a message from Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker

Dear Colleagues,

Summer may be winding its way down, but the last official summer month for travel was a big one for Tennessee!

Industry Spotlight

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Featured Article

Governor Bill Haslam to Address Tennessee’s 2012 Conference on Tourism

Governor Bill Haslam is confirmed to bring remarks during Friday’s luncheon at Tennessee’s 2012 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, taking place Sept. 19-21 in Sevierville at Wilderness at the Smokies. This will be a perfect time to express our appreciation to Governor Haslam for his ongoing support of our industry.

Commissioner...

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TDTD Shares Insight on Industry Programs and Platforms

Sharing ideas with industry partners is what the Governor’s Conference is all about. This year, the Department of Tourist Development will share great information, via panel discussions and Q&A’s during six well-rounded sessions.

Got the social media thing down? Are you changing as it changes? Maximize your efforts by learning...

Read more

Tennessee Civil War Trails Program Reaches 250 Milestone

There are now 253 newly-interpreted Civil War Trail markers located along Tennessee’s Civil War Trail with many more sites readyto be installed later this fall. As a key project of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, and in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the TNCivil War National...

Read more

Marketing Update

Rural Tourism Committee Meeting Set

The Rural Tourism Committee will meet for an all-day strategic planning session on Sept. 10, 2012, in Nashville. The committee is a restructured version of the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways trail leaders and project managers, as well as members for the Department of Tourist...

Read more

Sales Update

SYTA Delegates Worked Hard and Played Hard in Nashville

A big thank you to all of our Tennessee partners who generously gave of their time to volunteer during the SYTA (Student Youth Travel Association) conference in Nashville. It was a very successful conference, not only for the quality appointments and...

Read more

T3 Program Update

Beginning in September the Tennessee Travel Tuesdays program, or T3, will be revamped. Starting this month T3 emails will be sent out every other week while weekly promotion of T3 deals on Facebook and Twitter will continue as well as 24-7 availability on tnvacation.com. These changes are the result of...

Read more

Johnson City to Host 2012 Southeast Outdoor Press Association Conference

Outdoor journalists will come together in Johnson City for the Annual SEOPA Fall Conference Sept. 26-29. The four-day event offers educational workshops conducted by top professionals in the fields of writing, photography, book publishing, computer technology and other areas of outdoor communication.

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development will be represented...

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Dear Colleagues,

Summer may be winding its way down, but the last official summer month for travel was a big one for Tennessee!

The whole world seemed to be watching Memphis as the 35th anniversary of Elvis Week saw 75,000 fans walk up the driveway at Graceland to pay tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The 10-day event brought an estimated $100 million in economic impact to Memphis. Our much-loved Elvis Presley has definitely NOT left the building.

Clear over at the other end of the state, more than 145,000 race fans from around the world came to cheer the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, once again demonstrating its status as one of the premier NASCAR races in America. Congratulations to the entire team at BMS for putting on such a fantastic experience for race fans year after year!

It looks like this strong summer for tourism in Tennessee should continue through September and the fall. AAA predicted 33 million Americans would travel at least 50 miles from home for the long Labor Day weekend, a 2.9 percent increase over 2011. On Tuesday, AAA stood by their forecast, signaling a public eager to hit the road, regardless of gas prices.

Congratulations to Nashville and the many volunteers from Tennessee’s tourism community for the success of the Student Youth Travel Association’s national conference held at Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center recently. Nashville hosted more than 1,000 SYTA registrants, including 55 Tennessee tourism associates from DMO’s, hotels, attractions, restaurants and transportation companies. Tennessee’s post-event FAMS hosted 15 tour operators to Memphis and seven to the Smoky Mountain Region.

It was great to have a standing-room-only crowd attend the Tourism Committee’s open forum on August 30th at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. This was the last of the statewide meetings which have contributed immensely to the Committee’s discussions of how to take Tennessee Tourism to the next level of success. Thanks to everyone who has been able to participate in these very important meetings.

It’s not too late to reserve your place at Tennessee’s 2012 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Sept. 19-21 in Sevierville. I look forward to seeing each of you at the beautiful Wilderness at the Smokies Resort. Joel Manby, President and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation and star of CBS’s Undercover Boss, will bring the keynote address “Love Works - Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leadership.”  I am really looking forward to hearing these insights from such a successful leader in our industry.

I am delighted to announce that Governor Bill Haslam will be addressing the conference at Friday’s luncheon following a presentation by the Tourism Committee, updating the industry on its work. This is also a session you will not want to miss!

Don’t forget Dollywood is providing free admission to each conference attendee, so make your plans to take advantage of Dollywood’s generosity.  For more conference details and registration information, visit tenntourismroundtable.com. 

