a message from Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett

Dear partners,

October travel numbers in Tennessee traditionally are at or very near the highest levels of the year.

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Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism - There's Still Time to Register!

 The 2015 Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism takes place Oct. 7 – 9 at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. If you have not registered, it’s not too late! For all conference details, including registration, visit www.tnhta.net. One-day registrations are available for those unable to ...

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Dedicated to Partner Outreach and Engagement

We are committed to our industry partners more than ever.  Last month we announced our economic impact numbers with much excitement. Thanks to you, our partners, for your hard work and dedication to make Tennessee a top-10 destination.  

While we are thrilled with the numbers, it is important to ...

Read more

TDTD to Facilitate Social Media Seminar

Did you know that among respondents to the Travel Weekly Consumer Trends survey, 92 percent of those polled have an account with one or more social media services? That’s a lot of opportunity to connect with current and new visitors. 

During the 2015 Governor’s Conference, the Tennessee Department of ...

Read more

TN Hosting AAA FAM Tour, TUI Suisse FAM and Destinology

Thank you to our partners who helped host and coordinate the 2015 AAA Taste of Tennessee FAM tour last month.  We had 16 enthusiastic and highly-pleased auto travel counselors from all around the U.S. and Canada enjoy their time in Nashville, Chattanooga and Pigeon Forge. These AAA representatives will now ...

Read more

Targeting Travel Writers to Tennessee

As announced recently by Governor Haslam, tourism is showing tremendous growth as an economic driver for Tennessee. As the state continues to increase in popularity as a tourist destination, interest in writing about travel in Tennessee also increases.

The TDTD public relations team, with the support of statewide partners, has ...

Read more

Dear partners,

October travel numbers in Tennessee traditionally are at or very near the highest levels of the year.

And why not? The weather is fantastic. The scenery is gorgeous and the food and music are incredible. Well the scenery always is gorgeous and the food and music always are incredible, but anyway.

As I travel the state, I continue to be amazed at the assets and resources we have and how enjoyable it is to work with so many passionate partners to promote what we have. Not surprised, but amazed.

But we all know third-party validation is even better right? We can say all kinds of things but others saying it for us is even better.

We know this but sometimes we need a reminder. Or if we do not need a reminder, at least it does not hurt to get one – an occasional cage rattle of how fortunate we are to do what we do.

It is like going to those seminars where we have heard everything the moderator is discussing but the way it is presented seems to provide some clarity and make us look at things just a little different.

It struck me recently on a trip through a Paul Simon song. You know the one “I’m going to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis Tennessee.” I was just taking care of business, walking in the footsteps of E.A.P., taking it all in. Standing there picturing Elvis at the piano singing whatever music, whatever song moved him at the moment, thinking of him in the Jungle Room recording “Way Down” 39 years ago this month, I was not self-conscious of the way I felt. After all, Paul McCartney and others have walked the same path and, from what I hear, felt the same way.

About two-thirds of the way through the tour a visitor sees a video playing on a TV in Vernon Presley’s office. The media is interviewing Elvis upon his return to the States after his Army stint in Germany. They asked him what he missed most about Memphis.

“Everything,” Elvis said. “I missed everything.”

That’s it isn’t it? That is what we strive for with our guests. We want them to enjoy what they do here in Tennessee so much they miss everything about it.

I floated the Hatchie as local officials explained their vision of a park surrounded by this legendary unchanneled river and heard the folks at Lone Oaks Farms and UT explain the opportunity to have 300 4-Hers learning about land while, at the same time, a wedding takes place on this incredible paradise.

For 90 years War Memorial Auditorium has delivered, serving as the site for everything from Presidential speeches to home to the Grand Ole Opry. Charlie Daniels recently blew the doors off everyone in the audience with his 40th – yes 40th – Volunteer Jam. The first one was at War Memorial. Nearly 20 years before that – the “Fantabulous Rock ‘N Roll Show” (Isn’t that a great name?) rolled into War Memorial with Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Big Joe Turner and more.

