July 2014 Newsletter

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UPDATE  
Louise Stanton-Masten  

This past week I attended the Destination Management Association International (DMAI) annual conference. It’s been a great learning experience, with sessions focused on destination branding, innovative trends in travel and tourism, destination change cycles, regional tourism programs and international marketing among many others. At a state tourism office roundtable I was able to exchange ideas and learn what other states are doing with their marketing programs, branding, interagency coordination, funding and state budgets, and programmatic implementation. And with over 1,200 tourism professionals in attendance from the U.S. and around the globe the conference provided great networking opportunities to learn from our peers in the industry and explore best practices. At the conference DMAI celebrated 100 years of promoting destinations and released a landmark research project, Destination NEXT: A Strategic Roadmap for theNext Generation of Global Destination Marketing. It includes trends in current destination management practices, with actions and strategies for the future. Washington State was well represented at the conference, with staff from eight DMOs, including Seattle Southside, Vancouver USA Regional Tourism Office, Visit Bellevue, Visit Rainier, Visit Seattle, Visit Spokane, Visit Tacoma, and Visit Yakima. WTA board members Cheryl Kilday and John Cooper were part of the Washington team, and we were all there to celebrate and congratulate Katherine Kertzman, Seattle Southside Executive Director, when she received her CDME certification during the closing ceremony. (See newsletter story and photo below.) Cheryl Kilday, who has served on the DMAI board of directors for the past two years, was appointed to another year on the board during the DMAI annual meeting. Congratulations Cheryl! I look forward to working with our DMO partners, members and stakeholders on the ideas and concepts that were presented at the conference. While we continue to address our long-term funding issues, it’s an exciting time with great opportunities to work on tourism programs for Washington State.

 
LONG TERM FUNDING – WHERE WE ARE HEADED AND A CALL FOR ASSISTANCE
Becky Bogard 

Over the summer months, the WTA has been working to develop a system that will provide predictable funding for a statewide marketing program. As our members know, we have looked at many different models to try to take the best from each one and make it work in our state. We have worked within the principles of funding from all sectors of the industry and a marketing program that is controlled by the private sector. We are at a point in our research and analysis where we will be needing feedback from WTA members and are asking for your assistance. Let’s recap the activities in recent months. WTA members and consultants have been meeting with a group of seasoned state government representatives from both the legislative and executive branches to work through different options for collecting funds. This group has provided significant guidance on what is legally possible within the WTA principles, and where there might have to be some compromise. The collection methodology issue is complicated because of the number of businesses in the tourism industry, the diversity of those businesses, and the technical and legal constraints of government systems. By mid-August the WTA anticipates having a proposal for a collection system that we can review with this group and with our members. It will impact five sectors – lodging, food service, retail, attractions and entertainment, and transportation. The WTA is forming informal working groups for each of these sectors but we are looking for more volunteers and input. While the lodging and food service sectors have major associations that are providing assistance to the WTA, the other three sectors are not quite as organized. If you are a WTA member in the retail, attractions and entertainment, or transportation sectors and are interested in providing feedback to us as we move forward, please send your name and contact information to Becky Bogard (becky@bogardjohnson.com) or Kathryn Hedrick (kathryn_hedrick@comcast.net). We appreciate any feedback you can give us! During this process, there is work being done with other parts of the tourism industry. They include the wine industry, the tribes, ports, and some federally-regulated transportation companies. Their contributions to a statewide tourism marketing program will be incorporated in a final funding plan. The WTA is also refining its proposal for a marketing program. WTA members and those being asked to contribute to find these activities want a better definition of what is in that plan. After hearing from you and a review of a draft proposal by the WTA Board, we will be working with local tourism organizations to organize meetings around the state in October. In addition to funding we will also be discussing the more detailed – but not final – marketing program. Feedback from those meetings will be incorporated in a final proposal presented to the WTA board at the end of October. After approval from the WTA board, we will prepare the report that is due to the Washington State Legislature on December 1, 2014… Legislation to implement the report will also be prepared. The WTA is planning its annual summit in Olympia in 2015. As soon as we have a firm date, we will be sending a “Save the Date” card. The focus of that summit will be passage of a plan to create a fully funded statewide tourism marketing program — the overall goal of the WTA!

