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

Dear Colleagues,

Summer has kicked into high gear with millions of travelers choosing Tennessee as their destination of choice for vacation fun. We’re blessed to be a four-season travel state, but summer is the time when we really hit it out of the park!

In order to keep the momentum building, the Department’s consumer website, tnvacation.com, is featuring a special micro-site, summer.tnvacation.com, designed to motivate a summer vacation trip, with a menu of statewide options and an exciting West Tennessee travel sweepstakes.

In addition, the Department launched “Make Summer Last,” an aggressive marketing campaign that includes traditional, digital and social mediums, targeting the 5.5 million people in Metro Atlanta, one of Tennessee’s most important markets. Details of this campaign are outlined in the lead article in this month’s Rhythm & News.

Thanks to the $8 million budget increase proposed by Governor Bill Haslam and passed by the Tennessee General Assembly, we now have the financial resources to reach new markets that were outside of our traditional marketing footprint.

In order to make this happen, the members of the Tennessee Tourism Committee have been hard at work putting FY13-14’s Strategic Plan together to present to Governor Haslam. On behalf of the entire Tennessee tourism industry, I would like to thank the Tourism Committee leadership and members for their enormous contribution of time and expertise made on behalf of the entire statewide industry. It’s exciting to think about the results that these efforts will produce as we enter into a new season of economic opportunity for Tennessee tourism.

To ensure that new market growth is also from international markets, a number of Tennessee delegates attended U.S. Travel Association’s IPW (formerly known as PowWow) where more than 6,400 delegates from over 70 countries participated in America’s largest international travel show. Approximately 1,300 domestic and international buyers and nearly 500 media held meetings with state, city and attraction representatives from around the country.

The Department conducted more than 70 meetings with travel buyers and talked with over 40 international journalists about Tennessee’s unique vacation destinations. It was the best response we have ever had – the word is out about Tennessee, all around the world!

On a personal note, one of the privileges of this job is to work with remarkable Tennesseans dedicated to making our state a better place to live. One such individual was State Historian Walter Durham, who passed away recently at the age of 88. I was honored to serve with him on the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission from its inception. Walter loved Tennessee, especially our history, and made a vital contribution to the Commission and to our state. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy of scholarship and wisdom will continue for decades to come.

The Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission is currently planning the 2013 Sesquicentennial Signature Event to take place in Chattanooga, Oct. 9-12. We have already received registrations from 13 states and Canada, as well as from 1,800 Tennessee school children, including a school from Memphis. I hope you will make plans to join us in commemoration of this significant time in our nation and state’s history. 

Let me also encourage you to make plans to attend this year’s Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Sept. 17-19 in Franklin. Registration is now open and the early-bird discount is available through July 31. The Tennessee Tourism Roundtable’s Conference Committee and our great tourism partners in Franklin are planning a terrific conference that you will not want to miss. Read more details in this issue.

The 4th of July! It’s that special time again, and I’m looking forward to celebrating Independence Day Tennessee-style. What does that mean? Well, when you drill down to what makes a great July 4th event, you need to look no further than Tennessee. We have it all – love for our country, spectacular parades, the finest music, Southern hospitality, family, friends, fireworks, and the world’s best barbecue.

God bless America, and God bless Tennessee!


Susan Whitaker

Featured Articles:

Tennessee Tourism will make a splash in Atlanta

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is a consistent driver of brand awareness for past and future visitors. It positions Tennessee Tourism in front of millions of potential visitors on national websites, such as the Travel Channel, Pandora and Orbitz, as well as through publications like Garden & Gun, Southern Living and Budget Travel, each year.

Recognizing that summer travel is extremely important to Tennessee’s thriving tourism industry, we also know that Atlanta represents a key travel market of potential high-value travelers to our state. This perfect combination led us to the exciting opportunity to create a targeted and strategic advertising and public relations campaign called “Make Summer Last.”

The campaign will run from July 1 - August 15 and will leverage the recently launched summer site, www.summer.tnvacation.com. Utilizing the summer site as the core creative for the campaign and a unique URL for Atlanta, www.tnsummer.com, our messaging will extend through our social media channels (#makesummerlast), billboard advertising, bus wraps, an Atlanta Braves sponsorship, radio and cinema advertising, as well as digital targets in the Atlanta market via Pandora, Spotify, TravelChannel.com, GACTV.com, Orbitz and MobileFuse – just to name a few.

