NORTHEAST GEORGIA MOUNTAINS REGIONAL REPORT May 2010 GEORGIA

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NORTHEAST GEORGIA MOUNTAINS REGIONAL REPORT May 2010 GEORGIA Powered By Docstoc
					                      NORTHEAST GEORGIA MOUNTAINS REGIONAL REPORT
                                        May 2010

                                  GEORGIA TOURISM DIVISION UPDATE


GENERAL NEWS AND INFORMATION:
     Video Tour of Georgia is now live on www.ExploreGeorgia.org on the right
     The registration link for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism is now live on www.marketgeorgia.org
     GEORGIA'S DREAM PASS PROGRAM IS CHANGING
     As of May 1, 2010, the Georgia Dream Pass membership rewards program is being combined with the state's
     newly enhanced special offers section on ExploreGeorgia.org. This new section will be updated weekly and offer
     hundreds of special offers. Our new special offers page will be coupon-based and the Dream Pass membership
     card will no longer be required. Visitors can access special offers on www.ExploreGeorgia.org/specialoffers

GEORGIA VISITOR INFORMATION CENTERS
     GOMM Days
     Visit www.MarketGeorgia.org under the Industry Calendar of Events or under Visitor Centers & Bureaus:
     www.georgia.org/GeorgiaIndustries/Tourism/VICs/Pages/GAonMyMindDays.aspx
          o Food, Fun and Georgia On My Mind!
             Please join us for Georgia On My Mind Day at the Georgia Visitor Information Center I-85 South, Lavonia,
             May 28, 2010 (From 9am—2pm). This is a Great opportunity to showcase your Georgia Attraction, Hotel
             or Event. You will need to provide your own table for this event. No selling is allowed. If you plan
             to attend, please contact Shirley Crawford, Georgia Visitors Information Center—Phone: (706)356-4019
             or Email: scrawford@georgia.org.

SALES (Katie Baasen kbaasen@georgia.org & Pam Kruseck pkruseck@georgia.org)

   GROUP SALES
     Please respond directly to Brett if you have something that fits his request:
     My name is Brett Burchfield (brettb@southernghosts.com) and I am with SouthernGhosts.com. We are a travel
     business that specializes in weekend getaways to haunted and historical sites. We have been operating in
     Savannah, Ga. since 2001 and are looking to extend to other parts of Georgia. I am looking for any contact
     information on haunted and/or historical sites, hotel pricing for groups up to 25, and advertising for our company
     on Georgia tourism websites. I greatly appreciate your assistance and look forward to bringing business to the
     state.

