a message from Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett

Partners,

It is “that time of year” where we find ourselves saying, well … “It’s that time of year.”

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Tennessee Travel News

Brian Wagner Named Assistant Commissioner of Marketing

Commissioner Kevin Triplett has named Brian Wagner assistant commissioner of marketing for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Wagner joined the staff on Oct. 26. He formerly served as senior marketing & special projects manager at Ryman Auditorium.

“We are excited to have Brian Wagner join the staff as assistant ...

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2016 Co-op Sign-Up: Last Call

The deadline to sign up to participate in one or both of the 2016 Co-op programs is today, Nov. 3. There are two program options to choose from that vary in buy-in level and program focus. The overview of both programs can be found below. Sign up by emailing Jennifer.Littlejohn@tn.gov. ...

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Tennessee Welcome Centers to Conduct FAM Tours Across the State

With the continued collaboration between the Tennessee Ethics Commission and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the staff and regional managers of Tennessee's 14 Welcome Centers will embark on familiarization tours to attractions, parks and cities across the state.

For every conversation opportunity with a Welcome Center affiliate, guests add ...

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From London to Louisville: Tennessee Showcased in Sales

The annual World Travel Market will be held Nov. 2-6 in London, England, where international tour operators in the industry gather to hold meetings and appointments to discuss and exchange travel opportunities amongst destinations from all over the world. 

The Department will be in attendance inside the Travel South USA pavilion ...

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Dolly Parton and Peter Greenberg Create Tennessee Documentary

Internationally-known travel journalist Peter Greenberg recently spent two days touring Tennessee with entertainment legend and native Tennessean Dolly Parton for the Brand USA travel celebrity series.

The two-day whirlwind tour included visits to Nashville and the Smoky Mountains with stops at Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, ...

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Partners,

It is “that time of year” where we find ourselves saying, well … “It’s that time of year.”

We used to be crazy getting ready for Thanksgiving then take a deep breath and relax a few days, maybe even a week or two, to get ready for Christmas. Then, we rang in the New Year.

Now, it just kind of all runs together, often referred to collectively simply as “the holidays,” as in ‘I will get back with you after the holidays’ or ‘I am really busy right now can you give me a shout after the holidays.’

No question it is a busy time of year for us. It makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, people travel during the holidays and that is the business we are in, right?

True enough. But, and this is a short message this month, I ask that we all do not forget to be thankful.

Be thankful for how things are going. A lot of things are going well, but even what is not can teach us something.

Be thankful for where we are; the greatest state in the Union in the greatest country in the world.

Be thankful for what we do. We do not save lives like medical personnel or first responders. We do not protect lives like the men and women in the military.

But we do enhance lives by giving people wonderful experiences in their free time. We provide that break.

And for all of that and more, including working with great folks such as you, I am thankful.

 

See you on the road.

Kevin Triplett

Assistant Commissioner of Marketing Brian Wagner

Featured Article 

Brian Wagner Named Assistant Commissioner of Marketing

Commissioner Kevin Triplett has named Brian Wagner assistant commissioner of marketing for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Wagner joined the staff on Oct. 26. He formerly served as senior marketing & special projects manager at Ryman Auditorium.

“We are excited to have Brian Wagner join the staff as assistant commissioner of marketing,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett. “Brian brings career experience and a successful track record that is the perfect fit for tourism and the state and that enhances our branding of Tennessee as ‘The Soundtrack of America, Made in Tennessee.’”

While at the Ryman, Wagner played an instrumental role in the unparalleled success the Ryman has enjoyed as America’s top theater and one of Nashville’s leading tourist attractions. During his nine years at the National Historic Landmark, the Ryman has doubled its annual daytime tour visitors and received countless concert industry awards including the Pollstar Theater of the Year for the past five consecutive years, Academy of Country Music Venue of the Year and CMA SRO Venue of the Year multiple times.

In addition to leading the marketing department for the Ryman, Wagner worked on brand licensing and sponsorship activation. He also co-produced the recent incarnation of “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” and the annual bluegrass series. During the Ryman’s recent $15 million improvement project, he managed the production of five new exhibit videos and assisted with the creation of the immersive theater experience, “Soul of Nashville.”

