This has been an extremely busy summer for Tennessee’s tourism industry and the Department of Tourist Development, as we set the stage for a new fiscal year of significant growth in all sectors of travel. To support this, there is good news at the national level concerning current industry trends.
Dr. Suzanne Cook, Senior Advisor to U. S. Travel Association, just released her latest U.S. Travel Outlook report, revealing that the travel industry is outperforming the economy overall, with both Consumer Confidence and the Traveler Sentiment Index on the rise. Leisure travel definitely appears to be in a sustained growth pattern, a great opportunity for a state full of incredible, affordable vacation destinations like Tennessee.
The Tourism Committee has been working diligently, putting the final touches on the Tennessee Tourism Strategic Plan that will be presented to Governor Haslam in August. This plan incorporates the research done on all three regions of the state: their competitive strengths, current visitor profile, best customer profile and markets of origin. It is a knowledge-driven plan that will provide a roadmap for resource allocation and growth for years to come.
The Department’s Strategic Plan will be presented to the entire industry at the 2013 Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Franklin Sept. 17-19. Hosted by our good friends in Williamson County at the Cool Springs Marriott Conference Center, this year’s conference is loaded with the national and regional expertise needed to be successful in today’s marketing and economic environments. I can also promise you a few very special surprises during our three days in Franklin. Read more about it in this issue of Rhythm & News. You need to be there!
I hope you’ve been following the #MakeSummerLast campaign, TDTD’s marketing campaign to the 5.5 million potential travelers in the greater Atlanta region. On Monday, July 15, TDTD brought “All Things Tennessee” to the Atlanta market, showcasing some of the state’s amazing food, music and attractions. The event was attended by 89 media representatives, including key social media influencers, as well as powerful media outlets such as the Atlanta Journal Constitution and ABC-TV. The latest social media stats surrounding the event indicate more than 2 million Facebook impressions, 5.9 million Twitter impressions and 305,090 Instagram impressions!
On a personal note, I am delighted to congratulate Dr. Carroll Van West, my esteemed co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and a great friend of the tourism industry, on his recent appointment as Tennessee’s State Historian by Governor Bill Haslam. This is such a well-deserved honor for a scholar who has championed heritage tourism and historic preservation in our state for years. Thank you for your great contributions to Tennessee, Dr. West!
Whether it’s historic sites, music, family fun, scenic beauty or outdoor adventure, Tennessee is blessed with an incredible number of reasons to visit. Thanks to each of you for the contribution you make in keeping tourism one of Tennessee’s top economic engines.
With great respect,
a message from Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker
Strategic Marketing Plan, Nationally-Known Speakers, and Two Super Seminars to be Featured at Governor’s Conference
With several nationally-known and highly sought-after speakers, the roll-out of the much-anticipated new Tennessee Tourism Strategic Marketing Plan, and a variety of educational seminars (including for the first time TWO Super Seminars), this year’s Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Sept. 17 – 19 in Franklin, promises to be one of the most important, information-packed, and interesting conferences in the state’s history.
Of particular interest to the entire industry will be the presentation of the Tennessee Tourism Strategic Marketing Plan by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and the Tennessee Tourism Committee. This will be a milestone event for the industry and one that will set the course for the state’s tourism marketing efforts for years to come. The presentation of the plan will be followed by specific follow-up breakout sessions designed to help attendees understand how the new plan will impact tourism in Tennessee and how the plan can be integrated into partner marketing efforts statewide.
For the first time ever, this years conference features not one, but TWO Super Seminars!The first, on Tuesday, Sept. 17, is a truly unique on-site seminar entitled "From Eyesore To Attraction: Reclaiming Historic Assets for Tourism." Attendees will travel by motorcoach to the Factory at Franklin and the Franklin Theatre, where they will tour these once-slated-for-demolition facilities and learn from the visionary people involved in their restoration how they were turned into genuine tourism attractions for the community.