The legends who have rocked this place are a who’s who.

In Meigs County, I stood near Ground Zero for the Trail of Tears and listened to passionate volunteers discuss this unfortunate but important piece of history while in Rhea, I stood at Ground Zero for the Trial of the Century – The Scopes Trial, not all the others that have been given that label. In Roane we talked about the scenic beauty of Watts Bar Lake and the history of the Manhattan Project.

In Kingsport I walked the streets downtown and imagined legendary Brownie McGhee (born in Knoxville and raised in Kingsport) walking these same sidewalks picking the blues for tips. He once said his first guitar cost three bucks and it took him five years to pay for it.

In between I ate barbeque here and catfish there.

Real. Authentic. Soundtrack of America, Made in Tennessee.

See you on the road.

Kevin Triplett

Featured Article 

Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism - There's Still Time to Register!

 The 2015 Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism takes place Oct. 7 – 9 at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. If you have not registered, it’s not too late! For all conference details, including registration, visit www.tnhta.net. One-day registrations are available for those unable to attend the entire conference.

Kicking off the conference on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 7, is the Super Seminar entitled “The Challenge of Change” and featuring Brian London, president and CEO of Travel Industry Indicators and the executive director of the SE States Chapter of the Travel & Tourism Research Association. 

Tennessee is fortunate to have some of the most sought-after keynote speakers in the country participating in this year’s conference, including:

Terry Jones, the founder of Travelocity & Kayak.com,  a powerful voice in the world of entrepreneurship with his numerous speaking engagements and publication of his book, ON Innovation

Cary Cavitt, is known as America’s “go-to guy” in the field of developing and delivering truly exceptional customer service.  With over three decades of experience in the customer service industry, Cary has a vast knowledge of proven customer service principles and practices and knows how to train and equip both managers and employees in meeting and exceeding the expectations of customers. 

Mercedes Ramirez Johnson narrowly survived a commercial airplane crash that killed 160 people, including her parents. As one of only four survivors, she vowed that she would make her second chance at life count. Her Second Chance Living™ concept offers participants a blueprint for change along with specific tools they can use immediately in their professional and personal endeavors. 

Add to this incredible roster of speakers Commissioner Kevin Triplett, who will be sharing the annual State of the Industry address and Department of Tourist Development presentation at the closing luncheon on Friday, Oct. 9.  Truly, this is a conference you won’t want to miss!

A full day of educational seminars will be featured on Thursday, Oct. 8.  Seminars will be offered on a variety of subjects, including international travel to Tennessee, social media for hospitality and tourism businesses, workforce development, preserving and utilizing historic assets for tourism, working with travel writers, technology trends in the lodging and restaurant industries, and digital media campaigns that work. Of particular interest to all industry sectors will be the Thursday seminars on “Taming the Email Beast: Managing the Mess of Email & Info Overload” with well-known expert Randy Dean.

For all conference details, including registration,  please go to www.tnhta.net and click on “2015 TN Governor’s Conference.”

The Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism is produced by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

Melanie Beauchamp

Dedicated to Partner Outreach and Engagement

We are committed to our industry partners more than ever.  Last month we announced our economic impact numbers with much excitement. Thanks to you, our partners, for your hard work and dedication to make Tennessee a top-10 destination.  

While we are thrilled with the numbers, it is important to not lose that momentum. We’ve had a chance to take a step back and look at the big picture. The TDTD staff is dedicated to working with all of our partners to move the needle in the new year. We want to be even more strategic in the way that we assist and engage our partners.

Melanie Beauchamp has returned to the department as the director of outreach and engagement. Formerly, the public relations media manager, she will now serve in this new role as a direct central office contact for partner needs.

With the goal of increasing tourism numbers in all of our 95 counties, she will work directly with our regional managers and nine regional directors as well as industry partners on participation in department initiatives such as the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, Adventure Tourism and Retire Tennessee; tourism asset development, education/workshops and marketing.

