Tennessee Department of Tourist Development presents July 2007 Rythm & News for industry partners of Tennessee
Articles Industry Trends Calendar Noteworthy Tips
A Message from
Commissioner Susan Whitaker

Dear Colleagues,

On Wednesday, July 4, there were thousands of amazing pyrotechnic displays throughout the country, but those lucky enough to be in Tennessee had front row seats to some of the finest celebrations held anywhere!

As always, Tennessee led the way, starting with the first official parade taking place at midnight in Gatlinburg. Nashville put on a tremendous show that will be rebroadcast throughout the month of July on the GAC (Great American Country) network. Our big cities and small towns all provided wonderful parades and spectacular fireworks as a backdrop to the celebration of our precious freedoms and those in uniform who protect them. It is an honor to serve in a state that so openly appreciates the blessings we have received as a nation. And it is a joy that so many people from around the country join us to do so.

This year has already been a busy one for the Department of Tourist Development. In our ongoing efforts to expand the tourism industry’s growth, we held a statewide listening tour this spring. Hearing your concerns, both critical and complimentary, has been extremely beneficial in making improvements in our services to you. I believe you will see the results of this interaction in our upcoming activities and projects.

Later this month, we will begin our annual “Marketing Road Show” to announce our new marketing plan for the fiscal year. Jennifer Spence, assistant commissioner of marketing, her team and other staff members are working very hard to make this a productive time for all who attend, providing key information on marketing opportunities that can benefit every sector of the tourism industry. I am looking forward to seeing many of you at those meetings (a list of which can be found in this newsletter).

Finally, mark your calendars for the 2007 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, September 19 – 21! It promises to be a fantastic learning and networking opportunity plus the Conference will host an expansive, joint exposition with our partners in the industry (TRA, TH&LA, TAA, and TTR). You can find out more about the conference in this newsletter.

Thank you again for all you do to make Tennessee such a special place. The word is out and the world is coming. That’s good news for all of us.

Enjoy a safe and successful summer!

Susan Whitaker

Featured Articles:

Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker to Chair Travel South USA’s Board

Commissioner Whitaker was elected Chairman of the Travel South USA Board of Directors.

Travel South USA is America's oldest and largest regional travel promotion organization formed in 1965 by a resolution of the Southern Governor's Association. Its mission is to promote, foster, and encourage travel to and within the twelve Southern states, which include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

"On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, we are delighted Commissioner Susan Whitaker has been elected to serve as the next Travel South Chairman of the Board," said Bud Nocera, president and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, the state's official tourism marketing corporation. "Her leadership skills present our group with opportunities that allow us to maximize the regional programming that serves the twelve Southern states."

A non-profit organization, Travel South USA serves as an information source for journalists, tour operators, retail travel agents and other travel professionals.

"I am honored to be selected by my peers to take this leadership role at Travel South," said Whitaker. "This organization is significant to our region's economic growth, and I am very pleased to be a part of its continuing success in promoting tourism to the South."

The Stage is Set for the 2007 Governor’s Conference on Tourism


Dennis Snow featured keynote

Dennis Snow, one of the nation's leading authorities on developing and implementing excellent service, will deliver the keynote address at the morning session of the 2007 Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Regardless of the areas of the tourism and hospitality industries of which you are involved, excellence in customer service is critical to your success. Snow promises to take you in a direction that provides greater success.

“New Connections, New Directions!” this year’s theme for the event is indicative to the industry moving forward. This year’s conference continues to provide educational programming, which focuses on the latest tourism topics and brings together the Tennessee tourism and hospitality industry as never before. Chattanooga hosts this year’s annual event on September 19-21, 2007.

"This conference allows the entire industry to reach new heights by partnering in creative and innovative ways, and to develop cutting edge strategies for growth," said Tennessee Department of Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker.

Exciting new features include:

The Tennessee Tourism & Hospitality EXPO:
This event will combine for the first time, the annual trade shows of the Tennessee tourism industry, the Tennessee Restaurant Association, and the Tennessee Hotel & Lodging Association. The EXPO will feature 200 suppliers of products and services for the tourism and hospitality industry, plus the new "Great Ideas!” fair and the annual TTR Silent Auction. The EXPO will be open on Wednesday, September 19 from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and on Thursday, September 20 from 9:45 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Tourism Marketing Super Seminar: This new “Tourism Marketing Super Seminar,” featuring Judy Randall, has been added this year from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 19, at no additional cost.

