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					Seattle Southside Tourism Development Plan
2004-2008



Vision Statement:
We are dedicated to providing an exceptional visitor experience.

        See the “big picture” and how customer service fits into it.
        Establish an authentic human connection with each customer.
        Render timely, accurate and thorough service.
        Value and respond to unique customer needs.
        Extend a hand—build and strengthen relationships with customers.

Mission Statement:
The mission of Seattle Southside Visitor Services (SSVS) is to provide the cities of SeaTac and Tukwila the essential
leadership and services for the local business community in tourism development and marketing. This function is critical to
the growth and success of the economic prosperity of the community because it attracts new and lucrative visitor markets
to the area.



Program Goals:
The primary goal of the Seattle Southside Tourism Program is to attract quality visitors to Tukwila and SeaTac to increase
tourism business income and related tax revenues in order to sustain a robust economy while enhancing community
values.

A second goal is to assist in building a sustainable family-friendly visitor destination by providing leadership initiatives,
education, and training opportunities to SeaTac and Tukwila’s tourism sector.



Target Audiences:
Free and Independent Traveler (FIT): "Middle America" is 38% of this market. This group represents the average person
traveling in America. Their ideal vacation offers a variety of experiences and they choose destinations with "lots to do".
They look for first-class treatment—but not necessarily luxury—and are apt to seek out "good deals". This group, although
less affluent, is financially comfortable. Most are high school graduates working in a variety of blue- and white-collar jobs.
This group looks for discounts and utilizes the Internet for trip planning and purchasing. Includes pre- and post-cruise
travel, intra-regional car travel, weekend trips with family and friends, travelers seeking cultural experiences, etc.

SSVS’ target FIT is the repeat traveler to the Seattle area who is looking for an affordable, family-oriented experience.
Given its central location, visitors typically will use the Southside locality to explore Seattle, Tacoma, the mountains,
Peninsula and San Juan Islands.


Groups (SMERF): Those associations and corporations with the potential for selecting Seattle Southside as the venue for their


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group events ranging from approximately 10 to 200 people including SMERF (social, military, educational, religious and fraternal);
also includes weddings, reunions and soccer and softball tournaments. These groups plan visits usually long in advance and
represent targets for customized packages.

Tour Operators: Qualified leads generated for group tour business from National Tour Association trade shows, Washington
State Tourism blitzes to New York and California, and the state’s international contractors in Japan, UK, Germany and Benelux.

Corporate/Business Traveler: People traveling on business will lengthen their stay and partake in visitor activities when
given quality visitor information, time permitting. A nonworking spouse will take advantage of recreational and shopping
opportunities in the area. In addition, a business stay may convert to a leisure visit.

Influencers:
        Area Residents: Keeping this group of opinion makers and gatekeepers well informed about new developments
        will reap great benefits as our research indicates many travelers base their purchasing decisions on the
        recommendation of a friend, family member or professional colleague. This group may host visiting friends and
        relatives (VFR) who may stay in their homes, but many stay in hotels. Washington residents make up 51% of
        visitor spending in Washington state, according to studies from the Business and Tourism Development Office.

        Media: Visitors are heavily influenced by what they see in the media. Local media targets include travel writers,
        newspaper and magazine editors, and TV and radio producers interested in news and features in the region. The
        priority for regional press will be neighboring states, Alaska and British Columbia. New York and LA, hubs for
        national press, are also a strong target market. Internationally, press targets will be from Japan, UK, Germany and
        Benelux. Online travel sites with proven track records are another target.

        Internal Audiences: It is important to maintain a high degree of communication between all stakeholders in order
        to sustain active participation and support to achieve the goals of this program, i.e.: Tukwila Lodging Tax Advisory
        Committee (LTAC), SeaTac Hotel/Motel Advisory Committee (HMAC), Southwest King County Chamber of
        Commerce (SWKCC), City of SeaTac and Tukwila (Mayors, Council, City Management, Planning, and Parks &
        Recreation), SeaTac and Tukwila hoteliers, SeaTac and Tukwila restaurateurs, area retailers, transportation
        venues, etc.

        External Partner Organizations: Partnering with the following organizations will leverage marketing opportunities
        and strengthen the SSVS tourism program: Seattle CVB, Tacoma CVB, Puget Sound Attractions Council,
        Washington State Group Tour and Travel Association, Washington State Tourism, Washington State Hotel and
        Lodging Association, South King County Hotel Association, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Seattle
        Concierges Association and the Port of Seattle.

        Professional Travel Planners: Tourism leisure business can be developed through relationship building with
        professional travel planners by inviting them on familiarization tours (FAM) and continuously updating them on new
        product offerings.