       Travel South Showcase took place in Birmingham, AL from April 10-14. The invitation-only event is open to
       qualified tour operators and southern suppliers. The Georgia Tourism division participated in Showcase this year
       with appointments, sponsorship and organizing Team Georgia for the bowling event. From Katie Baasen - "thank
       you to all thirty-two Georgia supplier companies who attended and participated in the Georgia aisle. We your
       appointments were beneficial and good business will come your way. Thank you to all the Georgia partners who
       made the trip to Birmingham to help host the Atlanta/Georgia Monday night event. I hope you all 'found your flair'
       and had a good time. I appreciate you making the effort to help us put on a good show." In case you haven't
       heard... If you have any questions, please contact Katie Baasen via email.
       Atlanta is set to host the 2011 Travel South Showcase! The Georgia Department of Economic Development
       (GDEcD), Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) and
       the Omni Hotel at CNN Center joined together to serve as official hosts for the annual event. Nearly 700 tourism
       professionals are expected in Georgia from April 3 - 5, 2011. Information will be available soon on how you can
       get involved in the 2010 event in Birmingham and in the planning and executing of Showcase 2011 here in
       Atlanta. We need to show this group what our Georgia partners can do and what wonderful hosts/hostesses we
       are. If you have any questions, please contact Katie Baasen via email.
       ABA Top 100 Events Nominations: Nominations are officially open for the 2011 Top 100 Events in North
       America. Now in its 29th year, ABA's Top 100 Events in North America recognizes the best group-friendly events
       for the coming year. Don't miss your chance to showcase the top group tour events in your area. ABA surveyed
       operators and asked "Do you use the Top 100 booklet in planning your tours/charters?" The answer - an
       overwhelming 70% of the operators who responded said YES! In addition to the operators' feedback, ABA has
       recorded nearly 800 main-stream media hits since September 2009 - helping you promote your destination.
       Please contact Katie Baasen via email for more information on how you can be nominated. As the official tourism
       office from Georgia, Georgia Tourism can submit a maximum of seven nominations to be considered for this
       prestigious distinction. Please note that all ABA members are eligible to submit three nominations this year. For
       the 2011 Top 100 - ABA non-members can submit one nomination for a fee which is then refunded if they join the
       association in 2010. These nominations are separate from your nominations and have no bearing on them. If
       you are interested in nominating an event from your area - please contact Katie Baasen via email for a
       nominations form. Thank you.
       Mark your calendars - Group Tour Boot Camp - June 10 & 11 - Georgia Music Hall of Fame, Macon -
       registration information will be sent out the first week of May as well as a list of topics to be covered. We look
       forward to you joining us!
       Georgia Peach Greet - VICs are the perfect place for a pit stop for tour groups, the state's tourism division is
       encouraging all group leaders to plan a stop with your group, and so we can showcase our southern hospitality
       and say "Hey Y'all". All we need is 48 hours advance notice to prepare special Georgia favors. The tourism
       division is offering Georgia Peach Greet as an added amenity for a tour operator planning a tour to or through
       Georgia. This program is in conjunction with motorcoach tracking the VIC staff is currently working on. Thank
       you to the VIC staff for their efforts on this program. Please contact Katie Baasen via email for more information
       on VIC tracking and if you need updated figures from the monthly tracking report.
       "FYI from the Peach State" is sent quarterly to tour operators around the country in our database. If you have
       any updates or special offers for the tour market and would like to have the information included in the e-
       newsletter, please contact Katie Baasen via email. The next newsletter is scheduled to go out on May 18.
       The Georgia Tourism Division of GDEcD will again be participating as sponsors for the National Tour
       Association Annual Marketplace (November 13-17, 2010) and the American Bus Association Annual
       Marketplace (January 9-13, 2011). This sponsorship provides us with a booth on the marketplace floor where
       we will maximize our exposure into this market to all those who are present and give the state more opportunity
       to sell our product at the marketplace. To make this a huge success, we are asking for co-sponsorship through
       monetary donations. As a co-sponsor, your company is afforded a unique opportunity to highlight your Georgia
       product to hundreds of tourism professionals at these NTA and ABA conferences. The two levels are: Kudzu
       Sponsorship (NTA/ABA: $750) or Peach Sponsorship (NTA/ABA: $1000). The fee covers both tradeshows - we
       have done them separately in the past, but are trying to help stretch marketing dollars if possible. If you have
       any questions or need any clarification on this opportunity, please feel free to contact Katie Baasen at 404-962-
       4080or by email.
    CONSUMER SALES:
       Pam Kruseck attended the Southern Women's Show in Nashville April 8 - 11, 2010. 33,480 women attended
       the 4-day show at the Nashville Convention Center. Babyland General Hospital participated at the show as a
       partner. Underground Atlanta and Ramada Inn Atlanta Airport participated in the brochure co-op. The Georgia
       booth received many inquiries about Savannah, Tybee Island and the North Georgia Mountains. Babyland
       General was a huge hit at the show!

       AAA Georgia Specialist Program: GDEcD launched a new program with AAA Auto Club South allowing AAA
        Travel Counselors the opportunity to become more familiar with Georgia's nine travel regions. Since March,
        more than 100 travel counselors have signed up to take the exam and become certified specialists. The program
        provides the travel counselors with current information and travel essentials to help them promote travel in
        Georgia to their membership. The certification will be valid for two years at which time they will have the chance
        to renew and take an updated exam. Please contact Pam Kruseck via email for more information.
       **Show schedule subject to change**