Are you ready for fall? It’s a wonderful season for travel to Tennessee when the display of fall colors inspires weekend getaways, visits to fall festivals and, of course, football stadiums. I hope you can take some time to enjoy fall in Tennessee this year while we all welcome the millions of tourists who come our way.  See you in Sevierville!

Warmest regards,


Susan Whitaker

a message from Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker
Featured Article 

Governor Bill Haslam to Address Tennessee’s 2012 Conference on Tourism

Governor Bill Haslam is confirmed to bring remarks during Friday’s luncheon at Tennessee’s 2012 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, taking place Sept. 19-21 in Sevierville at Wilderness at the Smokies. This will be a perfect time to express our appreciation to Governor Haslam for his ongoing support of our industry.

Commissioner Susan Whitaker’s “State of the Industry” address will take place during the breakfast on Thursday, which will include the roll-out of TDTD’s 2012-13 marketing plan as well as an announcement of the Economic Impact of Travel on Tennessee Counties as reported by the U.S. Travel Association. Commissioner Whitaker has hinted in her message that we are in store for some good news again this year.

Not to be missed is the keynote address, “Love Works. Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders,” by Joel Manby, president and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation. In his presentation, Manby turns the traditional view of leadership on its head, championing the value of leading with love, rather than power.

The Tourism Marketing Super Seminar will kick-off this year’s conference from 2 - 4 p.m. EDT, Sept. 19, with Rich Benjamin leading.

Details about this year’s educational seminars, led by the marketing staff of TDTD, are featured in the article following.

It’s not too late to register for Tennessee’s 2012 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Sept. 19 – 21 in Sevierville.For detailed information, visit www.tenntourismroundtable.com.

TDTD Shares Insight on Industry Programs and Platforms

Sharing ideas with industry partners is what the Governor’s Conference is all about. This year, the Department of Tourist Development will share great information, via panel discussions and Q&A’s during six well-rounded sessions.

Got the social media thing down? Are you changing as it changes? Maximize your efforts by learning how your organization should evolve with the changing world of social media during the Next Steps in Your Social Media Marketing.

There are so many new platforms when it comes to media these days. Are you in the know? Best practices when it comes to working with new digital platforms, travel journalists and utilizing TDTD’s resources will be shared during the Public Relations and the New Media panel discussion.

How can you take full advantage of the Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways? The DTTB What’s Next? seminar will walk you through exciting new plans and programs being developed to grow tourism in Tennessee.

Does your organization attend group tour shows? If you’re not, should you? Share ideas about getting the biggest bang for your buck from the group tour marketduring the Group Tour 101 Q&A session with industry partners.

Did you know the state of Tennessee is the only Civil War National Heritage Area to encompass an entire state? Are you piggybacking on the state’s major events to market the Sesquicentennial in your area? Find out what resources are available during the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Update.

International travel to Tennessee is on the rise and the State of Tennessee is working hard to make sure it continues. The department’s international marketing representatives will discuss the state’s international marketing program and will take you through the steps you can take to get your share of this important market during the Tennessee on the World Stage session.

Please make plans to come and share your ideas with us! After all, that’s what it’s all about!

Tennessee Civil War Trails Program Reaches 250 Milestone

There are now 253 newly-interpreted Civil War Trail markers located along Tennessee’s Civil War Trail with many more sites readyto be installed later this fall. As a key project of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, and in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the TNCivil War National Heritage Area,this well-funded, community-centered program is the platform not only for the state’s Civil War-related heritage tourism initiatives but also a platform for public engagement.

The Civil War Trails program takes visitors from famous battlefields to stories of guerilla fighting and the heroism of the families left on thehome front, places all over the state that tell Tennessee’s unique and fascinating Civil War heritage.One look at the Tennessee Civil War Trails map guide, with a distribution of 1.2 million, will provide insight as to how significant Tennessee was during the Civil War.

The Sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War, 2011 – 2015, provides the tourism industry with a unique opportunity to showcase the state’s rich Civil War heritage to national and international visitors, and to the citizens of Tennessee. MARK YOUR CALENDAR – Tennessee’s 2013 Sesquicentennial Signature Event will be held in Chattanooga Oct. 9-12, 2013.

The popularity of the Tennessee Civil War website, tncivilwar150.com, and the Tennessee Civil War map guide, are strong indicators of the high interest tourists are showing in Tennessee’s role in the Civil War. Tennessee is the most requested Civil War Trails map guide in all of the five states located on the Civil War Trail. Tennessee Welcome Centers report the Civil War Trails map guide is one of their most requested brochures and there continues to be a strong interest from the UK andGerman markets.

