destination BC, Similkameen Valley Planning Society, Boundary Country Tourism, Shuswap Tourism, City of Merritt, Summerland Chamber of Commerce, Enderby & District Chamber of Commerce, Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country, Tourism Powell River, Sunshine Coast Tourism, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Tourism Jasper, City of West Kelowna, Similkameen Independent Winegrowers, District of Sicamous, Sharpes Bay, Seaside Escape B&B, Tin Poppy Retreat, Suncatcher B&B, Larch Hills Winery, Vantage One Credit Union, Enderby Jewellers, Converge Construction, Quaaout Lodge, RemaxHarbour Publishing, Lakeside HealthTransition Marketing Services, Enderby & District Museum Society, Okanagan Rawsome, Podollan Inn, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.