Yakima Hosts Meeting Planners

Over the past two days, the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau, Yakima Convention Center and the local hospitality industry hosted an educational forum for ten state and regional meeting planners and association executives.

During their stay, the meeting professionals discussed issues and opportunities facing the meeting and convention industry and tactics to improve their programs and services plus working in partnership with local venues. In addition, hotel management staff were in attendance to learn and share their insights.

The sessions were coordinated by Linda DiMario, a long time tourism and meetings expert from Long Beach California. This is the second year Linda has conducted the forum and was well received by the attendees.

In addition to the formal programs, the planners and executives were given behind the scene tours of the new 4th Street Theatre, spent an evening wine tasting at Cultura Winery and having a dinner at Cherry Wood Bed, Breakfast and Barn plus were able to experience first hand the many improvements and additions to the Yakima Convention Center, including the new Outdoor Plaza.

Career Opportunity in Yakima

The Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau has a great opportunity. Must possess: strong communication skills; exceptional customer service; proven skills in office software and knowledge of community attractions and services.  Please send resume, cover letter, three professional references, and wage requirements to:  YVVCB, 10 N. 8th Street, Yakima, WA  98901 or email to brynn@visityakima.com no later than close of business July 25th, 2011.


Title:                Services and Housing Coordinator

Reports to:     Director of Convention Sales

Status:            Non-Exempt/Part-Time with possibility of becoming full time

The role of the Convention Services Coordinator is to provide various service support to meeting/event planners who have events scheduled in Yakima, or are considering Yakima for future events.  This position will ultimately enhance the success of events held here and will have a positive influence on the ability to gain repeat business.

Duties and Responsibilities:
  1. Responsible for organizing, coordinating and directing all operations required for groups utilizing Meeting Max. In addition, works with meeting planners/sporting event directors to determine servicing requirements and other support needed by the organization and attendees.
  1. Establishes contact with meeting/event planners scheduled to bring groups into the area.
  2. Develops and oversees all aspects of the Meeting Max housing program for all pre-assigned convention/sporting events.  This includes obtaining housing agreements from the hotels, monitoring hotel room night reservation requests, and keeping in close contact with the Director of Convention/Sales or Director of Sports Commission and the respective planners.
  3. Acts as liaison between meeting/event planner and VCB members. Offers suggestions and assistance for planning: entertainment; tours; shopping; spouse and children’s programs; and attractions. Maintains current information on all of the above.
  1. Works with the Marketing Department for direction/ideas on how to help promote conventions/events through social media.
  1. Visits with the meeting planner of each convention/event while it is taking place.  Alert the Director of Sales and appropriate Sales Manager of any negative/positive feedback.
  1. Attends and organizes pre-and post-event meetings with meeting planner and appropriate suppliers; provides post-event evaluations to determine the success of the meeting/events.
  1. Send thank you notes and electronic surveys to completed events by the 5th of every month.
  1. Mentors volunteer Information Specialists personnel.  Organized two (2) familiarization trips of VCB members each year…budget permitting.
  1. Maintains services department reports including the servicing budget, number of delegates serviced, and volunteer hours worked.
  1. Maintains inventory of literature and service collateral, wine bottle donations, and apple donations.
  2.  Additional duties as needed.
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Customer Service Workshop

The Customer Experience: Building the Destination Experience from the Bottom Up and the Inside Out.

The times are tough. The challenges are real. And the opportunities are great. The convergence of customer-centric businesses with the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau is where the real and memorable destination experience begins.

Strengthen your business to compete more effectively! This program shares simple but powerful ways for businesses of every size and type to create and deliver a customer experience that polishes a business reputation and influences the bottom line, helps everyone optimize powerful partnerships and identifies new collaborative strategies to grow business.

Featuring Tips and Tools to give you the edge in delivering a memorable business experience AND destination experience:

  • A fresh perspective on the cost-effectiveness and good business benefits of collaborating with the VCB.
  • How to initiate and sustain a customer experience culture without spending a dime!
  •  Introduce your employees to the simple, fast, easy secrets to delivering a memorable customer experience every day.
  • New cross-marketing tactics to drive new customer traffic.
  •  Exciting new ways to pump up old partnerships.