By using a unique URL, www.tnsummer.com, we will have the ability to deliver content that caters directly to our Atlanta audience, including a phenomenal sweepstakes provided by Chattanooga. A family of four will win a three-day, two-night stay at the Chattanoogan and a VIP pass to the city's incredible attractions.

The campaign’s visual marketing will benefit from three, one-minute video spots featuring the hit song “You Get What You Give,” by the New Radicals. Our team at Designsensory traveled the state for two weeks shooting footage featuring events like Bonnaroo, as well as our key drivers across Tennessee. The spots are available on TDTD’s YouTube channel and www.tnsummer.com.

Through a partnership with iExplore, we will kick-off a road trip for eight bloggers and social media influencers through a media event on July 15 in Atlanta. The evening will feature Tennessee products, giveaways and entertainment for select media representing and covering all facets of the tour and travel industry.

“Make summer fun. Make summer cool. Make summer last. Find out how at tnsummer.com.”

Unique Tourism Super Seminar to Kick-Off 2013 Governor’s Conference

The Tourism Super Seminar, always a favorite feature of the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism (Sept. 17-19), is going to be different than ever before this year!

Typically held in a conference classroom setting, this year’s Super Seminar is going to be “on-site” and “hands-on” as participants will travel to two once-threatened Franklin sites that have been rescued, restored, and reinvented as successful and thriving tourism assets. More than just tours of these facilities, the Super Seminar will include presentations by the visionaries involved in their transformation.

“Every community in Tennessee has those great under-utilized or perhaps even threatened historic assets,” said John Whisenant, executive director, Tennessee Tourism Roundtable. “Our goal through the Super Seminar is to provide local tourism leaders from around the state with the tools, knowledge, and inspiration – and yes, even an understanding of the challenges of such projects– that can help them do the same in their communities.”

Participants will first travel by complimentary motorcoach from the Cool Springs Conference Center to the Factory at Franklin. Built in 1929, once the site of the Dortch Stove Works, Magic Chef, and later the Jamison Bedding Company, the property had been abandoned and fallen into serious disrepair by the mid-1990’s. Participants will tour the sprawling facility and learn how the property was saved, restored, and has now come alive with concerts, dining, shopping, meetings, theatre, art galleries, antiques, and offices. 

Next participants will travel to the Franklin Theatre in Historic Downtown Franklin. The theatre first opened its doors in 1937, but over the next 70 years, the world changed a lot – and time eventually took its toll on the venerable movie house. The doors closed in 2007 under the pressure of rising rents and the trend toward mega-theaters. Participants will learn from a local nonprofit group how, rather than losing the heart of Main Street, they stepped in to buy and rehabilitate the historic landmark. Today, the new Franklin Theatre continues the cherished tradition of showing movies, but also adds a new dimension to Main Street – live music – and is destined to be an entertainment and cultural icon for years to come.

The Super Seminar will be held from 1:30-4:30 p.m. CDT Tuesday, Sept. 17, and participation is included in conference registration. Because complimentary transportation will be provided, attendees are asked to indicate their Super Seminar participation when registering for the conference. Discounted early-bird registration for the conference is available through July 31 at www.tenntourismroundtable.com.

IPW and TAP – Important Sales and PR Events for Tennessee

Bennjin Lao and Tennessee Tourism partners at TAP eventBennjin Lao and Tennessee Tourism partners at TAP eventThe Department, and several TN partners, had back-to-back trade shows in June. The sales focus for the annual Travel Alliance Partners’ TAP Dance, held in Norfolk, VA, was to promote TN group tour opportunities to operators in North America. While at the annual International Pow Wow Convention, held in Las Vegas, NV, we were promoting all our state has to offer to international tour operators and planners attending from across the globe.

At TAP Dance, TDTD had one-on-one pod-style meetings with 30 tour operators, with representation from each grand region of the state. Our partners included Graceland, Nashville CVC, Gaylord Opryland Resort, and Smith Family Theater. Together with other Tennessee partners in attendance, we successfully promoted a new multi-city Tennessee itinerary, named “America’s Musical Highway” -- a combination of itineraries from Memphis, Nashville, Pigeon Forge, and Chattanooga, when possible. Thank you to the TN partners for working so well together and creating this great itinerary for future business. 

