November 2014 Newsletter

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UPDATE  
Louise Stanton-Masten  

In the past month, the WTA focus has been on several elements related to the future of our state-wide tourism marketing plans.

At the annual planning retreat, the WTA Board of Directors finalized recommendations which will be included in our report “Creating Stable Long Term Funding for a Statewide Tourism Marketing Program”, to be delivered to the State Legislature on December 1st. As we’ve reported in past newsletters, the report lays out the recommendations for a program funded entirely by the tourism industry through assessments of the five sectors of the tourism industry, a mechanism for collecting and administering the funds, and a proposed governance structure. The WTA will seek legislation this session to create this program which would raise $7.5 million in funding for a long term state tourism marketing program. The Board also discussed and developed a framework to plan for the WTA’s transition from its current advocacy focus and organizational structure to that of a programmatic marketing organization.

In planning for the future, the WTA is developing marketing objectives and priorities for a strategic marketing plan to increase incremental travel to Washington.  Please take a few minutes to complete the survey by December 5th. We want your insights and feedback so that we can ensure that the marketing initiatives address the needs of our industry partners.

THE 5TH ANNUAL WTA SUMMIT AND DAY IN OLYMPIA

The WTA Tourism Summit and Day in Olympia February 12, 2015 is rapidly approaching. The event will include a morning session at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts with presentations addressing statewide tourism topics followed by lunch, an afternoon at the Capitol for meetings with our legislators and a special evening reception at the Governor’s Mansion. Our legislative advocacy will be focused on WTA legislation for long-term funding for statewide tourism marketing.

Look for a detailed agenda and registration information next month. Hotel rooms are available at the Red Lion Hotel at a special WTA rate.  Contact the Red Lion at 1-800-RED-LION (1-800-733-5466) or the hotel directly at 360-252-4000 by Friday, January 16, 2015 and identify yourself as a member of the Washington Tourism Alliance group.

 

 2014 OLYMPIC PENINSULA TOURISM SUMMIT

One hundred and fifty people from diverse sectors of the tourism industry, gathered for the day in Port Townsend at Fort Worden to learn more about Orchestrating Tourism Together. The buzz in the room came from a lot of great networking and the post-conference survey results proclaimed this “the best Summit ever”.

US Congressman, Derek Kilmer, spoke knowledgeably about the important intersection of tourism and economic development. He emphasized that tourism, as a business, development enterprise, is very competitive and therefore we need to be actively engaged in marketing this region. “Tourism”, he said, “creates jobs and helps provide us with hope for a bright economic future.”

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Following a presentation by Washington FilmWorks on “The Economic Impact of Film Production in Washington State”, parrticipants were treated to a special, unannounced guest appearance by legendary Mick Dodge. Mick’s reality TV show on the National Geographic network has introduced thousands of viewers to the misty, magical Hoh Rain Forest a  nd ocean beaches of the Olympic Peninsula. Mick spoke to the group for about 10 minutes and graciously accommodated numerous photo requests. A fun surprise of Summit attendees.

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This year OPTC initiated a Tourism Innovation Award. In discussing candidates for consideration, the planning committee was unanimous in its selection of Diane Schostak, recently retired Executive Director of Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau.

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In announcing the award, “maestra” Christina Pivarnik said that Diane had provided years of big picture thinking and creative leadership for the Olympic Peninsula, that she had been a timeless promoter of our destination to journalists, tour operators, other Destination Marketing Organizations, legislators, elected officials, and any visitors met along the way. Congratulations Diane – well deserved!

 

Find links to the Tourism Summit presentations and other tourism industry related information, CLICK HERE!

TARGETED US OPEN ADVERTISING NOW AVAILABLE ON EXPERIENCEWA.COM 
Mike Moe 

The US Open is coming to Washington State for the first time next summer. 275,000 people will attend the tournament at the Chambers Bay Golf Course, just outside of Tacoma. It is a huge opportunity for our industry, not only in Pierce County, but all around our State. The US Open is one of the two major golf championships played in the United States and the only one to be played on different courses each year. It’s been equated to the “Super Bowl of Golf.”

Whether you own a hotel in Walla Walla, a restaurant in Aberdeen or bed & breakfast in Bellingham, hopefully you have thought about your strategy to capitalize on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There will be people coming from all over the world to attend this event and many will come early or extend their trip to visit other parts of Washington. This is our chance to showcase our state to the world!

The ExperienceWA.com website will give you a chance to market directly to travelers who are interested in the US Open. There will be a special US Open page where you can feature your best offers to attract golf travelers to your destination or business. Golf enthusiasts are already starting to plan! Get this space for only $200 a month!*

For more details, contact Mike Moe at mike@watourismalliance.com or call him at 425-444-0589. Or contact Lisa Schwartz at lisa.schwartz@milespartnership.com or call her at 206-679-1930.

*3 month minimum required

 

THE WTA ANNOUNCES CHRISTINA PIVARNIK AS OLYMPIC PENINSULA REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

The WTA is pleased to announce that Christina Pivarnik has been appointed to serve as the Olympic Peninsula Regional Representative on the WTA Board of Directors. The position was previously held by Diane Schostak, Director of the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau, who retired earlier this year.

Christina was a founding member of the WTA and has served on the Board since July 2011 representing economic development organizations. She has owned a marketing and communications business for 24 years, working with over 40 firms on the local, regional, national and international level and is in her seventh year under contract with the City of Port Townsend as Director of Marketing.

Christina is a member of the Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission, on the Executive Committee for the Olympic Culinary Loop, and a board member for EDC Team Jefferson. She is a past president for the Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce (now the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce). She is also the co-owner of Christina James Winery and works as a freelance writer. In her free time, she rides her horses and loves beach walks with her husband and dog.

 

MARKETING EXPERIENCEWA.COM  

ExperienceWA.com has seen great success with the WTA’s online media investment. The Search Engine Marketing campaign, which ran from April through October, resulted in an increase in site traffic for that period by 40% over 2013!

Our paid search (keyword) campaign produced over 40,000 visits to the site and over 130,000 page views with a click-through rate of 1.46%. Our display campaign reached over 8.38 million users and had a click-through rate of 0.14% – double the industry average for display banners in the travel vertical.  The campaign brought almost 50,000 visitors to the site, with three pages on the site viewed each session.

We expect that visits to the site will continue to benefit from this initial investment as more and more travelers find their way to ExperienceWA.com to plan their visit to Washington State.

 

ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE 2015 WASHINGTON STATE VISTORS’ GUIDE

Production is now underway on the 2015 Washington State Visitors’ Guide. 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).

 

WTA MEMBERS IN THE NEWS   

PORT TOWNSEND NAMED ONE OF THE TOP 12 BEAUTIFUL BEACH TOWN BARGAINS FOR FALL   

NEW SNOHOMISH COUNTY VISUAL ARTS GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE  

HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY THRIVES IN TRI-CITIES  

SPOKANE JOINS UTRIP

 

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 diana@watourismalliance.com.

 

WTA WELCOMES OCTOBER MEMBERS