The Civil War Sesquicentennial is bringing communities across our state together to tell the whole story of Tennessee’s important role in the Civil War. To learn more about the economic opportunities available through the Tennessee Civil War Trails program please join Dr. Carroll Van West at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism session, Authenticity in Travel: Tennessee’s Civil War Heritage – A Story Worth Telling! For more information on the program visit www.tncivilwar150.com.

Marketing Update

Rural Tourism Committee Meeting Set

The Rural Tourism Committee will meet for an all-day strategic planning session on Sept. 10, 2012, in Nashville. The committee is a restructured version of the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways trail leaders and project managers, as well as members for the Department of Tourist Development and the Marketing Tourism Committee.

The meeting agenda consists of the following topics:

Program Sustainability
Brochure Inventory
Signage Status
Project Updates (apps, social media, etc.)
Trail Tool Kits

The information discussed during the Sept. 10 meeting will be included in the Trails Session during the 2012 Governors Conference. Dont miss it!

Partnership Marketing Program Extension

Due to the holiday weekend, we are adding a two-day extension to the Partnership Marketing Program application deadline. Please make sure to submit all of your materials by Wednesday, Sept. 5 for fiscal year, 2012-2013.

The program provides tourism organizations the opportunity to expand the impact of their marketing message, increase visitation to their community and increase travel-generated revenue. Sponsorships awarded are limited to available funds, as well as the number of requests received.

Program Schedule:

Aug. 1, 2012: TDTD distributed the program packets via email

Sept. 3, 2012: Applications due to TDTD

Sept. 5, 2012: Deadline extension to receive applications

Sept. 14, 2012: Partnership marketing funds awarded (notified via email and traditional mail)

May 3, 2013: Qualifying projects must be complete

May 31, 2013: Reimbursement paperwork and final report due to TDTD

If you have any questions, please contact Colleen Coury at Colleen.Coury@tn.gov.

Sales Update

SYTA Delegates Worked Hard and Played Hard in Nashville

A big thank you to all of our Tennessee partners who generously gave of their time to volunteer during the SYTA (Student Youth Travel Association) conference in Nashville. It was a very successful conference, not only for the quality appointments and meetings, but also for the amazingly positive impressions of Tennessee’s hospitality now fixed in the minds of the 1004 delegates who attended, both tour operators and suppliers alike.

The TDTD had 29 pre-scheduled appointments, and conducted 16 roundtable sessions, which resulted in meetings with an additional 32 tour operator delegates. The state of Tennessee was well-represented at the conference, with 55 Tennessee suppliers registered from 43 different companies. And the positive impressions continued after the conference, as 22 tour operator delegates left Nashville and participated in two post-FAM tours, one hosted by Memphis, and the other hosted by Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg.

Coming up at Governor’s Conference in Sevierville, plan to attend one of two group sales sessions taking place during the educational seminars portion of the conference.

We will discuss the various associations and what types of group sales opportunities they present for your organization.

T3 Program Update

Beginning in September the Tennessee Travel Tuesdays program, or T3, will be revamped. Starting this month T3 emails will be sent out every other week while weekly promotion of T3 deals on Facebook and Twitter will continue as well as 24-7 availability on tnvacation.com. These changes are the result of tightened budget resources. The T3 program remains free of charge to our tourism partners who qualify for a free partner page on tnvacation.com.

Johnson City to Host 2012 Southeast Outdoor Press Association Conference

Outdoor journalists will come together in Johnson City for the Annual SEOPA Fall Conference Sept. 26-29. The four-day event offers educational workshops conducted by top professionals in the fields of writing, photography, book publishing, computer technology and other areas of outdoor communication.

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development will be represented at this year’s meeting and is a sponsor, along with Johnson City CVB, of the welcoming reception and dinner at Gray Fossil Site and Museum.

In addition, pre and post-conference media tours are offered providing opportunities for gathering new story material and photos. Tours offered include: Nolichucky River Smallmouth, Watauga Tailwaters Photo Tour, Holston River Smallmouth, South Holston Fly Fishing, Shady Valley Wetlands Restoration, Black Bear Tracking, Whitewater Rafting, Caving, Quail hunting and Bird Walk and Butterfly Safari.