As for IPW, TDTD shared a booth with Chattanooga CVB and Sevierville CVB, taking a total of 70 international tour operator and US Commercial Service meetings, and more than 46 media appointments at Monday’s Media Marketplace and in the Tennessee booth.  Based on pre-scheduled appointments, interest in Tennessee increased by 50 percent over the previous year. With additional Tennessee presence from partners Fee/Hedrick, Memphis CVB, Graceland, Nashville CVC, Tennessee was able to continue its positive media and sales efforts to attract the international tour operator and bring more interest and tours to our state and region.

Two Civil War Trail Markers Dedicated

Battle of Campbellsville Civil War trail marker dedicationBattle of Campbellsville Civil War trail marker dedicationThe dedication ceremony of the Battle of Campbellsville Civil War Trail marker was held June 23. The program included remarks by Lee Curtis, director of program development, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development; Maurice E. Woodard, Mark H. Dunavant, David Van Dyke, Rosemary Dunavant Martin, Ed Corlew, David Dunavant, Jennifer Stout of the Campbellsville Area Association as well as music by Graham, Garrett and Julia Stowe.

On June 30, the Cowan Railroad Museum Civil War Trail marker was dedicated. The ceremony included music, speakers, a flag and cannon display and cannon fire.

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. A map is available at official welcome centers and identifies more than 270 sites in Tennessee.

A map of the trail markers can also be found at www.tncivilwar150.com or by downloading the Civil War in Tennessee iPhone app.

Tennessee in the Civil War - Volumes 1-6 Now Available

The Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission partnered with the Tennessee Historical Society with support from the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area to produce a legacy book series, Tennessee in the Civil War. Volumes 1-6 have been released, with a total of twelve slated to be released through 2015. Volumes in the series examine the great battles, controversial leaders, first-hand accounts, occupation, experiences on the homefront, women's roles, the triumph of African Americans, and the legacy of the Civil War.

Tennessee in the Civil War volumes 1-6 can be ordered online at http://www.tennesseehistory.org/publications.htm, by calling the Tennessee Historical Society at 615-741 -8934 or emailing ino@tennesseehistory.org.

Registration is now open for Tennessee’s 2013 Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event which 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 surrounding historic sites and will feature educational symposiums, book signings, special speaker-led ticketed tours and entertainment.

To register for the event, email tn.civilwar150@tn.gov or call the registration line 615-532-7520. All Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission sponsored events are free and open to the public.

Fly the Flag – How To Attract European Visitors

By David Nicholson

1.      Find A Connection – Research your European heritage and cultural connections to discover  if you have any historical, social, personal or industrial links with a specific city, town, region, nation or country. 

Explore those links in your community, follow the threads and develop a timeline that traces the history to current times.     

For example, Franklin is exploring a sister city relationship with Bad Neuheim in Germany that will involve school and student exchanges as well as sports and commercial links.

2.      Form A Plan – Gather your community stakeholders and prepare a three-year plan to target a country or market.  Clarify your goals, identify your resources and allocate adequate budget year-on-year.  

For example, a food and music festival honoring a particular country and cuisine will not only draw local and regional visitors, it could be the conduit for travel exchanges with the target market.  In year two or three, the festival could feature a French or Belgian chef which kick starts the travel process and international exchange and adds to the appeal and draw of the festival.   

3.      Fly The Flag – There is nothing more surprising and yet reassuring and comforting for a European visitor than seeing a familiar flag fluttering in the Tennessee breeze. Curiosity alone will dictate that Europeans stop to explore the source of their nation’s flag flying in Tennessee. 

Using simple and modest signage in the target market’s language will reinforce the impact of the flag. 

For example, a welcome sign in German or Dutch will draw your visitors in and provide the perfect opportunity for you to explain your cultural connections and most importantly, extend their visit. 

4.      Friend the Tennessee Team – The Tennessee team in Europe covers all the major markets and you should make use of our skills and resources. 

We have offices in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and France and we have Tennessee language guides in French, German and Dutch.  We work with the travel trade, consumers and media across Europe and we operate two major websites for Deep South USA in the UK and Germany. We can assist with translations and offer marketing, sales and PR services on an annual or per project basis. 

For more information, please contact me at: david@david-nicholson.com

Tennessee Hospitality Association assisted Moore, OK tornado victims.
L-R: Lisa Bass, Amy Grace Dunsire, Martha Axford and Greg Atkins.

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