The Visit Fairfax team has been hard at work selling and promoting Fairfax County to potential clients, groups, and media. The team is always happy to share updates from tradeshows, appointments, and events. Read on for an updated list of recent activities and what will be happening over the next few months. You may find that this information can benefit your business.
Associations & Reunions:
- In early April, Visit Fairfax conducted its annual Virginia Associations blitz for the 11th consecutive year. Representatives from the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner and the Crowne Plaza Dulles Airport joined us as we called on the planners for 16 Virginia states association groups over the course of two days. (see photo)
- In May, Visit Fairfax attended the annual conference of the Virginia Society of Association Executives (VSAE), held at The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA, where we met with the planners and executives of more than two dozen Virginia state associations over three days.
- Also in May, Visit Fairfax hosted a free seminar for all of our Fairfax County hoteliers on more effectively accommodating guests with disabilities. The seminar was held at the Sheraton Reston hotel. We were assisted in putting on this program by our friends at the new National Museum of the United States Army, who are anticipating having significant numbers of guests with disabilities visit when the museum opens to the public in mid-2020.
- This month, Visit Fairfax will travel to Nashville, TN, where we’ll attend the annual Educational Summit of The Military Reunion Network (TMRN). We’ll meet with the planners for more than 50 military reunion groups while we’re there.
- Also in June, we’ll participate in the Smart Meetings event in Washington, DC, meeting face-to-face with 15 corporate and association planners.
- In July, we’ll travel to Warwick, RI, with a representative from the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport to attend the trade show event hosted by Your Military Reunion Connection (YMRC). At the event, we’ll meet one-on-one with 20+ military reunion planners.
- August will see us in New Orleans, LA, with The Overseas Brats for their Homecoming event. Visit Fairfax National Sales Manager Dean Miller will be giving a formal presentation to the group on the new National Museum of the United States Army, as well as meeting with the planners from dozens of “Brat” reunion groups about getting together in Fairfax County.
- We’ll finish out August at the Connect Marketplace trade show in Louisville, KY, where Dean Miller will meet with more than 30 association planners from around the country, and Visit Fairfax National Sales Manager for Sports and Corporate/Government, Eric Kulczycky, will interface with an equal number of sports tournament organizers.
- In other news, Visit Fairfax is thrilled that Phi Rho Pi, the national forensics and debate association and honor society for junior colleges across the country, will hold their National Tournament in Fairfax County in the spring of 2021 at the Sheraton Tysons Hotel. The group last held an event here in the spring of 2017. In 2021, they will utilize more than 2,200 room nights during their week-long event.
- In early April, Visit Fairfax attended GAMEMason 2019, George Mason University’s inaugural gaming festival that featured esports competitions and panel discussions with gaming industry experts.
- In early May, Visit Fairfax attended the 2019 NASC Sports Event Symposium in Knoxville, TN. National Sales Manager Eric Kulczycky participated in one-on-one appointments at one of the sports travel industry’s largest tradeshows attended by event planners and decision-makers responsible for selecting destinations for state, regional, national, and international events. Photo: Eric Kulczycky and other members of the Sports Virginia team hosted a special client function at the National Association of Sports Commissions’ Symposium in Knoxville, TN. Sports Virginia is a statewide collaboration of professionals from DMOs, sports commissions, parks, and recreation departments, and facilities who work together to maximize event hosting opportunities in the Commonwealth.
- In mid-June, Visit Fairfax attended the Fairfax County Athletic Council Meeting in Fairfax, VA. The FCAC serves in an advisory capacity to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, School Board, and county agencies on matters relating to the use of public sports facilities and the programming of youth/adult sports programs in the county. Meetings take place monthly from 7:30-9 p.m. at the Pennino Building across from the Fairfax County Government Center.
- In late August, Visit Fairfax will attend the CONNECT Sports Marketplace in Louisville, KY. CONNECT Sports is an annual education conference and appointment-only trade show bringing together active planners and rights holders, suppliers, and experts in sports events for three days of general sessions, workshops, and pre-set appointments.