Opening Night Reception, featuring the new “Penguins Rock!” exhibit at the Tennessee Aquarium: “No Tux Required” is the theme for this year’s opening night reception as the Tennessee tourism industry is treated to a private reception at Ocean Journey, home of the new “Penguins Rock!” exhibit. The Tennessee Aquarium and Jack Daniel's Distillery will sponsor the opening reception.

Educational seminars featuring cutting-edge topics, nationally recognized speakers, and a new format: True to the theme of “New Connections, New Directions,” the education and professional development programming will feature the hottest tourism topics presented by the best speakers and experts available! In addition, a new format has been implemented that allows most presentations to be repeated at least once, allowing conference attendees to take the greatest advantage of the educational programs being offered.

Topics include:

“Creating World Class Service (Keynote) and “Performance Excellence – The Employee Factor” with Dennis Snow of Snow & Associates, Orlando, FL

“Culinary Tourism: The Hidden Harvest” with Eric Wolf, President/CEO of the International Culinary Tourism Association, Portland, OR

“Securing Tourism’s Place at the Local Economic Development Table” with Dr. Steve Morse, Director, University of Tennessee Tourism Institute

“How to get Maximum Return from your Marketing Dollars” with Larry Mersereau, PromoPower Presentations and Consulting, Valparaiso, IN

“Tourism Technology: It's A Whole New World!” with Ryan Bifulco, President, TravelSpike, Atlanta, GA

“Tourism Crisis Management: This Could Happen to You” with Alan Griggs, Senior Consultant, Institute for Crisis Management, Louisville, KY

“Web Advertising Co-Op Programs” with Jennifer Spence, Assistant Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and representatives of the Department’s 2007-2008 internet marketing partners

“We are genuinely excited about this year’s conference,” said Dave Perella, chairman of the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable, which produces the conference in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “We will bring our industry together in a truly united way for what we believe will be one of the most informative, innovative and valuable conferences ever!”

Even with all the exciting additions and new programs, the price is the same as last year’s: only $249.00 per attendee. The registration fee includes all educational and general session programs and all meals and breaks other than the Wednesday night Dine-Around, EXPO admission, and all materials.

Information on the Governor’s Conference, including the conference schedule, educational sessions, host hotels and on-line registration, is available on the TTR Web site at www.tenntourismroundtable.com or by calling the TTR office at 615.734.9380.


2007-08 Marketing Road Show

Commissioner Susan Whitaker and members of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s marketing team will hit the road soon, traveling the state on an eight-city tour to present the 2007-08 marketing plan to tourism partners and associates. This is a great opportunity for tourism partners to learn how the department is marketing Tennessee as a tourist destination and to review the co-op opportunities available to them.

While some tour dates are presentations at hotel or attraction association meetings* all interested tourism partners are encouraged to attend. Below, please find the road show schedule, as well the key points for this year’s media plan.

Road Show Schedule:

Jul 19 Chattanooga The Chattanoogan 11:30 a.m.-1p.m. (GCHLA Meeting)
Jul 20 Nashville Musician’s Hall of Fame 2 p.m. (Roadshow)
Jul 23 Memphis Children’s Museum 9 a.m (Roadshow)
Jul 30 Crossville CHA Center 1:30 p.m. (Roadshow)
Jul 31 Gatlinburg Mills Auditorium 11:45 a.m. (Area HLA and Attractions Joint Meeting)
Aug 2 Knoxville Courtyard by Marriott-Airport 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. (KAC Meeting)
Aug 8 Kingsport Meadowview Marriott- Grand Salon I 2 p.m. (Roadshow Meeting)
Aug 9 Jackson Rockabilly Hall of Fame 5 p.m. (Roadshow)

The 2007-08 marketing plan will…

  • … use the successful elements of past plans while increasing broadcast weight levels in feeder markets for the launch of the new creative in the first quarter of 2008;

  • … include the eight niches from FY2007 with four new additions for FY2008;

  • … maintain the high level of online support in order to reach consumers as they increasingly turn to the Internet for travel planning and decision-making;

  • … include a strong print, Internet and television co-op plan to offer partners a variety of timing options and title variety;

  • …continue to utilize a wide-ranging media mix to reach the target with multiple messages in a variety of media vehicles.

The complete 2007-08 marketing plan will be available soon by visiting www.tnvacation.com/industry/. If you have questions regarding the road show or TDTD’s marketing in general, contact Jennifer Spence, Assistant Commissioner for Marketing, at Jennifer.Spence@state.tn.us.

*Some association meetings may require a meeting fee for attendees.