SUPPORT WILDFIRE AFFECTED OKANOGAN COUNTY
Annette Pitts, WTA Board of Directors

During a typical July, the communities of Washington’s Okanogan County would be bustling with tourists, many of them exploring all or part of the 440-mile Cascade Loop Scenic Highway. This month, however, devastating wildfires in the region have not only forced some residents to evacuate their homes, they have required tourists to alter, suspend, or cancel outright their plans to visit one of Washington’s most picturesque destinations. The Cascade Loop Association is optimistic that tourists will steadily return and in doing so, provide a much needed economic shot in the arm to many of the affected areas. The impact these fires have had on our communities and the long road to rebuilding that residents face cannot be overstated, but tourism is a vital economic driver in the region and we are optimistic that the return of leisure travelers will help stimulate recovery. If we can send one message to travelers, it should be that now, perhaps more than ever, these communities and the people who call them home need your support and welcome your visit. Looking to provide direct support to wildfire victims? Local charities and many businesses have stepped up: http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2014/jul/18/how-to-assist-fire-victims/ 

 

WTA CONGRATULATES KATHERINE KERTZMAN ON BEING RECOGNIZED AS A CERTIFIED DESTINATION MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVE

Katherine

Seattle Southside Visitor Services (SSVS), the official tourism organization for the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac and Des Moines, is proud to announce that its Executive Director, Katherine Kertzman, has been recognized as a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME), by the Destination Marketing Association International. The CDME certification is an advanced educational program for experienced Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) professionals seeking career advancement. It is the highest honor given by the industry. The focus of the program is vision, leadership, productivity and the implementation of business strategies. “I am honored to join the ranks of the many esteemed leaders who earned their CDME certification,” said Kertzman. “I have learned so much through this process and use the skills and expertise gained from this course on a daily basis.” Kertzman joins only a handful of Washington state tourism leaders to reach this distinction. Currently in its 22nd year, just over 200 destination marketing professionals have achieved the CDME designation. Katherine Kertzman’s certification was announced at the 100th Annual DMAI Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada this July.  For more information, please visit: http://www.destinationmarketing.org/topics/cdme-certification.

 

MARKETING OPPORTUNITY: 2015 OFFICIAL WASHINGTON STATE VISITORS’ GUIDE

Visitors' Guides

Production is now underway on the 2015 Washington State Visitors’ Guide. Produced in partnership between the WTA, the Washington Lodging Association and SagaCity Media, the 16th annual edition of the Official Washington State Visitors’ Guide will have a circulation of 375,000. Advertising opportunities are now available for the Guide, with discounted pricing exclusively for WTA members. Again this year the Visitors’ Guide will be distributed across nine states and British Columbia, distributed at more than 2,200 visitor center locations, available to view and order online at www.ExperienceWA.com, download to tablets and smartphones, and mailed to 65,000 subscribers of Seattle Met and Portland Monthly magazines. With a readership of nearly one million prospective travelers seeking tips and information on where to stay, eat, and play in Washington, the 2015 Guide is a great marketing opportunity. For more information on advertising, with discounted pricing exclusively for WTA members, contact Jeff Adams at SagaCity Media (jadams@sagacitymedia.com or 206-454-3007).