The second Super Seminar, on Thursday, Sept. 19, features Kelly McDonald, one of the nations foremost marketing and advertising experts in multicultural marketing and consumer trends, who will be presenting "How to Market to People Who Are Not Like You."A featured speaker at DMAI and ESTO, Kelly was named #1 on the list of “26 Hot Speakers” by Successful Meetings Magazine and her agency has twice been named as one of thetop ad agencies in the U.S. by Advertising Age. Her book, “How to Market to People Not Like You”, was #7 on the list of Bestselling Business Books of 2011.
Another featured speaker at this year’s conference is Duane Knapp, one of the nations mosthighly sought-after experts on destination branding. Duane, who will be presenting “Seven Factors for Success in Building a Destination Brand”, is an author, entrepreneur, chairman and founder of BrandStrategy, Inc. and author of The BrandPromise®, The BrandMindset®, and Destination BrandScience™ published by the Destination Marketing Association International. His BrandPromise® philosophy has been highly acclaimed and adopted by companies and destinations around the world.
Rounding out the line-up of top-tier speakers at this year’s conferenceare Jake Olson and McKay Christensen, who will truly challenge and motivate attendees to set and strive for high professional and personal goals. The younger member of this inspiring team is teenager Jake Olson,who, though he has lost both of his eyes to cancer, has inspired tens of thousands of people at sporting events, youth rallies, and business conventions with his courage and unwillingness to give up on those things in life he loves. His speaking partner and co-author with him of the book Open Your Eyes: 10 Uncommon Lessons to Discover a Happier Life, is McKay Christensen, PhD,who has spoken to audiences around the world about leadership, teamwork, perseverance, and personal performance. His ground-breaking research on how adults learn and find happiness includestopics such as servant leadership, transformation as adults, and lasting change.
Combined with these truly exceptional speakers and topics will be outstanding networking opportunities, the annual Tennessee Tourism EXPO, and plenty of fun activities planned by our Franklin hosts. Truly, this is a conference you won’t want to miss!
Information on the conference, including schedule, speakers, registration and lodging can be found on the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable website.
#MakeSummerLast Media Event Brings Tennessee to Atlanta
It has been a whirlwind the past few weeks as the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development recently launched the #MakeSummerLast campaign with concentration in the Atlanta market.
July 15 TDTD held a media event at the King Plow Arts Center in Atlanta to showcase the state to Atlanta media and kick-off eight bloggers road trips to and through Tennessee. With 89 media representatives in attendance, including Atlanta Journal Constitution, ABC News, Fox, social media influencers and bloggers, radio, magazines and more, the event reinforced that Atlantans should #makesummerlast and head to Tennessee.
Media and guests enjoyed a wide variety of Tennessee products in addition to enjoying Memphis Barbecue from Hog Wild and live Tennessee tunes from the East TN Bluegrass Band, Nashville’s Alanna Royale and Memphis Jones. Thanks to the food, beverages and “swag” donated from our partners, the media who attended had a grand time and were convinced Tennessee is the “IT” state for making summer last.
After the event, eight bloggers set off on Tennessee road trips to scope out what summer activities Tennessee has to offer. Kristin Luna of Camels and Chocolate blogged about her stay in Knoxville, highlighting weekend adventures like hiking, biking and museums; Broderick Smylie of Savory Exposure took a culinary trip to Nashville; Jessica Quirk of What I Wore discovered Franklin and Nashville’s outdoor scene, shopping and wineries; The Wicked Noodle’s Kristy Bernardo had a girl’s weekend in Memphis while Daniel Bear Hunley of Living Bear had a man’s weekend in East Tennessee from Chattanooga to Bristol; The voice behind Southern Girl Ramblings, Kecia Hambrick took a family getaway to the Great Smoky Mountains highlighting attractions and culinary. Lori Brown from Expedition Mom took on a multi-generational tour in Chattanooga; and ecotourism blogger Bret Love of Green Global Travel sought out ecofriendly activities in East Tennessee.
