Tennessee Department of Tourist Development presents September 2014 Rythm & News for industry partners of Tennessee
Articles Industry Trends Calendar Noteworthy Tips
A Message from
Commissioner Susan Whitaker

Dear Tourism Colleagues and Friends,

It’s official – summer is over and in the books. I hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend as much as I did. Mine involved a multi-state road trip to visit family, one of the best reasons to travel in my book. That being said, I was extremely happy to see that “Welcome to Tennessee” sign on the way home. You just can’t help but notice the great condition of our state highways, the beautiful scenery everywhere and all the exciting destinations ahead. I know millions of our summer visitors had the same experience and made their way home planning a return trip to Tennessee!

Last month, we introduced our “Made in Tennessee” campaign that hit the marketplace in July. Starting this month, we are focusing on two new spots – "Music” and “Experiences,” which highlight the incredible array of experiences that can only be Made in Tennessee, ranging from our iconic music to outdoor adventure and legendary history.

Our “Music” spot establishes Tennessee as the creative cradle of country, rock, soul, blues, gospel and more – the world’s music destination of choice. It’s only 30 seconds long, but the commercial is packed with scenes of our legends, superstars, up-and-coming artists and, of course, our iconic music venues.

You’ll see Keith Urban, Jack White, Johnny Cash, Rivers Rutherford (renown songwriter and voice to our television campaign), Those Darlins, The Apache Relay (whose music we use in several of our spots), the Grand Ole Opry, Beale Street, Broadway, Historic Tennessee Theatre, Sun Studio, the Bluebird Cafe, Rum Boogie Cafe’s Blues Hall and the Nashville July 4th  celebration. It moves fast and creates a powerful, emotional impact.

“Music” has become our most popular spot on social, and it’s still going strong. Click here to check it out. You can also find the spot and new landing page take center stage on tnvacation.com.

The fall television/digital campaign targets our core markets – Birmingham, Jackson, Louisville, Little Rock, Paducah-Cape Girardeau and Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson as well as our growth markets – Atlanta, St. Louis and Cincinnati. A digital-only campaign will be running in Chicago, Dallas, and Orlando.

While the new campaign is in full swing, another exciting new opportunity will be happening that you will not want to miss. Our partners at the Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association are gearing up for the first Tennessee Governor’s Conference since the merger of the Tennessee Hospitality Association and the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable. Appropriately named the 2014 Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism: Many Partners – One Voice, it will take place Oct. 8-10 in Knoxville.

The conference has a powerhouse lineup scheduled, including three national keynote speakers and many educational breakout sessions. Governor Bill Haslam has been invited to address the industry on Friday; that same day, we will also have a special presentation on the important new U.S. Travel initiative, “The Travel Effect,” by Gary Oster, Executive Vice President of U.S. Travel. Click here for more information on the speakers, topics and registration information. You need to be there!

As our busy summer travel season comes to an end, we are already focused on driving visitors to our fall celebrations, music, festivals and stunning foliage. Nashville hosts the five-day Americana Music Festival, Sept. 17-21, which features 165 live performances at nine venues throughout the city. In Bristol, the 14th Annual Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Sept. 19-21, draws more than 50,000 people to watch 162 artists on 21 stages throughout the historic downtown area. So much great music everywhere you go!

There’s another great reason to visit Tennessee in the fall: FOOTBALL! I know there were a lot of happy UT fans this past weekend – way to start a season, VOLS!

Our department is a proud sponsor of the 25th Annual Southern Heritage Classic football game in Memphis with rivals Tennessee State University and Jackson State University. The Classic weekend, Sept. 11-13, is also filled with live music including Gladys Knight on Thursday night at the Orpheum Theatre.

Hope to see you all in Knoxville next month where I’ll have some great information to share with you about this exciting industry and its important impact on Tennessee’s economy.

Thank you for all you do to make it happen in every season!

With great respect,

Susan Whitaker

Susan Whitaker

Featured Articles:

Great Networking and Social Events Round Out 2014 Governor’s Conference on Tourism

The Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism is one of the premier educational and professional development events for the state’s travel-related industry. There are plenty of other activities and events that help make the conference a great opportunity for socializing and networking as well.