 

SPECIAL OFFER FROM JULY 15 – AUGUST 15 ON LEAD GENERATION PROGRAM FOR EXPERIENCEWA.COM! To celebrate another glorious Washington summer, ExperienceWA.com is offering an introductory rate for our Lead Generation Program. Pricing is regularly $5.00 per lead for WTA members, but from now until August 15th, we’re offering a discounted rate of $3.00 per lead ($3.30 for non-members of the WTA). Gain exposure to a pre-qualified audience of visitors that have already requested information about travel to Washington. These leads are generated when a site visitor signs up to receive either the monthly E-Newsletter or a copy of the Washington State Visitors Guide. At that time a “thank you for ordering” confirmation screen will appear where content will reside about your business or destination, inviting the visitor to click for more information. These leads will always be fresh and the quantity limited to your budgeted amount. Contact Mike Moe at 425-444-0589, mike@watourismalliance.com, or Lisa Schwartz at 206-679-1930, lisa.schwartz@milespartnership.com. To view our Media Kit, with more information on the Lead Generation Program (page 6) and other ExperienceWA.com opportunities, click here.

 

TACOMA REGIONAL CVB CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING OF NEW VISITOR INFORMATION CENTER  

Tacoma VIC

The Tacoma Regional CVB held its grand opening celebration of the Visitor Information Center [VIC] on June 24 with a crowd of 150 to formally announce its new location and celebrate the beginning of its summer hours [10 a.m. -4 p.m. M-F; 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday + Sunday]. At its new location in the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, the VIC is more visible to the visitor and conference-goer and we expect to see increased foot traffic over the course of the year. The Visitor Information Center is an integral part to serving the visitor, staffed with knowledgeable volunteers, mobile-phone charging stations and a welcoming rest area. “Our goal is to have visitors come to our center, offer a friendly face, expert recommendations, and a place to relax, and see what Pierce County has to offer,” said Visitor Experience Director of the TRCVB Marcus Carney. “However, for our grand opening we really wanted to show off to downtown Tacoma what an amazing place Pierce County is to visit, and showcase what there is to enjoy here.” The VIC celebrated by showing off the best of Pierce County – welcoming baby goats, the Rainier’s mascot Rhubarb, rhubarb pie and golfing with Chambers Bay Golf Course. You can read more about the Grand Opening in The News Tribune.

 

MAXIMIZE YOUR PRESENCE ON THE WTA WEBSITE Did you know that every tourism related business in Washington is entitled to a listing on the ExperienceWA website, www.experiencewa.com? If you are not listed on the website, please contact Mike Moe, WTA Director of Business Development and Media Sales at mike@watourismalliance.com. To further maximize your presence on the site, check out all the new advertising options available on the site here. For information on supporting tourism promotion in Washington State by linking your website to the ExperienceWA website, click here.

 

WTA MEMBERS IN THE NEWS   

YAKIMA ONE OF THE 10 BEST SMALL CITIES ON THE RISE

SAVOR THE SAN JUANS  

DARRINGTON BLUES FESTIVAL AND HOPE AFTER THE OSO SLIDE   

 

SUBMIT YOUR STORIES Want to brag about something your destination was recently recognized for? Have news that impacts Washington State tourism? Please add the WTA to your distribution news list! We’re always looking for story ideas for the WTA monthly newsletter! To submit a story idea, email Diana Rutledge at diana@watourismalliance.com.

 

WTA WELCOMES JUNE MEMBERS 

NEW MEMBERS:

McMenamins Olympic Club, Pandion Consulting, Teatro ZinZanni, Wing Luke Museum 

RENEWING MEMBERS: Best Western Plaza by the Green, City of Lynnwood, Clark Nuber, Cottage Bakery & Deli, Fairfield Inn & Suites Puyallup, Holiday Inn of Yakima, Holiday Inn Express of Ellensburg, Homewood Suites Seattle Convention Center, Hyatt House-Redmond, Lynwood PFD Convention Center, Northwest Agriculture Business Center, The Northwest Woodworker’s Gallery, PSAV, Sheraton Bellevue Hotel, Silver Reef Hotel, Visit Bellevue WA, Visit Lewis Clark Valley, The Westin Bellevue, Yakima Valley Tourism

  If you have not yet joined the WTA and would like to become a member, please contact our Director of Business Development and Media Sales Mike Moe at mike@watourismalliance.com or join today online at http://watourismalliance.com/join/.