a message from Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett

Dear Partners,

July. Our country’s birthday and a time to celebrate.

Red, white and blue. Fireworks. Food.

Industry Spotlight

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Tennessee Travel News

Gaylord Opryland to Host Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism Oct. 7-9

“Hitting the High Notes!” is the theme for the 2015 Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism, and that’s exactly what will take place Oct. 7-9 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville!

“With music being our state’s brand and Music City being our host, it’s only natural we ...

Read more

TDTD Wins Prestigious Cannes Lion Award

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s “One Minute Vacation” digital advertising campaign received international accolades this weekend, earning a Bronze Lion at the 62nd Annual Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France. “One Minute Vacation” was recognized at the Lions Innovation competition in the newly created ...

Read more

USA Today Readers Agree: Tennessee is the Global Music Destination of Choice

The state of Tennessee claimed five of the top six spots on USA Today’s list of “10 Best Musical Attractions,” voted by the publication’s readers.

Memphis’ Graceland and Sun Studio hold the top two spots, respectively. Grand Ole Opry ranked fourth most popular; Dollywood ranked fifth; and the Stax Museum ...

Read more

2016 Vacation Guide Marketing Opportunity Available Now

The Official Tennessee Vacation Guide continues to be the top fulfillment piece TDTD uses to send out to visitors requesting information about Tennessee. In 2014, the state of Tennessee had a great year reprinting 75,000 guides to fulfill demand, and reporting record visitation to Tennessee with more than 100 million ...

Read more

Take Me Out to Discover TN Trail Night at the Ballpark!

While some are hitting grand slams this summer, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and its partners are hitting the trails for “Trail Night at the Ballpark!”

As part of an exciting new marketing campaign for the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, trail partners from across the state will showcase ...

Read more

How to use "The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee."

We have updated our toolkit to include information on how to use “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.”

"The Soundtrack of America." and "Made in Tennessee." will remain together in the logo. The two should never be used separately in logo form. When space and size allow, the logo ...

Read more

IPW Helps Extend Tennessee’s PR Global Reach

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s PR team represented the state at U.S. Travel Association’s IPW, the travel industry's premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S.

This year’s conference in Orlando hosted more than 6,500 delegates from 73 countries, including more than 500 media representing ...

Read more

TDTD Sales: TAP, Tours and Florida Sales Mission

The Department recently concluded its participation and attendance at the annual Travel Alliance Partners “TAP Dance” conference June 7-11 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

Tennessee was represented by eight other destinations and attractions including Chattanooga CVB, Clarksville CVB, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Gaylord Opryland Resort, Graceland, Grand Ole ...

Read more

Dear Partners,

July. Our country’s birthday and a time to celebrate.

Red, white and blue. Fireworks. Food.

We have the first and the largest.  In West Tennessee the celebration kicks off Friday, July 3 at Reelfoot Lake with a weekend of “music, fireworks, picnics in the park and boat rides on the lake.”

The first parade is in Gatlinburg, rolling off at Midnight.

The largest? That is in Nashville. The Music City July 4th: Let Freedom Sing! celebration is the largest fireworks show in the country and has been named by multiple media outlets as one of the best July 4th events in the country.

Jonesborough, Smithville, Pickwick Lake, Chattanooga, Etowah and more.

Of course there is music too. There has to be music.

And why not? If we are celebrating America’s birthday should it not be with the most American kind of music. After all, the Soundtrack of America is made in Tennessee.

Martina McBride, Mikky Ekko and more highlight the Nashville lineup.

A couple of days earlier, with fewer fireworks but significant impact, the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis cuts the ribbon. Technically it has been open since early May, but a ceremony commemorating the event and celebrating this legacy of so many honored within the halls of the Hall takes place July 2.

Located across the street from the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, the BHOF honors inductees (more than 350 to date, including some from right here in Tennessee), educates the public about the songs and those who wrote and performed them and offers visitors audio and visual performances while preserving collections of historic impact on this genuine, authentic  American Music genre.

