5.03.12 – WTA Board Meeting Minutes

WTA Board Meeting Minutes

May 3, 2012

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sheraton Hotel, Boren Room

In attendance  Jane Kilburn, Andy Olsen, John Bookwalter, Kevin Clark, George Sharp, Christina Pivarnik, Darrell Bryan, Kim Bennett, Dan Moore, Cara Egan, John Cooper, Jennifer Leavitt; WTA Communications Committee Chair David Blandford.

Call-In Cheryl Kilday, John Cedergreen, Monique Trudnowski, Brett Wilkerson, George Schweitzer, David Bauermeister

Staff  Suzanne Fletcher, Monica Hinckley

Absent Donna Cappa, Karen Stebbins, Diane Schostak


I.             CALL TO ORDER

2:08 PM by Kevin Clark


  • Andy moved to approve the April Minutes
  • Jane moved to amend; correct numbering  on item 5
  • Christina moved to approve with amendments

II.            INTRODUCE and welcome MONICA


  • Over 400 attendees
  • Sold out reception @ Museum of Flight
  • Overall satisfaction rate of 93%
    • 85% preferred the all day schedule I would lump this into one bullet point, 97% believed it was good value for cost, 86% are likely to become more involved
    • We broke even, if not profited
    • Thank Joanie Popp and Laura Brackenridge who were our Project Managers
    • The Hilton  couldn’t have been more helpful from the get-go all the way through to the event
    • The raffle brought in about $2,000.
    • Everyone seemed to prefer our WTA speakers over the out-of-towners –  kudos to Kevin, Andy, George, and Suzanne, who were our speakers
    • Suzanne and Christina will take some key trend questions and answer them on the WTA website as a follow-up, per Monique’s suggestion


A.  Website Committee (Cheryl)

  • We are in a holding pattern due to functionality challenges, but are hoping to move forward in a new direction as quickly as possible
  • The 2nd opt-in e-blast was going to go out this week but is being delayed in the hopes that we get a clean list; the 1st opt in blast went really well
  • The website task force (Monique, Les, George, Chris, Cheryl and  Valeta), met with organizations that work with websites the day before the Summit and got six examples to develop ours
  • Task force put together an RFP and needs comments from executive committee within two weeks
  • Have not overspent the budget, although we have spent more YTD than budgeted

B.  Communications Committee (David Blandford)

  • We’ve had some good hits with Crosscut, Seattle Times, King 5 TV, MSNBC, Seattle Business Monthly
    • Some stories still to come
    • Social Media
      • Communications Committee has decided to feed the Facebook and Twitter accounts by posting more interesting things and tagging more often
      • Twitter: Pam Scott, Dana Haynes and Katie Heaverlo; John Cooper tweeted from Pow Wow.
      • Facebook: Dave Blandford and Bridget Baeth
      • The idea is to get the good word out about WTA programs and new members, in addition to higher level industry news because we should be leading that effort
      • Why Tourism Matters is a companion campaign.
      • All press releases are on the WTA website .
      • At Pow Wow the USTA public relations committee members talked about what’s happening in our state. The WTA is being watched and everyone is impressed that we are so collegial with no funding.
      • The Seattle Times (Carol Pucci) reported on the Summit, and tweeted during the event.
      • Next week is National Travel and Tourism Week.
      • If you see a post on Facebook when we have new members go in and welcome them and share it too
      • Clarification:  the Marketing committee handles ExperienceWA, the Communications Committee handles the WTA (consumer vs. industry advocacy)
      • WTA Intern Kara Moreno, Dave’s mentee
        • UW Communications student graduating in June
        • Assisting mostly with communications for the wine event, also did registration at the Summit and research for Suzanne

C.  Long Term Funding (Andy)

  • We met with Washington Filmworks to discuss their methodology (plan attached)
    • It took them 2 years; were not successful the first time
    • This year, they were successful because of who they talked to, what they were saying, and the consistency of their message
    • They didn’t use a shotgun they used a .22
    • We need to go after advocacy, and we need to do it with a vengeance: there is a sense of urgency; we need to be consistent and relentless
    • We are devising an “elevator speech” so we say the same things to everybody
      • Jane will work with David to come up with bullets on the purpose of the WTA, board will vet and refine
      • The idea is to have a packet for all board members to use; you’ll start out with a speech and end with the packet
      • We’ve identified the stakeholders and assigned people within our committee to go after those targeted groups
        • Start with state-wide industry groups, it will then trickle down from there for the state DMO’s to have regional conversations
        • We could put together an advocacy toolkit, distribute the form
        • We also need a plan for how to talk to gubernatorial candidates—for instance, invite them to a WTA Board Meeting
        • Do we want to look at political action committee (PAC)?
        • Can we get the candidates together with a broad spectrum of the folks in the tourism industry and listen to their points?
          • Becky has tried to set up meetings with Insley, has had meetings with McKenna
          • Is tourism built in their plans: do they have anything tangible that we want that we can point to later?
          • McKenna seems to favor the commission model

