Tennessee Department of Tourist Development presents April 2013 Rythm & News for industry partners of Tennessee
Articles Industry Trends Calendar Noteworthy Tips
A Message from
Commissioner Susan Whitaker

Dear Colleagues,

The tourism tide is rising in Tennessee as our industry comes together as never before. The Senate and House Budget Hearings for the 2013-14 budget are complete with unanimous approval from both committees. I am pleased to report that the hearings were very positive as several legislators commented on the major economic impact that tourism has had on their districts. Thanks to those of you who were able to attend the hearings; your support was duly noted by the members of the Committees.

The budget is expected to be put to a vote in the Senate and House in late April. Governor Haslam has asked the industry to let its voice be heard on this important vote, to ensure that the $8 million increase in the marketing budget is approved and available to help take Tennessee’s powerful tourism industry to the next level.

The Tourism Committee’s final report is a must-read for all industry professionals and may be found here: http://tntourismcommittee.com/get-involved/. The Tennessee Tourism Committee, made up of key partners from across the state as well as members of our department, did an outstanding job preparing this information for Governor Bill Haslam. We are now in the process of determining a strategic plan for tourism’s efforts in the upcoming fiscal year and beyond. Part of this process is hearing from the industry across the state. Again, I urge you to log on to the website and offer your important input.

Let me also encourage you to participate in the U.S. Travel-led National Travel & Tourism Week – May 4-12. This year’s theme is Travel Effect – U.S. Travel’s new advocacy and awareness campaign. Tennessee’s highly-acclaimed Welcome Centers will be our frontline to the public to celebrate this week. Read more about it in this eNewsletter. If you plan to participate in National Tourism Week, U.S. Travel has provided a helpful tool kit with materials and event ideas. For more information, visit http://www.ustravel.org/marketing/national-travel-and-tourism-week.

Thanks to all of our tourism partners who participated in the Tennessee Sampler Express this year, introducing key industry players to what’s new in Tennessee tourism. A total of 41 partners and five TDTD staff traveled to 22 markets, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Columbus, Birmingham and Charleston. The sales teams conducted 135 meetings with tour operators and representatives at AAA offices. The PR teams conducted 35 meetings with media representatives and freelance journalists. This excellent initiative will certainly have a positive impact on our travel results in the year to come.

TDTD’s Commissioner Susan Whitaker and Derrick Smith pictured with the Smith County Chamber of Commerce BoardTDTD’s Commissioner Susan Whitaker and Derrick Smith pictured with the Smith County Chamber of Commerce BoardDuring the last few months, several members of the TDTD marketing team and I have participated in meetings with key tourism leaders and staff from our marketing agencies, Sullivan Branding, Paramore and Designsensory. The goal of these meetings has been to engage in a dialog about what is working well in our industry and then brainstorm about big ideas for the future. This has been a very productive process in formulating our marketing plans and I thank those of you who have participated in them. We will be doing several more of these in the coming weeks and I look forward to seeing many of you there!

It seems our furry little friend Punxsutawney Phil was pulling our leg this year. Spring has been just a bit slow in arriving, but that doesn’t seem to have deterred our visitors. Tennessee is open for the spring travel season as strongly as ever. Snow in March? No worries. We’ll brush the snow off the daffodils and roll out the red carpet for our guests. It’s just how we do tourism in Tennessee!

So enjoy all those happy signs of a Tennessee spring – flowers, budding trees and lots of old and new friends coming to visit!

Warmest regards,

Susan Whitaker

Featured Articles:

National Travel & Tourism Week May 4-12

Travelers enjoy National Travel and Tourism week at a Tennessee Welcome Center.Travelers enjoy National Travel and Tourism week at a Tennessee Welcome Center.“Travel Effect” is this year’s theme during National Travel and Tourism Week, May 4-12.  To support the theme, the U.S. Travel Association has created a new website, TravelEffect.com,  to illustrate the measureable and purposeful impact of travel on people, business and the economy.