MARKETING & COMMUNICAITONS (Stefanie Paupeck)
     Georgia Travel Media Marketplace (May 20-25 in Newnan and LaGrange)
     Coweta and LaGrange-Troup counties will host the state's 2010 Georgia Travel Media Marketplace event May
     20-22. 30 travel writers will meet with representatives from around the state during the marketplace and learn
     about the many new attractions, destinations and events bringing visitors to Georgia. will provide a glimpse into
     Georgia's rich history, cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, world-class attractions, culinary delights and
     much more. During the Marketplace, writers will meet with host communities as well as Georgia Tourism's
     regional tourism team, state travel associations and Georgia's State Parks. As the marketplace concludes,
     Georgia Tourism staff will escort journalists on themed media familiarization tours around the state May 22 - 25.
        Media Request from Ilene Bates - She is working on a book called "Visit the World without leaving America.‖
        She is looking for towns and cities in America that have a culture from another country and what they do to
        celebrate it. In addition, she is looking for any annual cultural festivals. Please send Stefanie Paupeck
        (spaupeck@georgia.org any suggestions by Friday, May 14.

TOURISM FOUNDATION (Fred Huff)
      GDEcD MARKETING CO-OP PROGRAM NEWS FOR FY11
      The Marketing Co-op Program will undergo significant changes in FY11 (which begins this July 1). Overall
      tourism marketing funding and funds for the co-op program had both been reduced over the past several years to
      the point that neither were sufficient on a standalone basis to be effective. At the suggestion of a working group
      of industry representatives, a solution was identified that makes funds available to each travel region, leverages
      local and state dollars to mutual benefit and at the same time adds heft to the state's tourism marketing
      campaign.

        GDEcD will allocate funds to the each travel region for print and/or online advertising using region-customized
        versions of the new "Georgia checklist" ads, allowing each region to promote their respective assets and
        experiences. The campaign focuses on the wealth of distinctive, best-in-class vacation destinations that Georgia
        has to offer and how they provide for vacation experiences you, your family or friends will never forget. Print
        media would be a four-color, full or half page. The state will provide a base of $25,000 for each travel region.
        There will be an opportunity for each travel region to raise up to $25,000 locally which we will then match 2-to-1
        with $50,000 in additional funds for advertising as above. Therefore each region has the opportunity to have
        $100,000 in advertising buys for a cost of $25,000. For more information, contact Fay Tripp at
        ftripp@georgia.org.

RESEARCH (Nerissa Serrano)
     Smith Travel Summary for Georgia are available each month. They are reported in PeachBytes, but if you
     would like to get a copy, let me know and I’ll create a list of folks to get them when I get them.
     Lodging Numbers show improvement
     According to recent lodging data, year-to-date occupancy in Georgia is up 3.7 percent in March as compared to
     the same time period in 2009. The year-to-date U.S. occupancy is also up 2.3 percent. In addition, South Atlantic
     occupancy is up 3.2 percent. Room demand in Georgia is up 7.5 percent while the U.S. demand is up 5.3 percent
     and the demand in the South Atlantic is up 6.7 percent.
        State Awards Research Contract
        Longwoods International has been awarded the research RFP to measure visitor demographic and profile for
        the state of Georgia. For more than 15 years, Longwoods International has been recognized as a leading tourism
        research consultancy, working with destinations of all sizes, CVBs, attractions, lodging and transportation
        providers on four continents. Longwoods International has assisted clients in understanding who their customers
        are today, and how to grow their market in the future. To ensure accuracy of data, Longwoods separates
        overnight and day visitor studies. The Longwoods Travel USA® syndicated study surveys 200,000 American
        households annually, 50,000 each quarter. Longwoods began this program in 1994. They probe visitors to
        destinations with custom-tailored, follow-through research, utilizing Travel USA® to collect the most
        comprehensive data in the industry on specific trips to your destination. For more information, click here.
        News from the U.S. Travel Association
        It's According to the U.S. Travel Association, American taxpayers would have to pay an average of $950 more
        per household on "tax day" if not for the tax revenues generated by travel and tourism to and within the United
        States."Take a moment to extend some friendly hospitality to the tourists in your city or town today - the money
        they spend has saved you nearly one thousand dollars in personal taxes this year," said Roger Dow, president
        and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "The leisure or business traveler staying at the nearby hotel, eating at a
        local restaurant, shopping or visiting a local attraction is keeping your local economy vibrant and putting money in
        your pocket." The money travelers inject into the economy often means more money for civic development,
        infrastructure and state and local jobs such as teachers, firefighters and police forces. In 2009, travel spending by
        U.S. and international visitors resulted in more than $111 billion in tax revenue for federal, state and local
        government. Of that total, $77.3 billion came from leisure travel and $34.2 billion was generated by business
        travel, including meetings and conventions. For the full press release, click here.


