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Annual Meeting Recap and President's Remarks

Sep 28, 2020

- The GOOD NEWS: New York State destinations are open, safe and ready to provide memorable experiences to responsible travelers.

- REALITY CHECK: We have a long and difficult road to recovery.

What we heard at the New York State Tourism Industry Association Annual Meeting:

• Our board leadership is responsibly exercising their stewardship on behalf of the members of the new york state tourism industry association.

• Our fiscal house is in order and the organization is current in its corporate reporting obligations.

• Our ytd finances are in good shape (despite the pandemic) due to cutting costs YOY by 43%.

Cutting Costs: Not The Ultimate Solution

• Is a short-term survival tactic, not a winning strategy!

• Is a re-active tactic of 'deconstructive change,' eliminating or reducing expenses that no longer contribute to the achievement of goals - especially when the goals have to change.

• Cost cutting will lead to SAVINGS, but cost cutting is not the pathway to SUCCESS.

Attributes of Management:

• Is the execution of the day-to-day operations of the organization, it sustains the status quo

• Is vital to organizational stability

• Can be the enemy of change

Attributes of Leadership:

• Has a vision for the future and a winning strategy

• Has the willingness to engage in 'constructive change' necessary to achieve success

• invests in the resources necessary to move the organization from where it is (point 'a', the status quo) to a more desirable destination (point 'b'), where we can deliver improved value and outcomes for the members of the New York State Tourism Industry Association.

2020 has been a year where we did not have the luxury of embracing change at an evolutionary pace. we all have had to endure and adjust to change at a revolutionary pace.

In this year of unprecedented change and challenge, the members of the New York State Tourism Industry Association have been fortunate to have a board that worked hard to embrace the best attributes of both management and leadership.

While making swift and admittedly painful decisions about the reduction of costs to reflect the changes in our environment, the board has also sought your input regarding your needs and priorities.

They have invested strategically and significantly in new technologies, tools and resources to enable your organization to meet those needs head on.

The New York State Tourism Industry Association is on a path of constructive change.

Your staff – Christine Hoffer and myself – are also hard at work coordinating with a myriad of committees and communicating directly with our members to implement these constructive changes.

In this article, I will share some details and top-line information today and ask that you allow us more time over the next month to provide further member orientation on each initiative as appropriate.

Initiative #1: Telecommunications Technology:

In June, the board approved our transition to the GoTo platform. this included our regular phone lines, a 250% increase in video conferencing capacity and a new webinar platform capable of hosting 500 attendees. Improved capacities, a more stable server platform and the capacity to host and present member webinars have been achieved. We successfully presented our first member webinar last week. a big 'thank you' to Christine Hoffer, who researched our telecommunications options and is also tackling the technical side of making this technology work for you.

Also, this year we invested in G-SUITE to network our staff email and calendaring for the first time and moved your newsletter to the more robust Constant Contact platform. The results have been gratifying.

Initiative #2: Legislative Awareness & Advocacy
After seeking member input in January, the advocacy committee reviewed best practice in the area of legislative awareness and grassroots advocacy. They decided to look to U.S. Travel as a model and with input from their team, selected technology platforms to supercharge our resources and capabilities.

Fiscal Note is a comprehensive legislative awareness platform that not only resources the staff as primary users, it also provides information to stakeholder members who want to follow individual pieces of legislation.

Most of you have engaged with U.S. Travel's action alerts to Congress. Voter Voice provides the members of the New York State Tourism Industry Association a similar platform to communicate directly with their New York State Senate and Assembly representatives, members of relevant committees and other key contacts in state leadership.

The advocacy committee will reaching out to you soon to engage you in advocacy issues on the Voter Voice platform, and as noted if you've responded to our U.S. Travel action alerts you have already experienced what that platform can do. Today I'll give you a little tour of fiscal note:

Fiscal Note keyword and issue driven search engine: with Fiscal Note, we can look up any legislation being considered in Albany. More importantly, it has keyword search engine capabilities to alert us to any legislation that is brought up on issues relevant to our members.

Fiscal Note email alerts: members who identify as stakeholders with regard to a specific bill can be notified by email with each change in the bill's status – this example indicates that Senate Bill 8938 regarding tourism recovery improvement districts has a new Co-sponsor.

Fiscal note legislative text and context: Fiscal Note will also provide links to the full text of each piece of legislation, indicate the sponsors and provide an algorithm-based projection of the bills likelihood to pass. as noted in the bottom right, senate bill 8938 has a high likelihood to pass if it fgoes to the floor for a VOTE BUT will need advocacy support to get it moved out of committee for the floor vote.

Fiscal note profiles of elected officials: Fiscal Note provides us with a complete directory of members of the NYS Senate and Assembly, including photo, contact information, committee assignments and a brief biographical background.

Fiscal note directory of legislative staff: linked to each elected official profile is detail on their staff complete with individual email contact information.

Newsletter and email updates from the staff: earlier this month we launched our newsletter legislative update feature and we will be presenting additional articles and background on the most relevant legislation.

Initiative #3: NYers4NY: A COVID-19 Relief Initiative - a concerted and collaborative statewide effort to rally NYers to think NY First when making 2021 travel and vacation plans.

Reassure them that we're

  • Open,
  • Accessible,
  • Affordable,
  • Safe, and
  • Ready to provide experiences and create memories they'll treasure for years to come.

Communicate to NY leadership and residents how nys travel:

  • supports the re-employment of NYers,
  • supports the survival of businesses large and small,
  • supports the economic vitality of NY communities,
  • helps restore state and local tax revenues.

SLIDE Promote:

  • All the NY experiences you've never had,
  • All the NY places you've never been,
  • And all the NY places you miss and want to visit again

SLIDE collaboration will drive success and recovery:

  • Initiative Leadership: John Percy, Natasha Caputo, Fred Dixon, Kelly Curtin & YOU
  • Support the concept in social media, newsletters, etc
  • Promote your destinations and promote NYS Tourism
  • Participate in our advocacy and media outreach

Initiative #4: Scholarship Auction Re-Imagined

  • Conference event reimagined as a consumer auction promoting New York State tourism destinations and experiences. Promotional value-added!
  • Nearly two dozen destination overnight getaways already committed, … every tourism region represented.
  • Board investment - Give Smart charity auction platform

Initiative #5: Virtual Conference In November

  • Board investment: Robust platform for a first class event - can include general session, breakouts, showcase area, appointment rooms, even social networking and activities!
  • Registration opens next week – Christine will reach out to those who pre-registered.
  • Thank you in advance to all our sponsors!

Initiative #6: 2021 Events Schedule

  • Tourism Advocacy Day and Showcase:
    • Albany, tentative dates January 26 & 27!
  • New York State Tourism Conference:
    • Harbor Hotel, Chautauqua, April 21, 22 & 23
  • Annual Meeting:
    • Westchester Renaissance Hotel, Sept 23 & 24
In closing, I will once again state:
The New York State Tourism Industry Association is on a path of constructive change.