We will continue to update you on tourism initiatives as well as some new projects in the works. Stay tuned for our Tourism Development Workshops that will be in an area near you in the coming months.

To reach Melanie, email her at Melanie.Beauchamp@tn.gov or call 615-741-9009.

TDTD to Facilitate Social Media Seminar

Did you know that among respondents to the Travel Weekly Consumer Trends survey, 92 percent of those polled have an account with one or more social media services? That’s a lot of opportunity to connect with current and new visitors. 

During the 2015 Governor’s Conference, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development will be coordinating a seminar, “Social Media for Tourism and Hospitality Businesses.” The seminar will be offered twice and will provide overall best practices related to social media marketing. Additionally, part of the seminar will let participants ask questions to a selected panel of industry experts from across the state and TDTD’s agency, VML. 

Social media can and should be part of your overall marketing mix. It is a great way to connect and engage with your audience on channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. With the social media landscape ever-changing, it’s important to understand the roles and offerings of each channel to maximize your marketing efforts.    

More information regarding the seminar can be found here:  http://www.tenntourismroundtable.com/seminars.html

If you have any additional questions, please reach out to Amanda Stravinsky: Amanda.Stravinsky@tn.gov

AAA FAM Visit The Island in Pigeon Forge

TN Hosting AAA FAM Tour, TUI Suisse FAM and Destinology

Thank you to our partners who helped host and coordinate the 2015 AAA Taste of Tennessee FAM tour last month.  We had 16 enthusiastic and highly-pleased auto travel counselors from all around the U.S. and Canada enjoy their time in Nashville, Chattanooga and Pigeon Forge. These AAA representatives will now be better equipped to encourage their valuable members to visit all parts of Tennessee. 

Coming off the heels of the AAA Taste of Tennessee FAM, the Department participated in two international FAMS. A Swiss group of nine travel agents from the tour operator TUI Suisse, along with the TUI representative, spent three days and nights visiting attractions and partners in Memphis, Jackson, Nashville, and Sevierville. TUI is one of the largest tour operators in Europe. Hosting this group accelerates Tennessee’s reach into this important market, particularly the German-speaking regions. 

From Oct. 15 – 18, 2015, Destinology, a high-end operator out of the United Kingdom, currently offering tours to the Deep South, will be sending two of their product staff for a whirlwind immersion in Memphis and Nashville. They plan to add these two Tennessee cities to their product mix for future U.S.-bound trips.

After the annual Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Tourism, the Department will have booth presence at the annual Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development  Oct. 13 – 14, 2015, in Nashville.  Thank you to our partners who contributed prize packages for use by the Department of ECD.

"Falls in the Fall" tour at Rock Island State Park

Targeting Travel Writers to Tennessee

As announced recently by Governor Haslam, tourism is showing tremendous growth as an economic driver for Tennessee. As the state continues to increase in popularity as a tourist destination, interest in writing about travel in Tennessee also increases.

The TDTD public relations team, with the support of statewide partners, has numerous familiarization tours in coordination across the state.  The department continues to work with Geiger & Associates in hosting successful group FAM tours throughout the year. TDTD also works with partners such as Brand USA,  Travel South and Mississippi River Corridor Association to host international FAMs in addition to work with international TDTD offices, led by David Nicholson and Wolfgang Streitboerger. The TDTD team also coordinates individual FAMs on a consistent basis.

TDTD recently hosted one of two fall FAM tours with Geiger & Associates. Ten journalists from various target markets participated in the Upper Cumberland press tour. Highlights included a Cookeville Culinary Crawl, a golf track in Crossville, a “Made in Tennessee” track featuring Lenny & Eva jewelry in Baxter and the talents of world-renowned artists at the Appalachian Center for Craft.

A common note throughout the tour was, of course, music. Journalists on the state parks track were entertained with live music accompanied by an Appalachian music history told by a member of the State Park Ranger Band. The tour was concluded with a visit to the Old Time Music Festival at Short Mountain Distillery in Cannon County followed by a trip to Overton County for Jammin’ at Hippie Jack’s Americana Music Festival.

