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United States Flag Meeting Notes for the October 13, 2003 Meeting
U.S. Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board

Meeting Minutes
Monday, October 13, 2003
Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC

  1. Welcome and Introductions

    • DFO Julie Heizer opened the second meeting of the Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board and turned the proceedings over to Chairman Jay Rasulo.
    • Chairman Rasulo welcomed the Board members, their staff, and guests to the meeting, and introduced Bill Hanbury, President & CEO, Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corporation.
    • Mr. Hanbury officially welcomed the Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board to Washington, DC. He then introduced Allen Lew, President of the Washington Convention Center.
    • Mr. Lew welcomed the Board to the brand new $850M convention center of Washington, DC.

  2. Update of Sub-Committee Work

    1. Marketing/Communications (Jay Rasulo)

      • Mr. Rasulo said the Marketing/Communications sub-committee could work with the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) to draft the documents that could be used to develop the Request(s) for Proposal (RFP), and would advise OTTI on the construction of the actual RFP(s).

      • He referred to background information for the Board’s use, including a “Travel and Tourism Global Advertising Review” that had been prepared by the Leo Burnett Companies and referenced a chart outlining the work of the Board and sub-committees..
      • He said the development of the “Objective” and “Strategy” statements for this project had been clearly laid out by Secretary of Commerce Don Evans at the 9/8/03 meeting, including defining the markets that will be targeted by this program.
      • He asked Michael Mendenhall, Disney Parks & Resorts, to walk the Board through the rest of the documents that were provided.
      • Mr. Mendenhall outlined the draft “briefs” that had been developed (Creative, Media Buy, Public Relations), and then outlined the “Travel and Tourism Global Advertising Review.”
      • He followed by sharing with the Board a video of travel advertisements that have appeared on television in several countries.
      • Rasulo mentioned that there are many opportunities for potential strategic cooperative partners within this campaign. He said that this campaign’s creative messaging can and should be tied to cooperative parties spending their money behind the campaign’s overall messaging.
      • Additionally, he mentioned that international tour operators should be encouraged to participate cooperatively (financially) with this campaign.
      • Rasulo also said that benchmarks would be another important component, including impact, quality, seeing a bottom-line increase. He also thought that a comparison between countries where advertising is being placed versus countries where there is no campaign would be an important measurement factor. The Travel Barometers will measure where the United States really is in terms of consumer travel bookings.
      • Mendenhall mentioned that the campaign must be culturally specific, and that that sensitivity must be clearly outlined in the final RFP.
      • Jon Linen asked for a point of clarification that this campaign was, in fact, supposed to be a consumer campaign. Rasulo answered yes.
      • When discussing the issue of whether or not to include a “safety” message in the campaign, Noel Irwin Hentschel said that it was probably best to customize the message per market.
      • Linda Conlin suggested that perhaps the safety message could more easily be carried in the earned media that is garnered rather than in the paid advertising campaign.
      • Jonathan Tisch suggested that the competitive disadvantages of traveling to the United States should also be included in the briefs.
      • Glenn Tilton said that there is a disinclination in the marketplace for consumers to travel to the United States. He said this program must push back against that negative campaign.
      • Tisch also mentioned that there is an important “back story” to this whole program, which is the unprecedented cooperation between federal agencies, an important message to convey to international visitors as well.
      • Mendenhall outlined the Media Buy Brief, talking about the importance of broad tactics, the use of ambient/event-type media, strategic alliances and partnerships and their important role, and actual buying power.
      • He suggested that OTTI/DOC may want to collapse these three briefs into one RFP, but that it would depend on the process that will be utilized by OTTI/DOC. There may have to be some compromises made in order for the RFP to get out on the street sooner rather than later.
      • Scott Praven recommended adding “Direct Marketing” to the brief(s).