D.  Membership (Monique)

  • We are working on streamlining the membership data base
  • The committee is giving feedback on the website RFP, we want it to be user friendly for members
  • We want a distinction between membership packets for corporate asks
  • We were featured speaker at the NW Food Service Show

E.  Summit and Events (Christina)

Event Committee’s  goal is to raise $100K

  • On-Line Auction
    • The first on-line auction launched at the Summit
    • Sold for $1,250 to Chris Murphy who will tweet all about it. Was a great offer
    • Too short of a lead time for people to plan
    • Wasn’t marketed as well as we’d like
    • The on-line auction committee made a presentation to the DMO’s just prior to the reception so we managed to book the rest of the auction items through the end of the year
    • Tentative 2012 Calendar
      • May – Thurston County Package
      • June – Vancouver CVB Package
      • July – Visit Rainier Package
      • August – Long Beach CVB Package
      • September – Yakima/Tri-Cities Package
      • October – Bainbridge Island Package
      • November – Seattle Package
      • December – Sportsman of the Year/Beer Tasting Package
      • Wine Event ($30,000)
        • Hoping to raise $30K
        • Location
          • Potentially at the Woodmark Hotel in the Bellevue area and  now looking at some September dates.  Jennifer noted The Bellevue Hyatt is hosting fashion week in October 26-30; might be interesting to combine wine with food and fashion
  • We need help from board members to find 6 or 7 $2K sponsors so that all admission costs go directly to the WTA
  • We’ll also have some auction items: wine baskets, overnights stays, etc. and hope to make another $5~10k on that.
  • Outreach
    • This will not go out to the public, we’re targeting wines connoisseurs
    • Board members should send us connections they have of who would be interested
    • John is working with wine commission for help with getting the word out to their data bases
    • Duane will have leads on who to invite, but like John’s connection with the wineries
    • Bowling
      • Still working on bowling fundraiser in Vancouver at Big Al’s
      • We have an event coordinator who is new to the area but willing to help out
      • We need a team of volunteer
      • Kim and Brett requested a phone conversation before it moves further
      • Golf Tournament
        • In Eastern WA
        • We need a chair and help
        • Painted wine barrel auction
          • Urbanotecha has offered to host (confirm that it’s in kind)
          • Barrels painted in a completion of regions from around the state then brought together for an auction
          • Have two possible chairs
          • Hoping for a June launch and hope to auction at Pre Summit party 2013

F.  Marketing (George)

  • Chris is working on our social media overall marketing program
  • We have the final design for co-op advertising program
  • Will finalize ad this week with partners and then will launch maybe next week.
  • Facebook and Avatar
    • The committee asked board approval to change the Facebook URL from www.facebook.com/wastatetourism to www.facebook.com/expericenwa and is asking for board approval to do so.
    • The committee recommends creating new avatar for the Consumer Experience Washington Twitter page.
    •  Motion to accept these recommendations by John, Christina seconded
      • Motion passed
      • Pacific Northwest Magazine offered a free full page advertisement in its first edition and Green Rubino created the ad pro bono.
      • Subcommittee will report back in June regarding if we can make photos available to other people (WA wine commission)
      • Committee reviewing future co-op development and in-kind services in consideration of membership and recognition as investors of the WTA
        • Will send this to the membership committee for review
        • Our by-laws state that it has to be something we would have paid for otherwise


A.  Financial Report

  • Jenny has left the TRCVB, and she and Brianna have left the WTA. The Summit activity has not been finalized, we do not have printed financials for this meeting because the Summit activity has not been finalized
  • We will take this opportunity to have a month lag. So, for the June meeting we will report on the April financials, not May.
  • $175K in bank, some payables due, membership renewables are just beginning

