Executive Director Update – 4.12.12

Executive Director Update
April 12, 2012

Summit 2012

You remember my last newsletter stated “it’s all about the Summit”, and that was true! The second annual WTA Summit was held last week at the Seattle Hilton & Conference Center and was attended by over 400 people! It was a great day for the WTA!

Guest presenters included Roger Dow, USTA and Caroline Beteta from Brand USA, it was great to get the update on what is happening at the national level and how USTA is bringing awareness on the value of tourism to the United States.

Speaking on behalf of the WTA was George Sharp, Marketing Committee Chair; Andy Olsen, Long Term Funding/Advocacy Chair; and myself. The event came off without a hitch. We must recognize the terrific staff of the Seattle Hilton Airport Complex and thank Frank Welton, General Manager, for his overwhelming support. Also a special thanks to Brianna Mark, Joanie Pop, and Laura Brackenridge and Kara Moreno for registration and venue management. Find out what WTA has been doing and where we are going, by viewing the presentations. All three WTA presentations are now posted on the www.watourismalliance.com website for those that missed the event.

We were so fortunate to start the festivities with a magnificent (and sold out!) reception at The Museum of Flight the night prior. Besides being a breathtaking location, McCormick and Schmick’s pulled out all the stops for us with fabulous food. The entertainment was a blast from the past with flight attendants (stewardess then) in uniforms from the 40s and 50s. We were entertained by Sweet Swing and all this could not have been possible without the tremendous efforts of Meagan McGuire from the museum, who managed the entire event including the sponsorship of our transportation, Shuttle Express, and the generous sponsorship from Squaxin Island Tourism, Suquamish Clearwater Resort & Casino, Tulalip Resort Casino Spa and Northwest Tribal Tourism. This event will be tough to beat, but we are already working on an idea!

A survey for attendees will be going out soon, and I will report back the findings.

Official Visitors’ Guide

Have you had the opportunity to see the new Guide? They are amazing! Yes, I said they because while there is only one guide, there are three covers!! WLA, WTA and SagaCity Publishing have created a Visitors Guide that is second to none. The three organizations participated on an Editorial Board and collaborated on the content and design of the publication. With regional maps, insider tips and contact information for an array of standout local businesses and attractions, the 2012 edition will help the first-time traveler and the seasoned Washington visitor make the transition from inspiration to itinerary. This guide will be hitting 65,000 homes in the Portland and Seattle area for all subscribers of Portland monthly and Seattle Met Magazine. In the next few days. It will also be featured at visitor centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Vancouver, BC, and prominently displayed on newsstands and at checkout counters at Barnes & Noble, QFC and Whole Foods. And of course the Guide can also be ordered through the www.ExperienceWa.com website or can be viewed electronically from your computer, mobile device or iPad. Do take a look. I know you will be very impressed.

Committee Reports

Marketing

The big news here is our first co-op ad is being released soon targeting the Portland and Vancouver Canada marketplace.
Also the Marketing Committee has a call to action. Chris Murphy, our social media sub committee chair is requesting the following: While the social media sub-committee employs software to amalgamate recently published content, if you have an upcoming event or piece of news that you would like the WTA to consider for publishing, we would love for you to send us a press release along with any photography you would like to have featured. If you do not have a press release drafted, a web address at which more information can be found will be very helpful. Please email these materials to Chrism@seabrookwa.com using the subject “WTA Social Media.” Chris will ensure that the information provided is distributed to the appropriate team member within the social media sub-committee.

Membership

During the Summit we had a membership raffle which brought in 38 referrals and many new members. Thanks to the efforts of the membership committee and all the donated baskets, the WTA raised almost $1700!

Summit & Events

Besides pulling off an amazing Summit, this committee has also organized an incredible fundraising opportunity for the WTA. They (again, a special thank you to Meagan McGuire, Lenny Zilz and Silvia Reed) have created an on line auction site through www.Biddingforgood.com, and we will be offering member’s packages for auction through out the year. Please check out the current offering of our Bellingham/San Juan Escapes, and don’t forget to bid on it while you are in there. www.biddingforgood.com/wta

Long Term Funding/Advocacy

The LTF Committee will continue to refine the proposed draft of our long term funding model. Our goal is to have a final draft with stakeholder buy in around 3rd quarter of this year.

Web Committee

The Web Committee created a sub-committee to review the future direction of the ExperienceWa.com website. They met last week and are moving forward with a plan.

PR/Communications

Thanks to David Blandford and team for having great press coverage of the Summit and the media coverage afterwards. We also want to thank Marcus Carney from the Tacoma Regional CVB for assisting us in our Tweeting during the event. The coverage was amazing!

If you are interested in volunteering for any of these committees, submit this volunteer application and we will reach out to you.

As you consider your membership renewal, I want to be sure that you know how we are spending your investment dollars.
Our expenses average $31,000 a month. A third of those expenses are related to the maintenance of the www.experiencewa.com website, another third is devoted to the call center operation and various business expenses (such as legal fees, postage, office supplies, etc.) and a third pays two staff salaries and the part-time salary for administrative and bookkeeping help. As you know, we do not have an office nor do we pay any benefits. I hope you would agree-we are watching your dollars!

Suzanne Fletcher
Executive Director, WTA

www.watourismalliance.com
info@watourismalliance.com