I hope you all had an enjoyable break over the festive season. There hasn’t been much down time in the Visit USA Organisation Australia office, as we build up for our biggest event on the calendar year with Visit USA Expo Week. I’m pleased to share we’re tracking very well for another successful road show. I would also like to share with you all, it is with mixed emotion that I am announcing this will be my last member update as President of Visit USA Organisation, Australia. I will not be re-nominating for the position prior to, or at, our upcoming AGM.
It has been a genuine pleasure getting to know so many of you on such a broader and often deeper level, but it is time for me to focus more on my family and business which also need my attention. I take with me joyous memories and pride knowing that I walk away from the organisation on a high, leaving it in good shape with a wonderful team of committed executive and full committee members, whom have been instrumental in the organisational structural and energetic change.
I look forward to continued working relationships with many of you, and to seeing all of you during the roadshows and other organisational events.
Nominations and election of a new president will take place at the annual AGM during Expo Week.
Visit USA Organisation Australia
Registrations for our February expos opened up in early December, one month prior to the previous year. Advertisements were placed in Travel Daily and we received a great early response.
Numbers are currently tracking at
211 – Brisbane
255 – Melbourne
319 – Sydney
Further advertisements will be placed in coming weeks in Travel Daily to increase attendance. Delta Air Lines and Virgin Australia are the main airline sponsors for a second consecutive year and they will be sponsoring Richard Reid as the MC for the events. A press release was distributed to the trade media highlighting Richard Reid, as our celebrity spokesperson for the event with coverage picked up in Travel Daily, KarryOn, and EGlobal. Richard certainly is going to be a highlight of the event for attending agents.
Numbers are tracking at 110 media attending the Visit USA Organisation Media Breakfast in partnership with TravMedia, during International Media Market Place on 23 February.
Visit USA Organisation has confirmed Richard Reid will be a special guest and spokesperson at the media breakfast in addition to the agent expos. The breakfast format will see Visit USA Organisation members mingle with media, whilst enjoying a full breakfast. In addition to Richard Reid, spokespeople will include the Visit USA Organisation President and Monique Roos, Senior Commercial Specialist from the US Consulate. Richard will be sharing stories of his travels across America, and general US travel tips. Monique will speak on the latest travel figures to the USA, whist the Visit USA president will announce a new annual media award – Visit USA Writer of the Year! The writer of the year concept will see journalists invited to submit stories to Visit USA’s PR&Comms department over the next 12 months to be considered for the nomination. The winner will receive a famil to their chosen member destination within Visit USA Organisation, on the basis of a firm commission for coverage, plus the title of Visit USA Writer of the Year and a unique symbol of America gift, engraved with their name. On entry to IMM, a photo booth will be set up for media to have their picture taken with Richard Reid and dress their faces in fun USA props. The photo booth images will be then emailed to the media directly with social handles linked to Visit USA for sharing. Visit USA branded note pads have also been arranged for media as gifts, which will be placed on the tables between Visit USA members. Media bags branded with Visit USA will be on each media seat. These bags can be filled with “gifts only” from Visit USA Organisation members. No collateral is permitted to go into the bags. They’re gift bags only.
Reserved table: Visit USA will be inviting additional celebrity guests, plus high profile members of the tourism industry to the breakfast. A reserved table will be set up for these delegates who may also join the speaker group. Display stands from various members will not be set up at the breakfast venue, as not everyone will be able to have a stand, given majority of members will need their display set up in the IMM media appointments room (The Gallery Room). Visit USA will therefore dress the room with balloons. The media breakfast will take place in the Parkside Ballroom prior to the IMM media appointments.
General details to note:
RSVP: Members, if you have not confirmed participation in the breakfast to the Events@visitusa.org.au or email@example.com teams please do so asap. Dietary requirements: If you have any dietary requirements for the breakfast please alert the PR&Comms team asap firstname.lastname@example.org
International Convention Centre (ICC) Darling Harbour, Parkside Ballroom
From 6am. Stands in the Gallery Room only for those attending IMM. Set up for the Parkside Ballroom will be to fill gift in bags only and place balloons.
Shipment: ICC will not store any items prior to the event, all items must be brought with you on the morning of 23 Feb.
Name tags/Lanyards: TravMedia will be providing name tag/lanyards to all IMM registered participants and all participants attending the breakfast including the media. Please bring your own ID as back up should there be misplacement on the day.
Parking: $50 for parking at ICC for those who choose to drive.
Door Prizes: Media will be invited to place their business card in a bowl at the door, for door prizes to be handed out during presentations. All Visit USA Members are invited to provide prizes to give-away at the breakfast in addition to placing gifts in the bags. If you would like to donate a prize please share your offer with PR&Comms Manager, Lizzie Doyle
Run sheet: 6am set up commences for room balloons decorations, bag placement and gift placement
Facebook this week also announced a News Feed ranking algorithm, noting posts that ‘bait engagement’ will get demoted. E.g. asking audiences to vote, react, share, tag and comment will be demoted in reach to audiences. Instead, Facebook will be giving video boosts more priority in the news feed to reach wider audiences. Given these algorithm limitations and the fact that social media is more consumer facing vs trade, Visit USA Organisation Australia will not be boosting future posts in the social space moving forward. Budget limitations has also played a part in this decision.
Instead Visit USA members will be invited to purchase boosting space on Visit USA’s social handles to reach their own targeted audiences. A minimum boost will be $80 AUD. Those interested in purchasing boosting space on Visit USA social handles should reach out to Lizzie.
During Expo Week and future events throughout the year, Visit USA Organisation will be encouraging more agents and media to sign up to all social handles to ensure the audience continues to build. At the Syd, Bris and Melb expos agents will be enticed to follow Visit USA social handles in return for a Starbucks voucher. Approx 200 Starbucks vouchers will be given away per event in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
An all new complimentary downloadable travel agent ambassador badge has been added on-line at www.usatraveltrade.com. The badge is for travel agents to download and add to their USA travel quotes, itineraries, or signatures endorsing the individual consultant or agency as a USA holiday specialist. The badge concept will be further promoted at the Visit USA Expos. Visit USA Organisation has contracted a new agency to manage website updates. New updates will roll out in coming weeks and be announced in the next member update.
Visit USA local members gathered for a Thanksgiving Breakfast at the Museum of Contemporary Art on 23 November 2017, joining 65 key travel industry folks to celebrate all that we’re thankful for in our world of travel and everyday lives. The breakfast consisted of a sit down meal and prize give-aways. James Hewlett from Collette took home a prize turkey and Jill Collins from Travel Portland won air miles on Hawaiian Airlines to travel to Hawaii.
Out and About with Kids recognised the USA as a winner in “family holiday destinations” for 2017. Recognised in the awards were Disneyland Hotel Anaheim and Disneyland Resort California. The full list of winners and finalists will also be available on the Out & about with Kids website, http://www.outandaboutwithkids.com.au/best-family-travel-awards/
According to the latest statistics available (Jan-July 2017), total international visitation to the U.S. is down -4% and Australian travel is down -3.3%. Australia maintains it’s ranking as the 10th largest inbound market to the U.S. and is one of six top 10 inbound markets to experience a decline in travel to the U.S.