The fun begins even before the official start of the conference, as our Visit Knoxville hosts and their community partners have arranged for complimentary admission for conference attendees to many of Knoxville's finest attractions and points of interest. Attendees are encouraged to come early and enjoy all that Knoxville has to offer.

The annual TnHTPAC Golf Tournament is a networking event that will take place Wednesday, Oct. 8 at the scenic River Islands Golf Club. Golf tournament participants will compete for prizes and bragging rights on the beautiful course, as well as enjoy complimentary breakfast, lunch and beverages. Tournament registration also includes golf cart use, gift and goody bags.

To officially kick off the 2014 conference, our great Knoxville hosts and their community partners have planned a truly special opening night event on Wednesday, Oct. 8. Trolleys will pick up attendees at the conference hotels and transport them to the Historic Southern Railway Depot, where they will enjoy a wonderful evening of music, food, drinks, entertainment, and the arts. It’s a night you won’t want to miss!

Even the busy conference day on Thursday will have its own share of networking opportunities. In addition to the included meal functions that day, attendees will enjoy several break and networking times, including the traditional end-of-the-day reception in the Hospitality and Tourism EXPO tradeshow. It’s a chance to wind down with friends and colleagues while enjoying complimentary beverages and hors d'oeuvres and visiting one last time with valued exhibitors.

Following the afternoon tradeshow reception on Thursday are two other special events. The first is a “Women in Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism” reception, which will be held at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park adjacent to the Knoxville Convention Center. This reception will give professional women from the hospitality and tourism industry an opportunity to connect and network with other top professionals from across the state. The last event that evening will be the Knoxville dine-around, where attendees will have an opportunity to experience a taste of the city at a number of great Knoxville restaurants offering special discounts and offers to conference attendees.

Combine all of these great events and activities with the outstanding educational and professional development activities of the conference and it’s easy to see that this will be one conference you do not want to miss!

Just Announced: Another great speaker has been added to the line-up of top-notch keynoters. Gary Oster, executive vice president, member services for the U.S. Travel Association, will share details of the exciting “Travel Effect” initiative Friday, Oct. 10.

The 2014 Governor’s Conference on Tourism is produced in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association.

Music & Experiences TV Spots Launch

Tennessee’s diverse music – past, present, and future – continues to drive all marketing efforts leading into September and beyond. The Music and Experiences television spots will be running in state and to targeted feeder markets starting Sept. 1 through mid-October. Additionally, consumers will receive the "Music" announcement email Sept. 10, which will drive them to the "Music" landing page on www.tnvacation.com as well as the landing page highlighting the East Tennessee family video featuring Dolly Parton. Media partnerships with Rolling Stone also kick off in September and additional opportunities are being explored with Pandora and Spotify.    

Record Demand for Tennessee’s Official Vacation Guide

Just how hot is this year’s Official Tennessee Vacation Guide? (No, we’re not talking about JT crooning on the cover.)

For the first time in history, we’ve received so many guide requests that we’re reprinting another 75,000 copies to be able to meet demand through the end of the year. And since next year’s vacation guide is shaping up to be our best yet, we’ve already increased its print quantity to a whopping 600,000 copies. 

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the exciting publication the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development uses as its primary fulfillment piece distributed for advertising leads and online requests, as well as at welcome centers across the state and travel shows around the country.

Ad sales close in just a few days and only limited space is available. Contact your destination specialist below by WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 10 to discuss advertising opportunities and reserve your space today!

•    Upper Cumberland & East Tennessee: Mary Steadman, Mary.Steadman@MilesPartnership.com, 423-956-4330
•    Middle & West Tennessee: Abbie Gristy, Abbie.Gristy@MilesPartnership.com, 731-298-1003

Uncover Franklin’s Stories During the 2014 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event

History is alive in Franklin, Tenn. From the moment the city line is crossed, a stirring occurs. History awakens as if from a long sleep and tells the stories of gore and glory, heartbreak and triumph, breathing life back into Civil War antiquity. 

Landmarks, antebellum homes, and cemeteries of soldiers, Union and Confederate, who found themselves in the fray of the 1864 Battle of Franklin, one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War with 10,000 casualties in five gruesome hours, are open for education, exploration, and reflection.

