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Appointment Requests Deadline: Oct. 21 | Host for Convention Luncheon Announced!

October 11, 2011

Volume 31, Issue 42

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Interested in advertising in TuesdayE-mail Kami Risk.

Appointment Requests Deadline: Friday, Oct. 21
TRIP Act: A ‘Bags-packed Blueprint for Creating Jobs’
How to Maximize the Pre-Convention Caucus
Member Report: Vermont Town Slowly Recovering
Host for Convention Luncheon Announced!
ADP Offers $300 Cash Back to NTA Members
Join the Conversation
Site Announced for Tourism Cares Project in March
Don’t Be the Last to Sign Up
4 Things to Include on Your ‘About Us’ Page
Industry News and Updates

Appointment Requests Deadline: Friday, Oct. 21  

The Appointment Request System for Convention ’11 will close at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 21—just 10 days away. Be sure to finalize your request list before then! The more requests you make, the greater your chance to receive more appointments, so try to submit the maximum: 60.

Here are some tips for maximizing your appointment requests:

  • Research is important. Spend some time with the member profiles.
  • Rank your requests in order of importance. Your customized schedule will be created by request priority: 1) perfect matches; 2) operator requests; 3) supplier/DMO requests.
  • View the companies that are requesting to meet with you by clicking on "My Shopping List."

You can access the Appointment Request System by logging in with your NTA user name and password.

It's Vegas, Baby!Your customized appointment schedule will be available online Nov. 15. After that, you can use the Direct Request System to request appointments with colleagues who have open time slots at the same time as you. When your request is accepted, it will be automatically added to your schedule before you arrive in Vegas.

Questions? E-mail your NTA Member Services Team or call 800.682.8886 (U.S. and Canada) or +1.859.264.6540.

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TRIP Act: A ‘Bags-packed Blueprint for Creating Jobs’ 

The Travel Regional Investment Partnership Act, filed Thursday in the U.S. Senate, comes as welcome news to NTA. The bill provides US$10 million a year for five years in competitive grants to state tourism offices or local DMOs and CVBs and their strategic partners to promote domestic tourism growth or create new domestic tourism markets.

"We are excited," said NTA President Lisa Simon, CTP. "Supporting domestic travel is a bags-packed blueprint for creating jobs. It has an immediate return on investment."

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) introduced the legislation, co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Shumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

All except Sen. Pryor sponsored the act in the last Congress, said Steve Richer, NTA public affairs advocate. "We appreciate that these leading senators continue to balance their focus on tourism as a job creator by supporting a program that helps increase domestic tourism," he said.

When awarding the grants, ranging from US$100,000 to US$1 million, the U.S. Department of Commerce is authorized by the bill to give priority to regions with low contributions to tourism marketing.

See the text of the bill and more here.

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How to Maximize the Pre-Convention Caucus 

Barb Bowman, director of sales and division manager of Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau, will be attending her 21st NTA Convention this year. It would be unthinkable for her to miss it, she says—or to attend without holding a pre-Convention caucus with local suppliers: "There’s absolutely an advantage in selling as a team."

"The pre- caucus truly has been a key to our success as a smaller destination; it’s one of the best selling strategies I’ve found," said Bowman. "We pull the schedule out and go through it day-by-day, from A-to-Z, so everyone understands where they should be, what they should be doing, and what will be beneficial for them."

Bowman holds each year’s pre-Convention caucus after everyone has received their appointments, about a month out from Convention. Her agenda includes:

  • Developing the group’s "What’s new?" message, so everyone is saying the same thing
  • Talking about the three to five selling points on the destination and then the three to five selling points on each individual’s attraction, hotel or service
  • Crafting successful profiles
  • Creating succinct, effective presentations for Convention
  • Participating in the Convention social functions
  • Sharing her "31 Steps to a Highly Effective NTA Convention"

The exercise, she says, has proven its worth year after year.

"There were a couple of times I did not do a pre- caucus, and I will tell you the Convention was not nearly as effective. Not only for me but for the whole team," Bowman said. "After a couple times of not doing a pre- caucus, the hotels asked for it again."

For more details on Bowman’s pre-Convention caucus planning, read the full interview with her.