This is just the beginning. There will be more blogs in the coming days and weeks.
Social media has been ablaze for the campaign as50 photos and posts tagged #makesummerlast has had 2 million impressions. Twitter has received 5.9 million impressions and the event and blogger trips resulted in 424 photos uploaded to Instagram with 305.090 impressions. And, we aren’t finished yet!
To read more blog posts, visit www.travelmindset.com or check out the #makesummerlast on Twitter and Facebook to see all the photos, comments, posts and more.
Stay tuned … the entire #makesummerlast campaign runs through Aug. 15. There will be a total recap in the September issue of Rhythm &News.
Tools to Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways
An exciting Trails meeting was held on July 24 in Nashville, withmore than36 Trail partners! The meeting’s purpose was to deliver toolkits and marketing materials for the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways initiative. This program encourages residents and tourists to explore the 16 regional driving trails outside of Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains. Each Trail leader can use the toolkit in conjunction with participating points-of-interest to generate excitement and promote the trail experience. Each toolkit contains examples of available materials such as posters, window clings, heritage signs, pull-up banners and tearsheet maps.
Note: The tear-sheet maps and large brochure holders were not available for pick-up and will be shipped directly to the Trail leaders as soon as they are available.
Additional announcements included:
Patricia Grayis the newDTTB coordinator and will work directly with TDTD staff on the marketing, sales, PR, web, as well as with the agencies and Trail partneTrail project manager assignment changes include: Top Secret – Dave Jones; Promised Land – Amanda Stravinsky; Screaming Eagle – Rob Sherrill; and The Jack Trail – Rob Sherrill.
The marketing materials for all 16 Trails have been delivered! In addition each Trail leader was provided with a How To Guide, which includes an inventory of everything in the toolkit and how to reorder materials. The deadline for distribution of Trails marketing materials to POIs is Aug. 30, 2013.
TDTD staff provided an update on TDOT Trail signage.
Sept. 30, 2013: TDOT Region 3 and 4 will install signs on the following Trails:
- Screaming Eagle, Promised Land, The Jack Trail, Cotton Junction, and Great River Road
Oct. 31, 2013: TDOT Region 2 has agreed to order and install signs with Chattanooga installing within the city limits on the following Trails:
- Tanasi and Pie in the Sky
Jan. 31, 2014: Region 1 Trails signage will be contracted by TDOT in August 2013 for the following Trails:
- Top Secret and Rocky Top Please note, letting signagethrough a contract will take more time for fabrication and installation.
In addition, TDTD’s PR office announced the 2014 Tennessee Vacation Guide will feature a 6-page editorial on the Trails, as well as promotion through the eGuide and Trail apps. The PR Office is currently working on plans for a community media blitz to promote the Trails to local media and educate consumers about the Trail experience.
The 16 Facebook Trail pages have been combined into one overall Trails Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/tennesseetrailsandbyways. Jessica Johnson at Paramore Digital is the contact. Trail leaders can now post to the new Trail Facebook Page.
Overall it was a day of celebration with Trail partners making plans to deliver these new, innovative Tools for the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways!
Group Sales Missions Keep TDTD and Partners On the Move
In July, the Department participated in a sales mission to conduct calls at AAA Auto Club Group’s Southern office headquarters and several branches in Tampa and Orlando, FL. The sales mission also included tour operator calls with both domestic and international receptive companies in the greater Orlando area, from July 15 – 19, 2013. A total of 10 AAA branches were visited, along with the nine receptive operators office calls. The Orlando trip concluded with a Rhythms of the South reception to help promote the upcoming Travel South International Showcase meeting to be held in Nashville from Dec. 2 – 6, 2013.
While attending the announcement ceremony of Visit Knoxville’s new marketing and branding initiatives, TDTD was invited to host a seminar on partnership involvement with the Department. Sales was one of the topics discussed with Visit Knoxville partners interested in increasing their presence to customers locally and state-wide. The seminar also highlighted tourism’s PR efforts, website opportunities and Official Tennessee Vacation Guide update.