      • Rossi Ralenkotter (representing Manny Cortez) suggested that a whole component of the industry was missing in the briefs, and that is the international meetings arena.
      • He additionally suggested that as part of the research strategies, OTTI/DOC must know who America’s competition is.
      • Mendenhall outlined the Public Relations brief.
      • Mendenhall talked about the five-market review that was presented to the board through work done for Disney by Leo Burnett. (Copy of this report available in the TTPAB Reading Room.)
      • Conlin said the TTPAB should be aware of the balance to be struck between expediting the process and adhering to DOC regulations.
      • Doug Baker said that OTTI is working closely with the Procurement office to move the process along as quickly as possible. he said he wanted to make sure that OTTI contracted with the firm(s) that will do the best job with the right market segments, the right timing and in the most effective manner possible.
      • Bob Taubman said that the creative development is much more important than the contractor being selected simply based on the lowest cost. He said there should be a balance struck between efficiency and speed.
      • Rasulo said Canada and Mexico can “go to market” later in the spring than the European destinations. He felt that the United Kingdom should be the first market addressed. He said that historically speaking, if advertising were placed in the U.K. later than January, it would have been too late to be effective.
      • He reiterated that there is no deadline on the spending of the monies that have been allocated for this project, and that the Board and DOC certainly don’t want to look at spending quickly but ineffectively. He cautioned that this project would likely miss the U.K. in early 2004 unless there is a chance to look at getting into the market in the spring or later.
      • Irwin Hentschel asked if the private sector could develop and then donate a theme or logo to this project in order to allow the program to get going faster and to be able to put something in the marketplace sooner rather than later.
      • Taubman said the creative process is the most important and that it must be done right. DOC needs “the right thinking, not an expedited spend.”
      • Manny Stamatakis asked how long it would take to get through the process.
      • Baker said it would take the next 2-3 weeks to know what’s going to happen, and then 7 months to get something done and then 3-6 months to get into the marketplace.
      • Rasulo reiterated that it is a new time in the industry, with new cycles of booking.
      • Tilton asked if perhaps OTTI could get into the market through partnerships? Perhaps OTTI could get in to the marketplace outside “normal” channels?
      • Rasulo asked for Board approval of the briefs as they were presented.
      • The Board voted to approve the briefs, subject to the changes that had been discussed.
      • Baker outlined the Destination Marketing Grants program, saying that OTTI is working on drafting criteria for the grants. He envisions this to be a matching funds program, with grants estimated at $250K and $500K. He said OTTI envisions criteria that will encourage destinations to work regionally and cooperatively. He said that he wanted the criteria ready to be published in December, providing the destinations with a 45-day response window, and grants being awarded at the beginning of the year.
      • Baker cautioned that OTTI is trying to keep the information provided to the board to a minimum in order to keep the Board members from having to recuse their destinations from applying.
      • Jon Linen said the grant criteria must include the requirement that recipients can measure the program they want to be supported by the grant.
      • Stamatakis said that the grants should be tied to the creative of the umbrella campaign, and that may preclude the criteria from being released prior to the end of the year. His recommendation was to establish a timeline and draft criteria that could be released to the destinations early on so that the destinations could at least be working on the process, even though the umbrella campaign’s creative is not ready.
      • Rasulo said that asking the destinations to develop a program in advance of the umbrella campaign being ready to be released will put additional pressure on the destinations to support the umbrella theme/brand. If the umbrella campaign development takes too long, perhaps some other options might be considered for the grants.
      • Conlin said it was her firm belief that the grants and the theme of the umbrella campaign must work together.
      • Irwin Hentschel said she was concerned about getting the programs into the marketplace soon enough to ensure that international visitors will choose America over other destinations for THIS upcoming booking season

