Executive Director Update – May 2012

Last month I reported on our successful Summit that took place at the Seattle Hilton & Conference Center on April 5, 2012. With over 400 attendees, it was a great way to kick off year two. In my last newsletter I had mentioned we would be reporting back to you the survey results received, and commentary that was shared with us.

1. Overall Satisfaction with the Summit: 93% of responders were satisfied and/or extremely satisfied
2. View of the all-day format: 85% preferred the full day over a half day
3. Event was priced appropriately: 97% felt it was a good value

Below are partial responses from the open-ended survey questions:

Was anything missing from the event? What would you like to see next year?

• More networking opportunity
• Break outs in the afternoon
• More solicitation of information from the audience
• Panel discussions
• More discussions on marketing
• More information on how money will be spent
• Report on how other states are dealing with cut backs

What suggestions do you have for next year’s Summit?

• Liked the Committee updates
• Use the organizations that were there to market your program to spread the word to community service groups
• Understand the need to thank everyone and congratulate everyone but that seemed to be the only theme felt like a company annual sales meeting
• Get sponsorships/funding — where are the big companies…the non-tourism companies that reap the benefits, i.e. Microsoft and Amazon?
• Involve more of the smaller, outlying area groups. Work with your nonprofit members more…they know how to save and get money
• Keep communicating about what successes the organization is having and don’t forget about the possible contributions of ‘grassroots’ or individual members
• More handouts
• Create a brand assessment, brand strategy and a marketing plan with clear objectives, strategies and tactics
• Get the funding legislation ready soon, then call on us for lobbying calls and we’ll make it happen
• Official Washington State Visitor’s Guide

Committee Reports

Web Committee-The website is still a work in progress, and the team is currently evaluating next steps.
PR & Communications-Continuing to expand our reach on Facebook & Twitter. Get your friends to follow us! The PR Committee got four press releases out during the month, and we were very fortunate to have MSNBC, The Seattle Times, Crosscut and King 5 covering our Summit
Long Term Funding-We continue to meet with other organizations to learn from their efforts. Last week we had the opportunity to hear how Washington Filmworks was successful in passing their recent legislation. We have been identifying stakeholders and stakeholder organizations to determine our advocacy focus, and are assigning members to these stakeholders to advance our message.
Membership Committee-This committee is currently working on a project to streamline the current member database so it can be used more effectively in outreach. They are also assisting the Marketing Committee in designing a non-tourism membership kit that can be used in future solicitations by creating a more compelling value proposition.
Marketing Committee-Along with revamping the membership kit, the Marketing Committee is also focusing on future: co-op development and contests. They are also evaluating our media buy strategy and developing recommendations to the Board. Lastly, they are continuing to enhance the use of our social media.
Summit & Events –While the five “around the State” fundraising events are still in the early planning stages, venues and themes are being finalized. Don’t forget about our Bidding for Good auction site! The S&E committee will be launching a new package every month thru 2012.

Pow Wow Report
The Washington Tourism Alliance was well represented at Pow Wow 2012. A huge thank you to John Cooper, Yakima CVB, for being the coordinator and host for this year’s booth. John shared the booth with George Sharp, Olympia/Tumwater/Lacey CVB, Leslie Johnson, Squaxin Tribe, and Shauna Lunde-Stewart from the Tacoma Regional CVB. Their dance card was full, having 37 confirmed appointments and 12 walk ups. It was very important for the WTA to be present, and squelch the rumors that Washington was closed for business.

Official Guide
I’m pleased to report that the new Official Washington State Visitors’ Guide is a tremendous hit, flying off shelves all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Pick up a copy and you’ll know why the Visitors’ Guide is so popular. It offers 140 pages of first-class travel writing, stunning photography and invaluable resources. And thanks to our publishing partnership with Washington Lodging Association and SagaCity Media, Inc., the Washington State Visitors’ Guide will engage close to one million readers in 2012—more proof that WTA is leveraging opportunities to promote tourism throughout our beautiful state! Please contact Jeff Adams at SagaCity Media (jadams@sagacitymedia.com or 206-454-3007) for more information.

And now we are three!!!
I hope you all have an opportunity to say hello to Monica Hinckley who joined us as our permanent Administrator. Monica joined us in mid-May, and comes from the Seattle International Film Festival organization. It is great to now have a team of three representing you and the WTA.

As always, we love to hear from you. If you have comments or concerns, please feel free to call us or send an email to admin@watourismalliance.com.