The annual SYTA (Student Youth Travel Association) Conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA Aug. 23 – 27, 2013, and the Department will be taking pre-scheduled appointments with student youth tour operators. If you have any student youth group opportunities and updates from your organization, please share them with the Department by emailing them to Bennjin at email@example.com.
Telling and Selling Your Story
More than 50 city and county elected officials, tourism, MainStreet and retirement representatives met in Jackson for the new Telling and Selling Destinations with Public Relations seminar. Topics covered by local PR professionals included Public Relations Before, During and After a Crisis; Using Media to Grow Your Attraction, Festival and Event; Insider Tips for Socializing Throughout Best Tennessee; and a Media Panel with representatives from local TV and radio stations and regional magazines.
State Tourism Regional Managers, Marty Marbry and Dave Jones andPublic Relations Media ManagerMelanie Beauchamp began the five-hour public relations event showcasing the free resources available thru the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. The event, coordinated by Marty Marbry, included sponsorships from the Southwest Tennessee Tourism Association, Southwest Tennessee Development District, Old Country Storeand Miles.
Tennessee Civil War – Tourism Partners Invited to Special Events
Permanent Civil War exhibits were recently installed in Tennessee Welcome Centers. The purpose of the Civil War exhibits is to educate visitors and Tennesseans as to the important role Tennessee played in the Civil War. Each Tennessee Civil War Exhibit features an overview of Tennessee’s role in the Civil War, as well as the regional impact of the Civil War and will also promote rural tourism development through the Tennessee Civil War Trail and Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways programs.
Tourism partners are invited to attend a ribbon cutting and dedication to be held Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 1 p.m. EDT at the I-81 Sullivan County Welcome Center, located at the southbound mile marker 75.3 in Bristol, Tenn.
“Tennesseans are proud of our commitment to tell the whole story of the Civil War through our statewide auto trail system, our many historic sites, and national battlefields,” said Dr. Carroll Van West, director of the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation and Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. “The new Welcome Center exhibits not only introduce our story and approach to any and all visitors; they are also part of the commitment that Tennesseans today make to the future: to tell the whole story of the Civil War and to remind everyone that the Civil War era issues of national unity and citizenship still shape our world.”
Permanent exhibits can also be found at Tennessee Welcome Centers located at I-40 Shelby County – Memphis; I-65 Robertson County – Mitchellville; I-24 Hamilton County – Tiftonia; I-65 Giles County- Ardmore; I-40 Smith County - Buffalo Valley; I-75 Campbell County –Jellico; I-26 Unicoi County –Erwin; I-40 Cocke County – Hartford; I-75 Hamilton County – Chattanooga; I-24 Montgomery County – Clarksville; and I-155 Dyer County - Dyersburg.
This project was made possible through a partnership with Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, and the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and was funded by the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, State Capital Commission.
Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event Update
Registration is now open for Tennessee’s 2013 Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event and seats are filling up fast! The 2013 Signature Event remembers the 150th anniversary of the Battles for Chattanooga. Titled “Occupation and Liberation,” the commemoration will take place Oct. 9-12, 2013 at the Chattanooga Convention Center and will feature educational symposiums, book signings, special speaker-led ticketed tours, living history demonstrations and musical performances.
We are pleased to announce registrations received to date include attendees from 15 States and 2 Countries! Registrations include: Tennessee, Colorado, D.C., Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Hawaii and Canada. In addition, tour groups attending from: Gatlinburg, Atlanta, North Carolina and Indiana. Tennessee schools are very excited about this event with 1,880 students and teachers confirmed to attend.
For more information on Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial, visit www. tncivlwar150.com or download a complimentary, Tennessee Civil War 150 iPhone app, available at www.itunes.apple.com/us/app/tennessee-civil-war-150.