STS Scholarships with Miles Media


Miles Media partners with Tennessee Department of Tourism to send tourism professionals to STS Marketing College

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, together with Official Tennessee State Vacation Guide publisher Miles Media Group, will provide full scholarships to Tennessee tourism professionals to the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) Marketing College. Linda Lewanksi, Cocke County Partnership, and Brenda Herron, Copper Cellar/Calhoun’s Restaurant, are the proud recipients of the award.“

Tourism education means we are constantly raising the bar in our industry,” said Commissioner Susan Whitaker. “STS Marketing College is an organization committed to our industry’s growth, prosperity and competitive edge. It’s wonderful to have STS and Miles Media working with us to promote education in Tennessee’s tourism industry.”

The STS Marketing College is a three-year educational program for members of the tourism industry in the Southeast United States. From July 29 - Aug. 3, 2007 the courses will be held at the campus of North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, Ga. During this week, students will experience a broad-based curriculum of courses designed to teach marketing techniques from all facets of the tourism industry. Marketing College professors are working, experienced professionals from across the country that not only bring expertise, but real-world knowledge and skill to the classroom. Students who attend three years of Marketing College receive a Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) certification, presented at a special graduation ceremony at the STS Spring Meeting.

The STS Marketing scholarships will cover tuition, accommodations and most meals for the 2007 session. “STS is delighted to be working in partnership with Miles Media and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. We commend both of these partners for their encouragement and commitment to the continuing education of employees in the travel and tourism industry,” acknowledged Bill Hardeman, STS president and CEO.

Scott Templeton, Miles Media Group Southeast U.S. regional publisher, said, "We are very excited to provide individuals in the Tennessee tourism industry with an opportunity for professional growth, exchange of ideas and networking with their peers in the Tennessee and Southeast tourism communities."

Miles Media Group is the publisher of the Official Tennessee State Vacation Guide. Miles Media Group's mission is to deliver visitors to their destination clients. They accomplish this goal by publishing captivating as well as, functional print, Internet, and electronic marketing products for state divisions of tourism, CVBs and other organizations in the tourism industry. In the 51 years since the company was founded, Miles Media Group has grown to become the largest publisher of tourism information, both in print and on the Internet, in the United States.

2008 Vacation Guide Sales Begin

2008 Tennessee Vacation Guide in the Works

Miles Media Group, publisher of the Official Tennessee Vacation Guide, has its staff traveling the state selling the 2008 guide.

The Vacation Guide is the publication visitors use to make their vacation decisions. By purchasing an ad you can put the power of Tennessee's multi-million dollar media campaign to work for you. You can also reach visitors when they are choosing destinations, selecting accommodations, and deciding what to do and where to shop. The Vacation Guide is Tennessee's "exclusive" consumer and travel/trade fulfillment piece that delivers results.

To place your ad in the upcoming publication, contact Mary Steadman for the Upper Cumberland and East Tennessee Region at mary.steadman@milesmedia.com or 423.956.4330 or Abbie Gristy for Middle and West Tennessee at abbie.gristy@milesmedia.com or 731.298.1003.

Tourism Department Enhances Online Partnership Opportunities Through Paramore Redd

Paramore Redd Online Marketing is TDTD’s new lead-generation & email partner as part of the state’s new media plan. TDTD’s new email marketing co-op and sponsorship program provides the opportunity for partners to reach potential guests who have specifically requested information about vacationing in Tennessee. Amanda Durand, sales representative with Paramore Redd, has been touring across the state to present partners with the advertising opportunities in the new email program. You can also review the sales information by going to www.tnvacation.com/industry.

How many people will receive the eNewsletters?
More than 70,000 new leads collected since April with new potential guests signing up daily.
More than 300,000 of Tennessee Departments of Tourism current database who have requested email newsletter updates on Tennessee.
More than 200,000 people who like to travel in the Southeast region through a rented list.

For information contact Amanda Durand by email at adurand@paramoredd.com or phone 615-324-8997.

Tiftonia Welcome Center

Artwork in Garden at Tiftonia Center

Tiftonia Welcome Center Still Strong After More Than 30 Years

Nestled between the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains and Lookout Mountain, sits the Tiftonia Welcome Center. Tiftonia, Tenn. is conveniently located on Interstate 24 near Chattanooga, Tenn. and boarders both Alabama and Georgia.

The Welcome Center, one of 13 statewide, was built in 1973 and offers 2,600 square feet of amenities for Tennessee visitors. It displays a beautiful flower garden at its entrance, filled with colors that delight and welcome visitors. The nine member staff believes that serving the travelers is their number one responsibility.

