WTA Executive Director’s Newsletter – September 2012

Word is spreading. Questions are being asked. Invitations to speak about the WTA are on the rise….and that’s all good news!

Yes, tourism has now been the topic of choice for major events such as the Seattle Chamber of Commerce “Executive Speaker” series, the Puget Sound Business Journal’s “Business Journal Live” series, the Joint Committee on Economic Development & International Trade held in Walla Walla, and now Key Bank’s “Sound Thinking” forums.   On October 10, 2012 at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle, Key Bank, in association with Washington State University is hosting Bigger Than You Think: The Economic Impact of Tourism on the Puget Sound Economy, and the WTA is a featured speaker.   This venue will allow us to share our story and address issues that are of concern to our industry. This complimentary event is open to all WTA members and we encourage you to attend. To register, simply go to key.com/soundthinking. (Deadline is October 4, 2012).

The WTA Board had the opportunity to hear from both gubernatorial candidates over the last couple of months. It was a great opportunity to have an open discussion and have them answer questions that are affecting tourism in our state. Both candidates acknowledged the value tourism brings to Washington. When available, transcripts of their commentary will be posted on the WTA website.

We are very excited to announce our home town cruise line, Holland America, has recently joined the WTA at the $5000 Partner level. The cruise industry has a tremendous impact on tourism for the state bringing in $416M in annual business revenue to the region. It is wonderful to see Holland America involved with the WTA.

Suzanne Fletcher

Committee Reports Long Term Funding/Advocacy
The Long Term Funding Committee met at the end of August to continue discussions about a proposal for sustainable long term funding. Results from the focus groups and meetings around the state were considered. In addition, further efforts to understand the “numbers” of tourism continue. They are working with the Washington State Department of Revenue to determine the number of businesses and their revenues in the various tourism sectors.They have begun consideration of the need and availability for some so-called “bridge funding.” This will help keep a state tourism program in tact while the mechanism for a long term funding source is being implemented. Several key legislators have been receptive to the idea of bridge funding to be used until a mechanism for private support can be put in place. This funding would be used for specific projects and activities that are critical to a statewide program.Summit & Events

The Summit & Events committee didn’t hold a committee meeting in August, however, a lot of work was accomplished in the month nonetheless. Bidding for Good continued with a new package released in August for Long Beach. Current stats from these packages will be in next month’s report.

A date was set for our Wine Event and Auction. It will be Saturday, May 18, 2013 at Urban Enoteca in Seattle and will be called “A Red and White Affair.” This will be WTA’s major fundraiser for the year, showcasing approximately 20 wineries. It will include wine tasting and delectable appetizers, with the option of purchasing special cellared wines. This will be an upscale event and will primarily be by invitation, although it will be announced at the Summit earlier in the spring. Cost per person is anticipated to be $125 and will be capped at 300 people.

PR/Communications Committee

Media Coverage

A sampling of some regional news media coverage about WTA that were facilitated by the Communications Committee in July:

–          King TV/KONG TV

Suzanne Fletcher was interviewed by Jake Wittenberg, Reporter with King 5 TV, on WTA’s success and challenges one year after the state tourism office closed. The story aired on KING and KONG’s morning news with varying live feeds at several times.

–          Puget Sound Business Journal (Hospitality Special Section)

A tourism story featuring WTA appeared in the journal’s special hospitality section on August 24. The story mentioned WTA’s long term funding challenges and opportunities.

WTA social media channels: The committee is staffing both Facebook and Twitter. Members take shifts in posting/tweeting. With the transition complete, emphasis is now on building fans/followers, which in turn will help WTA establish industry, member, business and political support.

Photos/Video: The committee continues to work in tandem with other WTA committees to make its photo and B-roll video library more accessible for client and industry use. Progress continues on development of a much-needed storage system that is separate from experiencewa.com. Solutions may include an FTP site, cloud option or others.

Membership Committee

The membership committee has continued to work on our membership outreach initiative.  We have now finished assigning all the WTA members board representatives. The membership committee will be reaching out to each of our members over the coming months to talk about the direction of the WTA and answer any questions. Don’t forget, the Level Up! Campaign is still going strong so if you bring in a member to the WTA, you’ll get a free upgrade to your membership. Please feel free to contact Mike Moe at mike@watourismalliance.com if you have any questions.

Marketing Committee

The marketing committee is proud to announce that they have officially concluded the 2012 co-op advertising campaign and it was a huge success! Here are some quick facts illustrating that when tourism stakeholders in Washington work together, great things happen!

  • 3,780 direct visits to the co-op Facebook application were drawn from the strategic advertising placements in Portland, OR and Vancouver, BC
    • 1,612 visits were drawn from Display and Email marketing
    • 2,169 visits were drawn from Facebook advertising
    • 660 new likes earned through 12 sources
    • 322 countries around the world visited the app to learn about Washington Adventures
    • 441,290 Facebook users reached on the app’s most popular day

The marketing committee already has the gears in motion for the next co-op advertising campaign. We will be sure to let you all know once we have the new strategy developed further.

Prior to the last committee meeting on 9/13, a subgroup of the Marketing Committee met with Green Rubino to review the work that went into the creation of the Washington the State logo and brand toolkit. The committee discussed what would be the proposed next steps to implement the brand platform that we built into an updated strategy based on today’s circumstances and changes taking place in technology and marketing. The marketing committee looks forward to working with the framework originally developed by Green Rubino to create an engaging brand experience for those looking for a genuinely northwest adventure.

The Marketing Committee is assembling a list of all travel trade shows Washington State tourism stakeholders are attending and we will be more than happy to support their marketing efforts along the way. If you and your local DMO will be exhibiting at a travel trade show, we would love to hear about it!


Welcome New Members!  New members this month include: American Hotel, The Bellevue Square Collection, Holiday Inn Express (Spokane Valley), Holiday Inn Express (Wenatchee), Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Laurie Hatfield (Willapa Harbor Chamber of Commerce), Lisa Pasin (Redmond Inn), Oxford Suites (Yakima), Quality Inn Valley Suites, SpringHill Suites (Wenatchee), White Pass Scenic Byway, and Drew Schmidt (San Jan Cruises). Thank you for joining the WTA, and for becoming a part in the future of Washington Tourism.