HERITAGE AND PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT (Bruce Green, Leslie Breland and Barry Brown)
      GDEcD Tourism Product Development Grant Workshop - In an effort to help those communities that might
      want to reapply, or for some reason did not score well on their application, GDEcD is planning a free TPD grant
      workshop- late spring or early summer.
WWW.MARKETGEORGIA.ORG AND WWW.EXPLOREGEORGIA.ORG
     EXPLOREGEORGIA.ORG UPDATES
         On April 22, the new regional landing page went live for the Northeast Georgia Mountains. Go to
         www.exploregeorgia.org/NortheastGeorgiaMountains. Feel free to look it over and give me some
         suggestions. I worked hard on the photo tours and summary and description copy for the 25 highlighted
         towns as well as for the regional photo tour. I hope you will agree that this provided much better exposure for
         the region and highlights the special offers significantly. If you have images you would like to include, please
         send them to me and I will see if they will work. Any images must be high resolution so that I can resize them
         to specifications.
         Click here to view the new Spring Landing Page.
         Partner Admin updates: Partners now have the ability to add specific keywords to offers and events.
     Tip of the Month
     Now that the regional page is up and running, make sure to submit a special offer or package.


                         SURVEYS, MARKETING, TRAVEL & INDUSTRY TRENDS


        At Winter Chautauqua, Berkeley Young (Young Strategies) made the following comments:
            o Change is constant – revisit your marketing plan quarterly
            o Listen to your customers – accommodate their wishes and desires
            o Talk to your guests – like you would if they stayed at your home
            o Be a cruise ship on land
            o Hyperfestivalization (Berkeleyism) – Too many festivals…they are not always the answer

        Vacation deprivation: Americans let days off evaporate
        The 2009 Vacation Deprivation Survey showed that 34 percent of American employees let vacation days go
        unused last year. The average was three days, and that's in a nation with one of the world's lowest levels of
        vacation to begin with. Nearly 20 percent of respondents reported they had canceled or postponed vacation plans
        because of work, and the number who said they were taking extended, two-week vacations fell to 10 percent from
        14 percent in 2008. Expedia.com commissioned the survey.

        Ernst & Young: Hospitality Industry Poised for Growth – Despite the challenges of 2009, the hospitality
        industry is poised for growth in 2010, concludes a new report from Ernst & Young's Global Hospitality
        practice. Titled ―Global Hospitality Insights: Top Thoughts for 2010,‖ the report analyzes trends in valuation,
        financing, government, tourism and acquisitions, among other things, and predicts the results will bode well for
        hotels in the next 12 months. While tourism growth and continued debt restructuring will create opportunities for
        hotels, valuation and financing will continue to create challenges. To find out more, visit
        www.mimegasite.com/mimegasite/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1004080488.

        Motels Boost the Thread Count, Get Makeovers -- Platform beds with crisp white sheets and taupe coverlets;
        32-inch flat-screen TVs; bright colors on the walls and mod furnishings that maximize space. No, it’s not the latest
        boutique hotel. It’s the new look of Motel 6. That’s right. Over the last year or so, motel chains like Super 8 and
        Red Roof Inn have been getting a makeover. Motels have been upgrading their interiors, doing away with those
        dreadful floral bedspreads and in many cases adding amenities that rival those of more upscale properties. The
        budget hotel segment was due for a design overhaul as the discrepancy between economy hotels still stuck in the
        floral bedspread mode and more upscale, fashion-forward newcomers grew. And though none of the upgrades
        are plush by any means, the extent of the renovations and redesigns, which focus on minimalist chic, has been
        surprising guests and style arbiters alike. To find out more, visit
        www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/travel/04prac.html?ref=travel.