That’s just the first week of the month.

Traveling around the state I continue to not only be blown away by the things to see and places to visit but the passion of the people in our industry for telling the stories.

And we never run out of stories to tell.

The Memphis CVB hosted its annual luncheon at the famed Peabody with a celebration of the growth occurring in Shelby County and a tip of the cap to the late Riley “B.B.” King. I never get tired of listening to how his famed guitar Lucille got her name.

In Carroll County I stood on the banks of the 1,000-acre lake. I was stunned by the beauty and impressed by the dream of those who never gave up and envisioned a lake where there once was just trees and the impact it could have on their area.

In Huntingdon, I toured the wonderful Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center or The Dixie as it is affectionately known. I saw pictures of buildings crumbling in decay in the same spot where now I heard the sweet voices of students practicing their performance of Schoolhouse Rock. I found myself singing along (not loud enough to be heard) to those catchy ditties that taught me about conjunctions and how bills become law.

We dedicated more Civil War Trails markers, honoring sacrifices, telling more stories but never forgetting the past; even when it is difficult.

I stood in the two-room home of blues hall of famer Sleepy John Estes and closed my eyes. I tried to imagine his life. I couldn’t.

Hundreds showed up in Sevier County to celebrate the hospitality and tourism industry and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol continues to tell the story of where it all began with the launch of WBCM radio.

Get out and enjoy. It’s all here. Made in Tennessee.

See you on the road.

Kevin Triplett

Featured Article 

Gaylord Opryland to Host Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism Oct. 7-9

“Hitting the High Notes!” is the theme for the 2015 Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism, and that’s exactly what will take place Oct. 7-9 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville!

“With music being our state’s brand and Music City being our host, it’s only natural we would plan this year’s conference around a musical theme,” said Greg Adkins, president and CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association. “We’re working with our great partners at the Department and at the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation to make sure this is one of the best conferences ever!”

The annual conference, produced by TnHTA in partnership with the Department of Tourist Development, attracts hundreds of representatives from the state’s second largest industry. 

 “Music City can always be counted on to deliver on their brand promise of music,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Beyond the great entertainment, this year’s conference will be another important educational opportunity for our industry, with nationally-known keynote speakers, professional development seminars, and outstanding networking and social events, as well as the Hospitality and Tourism EXPO Tradeshow.”

Two highlights of the conference will be the presentation of the Department of Tourist Development’s marketing program by Commissioner Triplett and the annual “Address to the Tourism Industry” by Governor Bill Haslam (invited).  Conference attendees will also have an opportunity to experience the sites and especially the sounds of Music City through special events and dine-arounds.

The annual TnHTPAC Golf Tournament, an outstanding networking event, will take place Oct. 7 at Gaylord Springs Golf Links. Participants will compete on the beautiful course for prizes and bragging rights, as well as enjoy complimentary breakfast, lunch and beverages.

“When you combine all of these great events and activities with the outstanding educational and professional development opportunities, this will be one conference anyone in our industry will want to attend,” continued Commissioner Triplett.

For complete conference information, including schedule, speakers, seminars, registration, the golf tournament and lodging, go to www.tnhta.net and click on “2015 Governor’s Conference.”

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TDTD wins prestigious Cannes Lion

TDTD Wins Prestigious Cannes Lion Award

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s “One Minute Vacation” digital advertising campaign received international accolades this weekend, earning a Bronze Lion at the 62nd Annual Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France. “One Minute Vacation” was recognized at the Lions Innovation competition in the newly created category of Creative Data, Strategic Data Integration.

Cannes is the world’s largest annual awards show and festival for the creative communications industry. “One Minute Vacation” was selected from among 700 entries in the Creative Data category. A total of 55 entries were “short listed,” and 29 received Cannes Lion awards (6 gold, 10 silver, 12 bronze).

