Special Convention Issue: Smartphone App, Hotel Deadline, What to Wear, Who to See
November 8, 2011
Volume 31, Issue 46
Interested in advertising in Tuesday? E-mail Kami Risk.
Special issue: All-Convention Tuesday:
Smartphone App Puts Convention ’11 at your Fingertips
How to Get even More Appointments
Hotel Deadlines and Shuttle Details
There’s Business … and then there’s Fun
There’s a Lot to Learn in Las Vegas
What to Pack. What to Wear.
Get Your Costumes Ready
Volunteer in Vegas: We Need YOU!
Sit down with an Expert in International Travel to the U.S.
New next Wednesday: Convention Overview Webinar
Maximize NTA’s Open-floor Format
These DMOs and Suppliers Will Stand Out in Vegas
Industry News: Focus on Las Vegas
Before you head to Vegas, be sure to download the free new Convention ‘11 mobile software application, compatible with either Android or iPhone.
Use the App to view the daily Convention schedule; follow what’s being said on Twitter about Convention (Hashtag #NTA11); access a map of Mandalay Bay; answer the Convention question of the day; and keep up with updates/messages posted on NTA’s Facebook page.
To install the app on your phone, visit this URL on your smartphone’s web browser: http://t.wbx.me/gb2vq. Next …
- 1. tap the + button that will appear near the bottom of the screen
- 2. choose Add to Home Screen from the menu
- 3. click Add
- bookmark the page to add it to your phone’s home screen
- go to the specific home screen where you want to add the link
- long-press in an empty space on the screen to bring up the Add to Home Screen menu
- select Shortcuts
- select Bookmark
- choose your Convention ’11 bookmark
Once installed, the app will automatically update if there are changes. If you have suggestions on how to improve the app to make it even more useful, drop us an e-mail.
Your customized appointment schedule will be posted at NTAonline.com on Tuesday, Nov. 15, and Direct Request Scheduling will open that day at noon ET.
The Direct Request system allows you to fill in your schedule by requesting appointments with colleagues who have the same open times as you. If your request is accepted, it will be automatically added to your schedule before you arrive in Las Vegas. Visit the Direct Request page often to review, respond to and make your requests. A few tips:
- Sellers:When the system opens, be sure to log in and begin making requests. Check your "shopping list" after your customized appointment schedule has been posted. The names of companies you requested but with whom you did not receive a prescheduled appointment will be saved there. Download that list to an Excel file to use as a starting point for operators you want to target.
- Buyers: You’ll receive e-mail notifications that you have requests waiting to be reviewed. Log-in and check your requests often.
- Print your final schedule out and bring it with you to Las Vegas.
Is your profile up to date? Your company profile is an important tool in the appointment-scheduling process. Is it current? If not, take some time to update it now. Your profile is one of your most powerful marketing tools at NTA.
Operators: Don’t forget to include where you package. Sellers routinely use this information when determining which operators they want to meet with.
Sellers: An updated profile form serves as a year-round calling card to operators. Make sure it’s interesting, informative, and that it reflects your current product offering. Many NTA operators rely on their Profile Form Notebook as their first reference when looking for product ideas.
The last day for booking your room at Mandalay Bay through the NTA online reservation system is midnight on Friday, Nov. 11. (You can register for Convention and book your room here.) Past midnight, you’ll need to make (or change) reservations directly with the hotel. Here’s how:
Call 1.877.632.7800 (toll-free within the U.S. and Canada) or 1.702.632.7777. Make sure you .identify yourself as being with the NTA Convention to get discounted rates. Please note, though: After Nov. 11 those discounted rates are subject to availability.
Mandalay Bay is completely sold out for Sunday night, Dec. 4, the night of the Las Vegas Marathon. If you need a room for Sunday, the staff at the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority will help you. Call them at 1.702.892.0711.
Airport shuttles: Four mini-buses will provide free shuttle service from the airport to Mandalay Bay on Sunday and Monday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Saturday from 4:30 to 11 a.m., free shuttles will depart from Mandalay Bay on the hour and half-hour, and from THEhotel on the quarter and three-quarter hour.
Convention is a week for building business, but you’ll also find plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself. Here’s what’s on the agenda:
Broadway.com/Groups Luncheon: Monday. Hosted by Broadway veteran Kate Shindle. Plan to arrive early for this always-popular lunch featuring current Broadway acts.