 When: Monday July 25, 2011

             2pm – 3:30pm

Where: Yakima Convention Center

Cost: $10

Featured Speaker: Linda DiMario’s experience is vast.  Hilton Hotels. Hotel Queen Mary. Disneyland Hotel. Northwest Conventions Inc. Oakland, California CVB. Tucson, Arizona CVB. Long Beach, California CVB. Arlington, Texas CVB. Political Campaign Management. Fertile ground from which to cultivate thirty years of diverse experience and a skill set rich in expertise. DiMario has been a featured speaker, panelist, workshop leader and/or trainer at numerous conventions,  State Tourism Conventions and developed customized training programs including: Customer Experience, Convention/Meeting Sales & Marketing, Change in the Workplace, Destination Branding 101 and crisis management. She’s a widely respected tourism professional and public speaker

RSVP: 509.575.3010 or contact Barbara

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Tourism Campaigns Increase Visitation

Reducing state and local tourism marketing programs in the name of saving taxpayer dollars impedes economic growth, according to new research conducted by Longwoods International and commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association (U.S.T.A.). A comprehensive analysis of recent campaigns by the State of Michigan and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) reveals that marketing programs drive greater visitation, generate new tax dollars and create jobs for states and local communities.

“There’s a reason that America’s most prominent brands continue to increase their marketing budgets: it works,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S.T.A. “This study proves that destinations must operate like Nike, Apple and similar businesses that have followed the marketing path to success. Substantial cuts to destination marketing programs are counterproductive and will have long-term negative economic consequences.”

The research proves that destination marketing programs generate more tax revenue than they cost by driving substantial increases in visitation and spending in local communities.

“Legislators are ignoring basic economics if they slash destination marketing programs,” said the report’s author, Bill Siegel, founder and CEO of Longwoods International. “The return on investment of destination marketing programs is significant and nearly immediate.”

After inconsistent promotion efforts for decades, the Pure Michigan® state promotion campaign began regionally in 2006 and went national in 2009. The powerful and non-traditional storytelling of Pure Michigan® has stimulated 7.2 million trips to Michigan by out-of-state visitors. Those visitors spent $2 billion at Michigan businesses and generated $138 million in new tax revenue for Michigan – more than three times the cost of the advertising itself.

In 2010, the second year of national Pure Michigan® advertising, spending by out-of-state leisure visitors jumped 21%, from 2009 to $6.4 billion. At the same time, Michigan tourism-related employment rose by 10,000 jobs. While facing a large deficit and forcing significant cuts to entitlement programs, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder nonetheless added $10 million in additional funding to the Pure Michigan® campaign in 2011, stating: “It brought in more tax revenue than it has cost our state.”

In Philadelphia, a 1995 report by The Pew Charitable Trusts identified leisure travel as a potential replacement industry for lost manufacturing jobs. This led to the creation of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation in 1996 by Pew, the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to promote the region to leisure travelers. Through a sustained marketing program over the last 15 years, Philadelphia’s image has transformed and visitation has surged, delivering returns to the city and state.

“Fifteen years ago, Philadelphia was considered a two-hour stop,” said Meryl Levitz, founding president and CEO of GPTMC. “Then we became on overnight sensation, and now we are a premier destination where visitors stay for multiple days and come back several times a year.”

Since 1997, overnight visitation to Greater Philadelphia has grown 66 percent, six times faster than the national growth rate of 11 percent. GPTMC’s most recent campaign began in 2009 in the midst of the deepest and longest economic downturn since the Great Depression.  With a budget of just $4.3 million in 2009/2010, With Love, Philadelphia XOXO® generated 3.7 million incremental trips to the Philadelphia region, injecting $432 million in visitor spending and $24 million in new state tax revenue and $22 million to local governments. The marketing program also generated over 7,000 additional jobs for Greater Philadelphia at a reasonable cost of $600 in advertising for each job created.

According to the U.S. T. A.’s 2009 annual Survey of State Tourism Office Budgets, 31 states cut funding for tourism advertising and marketing by 13 percent, or $52.7 million, between 2008 and 2009.

The state of Washington closed its tourism office in June 2011, harkening back to Colorado’s decision to abolish its marketing program in 1993 due to budget constraints. According to a landmark study by Longwoods International, Colorado eventually lost more than 30 percent of its share of domestic visitors and more than $2 billion annually in visitor spending. With funding for Colorado’s marketing program now restored, the state treasury sees a 12:1 return on marketing investment, and trips to Colorado have rebounded to record levels.

Source: USTA

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