21 in 2021 – 21 ways to get more involved in tourism this year!

21 in 2021 — 21 ways to get more involved in tourism this year!

graphic about 21 in 2021

Let’s just get it out of the way. 2020 was awful. Our industry (and many others) suffered one of the worst downturns most of us can recall, and the entire world was gripped by fear, loss and uncertainty. We won’t be looking back at 2020 fondly, but we certainly can take away many lessons from it. We’ll have to push forward with perseverance, grit and determination to create a better year ahead. But, Kansans are always up to the task! As an industry, let’s start with how we can resolve to better support tourism from our own backyard all the way to the White House.

Check out 21 ways to promote and engage tourism in 2021:

  1. Join or renew your membership in TIAK in 2021. Yes, it is an expense, but it’s actually more of an investment. If you can’t pay all at once, call the office to inquire about monthly or quarterly payments.
  2. While you’re renewing your own membership, invite a destination, attraction or tourism partner to try the “Taste of TIAK” and then help mentor them during their first year.
  3. Join a committee.  Membership, PAC, marketing, and more! There is a committee for everyone, and getting involved through a committee is a great way to support TIAK.
  4. Attend association events–virtually, or in person.  Annual conference, educational seminars, and Destination Statehouse are all great events to network, learn, and support TIAK.
  5. Beef up social media efforts on your MOST popular platform and commit to post at least 3 x week. Lessen the pressure to post on all outlets and focus on your top 2-3. While you’re at it, make sure you are following TIAK on Facebook.
  6. Partner with local media to share tourism in your town on a regular basis. Podcasts, short interviews or a regular column in the paper are great ways to engage the community.
  7. Reach out to CVB/DMO boards and commissions about what you’re working on. Keep them “in the know” about how you are working to bring guests to town in the future even when travel may still have limitations.
  8. Recognize those who have manned front lines, taken on extra duties or just exemplified service during the year. So many people have stepped up–recognize those stories!
  9. Reach out to postponed meetings, reunions, tours, etc. to inquire about their plans to reschedule. Offer a re-booking incentive if you can!
  10. Create a “local” campaign.  Work with your city or county to offer the locals a discount program, special offers or coupons as a way to thank them for keeping your community strong. Let them know their spending counts too and they don’t go unnoticed. Remember, our residents are always visitors first!
  11. Send an email to your local elected officials on the top five ways your organization continued pushing forward during the pandemic (virtual tours, curbside offers, free masks, marketing campaigns, testimonials from others, etc.).
  12. While we are still recovering, update your online presence (web, social, etc.) so things are up-to-date and user-friendly. Make sure your Google listing is claimed, updated and accurate. This is also a good time to clean up e-news subscriber lists.
  13. Plan ahead and get things ready for spring/summer visitors — tourism packets, guides, maps, etc. — if we’re still under travel restrictions, you can always offer those things virtually or via pick-up by appointment.
  14. Drive around your town to see what needs fixing up. Is there good, visible signage in place? Do things need sprucing up? Potholes need filling? If so, ask for help to make sure these areas are tended to for optimal visitor satisfaction.
  15. Follow 2-3 new tourism blogs, websites, social accounts. Stay on top of trends, news and updates related to the industry. Bookmark selected sites for easy daily reference.
  16. Know who your state legislators are and especially those who serve on committees related to our industry. Have their contact information handy so you can fire off a quick email to thank them, ask for their support of an upcoming bill, or invite them to join our upcoming virtual Destination Statehouse. ttps://tiak.org/events/destination-statehouse/
  17. Participate in the Kansas Tourism Huddles — these online discussions have kept us all connected and updated throughout COVID. As long as they are offered, they’re an excellent resource.
  18. Make sure you are connected to your region and utilize every single marketing initiative offered. It’s always a good idea to have friends and neighbors helping to share your message. Get started here: https://www.travelks.com/regions-cities/regions/ 
  19. Check in and be present even if not in person. Our hotels, restaurants and attractions need to know we are still here and working on their behalf. Ask them what you can do to help. A quick phone call might mean the world to a struggling merchant.
  20. Travel. When the time is right and safe, get out there and be a traveler yourself. We need to stimulate the economies of other destinations too. Use “National Plan for Vacation Day” on January 26, 2021 as your time to plan for the places you want to visit in the coming year.
  21. Be a tourism cheerleader. Our industry is stronger when we band together. Let’s start with an outpouring of Kansas Day social media posts on Friday, January 29. The Kansas Tourism team will be releasing plans for an industry-wide celebration soon, so stay tuned in the coming days for more information. To start your planning, use the hashtags #KansasDay2021 and #ToTheStarsKS and tag @TravelKS in your messaging. 