Branding:
SSVS will extend and reinforce the branding campaign of prior years by continuing to educate targeted consumers about the
value of Seattle Southside: its central location, family-friendly focus and affordability.

Key Points:

       Our brand is a visual, verbal, behavioral and written articulation of our destination’s values and strengths. It distinguishes
        us from other destinations. It is more than a logo. It encompasses customer service, product development and delivery,
        communications program, image, graphic elements, etc.—every aspect of Seattle Southside as a tourist destination.

       In 2003, a brand identity was developed for the area as Seattle Southside – The Pacific Northwest Starts Here. The
        brand name identity will be further developed to continue building increased positive recognition for the next 10 years or
        more.

       The value of branding graphic elements is realized only when they are used throughout the communications program

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            and when the design integrity is protected through exact specifications and consistent application. Brand collaterals
            include a website, SeattleSouthside.com, vacation planner and distribution, press kit, emails, banners, ad
            campaign, restaurant concierge book, direct mailings, Seattle Southside postcard, letterhead, business cards,
            e-newsletters, tourism networking forums and other tourism products and promotions.

           Seattle is instantly recognizable because it is on the global map. The name Seattle Southside affiliates with Seattle’s
            geography, reputation and familiarity, and the tourism program capitalizes on that advantage.

           Branding for the travel trade will carry a different message; one that resonates with this target audience emphasizing the
            community’s convenience and value. Currently under consideration is Seattle Southside: The Affordable Side of Seattle.




Measurable Objectives:

The following objectives will be measured annually and be considered valid indicators of the success of the program over
the course of three to five years of strategic program implementation.

           Increase visitor awareness of the consumer value and tourism opportunities within Seattle Southside.
                o   Measured by web stats, press releases distributed, press coverage, toll-free visitor inquiries, visitor
                    packets distributed, reader response request labels, name recognition (locally, regionally), etc.
           Increase the business volume of the joint tourism community by attracting new visitors and converting them into
            consumers. In addition, turn one-time visitors into repeat customers.
                o   Measured through hotel stays, tourism-related tax receipts, packaged promotions results, “How Heard”
                    tracking, market research, economic impact studies, etc.
           Increase the hotel occupancy in the area with an emphasis during shoulder and off-season (October to May).
                o   Measured by online hotel reservations, lodging tax collected, guest surveys, anecdotal evidence from
                    hoteliers, group leads generated, group bookings (compare SSVS targets with actual bookings).
           Support the development of additional tourism products and services by engaging the local tourism industry in
            partnership programs.
                o   Based on the number of summits/workshops convened, packages offered, partnership programs
                    developed, tangibles given to the program by partners (stays, dinners, merchandise, etc.), participation as
                    a tourism adviser on economic development.
           Create awareness in and support for SSVS’ programs among community partners, tourism and economic
            development stakeholders, and the broader community.
                o   Report on types of partnership developed, initiatives undertaken, results and implications for your
                    program.
                o   Provide an Annual Report to the Community reporting on program outcomes and progress towards stated
                    measurable objectives, as well as monthly reports to the joint L-TAC and City Management. Issue periodic
                    reports to community partners.

            Other strategic evaluation tools include:

                o   Increase in tourism-related business locating in the area.
                o   Expansion of existing businesses.
                o   Attraction of other industry sectors because of quality of life enhanced by tourism industry.
                o   General confidence of program stakeholders.




STRATEGIES/TACTICS:

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The following strategies and implementation tactics are designed to meet the 3-5 year measurable objectives established
for this program.

Strategy #1:
Optimize the Seattle Southside Website (www.seattlesouthside.com). The website is the most powerful marketing tool
available and is easily accessible by most consumers throughout the world. All communications will serve to drive people
to the website.

    Ongoing Initiatives:
        Complete search engine registration monthly.

           Develop new in-bound links; update meta tags annually.

           Maintain and update content, links, calendar and images on a monthly basis.

           Enhance website as a commercial tool, i.e. online bookings, hotel reservations, coupon promotions, etc.

           Enhance website as a resource for local industry partners.

           Maintain a small-scale Japanese website to target prospective Japanese tourists. Promote places to stay, shopping
            opportunities and places of particular interest to this market.

           Conduct direct mail campaigns to drive targeted customers to the website promoting the Seattle Southside as a
            visitor destination, special offerings, partner programs, and so forth.

    New Initiatives:
        Develop online advertising opportunities.

           Enhance cross-promotional links with tourism partners’ websites.

           Create online public relations opportunities, such as press trip itineraries.

           Enhance website as resource for the media.