For more information about the conference, visit www.seopa.org

Industry Trends

<p><strong>Five Trends Shaping the Hotel Industry</strong><br />Taken from HotelNewsNow.com</p>
<p>GLOBAL REPORT&mdash;The proliferation of online tools continues to dominate the pace of change in the ever-evolving hotel industry, according to sources.</p>
<p>While the &ldquo;trend&rdquo; is by no means new, its pace is remarkable nonetheless, said Ron Pohl, senior VP of brand management and member services for Phoenix-based Best Western International.</p>
<p>&ldquo;It just becomes more and more comprehensive,&rdquo; he said of guests&rsquo; use of search, social media and apps to shop and book hotel stays. &ldquo;Social media is consuming everything we&rsquo;re doing in the lodging industry from how a customer shops, what the customer looks at, how they evaluate us, whether they trust us.&rdquo;</p>
<p>More recently, the use of online platforms is transcending age and demographics, he said.</p>
<p>Approximately 20% of all travel was booked on mobile devices during 2011; two years ago that number was nearly zero, according to Robert Rauch, president of San Diego-based R.A. Rauch &amp; Associates hotel consulting.</p>
<p>Within the next three years, 80% of all bookings will be made via mobile devices, he said, citing information from Google.</p>
<p>&ldquo;The pace has already been huge. It&rsquo;s akin to zero to 60 in 4.3 seconds,&rdquo; Rauch said. <br /><br /><br />Ken Minnikin, Mantra Group</p>
<p>Another interesting wrinkle is the times and locations in which would-be guests are searching and booking hotel stays, said Ken Minnikin, director of marketing for Australia-based Mantra Group.</p>
<p>It&rsquo;s an information-on-demand era, he said. &ldquo;Consumers are utilizing new technology such as mobile/cell phones and tablets, to conduct research and to make accommodation bookings. And even more interesting is when they are undertaking this activity.&rdquo; For example, activity is peaking at 11 p.m. local time in Australia, he said.</p>
<p>But innovation exists beyond the world of online booking, sources said. They highlighted four other trends that are shaping the global hotel landscape.</p>
<p><strong>Lost art and the rise of science</strong></p>
<p>While digital tools are revolutionizing the way customers search and book travel, they&rsquo;re also changing the way hoteliers themselves operate, Rauch said.</p>
<p>&ldquo;We have become an industry that is much more science than art,&rdquo; he said.</p>
<p>Look no further than revenue management, he said. Whereas before the task was like spinning plates, now the majority of that process is automated.</p>
<p>&ldquo;There are algorithms that can run your revenue management, and I don&rsquo;t have to do anything,&rdquo; he said, adding that it&rsquo;s also good to have the human element overseeing even the best autopilots.</p>
<p>The shift toward science also is being felt in the distribution arena, Rauch said. &ldquo;There are so many diverse channels through which we can get business. &hellip; we have to determine which ones to take and at what price,&rdquo; he said, adding tools exist to help hoteliers do just that.</p>
<p><strong>No place like home</strong></p>
<p><a class="ind-content-image" style="float: right; margin: 0 0 10px 10px; width: 128px;" href="#"><img class="inline" src="/industry/images/newsletter/0912-bestwestern.jpg" border="0" alt="Ron Pohl" /></a>Ron Pohl, Best Western</p>
<p>&ldquo;At the end of the day, we sell sleep,&rdquo; Best Western&rsquo;s Pohl said. &ldquo;Making that as much like (our guests&rsquo;) home environment is oftentimes what the customer wants.&rdquo;</p>
<p>Guests today, especially road warriors, want rooms that remind them of home, he said. That can be reflected both in the design aesthetic as well as amenities and technology.</p>
<p>The hotel industry hasn&rsquo;t always been good at keeping up with the pace of change, however. But guest expectations are guest expectations, and hoteliers must do everything they can to accommodate them.</p>
<p><strong>Blending between property types</strong></p>
<p>The product offerings in the hotel industry today are extremely segmented, Pohl said. Extended-stay properties are different from suite properties, which are different from standard properties.</p>
<p>Executives at Best Western are looking to change that to match the increasingly fragmented needs and wants of guests. Instead of a hotel offering only one room type, Pohl said the hotel of the future could feature several different room types under one roof.</p>
<p>It&rsquo;s not an entirely revolutionary idea, he said. Best Western properties in the past have often featured a handful of extended-stay-type rooms with kitchens. But the industry moved away from that idea during the past few decades.</p>
<p><strong>Size doesn&rsquo;t matter</strong></p>
<p>The hotel industry has been working under the erroneous assumption that bigger often means better, Pohl said.</p>
<p>Today&rsquo;s discerning traveler, however, is often eschewing the big-box mega complexes of the past for more personal, manageable property footprints.</p>
<p>&ldquo;Customers like the inn feel or the expanded bed-and-breakfast feel. There&rsquo;s not many brands or chains that are affiliated with those types of products. It&rsquo;s an opportunity to take smaller hotels (of 30 to 50 rooms) and place them in a market with a brand name.&rdquo;</p>
<p>For more information, go to http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/. </p>

Industry Spotlight