Statewide, many tourism professionals are already making plans to showcase Tennessee’s communities, arts and culture, attractions, food and festivals at our 13 Welcome Centers. (The 14th WC -  I-55 Memphis/Shelby County - is currently under construction.) Expectations are high as Welcome Center staff prepare to host Tennessee tourism partners ready to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week with special giveaways, exhibits, and mascot appearances.   

Among the highlights taking place this year:

 I-81 Bristol will celebrate with an antique car show May 10. I-24 Clarksville has confirmed strawberry shortcakes will be distributed from Sumner County/Portland, and Fort Defiance will sponsor a uniformed Civil War soldier. Tennessee State Parks will exhibit and offer free giveaways at I-40 Smith County. I-75 Jellico will host “Sharkey” the Tennessee Aquarium mascot. Alex Haley Museum and Pinson Mounds representatives are among the exhibitors at I-155 in Dyersburg.  

Other Tennessee tourism partners scheduled to join Welcome Center staff members in extending an extra-special welcome to Tennessee travelers during May 4-12 include; Dollywood, Dixie Stampede, Titanic Museum, Rock City, Ruby Falls, Lost Sea, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, National Banana Pudding Festival, Dutch Maid Bakery, Hippie Jack, 3 Little Birds Café, Reelfoot Lake Tourism Council and a number of city and county CVB’s and Chambers.   

Participation in National Travel and Tourism Week is important to the tourism industry in Tennessee, as well as the U.S. travel industry. Tennessee tourism generates more than $15 billion in direct economic impact. U.S. Travel reports $759 billion spent directly by domestic and international travelers in the U.S.

Decide now to join in the National Travel and Tourism Week celebrations in Tennessee. Sign-up today by contacting http://www.tnvacation.com/welcome-centers/

Tennessee Tourism Launches Spring Microsite and Girlfriends Getaway Sweepstakes

TDTD’s newly launched spring microsite on tnvacation.com is taking girlfriends getaway vacations up a notch with the Add Sparkle To Your Spring with Tennessee and JTV Sweepstakes. The site, themed “grab your girlfriends and getaway this spring to Tennessee,” offers great ways to escape, splurge, explore, plan and win in Tennessee. Spring always inspires travel in Tennessee and is considered the kick-off to the state’s busy travel season. The spring site on tnvacation.com will help drive away the winter blues by encouraging travel during this beautiful season in Tennessee.

Visitors to the spring site can enter the Add Sparkle To Your Spring With Tennessee And JTV Sweepstakes for a chance to win an amazing trip for four to Tennessee. The prize includes: two night stay for four in a condo at the Riverstone Resort in Pigeon Forge, including two Riverstone Facials; four pairs of 11-12 mm round cultured Tahitian pearls and sterling silver dangle earrings; A Rocky Top Wine Trail Basket which includes one bottle of local wine from Apple Barn Winery, Eagle Springs Winery, Sugarland Cellars, Mountain Valley Winery, Hillside Winery ; one large tin of chocolates; four Rocky Top Wine Trail Passports; four to six wine glasses; and free winery tours and wine tastings along the Trail; four $50 gift card vouchers valid at Tanger Five Oaks in Sevierville.

Tnvacation.com’s seasonal sites have grown in popularity with the addition of the popular enter-to-win sweepstakes, with the past four seasonal sites averaging more than 82,000 unique visitors. Tourism partners interested in participating in a 2014 seasonal sweepstakes, please contact Web manager Mike Uhles at Michael.uhles@tn.gov.

Upcoming Spring FAMS to Highlight Southeast Tennessee, Nashville and Points North

Travel Writers visit Tennessee in 2012Travel Writers visit Tennessee in 2012Once again, TDTD will be conducting two familiarization tours this spring. Geiger and Associates along with our partners have been working hard to plan amazing tours that will showcase Tennessee’s incredible culinary, music, attractions, outdoor adventures, history and heritage, and scenic beauty.