Appointment scheduling runs till Oct. 21. Register for Convention here.

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Member Report: Vermont Town Slowly Recovering  

Six weeks after Hurricane Irene’s rains flooded parts of the U.S. Northeast, NTA member Chris Donnelly reports that the town of Wilmington, Vt., is slowly recovering.  Donnelly owns Sugar Tours in the town, and his wife owns Hayseed Gifts. Both of the buildings where their businesses are located were heavily damaged.

"There are 42 businesses in Wilmington that were flooded, and at this time only six have been able to reopen," Donnelly said in an e-mail. "Many of us are depending on events and grants to help us recover."

One such event was FloodStock, a music festival that raised funds for Wilmington businesses.

"Floodstock was a true success," Donnelly said. "The event raised over $60,000, which will help many of us that have no funding or insurance coverage."

The state’s highways have recovered even faster. "Roads that were completely destroyed-and I mean totaled, with 10 to 15 feet of fill gone-have been repaired," Donnelly said. "There have been such drastic changes in 30 days."

The repairs were made in time for Vermont’s fall foliage season, which generates some US$300 million in business each year. Donnelly said he has already seen many motorcoaches traveling through his town and is grateful for the traffic.

"We will rebuild and be back better than ever next season," he said. "The worst thing that could happen is that people stay away."

You can still contribute to FloodStock through the project’s Web site.

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Host for Convention Luncheon Announced! is proud to announce that this year’s NTA Broadway Luncheon (Monday, Dec. 5) will be hosted by Broadway veteran 10.11.11ShindleBroadwayKate Shindle. After graduating from Northwestern University, Ms. Shindle quickly became a Broadway favorite, starring in several shows such as Wonderland, Legally Blonde, Cabaret, and Jekyll & Hyde.  Prior to hitting the boards, she became one of the leading HIV/AIDS activists of her generation when she was chosen Miss America at the age of 20.  

Kate has also served as a correspondent on NBC’s "Today," played roles in "The Stepford Wives," "Capote," "Gossip Girl" and "White Collar," and has been published by The Huffington Post, Newsweek, and The Advocate. 

Join us in Vegas for all the business and fun.

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ADP Offers $300 Cash Back to NTA Members 

NTA Corporate Partner ADP is offering NTA members who sign up for their services between now and Dec. 31 up to $300 cash back* on payroll processing fees, plus free 2011 W-2s.

To take advantage, e-mail Jeremy Dyer with ADP or call his direct line: 866.506.9447. Be sure to identify yourself as an NTA member.

Hundreds of thousands of companies rely on ADP solutions to help them save time and money and improve administrative performance.  ADP is one of the world’s largest providers of business outsourcing solutions such as:

  • Payroll Tax Filing to help you maintain your compliance with payroll tax laws.
  • Unemployment Cost Management to manage claims administration and the auditing of benefit charges.
  • Time & Labor Management to help you control your labor expense.
  • New Hire Reporting to help you stay compliant with new hire reporting regulations.
  • Full Service Direct Deposit, which electronically sends employees’ net pay to their bank accounts.
  • TotalPay® Car, which loads net pay on to dedicated debit cards for employees without bank account.
  • Job Tax Credit Service, which files and manages applications for employment tax credits that can add to your profits.
  • ADP Retirement Services, which offers a bundled Retirement Plan program for all size companies. From simple IRA programs to 401(k) plans, ADP Retirement Services partners with some of the largest investment firms in the industry to offer a diverse selection of investment choices for employers and employees.

Let ADP take care of some of your administrative needs so you can put your time and efforts into growing your business.

Visit for more details on NTA’s Corporate Partner member benefit program.

*Minimum 25 percent off for new customers and up to 25 percent off for existing customers. Available to NTA members in North America.

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Join the Conversation 

Tour Supplier and DMO Category Breakouts are your opportunity to get together at Convention with your industry peers to discuss important issues and ideas, and share best practices. Each breakout is led by a facilitator to get the conversation going, but the topics to be discussed are up to participants. Join the conversation!