This preservation and commemoration of history can be experienced during the 2014 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event “The Last Campaign of Tennessee” Nov. 13-14 in Franklin, Tenn. The commemoration marks the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Battle of Franklin, and will include educational seminars, panel discussions, music and living history demonstrations and a battle reenactment. All events sponsored by the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission are free and open to the public. Additional events sponsored by Franklin 150 are ticketed. For pricing and more information, visit www.Franklin150.com. For updated information on events, “like” the Franklin 150 Facebook page.

See 102 banners lined along Main Street, featuring 12 individuals from the Battle of Franklin; learn their stories at Franklin150.com and follow #Franklin150 during Franklin 150 Fridays on social media.

For more information about the state’s official sesquicentennial events or to download the free iPhone app, visit www.tncivilwar150.com.

TDTD Sales Team Reports Busy Month

Tennessee partners gather at awards ceremony at SCMA/GMOA/AMA event Tennessee partners gather at awards ceremony at SCMA/GMOA/AMA event The Department recently concluded August with attendance at two conferences promoting Tennessee as a destination to various operators throughout the U.S. and Canada. As a member of Georgia Motorcoach Operators Association, the state of Tennessee was represented at the South Central Motorcoach Association / Georgia Motorcoach Operators Association / Alabama Motorcoach Assocation (SCMA/GMOA/AMA) marketplace Aug. 17-20 in Shreveport, La. TDTD met with 23 operators and attended the conference with 30 registered Tennessee associates. Following this marketplace, TDTD attended the annual Student Youth Travel Association (SYTA) Conference Aug. 22-26 in Toronto. The Department held meetings with 38 different tour operators over five days and attended the conference with more than 15 other Tennessee representatives.

In September, Tennessee will partner with Travel South USA, and participate in a sales mission to Orlando, Fla. Meetings with Florida-based international receptive operators and buyers will be conducted by several member-state travel organizations of TSUSA, such as Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. A client event is also planned for networking and business development. 

Partners who are planning to attend the annual American Bus Association (ABA) Marketplace in St. Lous, Mo. in January 2015, please mark your calendars for the annual Tennessee delegation dine-around evening dinner Saturday, Jan. 5, 2015. Details and registration will be forthcoming. For more information or questions, please contact LouAnna Smith at LouAnna.Smith@tn.gov

“Attention Minutes” Gaining Prominence As Facebook Shifts News Feed Strategy

Potential good news for advertisers: “made you look” marketing may be on its way out.

As reported in Mashable earlier this week, Facebook recently announced sweeping changes to its news feed, replacing so-called “click bait” (provocative headlines urging readers to click through to read more) with links to content that demonstrably engages readers and elicits “likes” and comments.

In so doing, Facebook is driving attention for the latest metric to sweep the industry: “engaged time,” or the amount of time an online visitor spends viewing a specific Web page. (You can read Facebook’s explanation of the move by clicking here.)

What makes this change significant is the sheer power of Facebook to drive reader engagement.

Mashable cites statistics provided by social sharing site Upworthy attesting to Facebook’s clout as a trafficway for readership and audience engagement: about one in four social readers (23 percent) come from Facebook—four times the number clicking through from Pinterest. Twitter accounts for only one percent of click-throughs to news articles. Upworthy refers to its engagement metric as “attention minutes.”

Other news and social media sites are expected to follow Facebook’s lead.

Earlier this summer, the Financial Times launched a test, adding “engaged time,” in addition to cost per thousand (CPM), as a method for establishing and negotiating ad rates.

 “[W]e want to prove that the longer you show somebody a piece of brand creative, the more resonance that piece of content has with an audience. That’s normally not how we value advertising; we’re talking about an attention economy,” said Jon Slade, commercial director of advertising at the FT, in a recent interview on Contently.

What this means for Tennessee partners is that quality matters more than ever. Publishing high quality content—either on your owned media channels or through earned media (public relations)—will likely win the attention of readers and be amplified through social media feeds such as Facebook.

Quick-hitting content, such as Buzzfeed-style listicles will remain popular in the short run, but competition for “engaged time” foreshadows a brighter future for feature length articles or mixed media content blending video with text and still images, as media outlets seek to bolster revenues by keeping online viewers longer.


Knoxville Convention Center General Manager Mary Bogert accepts the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association’s “Attraction of the Year” award from TnHTA President and CEO Greg Adkins and TnHTA Board Chairman Danny Sumrall at an awards ceremony in Nashville.

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