April 27-May 1 journalists representing numerous publications including Family Circle, Woman’s Day, New York Times, Vogue, American Way, AAA Journey, Food & Wine, Group Tour Magazine, AAA World, National Geographic, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Los Angeles Times and Travel Channel, will embark on a tour highlighting the great attractions in Southeast Tennessee.

Journalists will kick off their tour at the International Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg. From there, they will tour the major drivers in the area. In addition to the amazing SETN attractions, the FAM will highlight the Chickamauga Chattanooga National Military Park and Point Park on Lookout Mountain, commemorating the 150th in October, in the hopes of having some strong media coverage in advance of the October commemoration. In addition, some of the important Native American sites in SETN during the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears will also be highlighted.

May 3-8 a second spring tour will be held in Nashville and points north including Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The journalist will start off the tour in Clarksville-Montgomery County touring the Court House, Fort Defiance, Fort Campbell, downtown Clarksville, Roxy Regional Theatre, Beachaven Vineyards and Winery, and Historic Collinsville. The group will move on to Sumner County to tour Historic Cragfont Mansion, Sixth Annual Bledsoe’s Fort Colonial Fair, Historic Rose Mont, Days Gone By Tractor Museum, Madison Creek Farms and Mansker’s Station Frontier Life Center.

The tour will conclude in Nashville with tours of the downtown attractions, Belle Meade Plantation, Cheekwood Mansion, Parthenon, Nashville Zoo, the Hermitage, and the famous music sites such as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Ryman Auditorium and Studio B.

TDTD’s 2011-2012 familiarization tours resulted in 135,509,162 in total circulation. 

2013 Sampler Express Spreads Tennessee Tourism Message Loud and Clear

Tennessee Tourism partners Phyllis Emery, Olwen Claiborne, Kristi Becker, Renee Spurling,  flank AAA member (center) in Atlanta AAA officeTennessee Tourism partners Phyllis Emery, Olwen Claiborne, Kristi Becker, Renee Spurling, flank AAA member (center) in Atlanta AAA officeThank you to all the participants for your involvement, assistance and participation in the 2013 Tennessee Sampler Express. The sales team had 31 partner representatives from 31 partner organizations, plus two TDTD representatives, traveling and working together to sell Tennessee across the seven sales routes.  Together, the teams scheduled 135 appointments with AAA offices, tour operators, and travel agents from markets including Atlanta, Augusta, Macon, Savannah, Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Asheville, Charlotte, Hendersonville, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery, among others.

The public relations teams had 10 partners and three TDTD staff divided into three teams. These teams traveled to the following markets: Atlanta, Birmingham, Huntsville, Columbia, Charlotte, Lexington, Cincinnati, and Columbus. PR teams conducted 35 meetings with freelance journalists and media, including representatives from Columbus Dispatch, AAA Home & Away, NTA’s Courier Magazine, Atlanta Journal Constitution and more.

NTA welcomed Sampler Express PR team to LexingtonNTA welcomed Sampler Express PR team to LexingtonIn addition to the scheduled sales appointments, on Tuesday, March 19, Tennessee sales teams partnered with AAA Auto Club Group – Southern Region’s Atlanta area branches, to host their monthly Member Appreciation events named for a day “Tennessee Tuesday Member Appreciation.” According to AAA, 74 of their members pre-reserved their participation and multiple additional members attended throughout the day. We thank AAA for working with Tennessee on this unique idea.

From April 22 - 25, TDTD will be attending the annual National Association of Sports Commissions symposium in Louisville, KY. TDTD will conduct meetings and appointments between host organizations, event owners and several Tennessee partner suppliers, including Chattanooga, Cookeville, Johnson City, Kingsport, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville and others.  The Tennessee delegation will again be hosting an evening networking reception to help reach the event owners looking for host destinations.  For additional information about Tennessee’s participation at NASC, please contact Derrick Smith at Derrick.Smith@tn.gov.