        Report: Meetings and Events Spending Up in Q1 -- After a sizable decline in 2009, spending on meetings and
        events was up by 10 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2008 – before the start of
        the recession – according to a new report from Advito, BCD Travel's consulting unit. The report – an update to
        Advito's ―2010 Industry Forecast,‖ originally published in October – concluded that while pricing remains low,
        meeting suppliers are confident it will trend upwards as the year goes on. As a result, many of them are making
        an effort to include stricter penalties and attrition clauses in their contracts, and fewer are willing to sign multi-year
        contracts.
        Corporate travel in general also appears to be on the mend, according to Advito, which reported a double-digit
        increase in overall corporate travel demand during the first quarter of 2010. To find out more, visit
        www.mimegasite.com/mimegasite/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1004079956.
GenX and Millennials Driving Recovery -- According to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Retail
Forward, entitled ―The New Consumer Behavior Paradigm: Permanent or Fleeting?,‖ for the first time in the last
three recessions, it will not be Baby Boomers at the heart of the economic recovery, as the recession has taken a
bite of their savings and retirement accounts. This time it is the Gen Xers and Millennials who will be driving the
recovery. And shoppers will be more deliberate and purposeful in their spending, as conspicuous consumption
will give way to more conscious or practical consumerism. Rampant deal-seeking will be replaced by more
purchase selectivity and the use of shopping techniques and tools discovered during the recession. To find out
more, visit www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=124696.

What Type of Social Media Ads are the Most Effective? – Now that social networks devour about a fifth of
Web users' time, you might be wondering which ad formats are most effective on Facebook and its rivals. Well,
among the seven most common formats, sponsored content ads – in which consumers viewed a page that was
"brought to you by" a leading brand – were the most engaging, yet produced the least purchase intent, according
to a new study conducted by research firm Psychster, and commissioned by cooking/recipe hub
Allrecipes.com. Although banners and newsletters were most likely to be seen as ads, they were among the best
at triggering purchase intent and viral recommendations. Whereas other research often focuses on marketing
spending or performance metrics, Psychster's study focused on consumers' attitudes toward different ad types
and the brands they promoted. To find out more, visit
www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=125147&nid=112710.

Hotel Fitness Perks Geared Toward Bottom Lines – As hotels look to increase occupancy rates in difficult
times, many are using fitness and spa offerings as drivers for business. From full-service gyms with trainers to
adding and expanding spa facilities, hoteliers are recognizing that wellness offerings can have an effect on the
bottom line. According to a 2009 International SPA Association (ISPA) industry update, resort or hotel spas
account for 9 percent of all spa locations in the U.S. and have an average annual visitation of about 15,133 total
visits. Estimated revenue per visit averages $158. According to a 2006 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, spa
treatments have overtaken golf as the most popular attendee activity during corporate meetings and
events. Lynne Walker McNees, president of ISPA, said these statistics, coupled with the demand for wellness
offerings from guests, have many hoteliers adding or expanding their spa and fitness offerings. ―Hotels have
recently started understanding that spas can be a stand-alone profit center in the hotel, not just an amenity as it
was used in the past, but actually drive customers to the hotel, put heads in beds if you will,‖ McNees said. To find
out more, visit
http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2010/04/12/focus2.html?b=1271044800%5e3169021&ana=e_vert.

Meeting Planners Cut Back on Conventions at Pricey Hotels – Several university campuses do host
conferences. And they're increasingly appealing places for businesses, associations and other groups to have
conventions as meeting planners face tight budgets and low attendance during the economic slump. They're less
expensive than the fancy hotels, resorts, big convention halls and exotic locales they met in before the
recession. And they're less controversial as companies have been taken to task for extravagance during hard
times. Meeting planners are working overtime to find increasingly creative ways to slash costs. The changes
could have lasting effects on the conventions and meetings business if groups decide they can stick to lower-cost
affairs when the economy rebounds. Planners are more aggressive with striking deals with hotels. In addition, the
belt-tightening has prompted changes, such as taking advantage of cheaper travel and meeting dates, shortening
stays and cramming in more tightly focused sessions, and consolidating events. To find out more, visit
www.usatoday.com/money/industries/travel/2010-04-13-conventions13_CV_N.htm.

