Executive Director Update – 3.12.12

Executive Director Update

March 12, 2012

March is a special month for the WTA, as it marks the WTA’s first birthday! Last year around this time, the first Summit was held as a call to action, and some were unsure there would be a second. Not only are we here, but we are getting stronger every day! And to celebrate our successful first year, we are going to hold the 2nd Annual WTA Summit on April 5. This event is so very important to the WTA, as it is our celebration of success, our report out of accomplishments, and our road map for the future. Anyone in the tourism industry should want to be a part of this special occasion. We are very excited to have secured Roger Dow, an industry leader and President & CEO, USTA and Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California as keynote speakers. They will be sharing their view points on tourism from the national level, and how their efforts work in conjunction with the WTA.

The Summit is our way of thanking those that invested in us when we were just a concept….a start up, with little direction, no funding, yet a clean slate of opportunities. The organization with its amazing volunteers has captured the essence of teamwork, dedication, and pure grit! Please join us and show your support to your industry.

2nd Annual
Washington Tourism Alliance Summit

Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center
April 5, 2012
7:00 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. -3:00 p.m. Program
Continental Breakfast and Lunch included

Please visit the website for the complete agenda, housing information, costs, etc. To register, click here. Also, consider joining us the night prior at the Museum of Flight for a welcome reception, and meet our sponsors who are assisting us in hosting this event. Transportation will be provided from the Hilton to the event courtesy of Shuttle Express.

I am very pleased to announce the addition of Mike Moe to the WTA staff as of this week. Mike will be responsible for WTA membership sales, and comes to us with extensive experience in the tourism industry. Mike has worked on cruise ships, Club Meds, led tours through South America, managed educational events, and like many of us, worked behind the front desk of a hotel. It is very apparent Mike has tourism in the blood, and we are lucky to have him on board. Make a point to say hello to Mike at the Summit!

Another big event for the WTA this month is the launch of the Official Washington State Visitors’ Guide, a joint venture between the WTA and the Washington Lodging Association. Last summer, the WTA and the Washington Lodging Association announced a strategic partnership to jointly promote tourism in our state through the Official Washington State Visitors’ Guide. This definitive Washington State travel resource provides information and ideas on where to go and what to see for travelers and prospective visitors. The 2012 edition will have an increased circulation to 375,000 print copies, reaching nearly 1,000,000 travelers to meet higher demand. In addition, an electronic version of the Visitors’ Guide will be available on www.experiencewa.com and www.stayinwashington.com, as well as digital formats for i-pad, android, tablets and smartphones no later than March 23. What makes this guide so different from those of the past? For starters…there are three covers to give potential visitors an even broader view of the diversity of the state. Also, members of the WTA and WLA formed an editorial board, and were very participatory on the content. Take a look….its pretty special!!

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Summit/Events

As I mentioned earlier, the Events Committee is working tirelessly getting ready for the upcoming Summit. This is a must for your social calendar! Do plan on attending this momentous day for the WTA and tourism in our state. Remember the Hilton has extended an amazing rate for attendees of $119 per night.

The committee is also working on our special auction site that will be a great opportunity for our members to showcase their regions and businesses. The details will be announced at the Summit and the site opens the following day!

Other events throughout the state are still being discussed, but at present the locations on the “idea board” are Vancouver, Spokane, Seattle, and Walla Walla. Again, more details to follow!

Marketing Committee

The Marketing Committee has been burning the mid-night oil getting ready to launch their draft budget at the Summit. The social network committee has been organizing a plan to manage the Facebook page and establish guidelines, communication schedules, and a tool kit for its usage. Other activities have been progressing such as the media call to action and a subcommittee formed to drive the WTA buzz and web traffic.

Communications Committee

Many thanks go out to David Blandford and his team for keeping the industry and the media informed. The Summit press release sent out earlier this week will be followed up by three others, including one release announcing the new Official Visitors’ Guide. David and team are also focusing on the Why Tourism Matters website to confirm it is up to date and on target.

Website Committee

The Website Committee has been working on server issues and when completed, the work will improve performance. The committee and content coordinators continue to provide content updates to the site, and are preparing for the update on the business listings expected for April.

Long Term Funding Committee

The Long Term Funding Committee has had multiple meetings with a variety of speakers and experts offering potential funding solutions. At present, the committee continues to refine and further evaluate the Dean Runyan numbers and review model options. The blueprint will be announced at the Summit, so again, we encourage you to join us and hear the direction of your industry.

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee has been designing a new program to promote new membership while retaining the current.   They have lots of ideas, and would love to share them…and will… at their work party (and it will be a party), March 20th at the Adriatic Grill Restaurant in Tacoma. They are finishing up multiple projects for the Summit so look for their table right next to registration on April 5th.

So, as you can tell…..it’s ALL ABOUT THE SUMMIT! Please do plan on joining us on the 5th at the Seattle Airport Hilton and Conference Center.   Come see and hear about the efforts and countless hours your industry peers have dedicated to making this a successful event, and more importantly, a successful and strong WTA. They deserve to be heard.

Suzanne Fletcher
Executive Director, WTA
info@watourismalliance.com