Strategy #2:
Implement a media relations program by working proactively and reactively with a broad range of editorial media tourism.
(SSVS strives to sustain a role as a helpful and dependable resource to members of the media.)

    Ongoing Initiatives:
        Maintain the online pressroom and photo library and promote press awareness of these as valuable
          resources.

           Maintain a current database of media and press contacts, and make these available to community partners
            upon request.

           Issue periodic press releases and story ideas to all target media outlets.

           Coordinate efforts with OPPs (Other People’s Programs, such as Washington State Tourism, Seattle
            Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Port of Seattle, Museum of Flight and other area-tourism venues).

           Obtain and make available quality images representing all facets of tourism in the Pacific Northwest, and
            Seattle Southside in particular, for the website image library.




    New Initiatives:
        Make copies of media coverage available to SSVS constituents and stakeholders.

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            Develop new press kit highlighting Seattle Southside. Distribute it to local, regional and state media contacts.


Strategy #3:
Launch an advertising campaign to attract visitors through unique positioning and offerings.

    Ongoing Initiatives:
        Purchase media placements/advertisements in travel-related publications, including Sunset Magazine, luring
          visitors with the value and convenience of staying in Seattle Southside and entice them with the appeal of
          favorite, familiar attractions in Seattle and other lesser-known attractions in the area. All advertising includes a
          call to action for purposes of tracking and evaluation. Media placements vary annually, see annual media
          schedule.


Strategy #4:
Provide friendly visitor services to the public while encouraging overnight stays in Seattle Southside and assist in the development
of new guest services that will serve to enhance the guest experience.

    Ongoing Initiatives:
        Offer visitor information services dedicated to providing personalized assistance over the phone to travelers
          who demand the best the region has to offer. Our visitor information specialists use an extensive database of
          goods, services and information, ranging from local hotels, transportation, restaurants, shopping and regional
          attractions to assist guests with their travel plans.

            Obtaining and processing visitor inquiries, then tracking that information for statistical analysis.
            Mailing “Visitor Information Packets” to guests who call the toll-free information line, contact SSVS via email
             through the website or come in monthly via “reader response labels” from magazines SSVS advertises in.
            Continue to lead the transportation initiative, “Seattle Southside Express”. The shuttle achieves visibility for the
             area and increases the level of satisfaction of hotel guests and shoppers.
            Offering online and printed tourism-specific promotional discount coupons to convert visitors into consumers.
            Produce and distribute a Seattle Southside Vacation Planner that represents SeaTac and Tukwila hotels,
             restaurants and regional tourist attractions. Distribute through website request, reader response cards from
             publications with a media buy, Certified Folder kiosks, hotel front desks, Seattle CVB information requests,
             targeted direct mailings, toll-free phone calls, and so forth. Distribution will include highly visible locations
             throughout the area. It is imperative that visitors be able to easily obtain information to help them access the
             sites and attractions that will maximize the value of their stay in Seattle Southside.
            Maintain the 12” by 12” leather-bound Restaurant Book placed conveniently at all hotel front desks so that
             visitors can easily obtain information about area restaurants to maximize their experience and desire to return.
    New Initiatives:
        Build and promote new bundled hotel packages that include attractions, restaurants, shopping, transportation,
           etc.



Strategy #5:
Establish Seattle Southside as a value-driven, quality destination for groups hosting events for 10 to 200 people, with an
emphasis on increasing off-peak bookings (weekends and October to May).

    Ongoing Initiatives:
        Partner with the Seattle Sports Commission to coordinate bids for regional and national tournaments that
          generate overnight stays.

            Develop new sightseeing itineraries seasonally.

            Continue to pursue and research cooperative marketing opportunities that focus on the group travel market.



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    New Initiatives:
        Develop and implement a new position statement for all publicity-targeted group travel, “Seattle Southside.
            The Affordable Side of Seattle!”.

            Purchase media placements/advertisements in meeting/group travel magazines including Corporate Meetings
             & Incentives, Association Meetings, The Meeting Professional, Seattle CVB’s Professional Travel Planners
             Guide and Meeting Planners Guide, Group Tour Magazine, and Religious Conference Manager. All
             advertising includes a call to action for purposes of tracking and evaluation. Ad placements vary annually. See
             Annual Media Schedule.

            Review and revise meetings and convention press releases in Southside press kit. Include a cost comparison
             for holding a meeting in the Southside versus Seattle.

            Distribute and pitch seasonal press releases to group travel editors annually.

            Coordinate sales efforts to qualified tour operators and meeting planners in the Pacific Northwest, California
             and relevant travel tradeshows through a series of sales calls by staff and industry partners.