PhoCusWright Report Studies Social Media's Impact on Travel – PhoCusWright examines the impact social
media has had on travel in its new report titled ―Social Media in Travel: Traffic & Activity.‖ Yesterday's more
passive consumers and Web surfers are today's content generators, collaborators and commentators, according
to PhoCusWright. This fundamental change in how consumers are using the Web is having an enormous impact
on online travel, according to the report. To find out more, visit
www.travelpulse.com/Resources/Editorial.aspx?n=69765; for more information regarding the report, call (860)
350-4084 or visit www.phocuswright.com.

Companies Must Decide: Is a Business Trip Worth It? – Companies are sending more of their workers back
on the road this year after having slashed travel budgets and halted trips to save money during the recession. But
even as the economy slowly rebounds, many business analysts and advisers say businesses will continue to
carefully weigh when travel is necessary and when it makes more financial sense to have a staff member stay put
and connect with a client or colleague by video screen or conference call.
To make that first sales call, launch a product or close a deal, corporate travel experts say businesses will
probably decide a staff member needs to travel and see a client face-to-face. But internal meetings are
increasingly taking place through video conferences or webcasts. To find out more, visit
www.usatoday.com/money/industries/travel/2010-04-15-whentotravel15_CV_N.htm.

Hotels Compete on Bathrooms -- Bedding was all the rage several years ago. Then it was flat-screen television
sets and high-speed Internet. Now, it's the bathroom. Once thought of as just a functional place to wash and
groom, the bathroom has become a fairly simple and at times cost-effective way for hotels to set themselves apart
as they compete for smaller numbers of business and leisure travelers. ―Beds are the best they've ever been so
that's out, so we're returning to bathrooms," says Bjorn Hanson, a professor at New York University and hotel-
industry expert. Plus, many aspects of a guest room are neutral in how they affect the overall guest experience,
but "a really good bathroom has a dramatic positive experience," while a dirty or sub-par bathroom "has the
opportunity to create a very negative guest response." Many hotels are turning to small, cost-effective upgrades
that fit with a no-frills attitude adopted by many Americans during the recession, Hanson says. Changes include
installing reliable hair dryers, altering the packaging of soap, shampoo and other counter-top freebies to make
them look more expensive, furnishing slightly larger towels with a thicker pile, and reintroducing bathroom throw
rugs, he says. Still, some high-end hotels are making more-sweeping changes to the bathrooms, installing
everything from television sets in mirrors to light-changing "chromatherapy" in bathtubs and showers. To find out
more, visit
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303348504575184001515299976.html?KEYWORDS=bthroom+
AND+hotel.

The [Restaurant] Tables Turn – Restaurants all over the country are beginning to see signs of a potential
recovery after a dismal 2009. Sales at some restaurants have risen in the last few months, and the industry has
hired thousands of additional workers. Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at the NPD Group, a market research
firm that tracks sales at 47 restaurant chains with a total of 103,000 outlets, cautioned that while the sales trends
were uneven across the industry, almost half the chains he tracks – mostly fast-food and family dining restaurants
like Denny’s – had begun showing gains. Still, many restaurant owners and executives said they expected the
rebound to be slow and halting. To find out more, visit
www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/business/15restaurant.html?ref=business.

Setbacks in the Air Add to Lure of Virtual Meetings – Teleconferencing as an alternative to some business
travel has gained traction as the air travel experience deteriorated in recent years. But last week, with European
airspace shut down by volcanic ash, some companies that were already using teleconferencing found they could
use it even more. Even the most ardent proponents of teleconferencing agree that the technology cannot fully, or
perhaps even substantially, negate the need for face-to-face contact in business travel. On the other hand, the
experience of last week may have raised the bar for evaluating when a trip is necessary and when it can be
replaced by a virtual meeting. To find out more, visit
www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/business/27road.html?scp=2&sq=teleconferencing&st=cse.