The “One Minute Vacation” cooperative marketing campaign, created by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development in partnership with its advertising agency, VML, and 24 tourism industry partners, launched in the spring of 2014.

The campaign included a series of web-based banner advertisements that enticed viewers to watch one-minute videos featuring animated maps of nearby Tennessee destinations and attractions.

Each video was “geo-targeted” to promote East, Middle and West Tennessee destinations and attractions based on the viewer’s location. For example, consumers in Atlanta were shown videos promoting Chattanooga and the Smoky Mountains, while those in markets such as Little Rock were shown videos of Memphis and other West Tennessee destinations.

Viewers were urged to click through to a special page on the Tennessee Tourism website, where they could learn more about Tennessee vacations and request or download a copy of the Tennessee Vacation Guide.

More than 970,000 people watched video from the five-week campaign – totaling more than 17,000 hours of video views – leading to 26,000 Vacation Guide downloads.

“It is truly an honor to have the global creative communications community recognize Tennessee and VML with this prestigious award,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “We are even more grateful for the support and active participation of our tourism industry partners, who helped make the highly innovative ‘One Minute Vacation’ campaign a extraordinary success.”

The state’s $16.7 billion tourism industry last year attracted more than 101 million visitors from around the world. For more information on Tennessee destinations, attractions and events, visit www.tnvacation.com.

View the video here.

Graceland, Memphis

USA Today Readers Agree: Tennessee is the Global Music Destination of Choice

The state of Tennessee claimed five of the top six spots on USA Today’s list of “10 Best Musical Attractions,” voted by the publication’s readers.

Memphis’ Graceland and Sun Studio hold the top two spots, respectively. Grand Ole Opry ranked fourth most popular; Dollywood ranked fifth; and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis ranked sixth.

“Readers of the nation’s No. 1 newspaper have declared Tennessee the No. 1 best state for music,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “These five Tennessee attractions are at the top, but that’s just the beginning of all Tennessee has to offer to music fans from around the world.”

USA Today’s “10 Best” Readers Choice list is published annually and is compiled based on  responses to an online vote conducted by USA Today and 10Best, which provides users with unbiased and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has adopted the slogan: “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee” to drive awareness for the Volunteer State as the global music destination of choice.

The state’s $16.7 billion tourism industry last year attracted more than 101 million visitors from around the world.

For more information on Tennessee’s vast music offerings, visit www.tnvacation.com/music-arts.

Sign up now for the official 2016 Vacation Guide

2016 Vacation Guide Marketing Opportunity Available Now

The Official Tennessee Vacation Guide continues to be the top fulfillment piece TDTD uses to send out to visitors requesting information about Tennessee. In 2014, the state of Tennessee had a great year reprinting 75,000 guides to fulfill demand, and reporting record visitation to Tennessee with more than 100 million person stays.

Advertising sales are now underway, so don’t miss this great chance to promote your destination in the 2016 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide. The deadline is Sept. 9.

Published by longtime partner, Miles, the guide will once again feature large, captivating photography and powerful, experiential copy to showcase Tennessee’s outstanding tourism offerings. Content will also highlight Tennessee’s music legacy, the state’s outdoor adventure, off-the-beaten-path travel excursions, and farm-to-table experiences. 

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.

Miles is constantly offering ways to maximize your dollars and exposure including bonuses and added value offerings, rich media in the iPad app and the Tennessee Welcome Center displays.

Reach out to destination specialists for Miles: 
Mary Steadman (Upper Cumberland and East Tennessee)at 423-956-4330, Mary.Steadman@MilesPartnership.com
or Abbie Gristy (Middle and West Tennessee) at 731-298-1003, Abbie.Gristy@MilesPartnership.com.

Click here for a PDF of the complete 2016 Tennessee Vacation Guide Media Kit.

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 2016 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.  

TN Baseball will highlight TN Trails

Take Me Out to Discover TN Trail Night at the Ballpark!