    2. Partnerships/Strategic Alliances Sub-Committee (Noel Irwin Hentschel)

      • Irwin Hentschel outlined the recommendations of the sub-committee, saying that her team is looking at potential strategic partners for both the grants program and the overall umbrella campaign.
      • They recommended that the $10M grants:
        • Be announced to key constituencies as soon as possible so that organizations can start to get together to build their applications;
        • Be sent to partners who have been very active in the marketplace (list available from Travel Industry Association);
        • Be tied in to the theme of the overall umbrella campaign;
        • Provide some flexibility to expand outside of the five target markets if the destinations choose to focus elsewhere;
        • Timelines and legal guidance be provided by DOC; and
        • Be managed by DOC.
      • She reiterated the critical nature of the timing/timeline to the marketplace.
      • The sub-committee further outlined that several strong possibilities had been gleaned from the White House Conference on Tourism that should/could be considered by the TTPAB for implementation:
        • A brief video or advertisement;
        • Celebrity power should be brought to bear through this campaign;
        • U.S.-based travel industry organizations and companies could be asked to carry the new brand/theme/logo/slogan in their own advertisements;
        • The program could reach out to international meeting;
        • Credit card companies could be asked to include promotional travel information about the United States;
        • International auto clubs might be asked to assist America’s efforts by including similar direct mail “stuffers”;
        • Educational tours should be hosted by various; and
        • Emphasis should be on nature and national parks.
      • Tilton reported that there was a great diversity of ideas presented during the Measurement sub-committee meeting, and those ideas bring challenges for measuring this program. The TTPAB may find that a discreet campaign is what is measured as an example of the work that has been done, and that other things are simply regarded as “value added,” as measurement of the whole program may prove too difficult and/or expensive to manage.
      • Tilton said the type of measurement that is put in place will be critical. He thinks something must be done pre- and post-campaign, so we will be able to see what we’ve done.
      • Irwin Hentschel suggested that perhaps the best way to get quickly to the marketplace would be to support campaigns already in place.
      • Taubman said there has to be some proper use of the brand that is being developed.
      • Rasulo said that unrelated, undiluted use will definitely make a negative impact.
      • He felt that if the campaign focuses on cooperative types of programs, there will be very little risk of dilution of the brand/message.
      • Conlin said that part of the award would look at their suggested use of the brand/ messaging and its integrity.
      • Tisch suggested that a newly produced video could be used. He felt strongly that it should not just be print that would be utilized in the overall campaign.
      • Rasulo said the Internet also needs to be taken into.
      • He thinks the solicitation of partners will have to wait until something more solid is ready and available.
      • Irwin Hentschel requested a list of criteria for international tour operators to use in order to be included in cooperative advertising opportunities.
      • Mendenhall agreed to come up with an outline of general criteria for potential partners.
      • Rasulo showed the “See America” newspaper inserts as one successful cooperative print advertising campaign. He said it’s not complicated, but simply takes time to organize.

    3. Measurement/Research (Glenn Tilton)

      • Tilton outlined the Measurement/Research sub-committee’s deliberations:
        • Establish a responsible base line;
        • There is DOC research available;
        • Decisions have to be made regarding the type of measurement;
        • Some of the Measurement s/c’s decisions will be reactive; and
        • Someone from the Measurement s/c should be involved in all other sub-committee meetings/conference calls so they are knowledgeable.
      • Tilton asked Gretchen Krugler, United Airlines, to provide some additional insight to the Measurement s/c’s deliberations.
      • She asked what the call to action was going to be for the campaign (website, sweepstakes, etc.).
      • She also reminded the Board that future years’ research should be kept in mind as the decisions about the current research needs were being made.
      • Conlin asked “How will we change attitudes and perceptions about America?” This kind of question must be included in whatever research is implemented.
      • Tilton suggested that putting together an expert working group may be a more effective way of getting incremental work performed. Staff from OTTI would be included in this working group. The Board tacitly agreed that this would be a beneficial way for the Measurement s/c to perform.
      • Rasulo suggested that the Board consider “success-driven compensation” as a possible way to measure and compensate whatever company is chosen.
      • He further suggested that specific measurements be part of the final RFP.
      • Tilton said that success measures will need to be carefully monitored.
      • Taubman said that a comprehensive time line with the responsible parties will be critical.
      • Rasulo called for a timeline of work to be developed and presented to the Secretary so he is kept abreast of progress.

  3. Next Meeting Date & Location Announcement

    • Rasulo announced that the next meeting would be on Monday, November 10, 2003.


  4. Public Comment

    • Liz Doyle, Rhythms of the South (representing Atlanta, Nashville and New Orleans), talked about the grants program. She said that most destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are on July 1st fiscal years, and that monies for a new program such as this would be available after July 1, 2004. to the DMOs.
    • She asked for consideration of a grant program and criteria that is more specifically geared to the travel and tourism industries.
    • She invited the TTPAB members to attend their “Rhythms of the South” marketplace that was being held 10/31-11/2/03 in Nashville.
    • Linda Joyce Forristal, food and travel editor for the Washington Times, submitted a written plan for the federal government to create an “American Greeter” program.
    • Katherine Gonzalez, Hispano Chamber of Commerce, asked the Board to consider how the businesses that are members of her organization might be able to tap into the resources being offered by this program, and to make those opportunities available with as wide a net as possible.
    • Andrea Sigler, Connected International Meeting Professionals Association, believes international conventions are a good way to cross-pollinate and to introduce international visitors to the United States.
    • The Chair thanked each of the speakers for their time and comments.

  5. Other Business

    • None was presented. He thanked the Board and guests for their participation.

  6. Adjournment

    • DFO Heizer thanked the Board and guests for attending the 2nd meeting of the Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board and adjourned the meeting at 4:40 p.m.