12.7.11 – Executive Director Update

We are getting vey close to the end of the year, but things are not slowing down at the WTA. If anything, they are heating up! The Board Retreat expanded our “to do” list, and it has been great checking off some of the assignments. As always, our committees are putting in countless hours to meet their deadlines, and I am excited about being able to report on our considerable progress.

Website Committee

With the announcement of the State’s acceptance of our business plan, Cheryl Kilday and her team have been working with the current website sub- contractors to gain a better understanding of the website. Regional content reps have been identified and have gone through their first training, with more training this week. The Super Content Team (gatekeepers) has also been identified, and these four individuals will be reviewing all content submitted for posting. Our Official Guide partners, SagaCity, were also in the training, as they will be responsible for the business listings on the site. And next up…we will be sending out RFPs for the re-design work that will be taking place during 2012.

Marketing/Communications Committee

Donna Cappa and her social media sub- committee have been working with the website committee to align our goals and objectives.

We are developing a co-op marketing campaign for first quarter 2012 to drive traffic to our Washington State Facebook page and www.experiencewa.com website (WTA takes ownership in 2012). We will be targeting Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia and Portland, Oregon travelers. The campaign will be open to WTA members and offer levels of partnership opportunities. Our objectives are:

  1. Generate interest in travel to Washington State,
  2. Build “Likes” on our Facebook page,
  3. Collect email addresses for future correspondence and
  4. Drive sales of packages (lodging, food, attractions, etc…).

More information on how to participate will be provided in mid-December.

Membership Committee

The membership/partnership/investor kits are now complete!!! This is exciting news, as I am now able to reach out to potential partners with professional and impressive collateral. The committee is also working on driving new members and each committee member has a personal goal. It’s hard to believe it’s time to discuss membership retention, but in just a couple months, renewal forms will be going out and the membership committee wants to retain all current members while seeking new.

Summit/Events Committee

The Summit Committee confirmed April 5th for the second annual WTA Summit. It will be held at the SeaTac Hilton Hotel and Conference Center.   We are tentatively scheduled from 8:00AM-3:30PM. The event will include a continental breakfast and lunch. We are currently seeking ideas for speakers, and would love to hear your recommendations. Other fundraisers are being discussed and the committee has some great ideas and destinations. I promise more details in one of my upcoming newsletters, as the chairs for these events will be announced before Christmas. Again, we are always looking for great ideas from our members!

Long Term Funding + Advocacy Committee

There were some recent changes made with the Long Term Funding + Advocacy (LTFA) committee. We were very sorry to accept the resignation of Frank Finneran as the Chair of this very important committee due to time restraints and other commitments. We want to thank Frank for his dedicated efforts, and we will miss his expertise and leadership. The good news is that last week the Executive Committee met and appointed new leadership for the LTFA and we would like to thank John Cedergreen and Andy Olsen for accepting to co-Chair the committee. The committee has also determined an aggressive time line and will be meeting frequently between now and the Summit. The goal is to present our LTFA plan at the Summit in April.

Other News

Due to the resignation of Mr. Finneran, there is now a vacancy on the Board of Directors for an At-Large position. We are reaching out to you, our members, for nominations and recommendations. A formal announcement will be coming out soon, but I wanted to get all of you thinking about potential applicants. We understand some of you applied for the Board when were originally opened you the nominations in July, but our bylaws require us to notify our membership when a new position opens. If you are still interested, please consider reapplying. Click here for a Board Application. 

Interested in attending the U.S. Travel Association’s Pow-Wow? WTA is seeking major state attractions and destinations/regions to partner in a cooperative booth at this international trade show occurring April 21-25, 2012 in Los Angeles. Pow Wow is the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of Visit USA travel – it is NOT a typical trade show. In just three days of intensive pre-scheduled business appointments, more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations from every region of the USA, and close to 1,200 International and Domestic Buyers from more than 70 countries, conduct business negotiations that result in the generation of over $3.5 billion in future travel to the USA. At Pow Wow, buyers and sellers are able to conduct business that would otherwise be generated only through an exhaustive number of around-the-world trips. Click here for more information.

The cost to co-op share in the booth is approximately $3,800, which includes registration, the right to participate in the appointments, plus meals and events associated with the convention. Lodging, air and ground transportation and incidentals are the responsibility of the individual participants. There is space for three more partners. For information and to commit, please contact me by December 12th either by phone (206.660.6520) or email me at Suzanne@watourismalliance.com.

So again, while others are slowing down at holiday time, you can see things are still moving at light speed at the WTA. We have so much to accomplish, but the dedication of the volunteers continues to move us forward. Please know how important your efforts are to our success! Thank you again.

Suzanne Fletcher

Executive Director, WTA