June 2011 – WTA Update

Greetings WTA Members!

WTA Bylaws and Board of Directors

The founding WTA Board has drafted bylaws and has circulated those to Founding and Associate Partners for comments by June 13. Once the bylaws are in place WTA will expand the Board to include regional and industry sector representation.

Interim Director Search

We are currently reviewing applications for the position of Interim Director who will lead the development and evolution of the Washington Tourism Alliance over the next 18 months.
The Board will conduct interviews with the candidates and WTA Founding and Associate Partners will be invited to participate in the candidate selection process on June 17 in Seattle. We will be in touch with the Founding and Associate Partners very soon with specific details on the time and location of the meeting so you can get it on your calendar.
We are hoping to have the Interim Director in place by July. Until that time, we have a ‘temporary team’ in place.

WTA Team

We are pleased to announce that we have a ‘temporary team’ in place to manage the day to day operations of WTA. Until now we have been splitting the duties between a few very loyal and dedicated volunteers and five board members (all of whom have demanding day jobs). Although this team is just ‘temporary’ they do encompass an understanding of the industry and are able to jump right in and get to work. We are in the process of reviewing applications for the position of “Interim Director” until that person is in place we are happy to introduce to you our current WTA Team:

Project Manager: Kathryn Hedrick, director@watourismalliance.com
Kathryn comes to us from the Washington State Destination Marketing Organizations Association where she has spent over five years as assistant director. She has been involved in the development of WTA and has numerous connections in the tourism community. Kathryn will oversee the day to day operations and be the lead for our team until an Interim Director is hired. She is helping develop a business plan, timelines, organize volunteer committees, and communicating to you all.

Sales Director: Evangeline [Van] Robinson, sales@watourismalliance.com
Van has over 25 years experience in the hospitality industry. Most recently Van served as the Rooms Operations at the INN at Gig Harbor, but before that she held a variety of hospitality positions in Guam, the Marshall Islands, Kauai, California and Washington State. Her knowledge and passion for the industry are inspiring. Van will be helping us reach our goal of 500 members in 2011! If you have a lead, send it to her!

Administrative Services: Doreue Urbon, info@watourismalliance.com
Doreue comes to us from the TRCVB as a new hire serving as their Executive Administrator. Her previous work history encompasses over 20 years of managing administrative services, HR, business development, training and accounting. Doreue will assist with the day to day administrative functions.

Bookkeeper: Jenny Schorr-Johnson, accounts@watourismalliance.com
Jenny comes to us from TRCVB where she has spent almost 10 years as Finance Manager then Director of Operations. She completed Total Quality Six Sigma training with Honeywell Aerospace and is in the process of earning Certified Destination Management Executive [CDME] credentials through Destination Marketing Association International’s [DMAI] education program. Jenny will be responsible for the day to day accounting functions and will assist in the development of accounting policies and procedures for WTA.

State Legislature Adjourns

The state legislature adjourned on May 25, concluding its work for 2011. The operating budget that has been
sent to the Governor for her approval includes funding for the Washington Tourism Alliance to use towards
continuing the state website and related sub-sites. In the final budget bill the legislature acknowledges WTA as
“an appropriate body to receive funding and assets from and assume obligations of the [tourism] department”.
We are currently working with the Department in the transfer of these functions.

Membership Update
Could it get any better?! Well, of course, but we are thrilled to announce our new membership numbers! It just
two months YOU have helped us raise over $300,000 and we now have:

17 Founding Partners ($5000 +)

  • Argosy Cruises & Tillicum Village
  • Best Western Hotels
  • City of Port Townsend
  • Destination Media Alliance, LLC
  • Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce
  • Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau
  • Port of Seattle
  • Puget Sound Attractions Council (PSAC)
  • Red Lion Hotels
  • Ride The Ducks of Seattle
  • Seattle’s CVB
  • Seattle Southside Visitors Bureau
  • Spokane Regional CVB
  • Washington Restaurant Association (WRA)
  • Washington Indian Gaming Association
  • Washington Lodging Association (WLA)
  • Washington State Destination Marketing Organizations Association (WSDMO)

16 Founding Associate Partners ($2,500 +)
61 Company Members ($300)
65 Individual Members ($25)

In addition to members, we have:

  • 183 Facebook fans
  • 154 Twitter followers

If you haven’t become our fan, or followed us yet, please do!

THANK YOU ALL! We, literally, would not be able to continue a state-wide tourism program if it were not for
your belief in the industry and generous support. Thank you for recognizing that TOURISM MATTERS!

Thank You State Tourism Office!

As we prepare to bid farewell to the Washington State Tourism Office on June 30, we must recognize the fabulous work they have done for so many years and the extraordinary leadership of Marsha Massey and long-time Marketing Manager, Betsy Gabel. Thank you all for your commitment, time and energy in promoting Washington, the State!

Share Your Washington Update

It’s been over a month since ‘Share Your Washington’ has been launched and the response has been fantastic! The most recent numbers from the state report that overall, since Share Your Washington launched, we’ve had:

  • 12,348 total visits
  • 10,085 absolute unique visits
  • 7,234 total invitations have been sent by 3,035 unique users

On average, people are sending 1.8 invitations!

How are they finding us?

  • 41% – Direct to the site
  • 54% – Referring Sites (Facebook, Sweepsheet, KIROTV, access.wa.gov, alaskaworld, Twitter, and of course, YOUR website referrals – thank you very much)
  • 5% – Search Engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo are tops)

WTA plans to assume Share Your Washington when it takes over the Tourism Office assets. We are excited to continue on with this fun and energizing campaign, let’s all Share Your Washington and give our friends, neighbors and relatives some ideas of where to vacation this summer in Washington, the State!

Industry Leaders Attend Pow Wow

Many tourism industry leaders just returned from the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow – the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of Visit USA travel. The three-day event included pre-scheduled business appointments with more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations from every region of the USA, and close to 1,500 International and Domestic Buyers from more than 70 countries! As one of our new obligations, WTA will be responsible for handling any travel trade inquires that result from Pow Wow, we can’t wait!

Thanks again to all of you for your support. We couldn’t do this without you.

Best Regards,
Jane Kilburn, Port of Seattle
Tom Norwalk, Seattle’s CVB
George Schweitzer, Red Lion Hotels
Monique Trudnowski, Adriatic Grill
Sandy Ward, Future of Flight and Boeing Tour