Happy New Year! Not everyone is into resolutions that begin each year with promises and good intentions to do better in specific areas. However, I'd like to be so bold as to ask you all to keep Visit Spokane in mind as you build your programs. The Visit Spokane website is a huge tool and many of you are not using it to amplify your marketing efforts. Our research demonstrated that
www.VisitSpokane.com generates incremental travel and increases visitor spending!
Is your business description up to date? Are you listed in all of the categories that will help direct visitors to your business? When was the last time you logged into the Visit Spokane extranet to check your information, listings and other valuable information? If you are not already using these critical tools, now is the time!
Beyond the website, we also send out a variety of newsletters. We draw the information that we share with consumers from your press releases, emails and announcements, so please make sure our communications team (Tim Robinson and Peyton Scheller) is on your distribution list.
Another important planning tool (and often the most visited page on our website) is the events calendar. If you know the dates for your upcoming events, please submit them now. Tour companies are already planning for the spring, summer and fall, so don't wait to post your events.
If you make New Year's resolutions, we hope that you'll include using our team and our programming resources to amplify your own marketing programs. Remember, tourism is a team sport and we need to work together. If there is something we can do for you, please let us know.
Let's make 2015 a great year!
President & CEO
WTA Tourism Summit
While we are all focused on the important work of enhancing our destination and bringing more visitors to the Spokane region, there's another very important development that affects everyone: telling the story of the entire State of Washington. This year, the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is poised to begin the work of marketing the state to visitors across the U.S. and all over the world. We're all part of that story, so your participation is crucial.
We're urging you to attend the 5th Annual WTA Tourism Summit, Thursday, Feb. 12 in Olympia. Come to learn what WTA is doing now and how you can be involved. You'll also hear two excellent speakers: Chris Thompson, President & CEO of Brand USA, and Todd Davidson, President & CEO of Travel Oregon.
The Tourism Summit is a time when we all come together as a team to learn from each other and to rekindle the fire for doing the important work of travel and tourism. It's also when we take to the Hill to tell our legislators how vital travel and tourism is to the economy, particularly this next chapter in the WTA's young history.
For more information about the Summit,
The final countdown is on, the anticipation is building and the list is growing. The $55-million expansion of the Spokane Convention Center
is expected to be complete mid-February. Since the July 2013 groundbreaking, crews have been working hard on the 91-thousand square foot addition. Meanwhile, the sales teams at Visit Spokane and the Convention Center have been making progress of their own.
"The physical difference in the Convention Center is, itself, exciting," says Keith Backsen, Visit Spokane Vice President of Sales & Services. "But it's the additional attention from meeting planners that we're now getting that's really going to pay off."
Backsen says that the expansion has put Spokane on some 70 new meeting planner lists. "In the past, Spokane would be considered, but we couldn't make the cut to the short list, for one reason or another. Now, we are making those short lists because the expansion allows us to meet a whole new set of needs."
If you belong to an organization looking for meeting or convention space, feel free to contact Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our website, VisitSpokane.com, is a trusted resource for visitors who are planning a trip to the Spokane region. Here is a breakdown of a few statistics:
- Visits to the main site are up 24% over December of last year. Total visits (main + mobile) have increased by 29%.
- Pageviews increased by 35% and bounce rate decreased by 5%.
- Organic traffic on the main site is up by 39%, while organic traffic increased by 6,479% on the mobile site. Total organic traffic is up by 65%.
Other notable stats:
- Organic entries to the Restaurant pages have increased by 170%, by 47% on the Hotel pages, by 310% on the Attractions page, by 9% on the Events Calendar page and by 3% on the Things to Do landing page.
- VisitSpokane.com ranks first on all three search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo) when visitors search for "Things to do in Spokane" and "Spokane shopping."
What does this all mean? Visitors are searching for information about Spokane, and they are going to VisitSpokane.com to find it! Make sure to update your business listing, submit your events to our events calendar and contact us if you are looking for more opportunities to be showcased on our website.
- VisitSpokane.com ranks first on Google when visitors search for "Things to do in Spokane Valley," "Spokane entertainment," "Spokane events," "Spokane breweries" and "Spokane nightlife."
Inlander Restaurant Week returns to the Inland Northwest, February 20 - March 1! This year's 10 day culinary event has 97 participating restaurants, all offering unique three-course menus at fixed prices. Enjoy an appetizer, entree and dessert (or at some restaurants, a drink!) for just $18 or $28, depending on the restaurant. Menus will be released January 29 on InlanderRestaurantWeek.com.
Douglass Executive Suites
Self Storage of Spokane
The Wandering Table
at Kendall Yards
The Yards Bruncheon
Ramada at Spokane Airport
Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Hilton Garden Inn Spokane Airport
Become a member of the
Inland Northwest ACE Team! An initiative of Visit Spokane to propel our hospitality industry forward, this four hour training includes a two hour interactive classroom session and a two hour experiential bus tour. Participants will learn about Spokane history, our region's attractions and more.
The next training will take place on February 26, 8:30am-12:30pm, at Holiday Inn Express - Valley.
Where in the World?
Vice President of Sales and Services Keith Backsen was in Washington
D.C. for sales calls and a co-sponsored tri-city (Spokane, Providence and
Madison) dinner from December 2-5.
Director of National Accounts Brooke LaFleur traveled to Los Angeles for IAEE Expo Expo, December 8-12. Joined by the Spokane Convention Center's Jessica Deri and Red Lion Hotel's Ruth Fitzgerald, the trio was able to network with hundreds of exhibitors.
Keith Backsen joined Regional Director of National Accounts Kim Ritten in Chicago, December 16, for Association Forum's Holiday Showcase.
The winter e-zine has hit the Web! Ten pages long, the quarterly magazine is chock-full of seasonal stuff to do in the Spokane region. Read it here.
Visit Spokane is on Instagram and we want to see your pics! Tag your Spokane photos with #VisitSpokane and it may be shared on our Instagram account, or the next visitor e-newsletter.
Photo by Instagram user @ericwalkr.