- The Fairfax County Sports Tourism Task Force officially submitted its Interim Report to the Board of Supervisors at the end of last year. This report offered a number of different recommendations to help improve the county's sports tourism infrastructure, including supporting efforts to attract an indoor ski facility to the Lorton area, making policy changes to facilitate the scheduling of tournaments, and hiring a consultant to conduct a feasibility study for a sportsplex. From January to April 2019, Eric Kulczycky worked with other members of the Task Force's Selection Advisory Committee to review and evaluate consultant proposals. The feasibility study is expected to begin this summer.
- Visit Fairfax has been continuing its meetings/site inspections with hockey, volleyball, bowling, paintball, ultimate (frisbee), equine, fencing, esports, and fire & rescue dept. event representatives.
- In May, Visit Fairfax attended the Society of Government Meeting Professionals National Capital Area (SGMP NATCAP) monthly meeting. The topic of the meeting was "Engaging and Managing Your Venue Through Sustainability." The featured speaker, Lindy Farrar, an Environmental Research and Policy Specialist and Manager, presented on how to make meetings more sustainable. Results from two annual global sustainability benchmarking studies, including the Green Lodging Trends Report and the Green Venue Report, were also discussed.
- This month, Visit Fairfax will hold a workshop entitled "Bidding on Government Meetings Bootcamp" that will help educate Fairfax County hoteliers about various practices to assess and bid on federal and state government meeting opportunities. Topics include working with (or as) a small business set-aside/priority, lead solicitation sources, responding to RFPs/RFQs, and ethical issues specific to the government market. Speakers include Lisa Wood, Director of the Virginia Procurement Technical Assistance Center (VA PTAC); Chris Ley, Business Services Manager of the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity; and Garland Preddy, Director of Education and Training of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals. Moderator: Eric Kulczycky, National Sales Manager with Visit Fairfax.
- Later this month, Visit Fairfax will attend the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) National Education Conference & Expo (NEC) in Detroit, MI. The SGMP NEC is the largest annual event in the government meetings industry. Visit sgmp.org/conference for more information.
Tour & Travel:
- In May, Visit Fairfax, in partnership with Capital Region USA and United Airlines hosted a familiarization tour from Switzerland. The FAM consisted of tour operators for leading travel companies in Switzerland including TUI, Voyageplan, FTI Touristik, Kuoni-Reisen and Hotelplan Suisse among others. In addition, there were 2 media participants from Radio One FM who conducted interviews during the FAM’s visits at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. (see photo)
- In June, Visit Fairfax attended IPW in Anaheim, CA. This leading international inbound travel trade show is one of the largest in the US, with buyers from 70+ countries present. We held pre-scheduled appointments with our top international clients, as well as introduced Fairfax County to many new international tour operators.
- Also in June, Visit Fairfax attended Travel Alliance Partner’s TAP Dance in Cheyenne, WY. This show allowed Visit Fairfax to hold appointments with tour operator partners for one-on-one itinerary building and to gain insight on the current national tour trends.
- In August, Visit Fairfax will attend the Student Youth Travel Association (SYTA) Annual Conference in Birmingham, AL. This premier event is the only conference and showcase dedicated to the student and youth market in North America. We will have pre-scheduled appointments with vetted tour operators to highlight tour product and provide updates on new developments in the county.
- For the second year in a row, the Virginia State Welcome Center on Interstate 95, the "Gateway" to Northern Virginia was "all Fairfax, all the time" for the months of April and May. Visit Fairfax set up colorful displays featuring county attractions and trained the Welcome Center staff on how to promote them through our technology. As always, our Official Visitor Guide was a huge hit with travelers. (see photo)
- Visit Fairfax was on hand at Fairfax County's annual summer celebration, the Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, held each year at the Fairfax County Government Center.
