On your way to KDS? Five tips to help you get there by conference 2021!

Are you just mere steps away from obtaining your Kansas Destination Specialist designation? Maybe you have a book report to complete, or need to visit an attraction and write a quick report—click here to see where you’re at in the KDS journey!

Make 2021 the year that you go from seeking your KDS to joining the ranks of others who have earned this state-wide designation for tourism professionals. Let’s take a peek at certification requirements as a quick refresher (keep in mind this is not a renewal year, so only new KDS seekers are being awarded in October).

  • Earn 25 points by attending education conferences, seminars, webinars, trainings, etc. Points accumulate as follows: half point for webinar or seminar; one point for half-day session; two points for full-day session; and three points for two or more days. TIAK events are automatically awarded credit. For all other educational events, candidate must submit the Education Session Follow-up Form within the same year as the event was conducted.
  • Read and complete three book reports – one from each category. Categories include: Kansas, Marketing and Leadership. Click here to see the approved reading list!
  • Visit a Kansas attraction, 50+ miles from home, and submit the visiting attraction form. Earn one point for each attraction.

Here’s five tips to help you finish up those last requirements so you can call yourself a Kansas Destination Specialist this year!

  • Know where you stand and what is left to complete your designation.
  • Set aside time each week to finish each task, or if you need to visit an attraction more than 50 miles away, plan the day you’ll go and make a day-trip out of it! Take notes while you’re visiting so writing your report is easier. And, write that report ASAP when everything is still familiar!
  • Now that in-person meetings and events are mostly back in person, seek out potential trainings or seminars that could count toward your designation.
  • While there are dozens of book titles on the approved reading list, if you see one that falls into any of the categories, but isn’t on the list, just send the title, a brief summary and ask if it can be considered. Most of the time, it will be approved!
  • You’d be surprised at how fast those points can add up if you take advantage of all the TIAK and state tourism offerings hosted throughout the year. Destination Statehouse and the annual conference automatically count if you attend those events. Find a few more training options in travel, tourism, leadership or Kansas-centered topics, and you’ll be well on your way to KDS!

TIAK Marketing Awards: Top 10 Tips for an Award-Winning Entry

  1. Whether this is your first submission, or you have submitted for 10 years straight, these tips can help you create and submit the best TIAK marketing entry yet. We know you’ve got your eye on first place! Here’s a surefire way to make it happen…
    Start the process early!  You are already on the right track by reading these tips and starting to think about what you will submit this year.
  2. Check the basics before you submit. Be sure to read over the entry rules to submit into the correct categories.  The categories are separated by both budget and marketing project type.
  3. The more details the better. Include as many statistics in your reporting as possible.  (Examples: events- how many people attended? Websites- how many views?) When the judges have two entries with similar rankings and results, the more statistics on your project will possibly help you get ahead in the rankings.
  4. Partnerships are becoming so important; if you are working with someone local, don’t forget to include that! Whether it’s your local printer, museum, school, historical society, chamber, development cooperation, other communities, city/county or someone else, please include information on how they helped you and what monetary or voluntary aid/partnership you were provided.
  5. If the work was done by an internal team, REALLY emphasize that. If you are using an outside agency, describe your team’s input and direction in shaping the project you’ve entered. The judges like to see what you’ve contributed even when the work outsourced.
  6. Do not overlook something that has been done for years. The judges sometimes see important information being forgotten in the application.  The judges need to see all the details including partnerships being used, how resourceful the applicant was, photos, charts, testimonials, etc.
  7. Think outside of the box. There are so many possibilities for award submissions besides a website or visitor guide. Did you have a community festival that generated a ton of visitation? Maybe you had a great social media campaign that earned a lot of online traction? Consider everything from campaigns to printed publications, audio tours or profiles. With five categories, plus the people’s choice award, there’s surely something fitting for your marketing efforts!
  8. Make a report. Don’t just submit a few sentences in the text box.  Attach a document with project graphics, statistics, and how it positively impacted your community.
  9. Did you submit last year? Do not forget to go back and read the judges’ feedback. They give great information to help with future projects and submissions. Also, have another peer review your submission to give tips before you click send.
  10. You can’t win if you don’t submit! Be sure to get your entries in before the deadline of Friday, August 13. Click here for more information.