2014 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide Ad Sales and Listing Updates Underway
The newly approved $8 million budget increase will allow Tennessee to broaden its brand awareness and travel into new markets in FY2013-2014 making the 2014 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide more relevant than ever!
The guide will once again feature large, captivating photography and powerful, experiential copy to showcase Tennessee’s outstanding tourism offerings.
Published by our longtime partner, Miles, the guide will include content highlighting Tennessee’s rich music legacy, the state’s great outdoors, off-beat Tennessee treasures, unique culinary experiences and our growing craft brews, distilleries and wineries.
The Official Tennessee Vacation Guide has broadened the impact to reach more travelers. The guide will once again be published as an e-guide and interactive iPad app offering additional content and rich media for readers – and additional exposure for advertisers!
PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS! Advertising sales are now underway, so don’t miss this great chance to promote your destination in the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s primary fulfillment piece.
Miles is constantly offering ways to maximize your dollars and exposure including bonuses and added value offerings such as QR codes, rich media in the iPad app and the Tennessee Welcome Center displays. Contact your sales representative today for more information:
Mary Steadman (Upper Cumberland and East Tennessee) – Mary.Steadman@MilesPartnership.com, (423) 956-4330
Abbie Gristy (Middle and West Tennessee) – Abbie.Gristy@MilesPartnership.com, (731) 298-1003
UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION! Each year, we also conduct an extensive data collection process to ensure we publish the most accurate business information possible in the Vacation Guide. Representatives from Miles will be reaching out to you in the coming weeks to update your information and arrange for your free listing in the 2014 guide. As always, you can also log in to our data extranet anytime to access and update your business partner profile page at www.tnvacation.com/vendor.
Help Brand USA Attract International Visitors
Marketing the U.S. internationally is THE focus for Brand USA. In an effort to drive more international visitation, Brand USA is asking for photos, videos, international research, content, social media campaigns and/or co-branding of the Brand USA logo on your destinations web site. The goal is for Brand USA to share your stories through richer, more enticing content that will appeal to the global traveler. Deadline to submit contributions is August 9. For additional information, contact Brian Screptock at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-536-2060 ext. 148.
<p><strong>Mobile Driving Last Minute Hotel Decisions Among U.S. Road Travelers</strong></p>
<p>Road travelers in search of a last-minute place to lay their heads are still apt to scan the horizon for a billboard or that welcome Gas-Food-Lodging sign. But these days, they are even more likely to be looking down – at a smartphone, that is (although hopefully not while driving). Last-minute bookings make up a significant share of hotel stays during road travel – and many of those bookings are influenced by or transacted via a mobile device.</p>
<p>According to<a href="http://www.phocuswright.com/products/4254"><em>PhoCusWrights Staying Local: A Study of the U.S. Road Traveler</em></a>, nearly a quarter of U.S. adults took a road trip that included paid lodging within the past 12 months. And one in five hotel stays during U.S. road trips are unplanned and booked from the road. Mobile devices are a popular go-to in these last-minute situations. During the past 12 months:</p>
<p> 21% of last-minute hotel bookers shopped via a smartphone<br /> 13% did so via tablet<br /> 18% rely on billboards or road signs</p>
<p>"A smartphone outfitted with the latest travel apps is an <strong>indispensable tool for the road traveler</strong>. The ability to search, shop and book hotels on the fly can quickly lift travelers out of a bind caused by inclement weather, traffic or car trouble. Mobile devices also help the more spontaneous travelers hit the road with unprecedented freedom and flexibility to do more in-the-moment planning," says<a href="http://www.phocuswright.com/analysts/marcello-gasdia">Marcello Gasdia</a>, PhoCusWrights consumer research analyst. "Last-minute hotel bookings represent a significant opportunity for the road traveler segment, and mobile is the new battleground for capturing them."</p>
<p><em>Source:</em> <a href="http://www.phocuswright.com/research_updates/mobile-driving-last-minute-...