Last week I and several Washington State DMO representatives attended the U.S. Travel Association’s ESTO annual conference in Portland, Oregon. Sessions focused on state and local marketing and advertising, public relations, product development and international travel trade. Among other topics, we heard about digital marketing trends and social media, destination branding and innovative small budget marketing ideas from other states. With over 860 tourism professionals in attendance the conference provided great networking opportunities to learn from our piers in the industry and explore best practices.
At a meeting with state tourism office directors we exchanged ideas and learned what other states are doing with their marketing programs, branding, and collaborative partnerships at local, state and federal levels. We received federal policy updates on airport modernization and transportation reauthorization, Open Skies, the JOLT Act, and the Visa Waver Program.
Brand USA provided information at the conference on their international market prioritization and segmentation and forecasted trends for 2016. They presented a very special preview of a new documentary film that they are producing, “America Wild: A National Parks Adventure” which will be released next February in celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the National Park Service.
Washington State was well represented at the conference with staff from seven DMOs and the WTA, including Bellevue, Long Beach Peninsula, San Juan Islands, Seattle Southside, Snohomish County, Spokane, and Vancouver USA. We all look forward to working together with our DMO partners, members and stakeholders on the ideas and concepts that were presented at the conference.
Sharon Linton (Bellevue), Kristina Thorne (Seattle Southside), Amy Spain (Snohomish County), Tim Robinson (Spokane), Chris Thompson (Brand USA), Cheryl Kilday (Spokane), Deborah Hopkins Buchanan (San Juan Islands), Louise Stanton-Masten (WTA), Andi Day (Long Beach Peninsula), Roger Dow (USTA). Missing from photo Natalie Zadak and Carrie Schave (Vancouver USA).
WASHINGTON STATE WILDFIRES Mike Moe
This summer many communities in North Central and North Eastern Washington have been devastated by wildfires. The WTA has been working with our industry partners and the local leaders in the areas affected to provide information to tourists through our social media outlets and on the ExperienceWA.com website. Annette Pitts of the Cascade Loop, Tom Campbell of the Campbell Resort in Chelan and Shilo Schauer of the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce all sit on the WTA board of directors and will be instrumental in the process of providing support to these communities.
The WTA understands the economic hardships and personal loss, not to mention the loss of life during this tragedy and will be ready to do everything we can to support these regions as they work their way towards recovery. At the appropriate time we will provide complimentary messaging on the ExperienceWA website and through our eNewsletter to help bring visitors back to beautiful Eastern Washington.
In the meantime, for a complete list of links, updates and places to donate or help, visit the Washington Tourism Alliance website here . Additionally, please find community updates below.
WILDFIRE RELIEF EFFORTS IN THE LAKE CHELAN VALLEY Mike Steele – Executive Director, Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce
Chelan Valley Hope representatives have reaffirmed this morning that cash donations still continue to be the greatest area of need. Chelan Valley Hope continues to host volunteers from the Red Cross. Chelan Valley Hope is located at 417 S. Bradley Street. The Community Foundation of North Central
Washington continues to authorize funds for relief efforts to Chelan Valley Hope to satisfy these short term needs. Chelan Valley Hope has a practiced and proficient intake process to prevent fraud and assist those individuals in need. For individuals wanting to donate to the relief efforts, the Community Foundation of North Central Washington has set up a Chelan Valley Fire Relief Fund. Donations can be made online at cfncw.org or by calling (509) 663-7716. Chelan Valley Hope representatives continue to reiterate that physical items are not needed at this time.
We have identified there will be a need for volunteers in the long term recovery efforts and Chelan Valley Hope is collecting a list of individuals who would like to be contacted when these specific needs are identified. Businesses looking for assistance in navigating insurance claims, product losses, etc., are asked to contact the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce for assistance.
Representatives from the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, Chelan Valley Hope, North Central Washington Community Foundation, Historic Downtown Chelan Association, Manson Community Council, Port of Chelan County, City of Chelan and RealLife Church will continue to meet and regularly assess the short and long term needs of the Lake Chelan Valley as the community recovers from the devastating effects of the Chelan Complex Wildfire.