Tour Supplier Category Breakouts (Concurrent Sessions) are happening Wed., Dec. 7, 9:15–10:15 a.m. for:

  • Attractions
  • Casinos
  • Hotels
  • Passenger Vessels
  • Receptive/Sightseeing
  • Restaurants
  • Transportation Companies

DMO Category Breakouts (Concurrent Sessions) are happening Fri., Dec. 9, 8:45–9:45 a.m. for:

  • City/Regional DMOs
  • State/Provincial/Country DMOs

Don’t miss the discussion, the ideas, the scoop. Join us in Vegas! 

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Site Announced for Tourism Cares Project in March 

Tourism Cares is proud to announce Pensacola, Fla., as the site of the 2012 Tourism Cares for America volunteer project on March 29 and 30, 2012. Pensacola, America’s first settlement and home to the Blue Angels, is a city rich with history and10.11.11Pensecola TC logo heritage. Tourism Cares volunteers will help in two different and equally important projects.

The historic Pensacola Lighthouse, located at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, has towered over Pensacola Bay since 1858 and is still in use today. The Pensacola Lighthouse Association is solely responsible for the maintenance and public tour operations of the property. Proper conservation and repair of this 1859 structure is vital, and that’s where our volunteers come in!

As with any historic structure, but especially in a coastal environment, the elements play havoc with the facilities. We’ll take on extensive painting projects of the building’s exterior and interior.  We’ll also tackle several landscaping and parking lot upgrades that are needed to accommodate the flow of visitors. There is a mile-long nature trail we will blaze and mulch so that guests can experience the full effect of old Florida in its natural pristine state. It’s hoped that the amazing lighthouse and grounds will create an exceptional guest experience-and an appreciation for the site’s history.

Volunteers will also have the opportunity to participate in the conservation of Pensacola Bay. We will install native, wetland vegetation and nearshore oyster reefs along 1,500 feet of shoreline on Bayou Texar. Restored vegetation and oyster reefs will provide habitat for marine and terrestrial organisms, serve as a buffer between land and water to stabilize the shoreline, and serve as a natural filtration system for runoff and potential pollutants.

Volunteers are critical in aiding in the completion of this restoration. Primary volunteer duties will include removal of invasive species, planting of native wetland vegetation, bagging recycled oyster shells and construction of oyster reefs.

Click here for registration info.

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Don’t Be the Last to Sign Up 

Have you had a chance to look at your options for NTA Convention sponsorships? Take a peek at what’s available and contact Melisa-Beth Rooke today to sign-up. Why?

  • NTA’s Convention sponsors are currently being promoted on and will be promoted in the upcoming Convention issue of Courier Magazine (in addition to other great future sponsor promotions!).
  • Sponsors at the US$5,000 level get a sponsor booth on the Convention floor for the whole week of Convention!
  • Sponsorship gives your company a heightened presence at Convention amid the crowd and your competitors.

But don’t just take it from us! "NTA Convention is the perfect platform for showcasing our destination to a highly qualified audience," said Jillian Simpson of the Alaska Travel Industry Association. "Our sponsorship enables us to have Alaska featured in a variety of ways throughout the week so we are always top of mind."

E-mail Melisa-Beth Rooke or call her at 800.682.8886 (U.S. & Canada) or +1.859.264.6561 today to start your promotions! 

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4 Things to Include on Your ‘About Us’ Page  

Your home page is your Web site’s most important page, but right behind it is the "About Us" page-especially if you’re a small business. According to Kevin Levi, writing on, the "About Us" page is your best opportunity to stand out as a viable player in the market.

To make sure you’re capturing prospective customers who are at least a little intrigued by your product (or price), make sure your "About Us" page includes the following:

1. A 35-word elevator pitch that succinctly tells readers what you offer, who’s buying and why.

2. Your biggest differentiating point about your unique experience, product, service or site.

3. Your second biggest differentiating point.

4. A brief description explaining more about you and your business: who, where, years of operation, why, etc. 

Levi says many small businesses make the mistake of including only a company description, which forfeits a prime branding opportunity. To help you write a better "About Us" page, imagine it’s the only page a site visitor will see after the home page.

For more details, including how to compare your page to your competitors’ pages, see the complete story.

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