Registration is open for the 2021 Kansas Tourism Conference

What a year! Get ready to celebrate the travel and tourism industry at the Kansas Tourism Conference in Liberal, October 18-20, 2021. Be a part of the Kansas tourism industry’s “don’t miss” conference of the year. Registration is now open! Enjoy inspiring speakers, valuable educational information and fun networking opportunities. Kansas has so much travel and tourism talent and we can’t wait for you to meet each other!

For more information, and to register, visit the Kansas Tourism Conference event page. Be sure to look around and see what this year’s conference has to offer: a dynamic lineup of speakers, a silent auction, marketing awards, and so much more. When you’re ready to sign up, simply click “Register Now” in the Conference Dates section and get ready to celebrate. Registration is easy and you may select to complete your payment by using either credit card or check. But don’t forget to make your hotel reservation – the link is on the KTC event page.

Think you can dazzle your tourism peers even more? Share your talent in the TIAK Marketing Awards! Join TIAK in highlighting your skills in conjunction with the Kansas Tourism Conference. Entries must be submitted by August 13th and each submission may only be entered once. One winner from each overall budget category will be presented at the Awards Banquet. For submission requirements and registration, please visit the Marketing Awards page.

We look forward to celebrating travel and tourism at the 2021 Kansas Tourism Conference! Register today.

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

Registration is open for the 2020 Kansas Tourism Conference

What a year! Get ready to celebrate the travel and tourism industry at the Kansas Tourism Conference in Liberal, October 19-21, 2020. Be a part of the Kansas tourism industry’s “don’t miss” conference of the year. Registration is now open! Enjoy inspiring speakers, valuable educational information and fun networking opportunities. Kansas has so much travel and tourism talent and we can’t wait for you to meet each other!

For more information, and to register, visit the Kansas Tourism Conference event page. Be sure to look around and see what this year’s conference has to offer: a dynamic lineup of speakers, a silent auction, marketing awards, and so much more. When you’re ready to sign up, simply click “Register Now” in the Conference Dates section and get ready to celebrate. Registration is easy and you may select to complete your payment by using either credit card or check. But don’t forget to make your hotel reservation – the link is on the KTC event page.

Think you can dazzle your tourism peers even more? Share your talent in the TIAK Marketing Awards! Join TIAK in highlighting your skills in conjunction with the 2020 Kansas Tourism Conference. Entries must be submitted by August 21st and each submission may only be entered once. One winner from each overall budget category will be presented at the Awards Banquet. For submission requirements and registration, please visit the Marketing Awards page.

We look forward to celebrating travel and tourism at the 2020 Kansas Tourism Conference! Register today.

2019 Kansas Tourism Conference

Get ready to sparkle and shine like a “Diamond in the Wheat” at the 2019 Kansas Tourism Conference in Mulvane, October 21-23, 2019. Be a part of the Kansas tourism industry’s “don’t miss” conference of the year. Registration is now open! Enjoy inspiring speakers, valuable educational information and fun networking opportunities. Kansas has so many Diamonds in the Wheat and we can’t wait for you to meet each other!

For more information, and to register, visit the Kansas Tourism Conference event page. Be sure to look around and see what this year’s conference has to offer: a dynamic lineup of speakers, a silent auction, marketing awards, a SportsKS golf tournament, and so much more. When you’re ready to start shining, simply click “Register Now” in the Conference Dates section and get ready to sparkle. Registration is easy and you may select to complete your payment by using either credit card or check. But don’t forget to make your hotel reservation – the link is on the KTC event page.

Think you can dazzle your tourism peers even more? Shine and sparkle in the 2019 TIAK Marketing Awards! Join TIAK again in highlighting your talent in conjunction with the 2019 Kansas Tourism Conference. Entries must be submitted by August 15th and each submission may only be entered once. One winner from each overall budget category will be presented at the Awards Banquet for each of the following categories: Visitors Guide (both in-house and outsourced), Online Marketing, Print Marketing, Integrated Campaign, and Destination Awareness. For submission requirements and registration, please visit the Marketing Awards page.

Plan to tee-off KTC with SportsKS in a 4-person, 9-hole scramble! SportsKS is hosting their 3rd Annual Golf Tournament this year prior to the start of the conference. Golf registration available during conference registration. And if golf isn’t your thing, non-golfers have the option to register for a short “Lunch and Learn” at the Clubhouse. Find out more details under the Additional Events section of the KTC event page.

We look forward to finding Diamonds in the Wheat with you at the 2019 Kansas Tourism Conference! Thank you, in advance, for your support, both at the Conference and throughout the year.