The next Geiger FAM is set for Oct. 22-25 in Knoxville and surrounding area and will feature motorcycle riding, fishing excursions and outdoor highlights, family fun, culinary tours, museums and history, and celebrating city night life.

Here is a listing of recent and upcoming FAMs:

  • Aug. 27-30 – Chicago Parent Magazine - Editor – Nashville – via Tennessee Sampler
  • Sept. 6-9 – Globetrotter Travel Magazine (Japanese) – 1 journalist – Nashville – via MRC
  • Sept.  – Freelance Writer/Photographer Team  - St. Louis Post Dispatch + Trailer Life Magazine (RV) – Nashville to Fall Creek Falls State Park
  • Sept. 16-22 – Irish Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday – Franklin, Nashville, Pigeon Forge, Chattanooga
  • Sept. 20-30 – German journalist visit - Chattanooga + Franklin (included Short Mountain + Nashville excursions) via Wolfgang Streitboerger
  • Sept. 23-27 Upper Cumberland FAM – 10 journalists – via Geiger & Associates
  • Sept. 29 - Oct. 1 – Brazilian FAM – 6 journalists – Chattanooga, Knoxville, Pigeon Forge – via Travel South
  • Sept. 30 – Oct. 4 Memphis and West TN European FAM – 7 journalists via David Nicholson -  Lofthouse
  • Oct. 1-5 - German TV Filming FAM: Motorcycle - Mississippi / Tennessee - 10 Harleys  – Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, Lynchburg, Nashville, Franklin, Jackson, Brownsville, Memphis - via Wolfgang Streitboerger
  • Oct. 12-14 – Australian FAM – 4 journalists – Nashville – via Travel South
  • Oct. 21-25 – Knoxville + Surrounding FAM – 10-12 journalists – via Geiger & Associates
  • Oct. 22-24 – Japanese FAM – 4 journalists – West TN – via MRC

Coordinating itinerary, securing complimentary accommodations, attractions passes, dining, etc.  and overall facilitation of these tours can be a challenge, however insights on how TDTD handles these efforts as well as guidance for industry partners will be available during two workshops at this year’s Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Click below for seminar information.

The Best Ink is Free - But Qualified - Ink: Effectively Working With Travel Writers

 

Video can be a powerful tool in promoting your destination—but some videos are more powerful than others, according to a November 2014 study entitled For the Love of Travel,

For the Love of Travel, commissioned by Travel Channel in partnership with U30 Research, is an ethnographic study of how network viewers and travel enthusiasts use and connect emotionally with video in their travel-related research and planning.

As reported in Skift, the study found video is used almost exclusively as an inspirational travel resource, and that viewers evaluate video across five separate spectra:

  • Authentic: is the video overly edited and showing only the positives, or does it also provide the good and bad related to a particular destination?
  • Relatable: does the video show people who are “just like me?”
  • Attainable: would I ever go to this place or enjoy the experiences depicted in the video?
  • Experiential: does the viewer feel a shared experience with the people in the video?
  • Informational: how does the video strike a balance between factual information and storytelling drama?

On the heels of the For the Love of Travel report, Travel Channel commissioned its own survey, called Cracking the Code on “Go To” Lifestyle Programming, which found that for travel video to be truly “go-to,” relatability and authenticity are the crucial attributes.

“Relatability speaks to travel scenarios into the viewer can project him or herself, [such as] common life events, family vacations, relocating and exploration closer to home,” said Skift. “Travel video that is relatable inspires the viewer to take action.”

Authenticity speaks to the “honesty” of the video. Viewers prefer videos that are less “glossy” and avoid heavily scripted content and contrived programmatic formats. Additionally:

  • 77% of respondents expect to learn something new in the travel content they consume.
  • 77% expect travel content to feature things they want to do or dream about doing.
  • 76% are looking for cultural connection in the travel content they watch.
  • 72% look to travel content to spark curiosity to “know more.”
  • 71% look to travel content to provide ideas for a next vacation. 

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