NTA and Tourism Cares Give Back to Las Vegas: Monday night. Help wrap hundreds of donated gifts for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Henderson. You can also make a donation (either as you register or onsite) to purchase gifts! Sign up—as a donor only or as a donor/wrapper—when you register for Convention. If you’ve already registered, click here to get involved. And if you need a reminder of how important this work is, click here for a video message from Bruce Beckham, executive director of Tourism Cares.
Opening Ceremony: Tuesday morning. Steve Hartman is joining us again!
Icebreaker at Maverick Aviation hangar: Tuesday night. Featuring food from Las Vegas restaurants and live music by one of best local dance bands—plus a surprise celebrity appearance you won’t want to miss!
5K Fun(d) Run/Walk at Town Square Las Vegas: Wednesday morning. Come support NTA’s government advocacy work. Everyone can get in on the fun—walkers, runners, cheerleaders, even sleepers—for just a $25 donation to NTA’s Government Relations Fund! Sign up when you register. (Already registered? Contact the NTA member relations team.)
Tourism Rocks! Wednesday night. This Tourism Cares fundraiser is always a rockin’ great time. Buyers can pick up complimentary tickets on site at any of the sponsors booths. Sellers: Purchase your ticket(s) when you register for Convention (only $40) or buy them in Vegas for $50.
Dine-Arounds: Head out on the town with old and new friends during the Dine-Arounds. Select Vegas restaurants are offering discounts on meals and drink specials to NTA delegates on Monday and Wednesday evenings. (To receive the discount, simply show your Convention name badge to your server.) Visit the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority booth on the Convention Mall Floor to make reservations. View the Dine-Around participants and their offers here. LVCVA can also assist with recommendations and reservations for restaurants that are not included in the Dine-Around. They’re happy to help you make the most of your dining experiences in Vegas!
Convention education sessions deliver top-notch experts presenting cutting-edge information, like Barry Moltz who appeared on MSNBC.com here, answering questions from business owners, and here, giving advice on perfecting an elevator pitch.
And that’s just one presenter … you’ll find plenty of business-building information in Las Vegas, where operator-focused education sessions will showcase industry best practices and provide critical insights to help move your business forward. And suppliers and DMOs can gain new strategies to increase the quality of product offering, attract more buyers, and book more business!
You’ll get to customize your curriculum at Convention ’11! Find the entire education schedule and descriptions here.
- Business cards—we recommend at least 500
- Comfortable shoes
- Copies of your profile forms
- Costumes and/or accessories for Thursday night’s Totally Awesome ’80s Party
- Your interpretation of Vegas for Friday’s "Your Vegas Is Showing!" Gala Reception, Dinner and Dance. Cocktail and formal attire are traditional for this final night send-off, but this year feel free to add feathers, sequins or any kind of rat-pack flair you want. It’s time to show off your inner Vegas style. (You’ll also fit right in wearing cocktail attire.)
- Business clothes for four days (Official NTA Convention attire is business unless otherwise specified; see "What to Wear.")
- Casual clothes for Monday, the Icebreaker, Tourism Rocks and Dine-Around nights, sightseeing and fam tours
- Jacket or sweater (The average December temperatures in Las Vegas are 39° to 57° Fahrenheit)
Party on, Dude! Pull on your best ’80s outfit, head to the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay at 7:30 on Thursday night for the Totally Awesome ’80s Party, and let premiere ’80s tribute band Loveshack transport you back to that totally tubular decade of big hair, leg warmers, oversized jackets, and pink and green plaids.
The festivities continue at Friday night’s "Your Vegas is Showing!" Gala Reception, Dinner and Dance. Come celebrate your final night at Convention ’11 as your favorite Vegas persona!
Need ideas on how to show your "Vegas"? How about channeling your inner Elvis or Sinatra or coming as a wedding chapel newlywed? Remember, sequins and feathers are always in style in Vegas. Go for it! You’ll also fit right in wearing cocktail attire.
We can’t wait to see what you come up with—but mostly, we want to see you there as we toast our host city!
Convention volunteers are the backbone of each year’s event. Whether you’re an old hand or first-timer, we need you! Plus, it’s a good opportunity for you to meet and network with other attendees.
Volunteer opportunities include:
- Convention Greeters: welcome your peers, help point them in the right direction and hand out Convention Daily Newsletters.
- Convention Registration: hand out registration bags and badges and answer general questions.