- Chelan Valley Hope – (509) 888-2114, chelanvalleyhope.org/ , PO Box 635, Chelan, WA 98816
- Community Foundation of North Central Washington’s Chelan Valley Fire Relief Fund – (509) 663-7716, www.cfncw.org/ , 9 S. Wenatchee Ave, Wenatchee, WA 98801
Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce – (509) 682-3503, lakechelan.com/
CASCADE LOOP FIRE RELIEF SUPPORT
The communities affected by the fires are grateful for your support as we respond and recover from these events. A fund established at the Community Foundation of North Central Washington allows people to help either all of Okanogan County or a specific community. The funds will be used by established organizations with experience serving our county. Visit http://www.cfncw.org/ and click the link on the home page.
THE WTA REMEMBERS JAMIE FAY
The WTA was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Jamie Fay, Director of Sales and Marketing and Assistant General Manager at Chambers Bay Golf Course and long time supporter of the WTA. Through his work at Chambers Bay, Jamie was an ardent advocate for Washington State tourism. Our thoughts are with his family and colleagues.
More information can be found here
SERIOUSLY SOCIAL SCENIC BYWAYS WORKSHOP
“Seriously Social” Workshop, September 30-Oct 2 at Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop. At least once a year, you should get out of the office and have fun-away from the politically correct engagements-and enjoy an experience with your friends and colleagues. If you happen to learn something… SCORE!
The keynote address by George Sharp is guaranteed to reduce your need for caffeine. George recently resigned from the WTA Board of Directors and left the Olympia Lacey Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau to start his own business, Sharp Strategies and Solutions LLC. His business is focused on serving Community and Economic Development Organizations, Destination Marketing Organizations, Small Businesses and Non-profit Organizations. His topic at the workshop will be: Tourism- How to make something from nothing or enhance what you have to attract visitors to your area.
The rest of the lineup includes Mitch Nichols, our team of insiders, and other people you either know or should.
Click HERE to get the details and to register.
BE SURE TO INCLUDE EXPERIENCEWA IN YOUR 2016 ADVERTISING BUDGET Mike Moe
2015 has been an outstanding year so far for ExperienceWA.com. The official tourism website for Washington State has proven to be the best place to connect with people who are planning their trip to our state. As your business or destination begins to plan for 2016, we would like to share some highlights from the past year.
In the beginning of 2015, we initiated the REWARDS program for our banner ad platform and it has been extremely successful. Our advertisers are only paying an average of $1.73 per click. That is WAY below industry standard. The fact that ExperienceWA website visitors are there specifically to learn about travelling in Washington State only make these clicks more valuable.
Our monthly eNewsletter program has also been big in 2015. As you know, there are limited spaces available to advertise in our eNewsletter and the ad spaces for 2016 are already being taken! If you want advertising space in our eNewsletter next year, let us know as soon as possible.
The custom eNewsletters have also been extremely popular. Of course, with an average cost-per-click of $1.85, why wouldn’t they? Again we are running a limited number of Custom eNewsletters in 2016, so if you have specific months you want to target, make sure to reserve your space soon.
Finally, our most successful program to date has been our Custom Content Creation. Our editors will work with you to write an article about your destination or property. You will get 100% approval throughout the process. Your article will live on ExperienceWA for a full year with an option to renew, and even better, you get to keep the article for your own website forever! One advertiser put an article up in December and it has had over 7,000 pageviews and it’s generated over 5,000 clicks to their website.
There are so many different ways to reach the qualified audience of ExperienceWA.com. To learn more, please contact Mike Moe at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 425-444-0589. Or, click to view the full ExperienceWA Media Kit/ .
WTA MEMBERS IN THE NEWS
PACIFIC COUNTY FAIR CELEBRATES TIES TO THE LAND AND RURAL WAYS
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 Thibado at email@example.com.
WTA WELCOMES JULY MEMBERS
4 Culture, City of Gig Harbor, Everett Community College, Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, The Herbfarm, Holiday Inn Express – Bellingham, Homewood Suites – Seattle, Lynnwood PFD Convention Center, The Northwest Woodworker’s Gallery, Port of Chelan County, Quality Inn Valley Suites, Ride the Ducks, Silver Reef Hotel, Skagit Valley Tourism, SpringHill Suites, Visit Rainier, Washington State University, Whidbey & Camano Island Tourism, White Pass Scenic Byway
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or join today online HERE .