Eddie Johnson has spent the past 16 years as a part of the Tennessee Welcome Center family. During his time with the department, Johnson has seen some famous celebrities, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Burt Reynolds and the country music group Alabama. Currently, Johnson is the manager of the Tiftonia Center and enjoys meeting all of the different people that visit Tennessee.

“You would be surprised at how many people return and remember the information you shared with them on their previous visit to the Welcome Center,” said Johnson.

Nashville, Knoxville and Atlanta are all within about 125 miles of Tiftonia’s central location. The Welcome Center serves as a gateway to Tennessee and provides valuable information to thousands of travelers.

Welcome Center Employee of the Month

Matt Cook


Matt Cook, a building maintenance worker I at the Mitchellville Welcome Center, is the Tennessee Welcome Centers Employee of the Month for June. Although Matt has only been with our Department for a little over a year, he has quickly earned the reputation among his peers as an employee who is a hard worker and who shows a great deal of initiative.

"Matt is the type of employee who doesn't wait to be asked to do something," said Sherry Prochaska, Mitchellville Welcome Center manager. "When he sees something that needs to be done, he takes the initiative and takes care of it right away." Services visitors receive at the Welcome Centers are significant and constantly demonstrate acts of kindness that are beyond doing one's job.

"Matt also goes out of his way in helping our visitors, as he has been seen assisting some of our elderly guests in times of bad weather. He has learned very quickly that we are a team here, and as a valued member of our
team he takes great pride in his work and goes above and beyond the call
of duty," said Prochaska.

Industry Applause

Members of the United States Navy
wave to the crowd in Downtown
Gatlinburg during the 32nd Annual
Midnight Parade

Gatlinburg's 4th of July Midnight Parade Picked as Top 20 Event
Southeastern Tourism Society selected Gatlinburg's 4th of July Midnight Parade as a Top 20 Event for the month of July. For the 32nd consecutive year, Gatlinburg kicked off America's Independence Day celebration with the nation's first parade, which began at 12 midnight on July 4 to the cheers of approximately 100,000 spectators.

Memphis CVB Among Best in Nation
The Memphis Convention and Visitors' Bureau has been named one of the top 25 convention and visitors bureaus in the country and has received the 2007 Successful Meetings Pinnacle Award. This award is given to organizations that have done an outstanding job servicing their meetings, incentive travel programs, trade shows and conventions during the previous year, according to Successful Meetings magazine.

Gaylord Opryland Earns National Industry Awards Including Diversity and Special Events Honors
The industry's first Prism Award, recognizing innovative diversity programs contributing to the overall success of a major hotel or resort, was awarded this week to Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. The landmark luxury resort was also recognized for its year-round entertainment with the Special Events Award.

2007 CMA Music Festival Breaks Attendance Record
CMA Music Festival set a new aggregate attendance record in 2007 with 191,154 people attending the four-day Festival, June 7-10, in downtown Nashville. "It was an amazing event on many different levels," said Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Operating Officer. Attendance at the Festival hit an all-time high. Tickets for CMA Music Festival 2008, June 5-8, went on sale Saturday and Gold Circle four- day ticket packages sold out in a record 90 minutes.

National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis

National Civil Rights Museum gets $50,000
The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis has received a $50,000 contribution from Harrah's Entertainment to assist in its goal to develop innovative educational programs for diverse audiences. Officials say the gift is part of the company's commitment to the community.

Dolly Parton A Girl Scout
Dolly Parton has become a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of Tanasi Council. More than 1,000 Girl Scouts took part in the event. "While I was never a Girl Scout myself when I was a kid, I always wanted to be," said Parton. "This great honor lets me live out a dream and to be part of an organization that stands for many of the same values I do and Dollywood does."

Jesse McReynolds to Receive Uncle Dave Heritage Award
Grand Ole Opry member Jesse McReynolds will received the coveted Heritage Award Saturday, July 14 at Uncle Dave Macon Days. McReynolds originated the complex "cross-picking" style of mandolin playing, which is now a much imitated bluegrass and flatpicking guitar staple.

Sudderth takes job with Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau
Molly Sudderth, Mayor Bill Purcell's press secretary, has accepted a job with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau as the bureau's director of communications. She will work with local media while Heather Middleton, the bureau's director of public relations, focuses on Internet publicity and on expanding media relations efforts nationally and internationally.

Tennessee, The Stage is Set For You

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