- The Visit Fairfax Spring Ambassador Tour will be held on Wednesday, June 19 from 8:45 AM – 3:00 PM. Learn first hand about county sites so you can sell the destination to everyone on your client list. Stops include Frying Pan Farm Park, Lake Anne Brew House, Roer’s Zoofari, Reston Museum, and Greater Reston Arts Center. Lunch is included. It’s valuable research –and it’s fun and FREE! Contact Sue Porter at email@example.com.
Media & Communications:
- Visit Fairfax received a Virgo Award at the Spring Tourism Summit of the Virginia Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (VADMO) for our “Locally Poured” craft beer campaign.
- Visit Fairfax worked with the editors at ConventionSouth Magazine and The Military Reunion Network Magazine to obtain significant coverage of the new National Museum of the United States Army. The articles appeared in the May issue of ConventionSouth and the Winter issue of TMRN Magazine.
- In April, Visit Fairfax joined colleagues from the Northern Virginia Tourism Partnership on a media mission to New York City to meet with journalists and editors to pitch storylines related to Northern Virginia. The mission has already resulted in several high-profile placements.
- Additionally, April saw the same group from Northern Virginia travel to Toronto, ON in Canada to meet with more journalists and editors as Canadian visitors are the number one inbound international traveler to the region. Several journalist visits are now in the works due to this mission. (see photo)
- In May, Visit Fairfax assisted Virginia Tourism Corporation and Capital Region USA with a familiarization tour of the region for Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) from China. The group visited as part of the ongoing effort to promote the new Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong into Washington Dulles Airport. This was the second media group coming in on Cathay Pacific this spring for FAM tours (the previous was in March 2019).
- Visit Fairfax also joined Virginia Tourism Corporation on a media mission back to Toronto in May to meet with agents at various CAA offices and journalists, editors, and influencers. We were joined by destination representatives from Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Lexington, Virginia. Several placements and visits have already resulted from this mission.
- Several media attendees at the Toronto media mission (bullet above) visited the Northern Virginia area following the in-market event. Zoomer Radio and morning show hosts Sam Houston and Neil Hedley conducted various on-site interviews at Fairfax County attractions and with Visit Fairfax President & CEO, Barry Biggar. Thank you to our partners who assisted with their interview requests!
- Another international market that has been a big focus for Virginia this year is Japan. Due to a large marketing campaign that Virginia Tourism Corporation is doing with United Airlines Japan to promote the direct access flights to the area, various journalists and members of the media have been brought in on FAM tours of the (mostly) Northern Virginia region. Visit Fairfax assisted with three of these FAMs in April, May, and June.
- In June, Visit Fairfax attended IPW in Anaheim, CA. In addition to the sales side, handled by Linda Horowitz, Visit Fairfax also participated in the Media Marketplace. Marketing Manager Ali Morris met with 20+ journalists, editors, and influencers to share upcoming story ideas, news, and introduce Fairfax County to the international attendees. (see photo)
- Also in June, Visit Fairfax will attend the Public Relations Society of America Travel & Tourism Annual Conference in Philadelphia to learn valuable tips and tools of connecting with today's media in our ever-changing landscape. The conference will also allow networking time with high-profile publications, including National Geographic, The New York Times, and AFAR Magazine.
- The Fairfax County Summer of LOVE Tour is in full swing after being launched during National Travel and Tourism Week. Visit Fairfax has invested in the iconic Virginia "LOVEwork" sign through a grant with the state tourism office. The sign has been traveling around Fairfax County to various sites and attractions since early May. Upcoming spots include The Winery at Bull Run, Caboose Commons, George Washington's Distillery & Gristmill, and Wolf Trap. See the full schedule at www.FXVA.com/love and be sure to share your photos with the famous LOVE letters.
- Visit Fairfax has a brand new blog! If you are interested in writing guest blog content or using some of this content on your own website, please contact Ali Morris (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Visit Fairfax is pleased to share some new clips that have recently been published as a result of previous familiarization tours of the county or direct efforts of our team. Please contact Ali Morris for more details at email@example.com.
- Visit Fairfax continues to see incredible growth on our social media accounts. Please help us continue to grow by tagging us (@VisitFairfax) on your own accounts and by using our hashtag, #FXVA.