Prior to joining the Ryman team, he was president of Flashpoint Entertainment and owner of The Wagner Agency. Flashpoint Entertainment evolved from artist booking and management into a concert promotion company when ad agency client Mercy Lounge hired Flashpoint to book, promote and produce all events when it first opened in 2003. The alliance was successful, paving the way for the addition of The Cannery Ballroom and the Cannery Row Revival outdoor concert series. Wagner’s companies provided the same services for BB Kings Blues Club Nashville, started the East Nashville Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day pub crawls and provided marketing services for several other locally-owned businesses.

Originally from Michigan City, Indiana, Wagner moved to Nashville in 1999 after graduating from Ball State University where he majored in English, minored in journalism and served as promotions director for the university program board. He served on the board of The DISTRICT Nashville for the past eight years and is an active member of the Americana Music Association, Country Music Association and Leadership Music. He enjoys playing guitar and being outdoors. Wagner, his wife Rebecca and their two children live in Brentwood.

2016 Co-op Sign-Up: Last Call

The deadline to sign up to participate in one or both of the 2016 Co-op programs is today, Nov. 3. There are two program options to choose from that vary in buy-in level and program focus. The overview of both programs can be found below. Sign up by emailing Jennifer.Littlejohn@tn.gov.  

Awareness Building Program 

This program focuses on overall partner awareness, consumer engagement and social shares. This year’s program is an evolution of the award-winning “One-Minute Vacation” campaigns in 2014 and 2015, and is designed to show potential visitors what their own hyper-personalized vacation to Tennessee would look like. To learn more, please visit http://www.tnvacation.com/co-op

Foundation Building Program 

The Foundation Building Co-op program is centered around driving traffic directly to your website through paid search and a promoted Facebook post. To learn more, please visit http://www.tnvacation.com/co-op/co-op.pdf

Tennessee Welcome Centers to Conduct FAM Tours Across the State

With the continued collaboration between the Tennessee Ethics Commission and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the staff and regional managers of Tennessee's 14 Welcome Centers will embark on familiarization tours to attractions, parks and cities across the state.

For every conversation opportunity with a Welcome Center affiliate, guests add an additional night stay and will visit two additional attractions, according to research conducted by the State of Florida.

With this in mind, the tours will serve to educate staff of all of Tennessee's offerings to better serve the 12 million visitors that come through the centers each year. Staffers provide professional travel information to visitors, encouraging extended stays in Tennessee. A great example of this is the Dyersburg Welcome Center, which was named Welcome Center of the Year at this year’s Governor’s Conference on Hospitality & Tourism.

The first familiarization tour will occur at Fall Creek Falls in mid-November thanks to planning and collaboration efforts of Tennessee State Parks, regional managers, and the Tennessee Tourism Committee.

Additional tours will take place in 2016.

From London to Louisville: Tennessee Showcased in Sales

The annual World Travel Market will be held Nov. 2-6 in London, England, where international tour operators in the industry gather to hold meetings and appointments to discuss and exchange travel opportunities amongst destinations from all over the world. 

The Department will be in attendance inside the Travel South USA pavilion to help represent the entire state, while taking appointments with partners from Nashville and Memphis. 

During the Annual Meeting for the Amateur Softball Association of America, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, and USA Softball in Louisville, Kentucky Oct. 30 - Nov. 6, Play Tennessee will be represented by Chattanooga Sports and Johnson City CVB to bid on 2017 National Championship tournament opportunities. As in past meetings, Play Tennessee will host client delegates who determine the host destinations for their tournaments. 

November is a busy month for site visits and FAM tours. Four representatives from the United Kingdom-based tour operator, North America Travel Service, will visit Nashville, Memphis and Mississippi Nov. 2-8 for a site visit of key attractions in their product offerings. 