B.  Operations Report

  1. Office Software update TCVB has been providing our IT support through Avaunt. We are currently looking at a new system for WTA. Kevin will get his people to review the proposal from TROI
  2. Call Center Report The Call Center has been working very well for us.
  • Maureen communicates with Valeta and Suzanne frequently. She is always timely and pleasant, and always trying to find solutions. She’s very important for us, and we want to ensure that everyone understands how great she is.
  • We owe a huge thanks to Darrell for overseeing this person for us. His team has really made Maureen feel a part of the family
  • Suzanne read an e-mail from a couple in Boston praising her efforts (Attached)
  • She is not a Clipper employee, and we don’t suggest Clipper products.
  • We receive her call center reports weekly
  • She contacts Saga City to mail out any requests for maps, guides, etc.
  • She has offered on multiple occasions to help out if there’s busy work to be done
  • Suzanne will send around Maureen’s e-mail address so everyone can thank her personally
  • Chart of call center phone log, and requests for mailings presented  (Attached)
  • There is an ongoing need for a good state map.  Could it be a cop-op with AAA? John is speaking to a local legislator about state support and Darrell will ask in DC about state maps and funding from federal government
  1. Office Space On our wish list now that we are a staff of three.  Researching subleasing from companies that have downsized and are stuck in long term leases

C.  Fundraising Update

  1. New members We got a few new members at the Summit
  2. Renewal Status
  • 73 up for renewal by May 1st
  • 60 were contacted Monica will be sending out renewals going forward
  • We have about 465 members now

D.  Task Force for Non-Tourism Prospects

  • A task force is meeting on Monday to work on putting together a packet that focuses on those not in the tourism industry
  • Help them to understand “what’s in it for them” and see what their return on investment will be.
  • It will be members of Membership Committee and Marketing Committee and a guest from Nordstrom and Concur.

E. Meeting of the Minds

  • Committee chairs have been asked to meet; will be facilitated by Chris Ihrig from last year’s retreat
  • Executive committee welcome to be there, and perhaps should be encouraged to participate
  • It’s not about changing the board’s focus, it’s really just to meet because all of the committees impact one another
  • Cheryl volunteered to help put together the agenda

F. National Tourism Week

  • Next week Port of Seattle will do a motion in support of Nat’l Tourism Week, so Jane can talk about WTA
    • Kevin will be there to thank the Port Commission for their generous $155K sponsorship.
    • Jane will pass out visitors guide, pins to Commissioners
    • Darrell got an award from Victoria, suggest we do the same thing

VI.          Pow Wow Update

  • (Handouts passed around)
  • 5000 people in attendance
  • We had 37 appointments (maximum is 44), had some no shows, so could accommodate 12 walk-ups
  • We distributed 100 thumb drives that were loaded (on file) and in most cases this was sufficient information
  • Some folks had specific requests that should be given to the local representative
  • Each partner contributed $3,800 for the costs. Booth is only pipe and draping: have to pay for labor, shipping, etc. Each attendee had to pay for airfare, lodging.
  • With all expenses in, except for shipping outbound, thumb drives, won’t cost the WTA

VII. Editorial Board Update

  • Meeting tomorrow
  • Talking about next year’s schedule

VIII. Next Board meeting

  •  Yakima, June 14, 2012.
  • John will plan a reception the night before, details to come later

IX. Good of the Order

  • Getting information from Members:
    • How much do we push out to our current list of membership besides Suzanne’s newsletter
    • Do we end up soliciting ideas from them, i.e. what banks do you use? (in order to help with fundraising from non-tourism entities)
    • Survey Monkey is fast: free for 10 questions or less, $19.95 per month if you want to manipulate the data
    • Constant Contact also has a survey tool that can integrate.
    • Grass Roots efforts:
      • DMAI is having their national convention here in July. The guy who runs the Phoenix bureau, Steve, would be great to meet with. John will coordinate
      • Suzanne leaves Tuesday morning, back May 22nd
      • Jane’s Japan visit:
        • Jane went to Japan with tourism partnership at the end of March, met with major tour operators, and media.
        • Thinks USA is coming back, the partnership has frustration with Japan receptive operators because of their very limited offerings.
        • Delta is  anxious about the ANA flight starting in July, but staying committed to the route
        • Entertained high level executives for a Mariners game with the Oakland A’s in the Tokyo Dome
        • We need to keep engaged with Japan; China is so vast but it’s the Japanese who spend more money and are one of our top two markets.
        • Jane thanked George Schweitzer for making a presentation to the Washington Public Ports Association later this month.

X. Meeting adjourned at 4:46pm.