Cheers to a better 2021 with all of us working together (hopefully in person soon) as champions for tourism!

–Karen Crane, TIAK Marketing Co-Chair
Merriam Visitors Bureau

2020 Destination Statehouse

It’s that time again and this is the favorite season for those of us like Kevin Fern and me, TIAK Advocacy Chair Jim Zaleski. No, I am not talking about the holiday season I am talking about the political season. The legislature goes back to Topeka the 2nd week of January and TIAK won’t be far behind them with our Destination Statehouse event being held February 5, 2020.

The change in our state’s leadership brings new challenges and new opportunities for our industry. But there is also a change in our Destination Statehouse event. Be sure to join us for the morning and lunch portion of our day, both inside the Statehouse again this year, and then come on over to our new venue for the evening affair at the beautiful Cyrus hotel.

Check in for the morning session begins at 9:30 AM and be prepared for a Made in Kansas lunch. Then be sure to spend some time at the Statehouse visiting with your legislators and discussing the issues of our industry face-to-face. Of course, popcorn distribution will also take place that afternoon, giving everyone a chance to visit legislative offices and introduce yourself to elected officials and staff, alike.

Then it’s time for one of the most anticipated events of the year by our elected officials. The day wouldn’t be complete without exhibiting with your regional partners. Set-up will begin at the Cyrus at 3 PM. The evening event will begin at 5 PM and our new location will make this year’s celebration even more memorable.

Our theme this year will be built around the idea of tourism being an important part of the economic future of our state. Tourism is Economic Development, so be sure to have those numbers ready for your legislators, such as total visitors to your destination or the amount of economic impact felt locally by one of your events. Games or trivia based on those numbers could also be a fun idea to educate our state officials on how important tourism is to the economic future of Kansas.

Speaking of economics, the costs for this event increased this year so sponsorships are extremely important for both the day and evening events. Please think about how you can assist TIAK in maintaining the great reputation we have during our time in Topeka. To register, or learn more about Destination Statehouse, visit the TIAK website at https://tiak.org/events/destination-statehouse/. Sign up today for the 2020 Destination Statehouse on February 5th in Topeka.

Questions from regions or regarding the evening event can be directed to Jim Zaleski at jzaleski@parsonsks.com or 620.421.7030. See you there…

Destination Statehouse

Join colleagues from across Kansas in representing the travel industry at the 2018 Destination Statehouse event being held February 7, 2018, in Topeka. In today’s political world there is a simple but profound reality. If you are not at the table…most likely you are lunch. Join the TIAK team in creating a positive and cooperative relationship with your state elected officials.

At this year’s event, attendees will begin the day at the Dillon House hearing from a speaker from Destinations International on the “Weaponization of Tourism” before a legislative buffalo burger lunch co-hosted with our partners from the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks & Tourism. Afterwards, spend the day at the Statehouse visiting with your legislators and discussing face to face the issues of our industry.

The day wouldn’t be complete without exhibiting with your regional partners or your special coalition at the much anticipated evening event held in the Regency Ballroom at the Topeka Ramada Inn. This year the theme is Celebrating the Economic Impact of Sports Tourism. We encourage all regions to invite their local mascots from any sports teams or colleges and to create a sports-themed game, giveaway or other unique storytelling the impact of sporting tourism.

This is one of the most attended legislative events of the year so come out and support your Travel Industry Team at the 2018 TIAK Destination Statehouse.

Sponsorships for the evening event are currently available and registration for the entire day can be found on the TIAK Website, so be sure to visit https://tiak.org/events/destination-statehouse/ and sign up today for the 2018 TIAK Destination Statehouse, February 7th, Topeka.

Questions from regions or on the evening event theme can be directed to the Advocacy Committee Chairman, Jim Zaleski, jzaleski@parsonsks.com or 620.820.3556.

See you there…