Restaurants Gain Ground Across U.S. – It took more than a year, but American diners are coming out of
hiding, starting to splurge on everything from tea to tacos and tacking on some dessert. The meals aren’t fancy —
and business is far from what it was before the recession sent the nation spiraling — but restaurateurs big and
small say they’re breathing a tentative sigh of relief as tables fill up. A number of factors could be behind the
upswing: An influx in cash from tax refunds; warm weather that drew people from their homes; or increasing
confidence that the economic recovery isn’t a mirage. To find out more, visit
www.boston.com/business/articles/2010/04/27/restaurants_gain_ground_across_us/.

Survey: More Companies Plan Travel to Help Boost Sales – A quarter of the world's major corporations are
increasing their travel spending this year as they see the chance to generate new sales. That's a big switch after
two years of dramatic travel cost cutting, according to a report from American Express, the world's largest travel
booker and issuer of corporate travel charge and credit cards. The results of American Express' survey of nearly
500 high-ranking financial executives at major corporations worldwide echo comments made by senior U.S.
airline officials last month when they reported their first-quarter results. Airline executives said then that corporate
demand is picking up, though still has a long way to go to reach pre-recession levels. In fact, Wendy Prewitt, vice
president of American Express' global commercial charge and credit card business, says business travel may
never return to 2007 levels. The recession, she says, drove many corporations to make big changes in travel
spending. And those changes won't go away even as they are willing to spend on travel that could generate new
revenue. To find out more, visit www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2010-05-11-businesstravelsurvey11_ST_N.htm.

Hotels Connect the Dots Between Guests and Online Reviews -- An increasing number of image-conscious
properties have begun connecting the dots between unbylined write-ups that appear on such popular travel sites
     as TripAdvisor or Yelp, and guests’ personal information, such as their loyalty program preferences. If a guest
     writes a positive review, they might expect a reward from the hotel – a gift basket or a discount on their next
     stay. Pan a property, and the guest could get a concerned e-mail from the general manager asking them to
     reconsider their review. Or even a black mark against the guest in the chain's guest database. John Baird, a
     lodging consultant in Jacksonville, Fla., says that hotels now use locations, dates and usernames that appear
     online to triangulate a guest's identity. Once they find a likely match, the review is added to a hotel's guest
     preference records, next to information such as frequent-guest number, newspaper choice and preferred room
     type. To find out more, visit www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
     dyn/content/article/2010/05/03/AR2010050303887.html.

     Using Trips as Rewards for Star Employees Makes a Comeback – Restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse
     brought its top performing employees to New York City in April, courtesy of a company-paid trip for a job well
     done Trips like the one organized by Texas Roadhouse were rare during the depth of the recession, casualties of
     the so-called AIG effect which made companies fear appearing extravagant in the midst of the steep
     downturn. But companies increasingly are emboldened to once again reward their best employees and
     representatives with motivational trips, incentive travel experts say. This time around, though, the excursions are
     likely to be shorter, less expensive and more focused on public service than pampering. For every dollar spent on
     incentive travel, a business typically reaps $3 to $4 in revenue, according to Site, an organization of incentive and
     travel executives. And while some incentive programs offer solo trips, larger gatherings can be particularly
     valuable because they give attendees the chance to connect with one another as well as top executives, experts
     say. To find out more, visit www.usatoday.com/money/industries/travel/2010-05-12-
     incentivetravel12_CV_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip.


OTHER IMPORTANT STUFF

     Regional Tourism Partner Highlights:
        o The Pineapple Inn (www.pineappleinn-ga.com), a new inn in Clarkesville opened recently. I hear they
           make a mean Pineapple Upside Down Cake!
        o Goats on the Roof has opened another location in Helen. www.goats-on-the-roof.com

     Articles (Contact me if you would like a copy)
         o Check out articles for Campgrounds by Pelland Advertising - http://campgroundsuccess.com/
         o Cultural Heritage Tourism Survival Toolkit

     Media Requets
        o Science Center Meetings and Events – You don’t have to be young to enjoy playing scientist, as
            meeting planners who have arranged receptions, dinners and other events at science centers have
            found. In its August issue, Small Market Meetings will spotlight science centers in second-tier and smaller
            cities and their use for off-site meetings and events. Send descriptions of the science center’s
            meeting/event venues and examples of their use by meeting groups to Small Market Meetings Editor
            Vickie Mitchell at vmitchell@smallmarketmeetings.com. Deadline: May 24.