Meanwhile, Tennessee co-hosts a 12-person travel agent FAM tour from the German operator, AAR Reisen, with partners Nov. 9-15 in Mississippi.  The group will spend several days in Nashville, Jackson, Brownsville, and Memphis before concluding the trip in Mississippi. 

Nashville and Memphis will entertain up to 20 domestic tour operators on a FAM titled, “Tennessee’s Musical Highway” Nov. 9–13. 

Tour de Forks tours from New York will scout attractions and dining establishments Nov. 16-18 in Nashville and Lynchburg in an effort to create a 2016 tour product.

Lastly, it is time for the Department to update the Sales Profile Sheet for the next round of tour and travel shows.  Please submit any of your organization’s attractions, events, and CVB/City updates (looking ahead to include the next 12 to 18 months) to Bennjin Lao at Bennjin.Lao@tn.gov, by Friday, Nov. 13. 

Peter Greenberg and Dolly Parton During Filming in Sevierville

Dolly Parton and Peter Greenberg Create Tennessee Documentary

Internationally-known travel journalist Peter Greenberg recently spent two days touring Tennessee with entertainment legend and native Tennessean Dolly Parton for the Brand USA travel celebrity series.

The two-day whirlwind tour included visits to Nashville and the Smoky Mountains with stops at Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Tootsies, Arnold's and Studio B. In East Tennessee, Dollywood, DreamMore and the Dolly statue in Sevierville were highlights. The crew also filmed Olympic kayaker Eric Jackson at Rock Island State Park, capturing some of Tennessee’s breathtaking scenic beauty and outdoor experiences.

The documentary will also feature Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Northeast Tennessee and is expected to air internationally in multiple markets in 2016.

It is no wonder that Peter Greenberg requested Dolly Parton as his Tennessee celebrity. Parton is one of an elite group of individuals to receive at least one nomination from all four major annual American entertainment award organizations: Emmy, GRAMMY, Oscar, and Tony. In 2004, the U.S. Library of Congress gave her the distinguished Living Legend Award.

In 2006, she was selected to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors. Five years later in 2011, she was awarded a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award.

In December 2015, NBC will air the made-for-television movie “Coat of Many Colors.” DreamMore Resort in Pigeon Forge has opened and the announcement was recently made for Lightning Rod, the world’s first launched wooden roller coaster, coming to Dollywood in 2016. Songwriting, recording, and touring are always on for Parton.

A multiple Emmy-winning investigative reporter and producer, Peter Greenberg is America’s most recognized, honored and respected front-line travel news journalist. Known in the industry as “The Travel Detective,” he is the travel editor for CBS News, appearing on CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, and Sunday Morning, among other broadcast platforms. The consummate insider on reporting the travel business as news, Greenberg hosts a new television show, “The Travel Detective with Peter Greenberg” on public television. The series offers 42 half-hour episodes that seek to empower audiences with travel news, must-have information and insider tips known only to a select few.

Greenberg was tapped by Brand USA to produce celebrity travel documentaries for all 50 states to air internationally as part of Brand USA’s marketing efforts.

Boomers Still a Great Travel Target

Studies Show Value of Baby Boomer Travelers

While many marketers focused on how to appeal to the changing tastes of American Millennials, recent AARP and AAA studies spotlight why it’s important not to lose sight of the Baby Boom generation (those born between 1946 and the mid-1960s), who are reaching their peak earning and traveling years, and offer enormous opportunity for a wide range of destinations and attractions.

In a recent story published in U.S. News & World Report, Baby Boomers are likely to consider multigenerational travel, involving children and grandchildren, as well as seek out resort or theme park destinations where they can spend time with extended family.

Similarly, AAA Travel in a 2014 survey, reported multigenerational family vacations were up four percent versus the prior year, with 36 percent of families planning to take a multigenerational family trip in the following year.

“We make stronger family bonds when we travel than any other time of the year,” said Samantha Brown, AARP Travel Ambassador. “It really is an investment [in the traveler’s] life.”

The AARP survey found travelers over age 50 preferred domestic vacations during the summer months and weekend getaways. Another popular trend among those over 70 is the “bucket-list” trip.

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