While some are hitting grand slams this summer, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and its partners are hitting the trails for “Trail Night at the Ballpark!”

As part of an exciting new marketing campaign for the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, trail partners from across the state will showcase 16 driving trails to families and fans attending minor league baseball games throughout the state. The trails are designed to offer travelers a backstage pass to the back roads of Tennessee allowing them to enjoy scenic drives and experience authentic points-of-interest along the way.

Tennessee’s minor league baseball games draw approximately 1.5 million attendees annually. Minor league teams in Tennessee include: Chattanooga Lookouts, Elizabethton Twins, Greeneville Astros, Kingsport Mets, Jackson Generals, Johnson City Cardinals, Memphis Redbirds, Nashville Sounds and Tennessee Smokies. Trail partners will be able to connect with fans at the ballpark, share trail brochures and coupons or offers for the trail’s points of interest. 

Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett will be on deck to throw the opening pitch for three of the nine games, the first being on July 9 in Knoxville for the Tennessee Smokies’ game.

The Trail Night at the Ballpark campaign includes:

  • Special designed display tent featuring the DTTB logo
  • Made in Tennessee/DTTB promotional items which will be given to the first 200 fans at each stop
  • Billboards promoting the Trails– placed regionally to run eight weeks
  • DTTB public announcements at each ballgame
  • Web banner advertising on seven of the team’s home page websites for the 2015 season
  • First pitch opportunities for identified trail leaders

Trail Night at the Ballpark will continue to build a DTTB awareness of the DTTB signs, print, online, social and new media marketing tools. 

For more information on the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program, contact Rob Sherrill at Rob.Sherrill@tn.gov or 615-532-8124 or go to www.TNTrailsAndByways.com.

How to use "The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee."

We have updated our toolkit to include information on how to use “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.”

"The Soundtrack of America." and "Made in Tennessee." will remain together in the logo. The two should never be used separately in logo form. When space and size allow, the logo should also incorporate the URL, tnvacation.com, along the bottom of the design.

In phrasing and when used in copy, “Made in Tennessee." may stand alone when referring to the things that are uniquely created in Tennessee. “The Soundtrack of America.” may be used when referring to the sounds of nature, experiences, and the music of Tennessee, but it should not be used without “Made in Tennessee.”

Example:
I love visiting Tennessee to shop for all of the "Made in Tennessee." products.
The roar of the engines at the Bristol Motor Speedway is "The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee."

For any questions, please contact Carrie Roberson at Carrie.Roberson@tn.gov or 615-741

Beijing Radio Rep Takes Home Orthophonic Joy CD

IPW Helps Extend Tennessee’s PR Global Reach

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s PR team represented the state at U.S. Travel Association’s IPW, the travel industry's premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S.

This year’s conference in Orlando hosted more than 6,500 delegates from 73 countries, including more than 500 media representing 70 countries, as well as key travel media from the U.S.

PR meetings were held with media outlets from the U.K., Germany, France, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, the Czech Republic, among others. Domestic meetings were held with Peter Greenberg Worldwide, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, and Huffington Post travel writers. Partners also participating in Media Marketplace were Memphis CVB and Graceland.

Media Marketplace was a day-long meeting forum. The first half of the day, PR representatives hosted meetings with journalists. After lunch, Reverse Media Marketplace was held and PR representatives had the opportunity to meet with more journalists.

International journalists who cover and write about USA travel destinations, products, and services are eligible to register by invitation and approval from the International Advisory Committee Chair in their country and U.S. Travel Association. A limited number of registrations are also available for U.S. journalists.

Double rainbow over the Holston River during TDTD visit

Tourism Sales Partners at TAP

TDTD Sales: TAP, Tours and Florida Sales Mission

The Department recently concluded its participation and attendance at the annual Travel Alliance Partners “TAP Dance” conference June 7-11 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

Tennessee was represented by eight other destinations and attractions including Chattanooga CVB, Clarksville CVB, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Gaylord Opryland Resort, Graceland, Grand Ole Opry Entertainment Group, Nashville CVC, and the Grand Majestic Theater. Meetings were held with 31 Tour Operator companies to promote and discuss itinerary options to increase business and tours to Tennessee. 

