PAII Conference Day 1: Association Leaders Meeting

Greetings from Atlanta and the 2009 PAII Conference!  Today's pre-conference activity included the Association Leaders Meeting.  Twenty-five innkeeper-leaders from across the United States and Canada assembled for a full day of idea gathering, presentations and collective thinking.  Of course, a tasty salmon filet lunch didn't hurt either.

Roll the tape! (The session was recorded.)

Georgia Official Tourism WebsiteThe meeting started off with a local presentation by Janet Cochran, the Northwest Georgia Historic High Country Regional Tourism Representative for the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GA's home for state level tourism).  GA divides its state into 9 marketing regions with a representative for each.  Janet gave us an overview what the state office does to promote travel in the state.  One particularly notable fact--any lodging entity in Georgia can be listed on the state's website at no charge!

Jeff Logan of InsideOut SolutionsJeff Logan from InsideOut Solutions continued the morning with a detailed presentation, "Effective Internet Marketing Tactics for B&B Association Websites."  Very interesting and definitely useful.  Jeff touched on the importance of incorporating blogging, Google maps and photos into bed and breakfast association websites.  He encouraged associations to post specials and events to provide more fresh content.  Using free products such as Google docs and Google analytics are also good ideas.  Jeff provided some interesting, limited statistics about association websites.  On an annual basis:
  • 74,000 visitors per year (202 per day)
  • normal visit length is 5:15 minutes
  • 55% of site visitors originate from within the site's home state
Lastly, Jeff spoke extensively about effective search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing tactics for associations.  He wrapped up with things to watch for when launching a new site and pitfalls to avoid.  All in all, a thorough presentation from an industry professional.

Stop the tape!  (Everything from here on is committed to memory.)

Jay Karen CEO of PAII Professional Association of Innkeepers International
The afternoon was an off-the-record, animated, interactive session led by Jay Karen, PAII's CEO.  Jay started off by noting that there's a Twitter feed live on his blog to capture conference tweets.

Of course, I can't reveal everything that came from this session, but can reveal a few details:

  • PAII mails out over 16,000 copies of the Innkeeping Quarterly magazine to both members and nonmembers.  What a great source of information!
  • PAII staff members are available to speak on a variety of subjects.  They're a good resource if you're planning a local conference.
  • The industry study of finance and operations is soon to wrap up.  If you haven't sent in your data, please do so soon.  More data makes for more robust study results.
  • Key Connections, PAII's new newsletter targeting communication between PAII and state associations and other allied leadership groups, is on the street.
  • Lastly, we were given a sneak preview of PAII's new website and asked for constructive criticism.  You know a room full of innkeepers, especially leaders, aren't short on opinions!
All in all, it was a very successful, eye-opening day.  It was enjoyable meeting so many innkeeper leaders and talking about what's happening in their states and provinces.  Geez, it's worth taking a spin on the Oregon Bed & Breakfast Guild board of directors just to have the opportunity to attend!

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