Battle of Fair Garden Civil War Marker First in the Ground for 2013

The first Civil War marker to be installed in 2013 along Tennessee’s important Civil War Trail is also the only marker for Sevierville. A ceremony to unveil the marker, commemorating the Battle of Fair Garden takes place at 1 p.m. April 5 on the Walters State Community College Sevier County Campus, as part of the annual Sevierville Arbor Day Celebration. The ceremony is open to the public.

Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker is joined by Dr. Carroll Van West, director of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University and local dignitaries for the program. Commissioner Whitaker and Dr. West are co-chairs of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. 

The Sevierville Trees/Trails and Beautification Board has provided funding for the necessary landscaping around the marker and the City of Sevierville Parks and Recreation Department will administer the installation.

Covering an area of eight miles, the Battle of Fair Garden was the largest confrontation between Federal and Confederate forces during the Civil War in Sevier County. Confederate General James Longstreet ordered General William T. Martin to eject Union Cavalry from an area south of the French Broad River stretching from Dandridge to the Little Pigeon River Jan. 25, 1864.

Led by General Samuel Sturgis, the Federal forces stopped the advancing Confederate Cavalry with the initial combat taking place at Rose Glen Plantation. By the time the three-day battle ended, the Federals suffered 65 casualties and the Confederates lost 100 men.

The Tennessee Civil War Trails program is part of a five-state trails system that invites the public to explore both well-known and less-familiar sites associated with America’s greatest drama. 

More Addy Awards for Designsensory and Miles

An article in the March Rhythm & News announced local Addy Awards for Designsensory and Miles. We’re pleased to announce the regional Addy Awards have been held and Designsensory and Miles have been honored once again.

Three District Silver Addy Awards were accepted by Designsensory for the TN State Parks 75th Anniversary website, Winter 2012 microsite on tnvacation.com and the Tennessee Civil War App. Regional competitors included 23 local clubs spanning Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee.

A District Silver Addy Award was given to Miles for the 16-page photo essay spread in the 2013 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide which showcases some of the state’s most popular scenic sites in impressive double-page spreads. The 4th district is comprised of 21 local federations throughout Florida and the Caribbean.

The award winners will move on to the National Addy Awards held June 5-8 in Phoenix, AZ.

The American Advertising Federation’s ADDY Awards represent the spirit of creative excellence by recognizing all forms of advertising from media of all types, creative by all sizes and entrants of all levels in the world.

For more information about The American Advertising Federation, visit www.aaf.org.

Deadline For Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College Scholarships Fast Approaching

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, together with “Official” Tennessee Vacation Guide publisher Miles, will again be offering two full scholarships to the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College to tourism marketing professionals in the state of Tennessee. For Tennessee tourism professionals interested in pursuing educational opportunities, scholarship applications are now available. The deadline for application submission is April 10, 2013. 

The STS Marketing College is a three-year educational program for members of the tourism industry in the Southeast United States. From August 4 - 9, 2013, 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 U.S. who not only bring expertise, but real-world knowledge and experience to the classroom.

From the time students arrive on Sunday evening until they depart on Friday, they enjoy classes, lectures, discussion groups and one-of-a-kind networking opportunities in an academic environment conducive to learning. Sample courses include: Conducting a Successful Press Tour; Writing a Marketing Plan 101; Inquiry to Fulfillment to Conversion to Database; and Generational Marketing. Students who attend three years of Marketing College receive a Travel Marketing Professional certification, presented at a special graduation ceremony at the STS spring meeting. 

In each class students receive a syllabus outlining course objectives and method of instruction.  The STS Marketing scholarships will be awarded to two Tennessee tourism professionals and cover tuition, accommodations and most meals for the 2013 session. The scholarships will be granted based on criteria established by the Tennessee Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus in cooperation with Miles and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development which will encompass professional aptitude and future career goals in the tourism industry. The STS application is attached or you can contact Mary.Steadman@MilesPartnership.com or Abbie.Gristy@MilesPartnership.com to request an application.  For more information on STS Marketing College, visit http://www.southeasttourism.org/

Travel and Tourism Research Association International Conference Open for Registration

We are pleased to announce the Travel and Tourism Research Association International Conference will be held June 20-22 in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Travel and Tourism Research Association’s International Conference is the place to hear well known tourism experts present outstanding marketing case studies along with valuable research to back up the results.