- Luncheon Volunteers: assist with pre-dining set up of centerpieces and promotional materials from sponsors.
- Seminar Monitors: serve as the contact person for a featured speaker, count the number of seminar attendees and sometimes introduce speakers.
- Tour Suppliers & DMOs Take a Student to the Wednesday Luncheon: share your NTA experience with a UNLV student and/or Tourism Cares’ scholarship recipient.
- Tour Operator Mentors for Tourism Cares’ Students: allow a UNLV student and/or Tourism Cares’ scholarship recipient to shadow a portion of your appointments.
We can’t do it without you.
By 2016, 81 million international visitors will visit the United States-that’s 22 million more than visited in 2010 (a 36 percent increase). And with the rollout of Brand USA, travel to the U.S. will be marketed abroad more heavily than ever. No doubt you want to tap into this growth, but think about this:
- Do you have the research tools you need to justify your international visitor budget?
- What countries are best for you?
- Are traditional overseas markets still the best bet? Or are emerging markets going to drive spending?
Scott Johnson, president of Travel Market Insights, will be available at Convention ’11 to help you find answers. Johnson has provided DMOs and businesses with primary international visitor research for more than two decades. (Through NTA’s partnership with TMI, NTA members can now get affordable reports on overseas visitors to most U.S. destinations.)
Don’t miss this opportunity to meet one-on-one with Johnson, when you can ask specific questions on specific markets. To lock in an appointment prior to leaving for Vegas, e-mail Jason Terwilliger, NTA education and research manager. Give your first and second choice for a 15-minute appointment during the following times:
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
For more information on Travel Market Insights, visit the Web site.
If this is your first Convention (or if you just need a refresher), we’ve got a show for you: Don’t miss the Convention Overview Webinar, the second of our online warm-ups for Las Vegas , set for Wednesday, Nov. 16, at noon ET. This session (free, of course) is a follow-up to our Convention Insider Webinar (available online), with a second round of strategies, tips and insights on the following:
- How to get more appointments
- The benefits to serving as a volunteer
- The why and how of updating your company profile
- What to bring for the floor
- What to wear in Vegas
- How to get from Point A to Point B (including airport-to-hotel)
If you’re ready to sign up, click here for online registration.
Need some tips right away? Check out these two short videos featuring Convention chair Laurie Lincoln:
"Maximizing Your Convention Experience" shows you …
- One thing every buyer and seller-new or old-needs to do before arriving.
- Two simple things you can bring that could lead to new friends, great new ideas and more new business!
"What is NTA Central?" reveals …
- What you’ll find at NTA Central.
- How to sign up for an on-site tour of the floor.
And for more information to help you sail through your Convention maiden voyage, go to NTA online for our First-timers Program.
Suppliers and DMOs, NTA’s open-floor format means you can add appointments on site. Here’s how:
If an operator is available (not in an appointment), say hello, exchange business cards and your profile, and ask if you can have some of his or her time. It’s that easy. NTA member Ragan Andrew arrived at last year’s Convention with 42 pre-scheduled appointments. By taking advantage of the open-floor format, she ended up meeting with about 100 operators. You can read her story here.
NTA’s Convention is designed to bring you more business opportunities. You’ll find a list of business appointment sessions here.
How? They are NTA’s Convention ’11 sponsors, and NTA works hard to ensure its sponsors receive as much visibility as possible. Take a look at this list of sponsoring companies and join NTA in thanking them for their support! To all the sponsors out there, NTA can’t wait to see you in Vegas. And to all the tour operators, don’t forget to stop by the sponsor booths at Convention to say "Hi!"
In keeping with All-Convention Tuesday, today’s "Industry News" takes a broader look at tourism in our Convention site, Las Vegas. The comments below are from Art Jimenez, senior director of leisure sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority:
- Travel trend: "We are happy to have seen 17 consecutive months of visitor volume increases."
- International visitors: "International travelers accounted for 18 percent of our total visitation in 2010, and we are committed to increasing that to 30 percent by the end of the decade."
- GR emphasis: "We’re working with our elected officials to improve travel to the United States overall, advocating for visa reform and the expansion of the visa waiver program to make it more convenient to travel here."
- Arrivals: "Through the first seven months of 2011, air traffic is up 3.9 percent compared to last year, and average daily auto traffic is up slightly at 0.5 percent ahead of last year."
Additional statistics for Las Vegas tourism are available on the LVCVA Web site.
Click here for the Tuesday archive.