         o   Meetings and Incentives During Major Golf Tournaments –Small Market Meetings is in search of
             examples of meetings and incentives that have been held during major golf tournaments in second-tier
             and smaller cities. Send an email explaining the different ways in which the
             meetings/conference/incentive was tied to the golf tournament to Editor Vickie Mitchell at
             vmitchell@smallmarketmeetings.com. Deadline: May 24.

         o   New Developments at Golf Resorts –The August issue of Small Market Meetings will include a feature
             about new developments at golf resorts in second- and third-tier destinations. Send news about new
             developments to Editor Vickie Mitchell at vmitchell@smallmarketmeetings.com. Deadline: May 31.

     I need a little help…Does anyone remember anything about a cookbook (10-15 years ago) that highlighted
     different cities & routes from Lumpkin, Columbus, Warm Springs thru Cleveland, Dahlonega & possibly Dillard.
     Do any of you remember such a cookbook and where it could be purchased? Please send me any info you might
     have on this…Thanks!

     Promote Your Event(s):
             o   Events for the August issue of Georgia Magazine are due May 31, 2010. Email event details
                 to calendar@georgiaemc.com. To post an event listing on their website visit
                 www.GeorgiaMagazine.org.
             o   If you have an event that you would like published in the Southern Distinction calendar of
                 events please email your event information to: calendar@Southerndistionation.com.

        Grants & Funding Sources
           o List of Grants & Other Funding Sources
               We’d like to remind you that there is information on grant programs and other funding sources on
               www.marketgeorgia.org. Go to
               www.georgia.org/GeorgiaIndustries/Tourism/Programs/Pages/Grants.aspx#other

             o   FY 2010 Save America's Treasures grants
                 Grants are available for preservation and/or conservation work on nationally significant intellectual and
                 cultural artifacts and historic structures and sites. Intellectual and cultural artifacts include artifacts,
                 collections, documents, sculpture, and works of art. Historic structures and sites include historic districts,
                 sites, buildings, structures, and objects. Grants are awarded to Federal, state, local, and tribal
                 government entities, and non-profit organizations through a competitive matching-grant program. For
                 more information and to apply visit www.nps.gov/history/hps/treasures/index.htm. Applications are due
                 by May 21

             o   Funding initiatives through Georgia State Parks
                 The following is a URL for two programs (the "Land and Water Conservation Fund" and the "Recreational
                 Trails Program"). The Coastal region has utilized these grants for tourism related projects:
                 www.gastateparks.org/net/content/page.aspx?s=8084.0.1.5&siteid=5&wrapid=1

        Vendors wanted: Stacy is looking for vendors for their 3rd annual Meaders Pottery Face Jug Festival on
        Saturday, November 6, 2010. The festival will be held in Cleveland, GA. Contact Stacy at
        stacy@meaderspottery.net or 404-597-6679 if you are interested.


                                                DATES TO REMEMBER


Georgia Travel Industry Calendar of Events: Go to www.marketgeorgia.org and click on Travel Industry Calendar of
Events to find out info on meetings, conferences, trade & travel shows, and other tourism related events.
        Contact me if you would like to submit a tourism industry event (meeting, conference, etc.).
        Be sure to bookmark the page and come back often for information on new and valuable tourism related events!

STS Top 20 Events Nominations
      To be considered, an event must have an attendance of at least 1,000 and be in its third year of existence.
      There is a $10.00 entry fee required per event.
      Top 20 Events strongly encourages entrants to support nominations by providing supporting material such as
      photos, posters, brochures, press releases, news clippings and/or volunteer programs.
      To find out more, visit www.southeasttourism.org/top20/. (The deadlines are also listed on the
      www.MarketGeorgia.org Travel Industry Calendar of Events.)
      Deadlines:
          o Friday, JULY 9, 2010 for events in January, February, March 2011
          o Friday, OCTOBER 8, 2010 for events in April, May, June 2011 ~
          o Friday, JANUARY 7, 2011 for events in July, August, September 2011



Cheryl Smith, Regional Tourism Rep    csmith@georgia.org ~ 770-535-5757 or 678-640-4355    PO Box 3116, Gainesville, GA 30503

				
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