The department will participate in a sales mission July 13-17 to Florida coordinated by the Nashville CVC, conducting AAA trainings and calling upon tour operators in Tampa and along Florida’s west coast, followed by calls on student tour operators in Orlando. The week of meetings will conclude with a client event featuring entertainment and networking. 

As LouAnna’s familiarization with Tennessee continues, she had the opportunity in June to visit East TN, Northeast Tennessee, and Maury County. Partners in Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Jonesborough, Greeneville, Knoxville and Maury County were able to provide training and site visits of primary tourist attractions, restaurants, and hotels in the region.

In Kingsport, sites included Bays Mountain; Allendale Mansion; the Netherland Inn; Kingsport’s Riverfront Seafood; and an evening tour of the Exchange Place. 

In Bristol, visits included the Bristol Motor Speedway, downtown Bristol, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and newly opened restaurant, Basq.

While in Johnson City and Jonesborough, venues included the Gray Fossil Site, Rocky Mount State Historic Site, the Hands on Museum, a portion of the Tweetsie Trail, Olde Towne Pancake House, the International Storytelling Center, and a Historic Jonesborough Town History and Storytelling Tour.

In Greeneville and Knoxville, the educational tour included the General Morgan Inn, the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, the Greeneville/Greene County History Museum, the City Car Garage Museum, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, the Knoxville Zoo, the East Tennessee History Center, the Sunsphere, and a dose of the WDVX Blueplate Special.

Finally, in Maury County, site visits were held at the James K. Polk Home, Mt. Pleasant Grille, the Athenaeum Rectory, tour of Elm Springs, and Rippavilla Plantation. 

Many thanks to all the partners who assisted in this effort and for providing the sales team with updates and additional opportunities to promote your areas. 

E-Mail Marketing: The Hardest-Working Channel in Tourism

Football fans often celebrate the spectacular catch or the breakaway touchdown run, but often overlook the hard work of the linemen, whose blocking clears a path for the running back and protects the quarterback long enough to complete a long pass.

Such is the plight of e-mail marketing, the often overlooked but hardworking channel that can make a big difference on your bottom line.
The relatively low cost to develop, administer and track campaigns make e-mail marketing a cost-effective way to keep travelers engaged and spark supplemental travel and loyalty over time. The reason is simple: recipients have already given permission to contact them by providing you with their e-mail addresses.

“It’s unlikely that a customer will subscribe to a list if they don’t trust a company,” writes Chad Harwood-Jones of U.K.-based Ad-Rank Media in a guest column for the British trade Tnooz.com.

Harwood-Jones offers three recommendations for travel marketers that can make this hard-working channel work even harder:

  1. Send reminders. An abandoned cart is one of the pitfalls of running an online booking tool, but for those who track customer behavior, an e-mail reminder to those who bail out before closing their reservation can be converted. A simple reminder e-mail offering further assistance or different options for travelers can re-engage them and close the sale.
  2. Customization and personalization. Harwood-Jones notes that adding emojis to subject lines dramatically boosted open rates for MailChimp, and that companies using modular templates for their e-mail messages (allowing for custom content based on the recipient’s location) can see significant increases in readership and click-through rates.
  3. Reward engagement. “It’s unlikely that a customer is subscribed to only one travel brand’s mailing list, [so] a well-timed money-off voucher can be a deciding factor between Brand A and Brand B,” writes Harwood-Jones.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development’s e-mail marketing campaign consistently delivers open rates ranging from 14 to nearly 17 percent, with click-through rates as high as 5.48 percent for the spring vacation sweepstakes developed in cooperation with our industry partners.

If you’ve read this far, you’re further proving the point that e-mail marketing is a great way to drive engagement and build loyalty.

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