            Participate in state tourism-sponsored tour operator blitzes in targeted markets. Make prearranged sales calls
             to qualified group tour operators and established travel press.

            Participate in the state tourism office-subsidized International Tour Operator Sales Mission. Make prearranged
             sales calls to qualified group tour operators and the travel press at the International Pow Wow.



Strategy #6:
Extend the corporate/business travel market by engaging groups and individuals in leisure activities.

    Ongoing Initiatives:
        Place visitor information in hotels.

            Send direct mailings to targeted corporate travel agencies.

            Distribute “What’s New” press release (twice annually).

            Support the corporate hotel sales staff as needed.

    New Initiatives:
        Develop and implement a new position statement for all publicity targeting corporate travel planners: “Seattle
           Southside. The Affordable Side of Seattle?”

            Coordinate and distribute tote bag of Southside tourism communications products and coupon books to area
             corporate travel planners to encourage independent familiarization trips to Seattle Southside (include coupon
             for free RT ride on the Seattle Southside Express).

Strategy #7:
Build relationships with the regional tourism network to create awareness about the Seattle Southside Tourism Program in
the trade and take advantage of partnership opportunities.

    Ongoing Initiatives:
        Coordinate and distribute tote bag of Southside tourism communications products and coupon books to
          Seattle concierges to encourage independent familiarization trips to Seattle Southside (include coupon for free
          RT ride on the Seattle Southside Express).



    New Initiatives:


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           Establish cooperative, cost-effective initiatives with Washington State Tourism, Seattle CVB, Tacoma CVB,
            Port of Seattle, Washington State Hotel and Lodging Association, and Puget Sound Attractions Council.
            Include working with the Seattle CVB’s expertise and experience to increase exposure in the international
            market segments, including the highly lucrative Japanese market.


Strategy #8:
Support the marketing and sales needs of Seattle Southside tourism businesses and hotel sales teams in particular.
(SSVS strives to sustain a role as a helpful and dependable resource to members of the tourism industry).

    Ongoing Initiatives:
        Maintain and make available SSVS’s databases including visitor information request, media, associate
          partners, leads, etc. on disk or labels to hotel marketing & sales staff for hotel-specific discount or promotional
          offerings.

           Develop a public awareness campaign utilizing monthly electronic newsletters that report on the program,
            provide partner co-op marketing opportunities, and other value information.

           Organize Tourism Networking Summits at least semi-annual.

           Maintain a consistent profile with local tourism interest groups by attending/participating in their monthly
            meetings.

           Continue presentations to various groups including chambers, visitor bureaus, city and industry groups.

           Sustain a program of business press releases to relate news important to the tourism industry and announce
            important Southside activities for use on the website press room, newsletters, newspapers and radio.

           Keep abreast of ongoing product knowledge through site visits to visitor venues.

           Publish periodic “Outcome Reports” that include visitor industry statistics.

           Maintain a comprehensive resource library of materials pertaining to the travel tourism industry in King County
            and Washington State.

           Continue to collect demographic data on all callers for purposes of building a complete database for future
            promotions while asking all callers “how did you hear about us” for evaluation determination. The database is
            made available to local hotel sales teams for additional promotional opportunities.

           Maintain memberships and cooperate, network and participate in co-op marketing efforts where appropriate of
            the following trade organizations:

            Travel Industry Association (TIA) represents the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate
            increased travel to and within the United States. It is through this organization that we receive Travel News
            Links, industry research, access to International Pow Wows and overall marketing resources.
            National Tour Association (NTA) is the premier packaged travel association in North America. NTA’s
            membership comprises more than 645 tour companies that package and sell to and within North America.
            Seattle CVB
            Tacoma CVB
            Puget Sound Attractions Council
            Washington State Tourism
            The Tourism Network
            Washington State Group Tour and Travel Association
            Washington State Hotel and Lodging Association
            Washington State Association of CVBs
            Western Association of CVBs


            Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce


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            National Association of Sports Commissions
            South King County Lodging Association


Strategy #9:
Contribute in economic development planning by providing input on tourism issues.

    Ongoing Initiatives:
        Maintain a high degree of communication between City of SeaTac and Tukwila (Mayors, Council, City
          Management, and Planning Departments) regarding economic development planning by providing input on
          tourism issues.

           Participate in committees, community meetings and conferences as requested by City Management.

Strategy #10:
Keep SSVS stakeholders informed.

    Ongoing Initiatives:
        Provide monthly reports to joint L-TAC and City Management.

           Issue periodic reports to community partners.

    New Initiatives:
        Provide an Annual Report to the Community reporting on program outcomes and progress towards stated
            measurable objectives.




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