For you that have enjoyed the Central states TTRA conferences in the past, you will find that this conference takes the TTRA message to the next level and brings valuable information to all participants.

For registration details visit, www.ttra.com

2013 Web Assistance Tour Dates

Upcoming Web Sessions:

April 9, Bell Buckle

May 1, Jefferson City

May 2, Morristown

This a FREE program for our Tennessee tourism partners.

Details coming soon, Visit tnvacation.com/industry for the latest information.

2013 CTTP College to be Held May 8 – 10

Enrollment is now open for the 2013 Certified Tennessee Tourism Professional (CTTP) College, which will be held May 8-10 in Mt. Juliet.

The CTTP program is an educational and professional development activity of the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable and is recognized as a symbol of excellence and leadership within Tennessee’s tourism and hospitality industries.

Attendance at the annual CTTP College is a requirement of CTTP certification. This year's college will be held at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Mt. Juliet, TN, and will feature a faculty of experienced tourism professionals.

Participants in this year's CTTP College will receive a $100.00 discount on registration fees for the 2013 Tennessee Governor's Conference on Tourism in Franklin.

Information on the CTTP program and registration for the 2013 CTTP College is available on the TTR Web site at www.tenntourismroundtable.com

The CTTP Program is proudly sponsored by Miles.

Join in TDTD’s Social Media PR and Marketing Efforts

By Amanda Stravinsky

In today’s tourism industry, it’s all about being social. From Facebook posts, tweeting on Twitter and pinning on Pinterest to uploading videos via Youtube and Vimeo and adding that special filter to all your Instagram photos, there’s a new way to collect, curate and create new content for consumers. With over one billion people using Facebook and over 465 million Twitter accounts being started every day, your destination is highly encouraged to get plugged in to social networking.

Three great ways you can share events and announcements with TDTD is by “liking” us on Facebook and following us on Twitter through our consumer Twitter account @TNVacation, which currently has 7,852 followers and our media Twitter account @TNTravelNews, which has 404 followers (primarily journalists) and counting. The other way is to let us know what’s going on in your area through our TripTales blog.

TripTales is a blog updated daily by five travel bloggers: Linda Lange, East Tennessee; Dayle Fergusson, Middle Tennessee; Samantha Crespo, West Tennessee; Vernon Summerlin, the outdoor aficionado. I wrap up the blog team and cover East, Middle and West Tennessee. TripTales is a great resource to find out what’s going on in Tennessee and to make sure your attraction has an opportunity to be highlighted in a blog post. It’s free PR exposure that goes a long way. To subscribe to TripTales, simply click on the Subscribe button to the right of the TripTales blog. You’ll be prompted to select your preferred online reader, be it Google Reader, Feedly or simply a Live Bookmark. If your destination is hosting an event you would like highlighted or if you would like a story written on your destination for a TripTales blog post, you can send story ideas to Cindy.Dupree@tn.gov and Amanda.Stravinsky@tn.gov.

Twitter is an easy way to connect with consumers and build relationships with media contacts. Follow us on Twitter @TNVacation and @TNTravelNews for the latest information about attractions and events going on in and around Tennessee. When you send your news information to the TDTD public relations team, that information is then tweeted to 404 media contacts located around the world and 7,852 consumers who are just looking for the next excuse to take a Tennessee vacation. It’s a quick, 140-character way to get information out to the public in a timely manner. If you follow us, you can also retweet us, reply to our tweets with more info or just to say a friendly hello. Social media is about building relationships and helping each other cast the brightest light on our great state. So let’s be sure to post, tweet, pin and everything else in between.

Commissioner Susan Whitaker and members of the TDTD team had the high honor of a special luncheon at the home of Consul Saori Nagasa, Consulate General of Japan in Nashville.

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