U.S. Travel Association Urges Industry Political Involvement

washington dcThe 2012 election season is providing the U.S. Travel Association with a prime opportunity to tout the enormous contributions that the travel industry delivers to the U.S. economy through its campaign to Get America Moving called, “Vote Travel.”

Urging the involvement of all sectors of the travel industry, including travel agents, the Vote Travel campaign's mission is to communicate the significant impact of travel to policymakers and candidates running for office.

In a briefing, Blain Rethmeier, senior vice president, public affairs, U.S. Travel and Candice Knezevic, director, grassroots and industry relations, detailed an aggressive program timed for launch as the Republican and Democrat parties start their policy platform discussions and national conventions.

The association launched the Vote Travel campaign earlier this year by taking its customized Vote Travel campaign bus on a nationwide 20,000-mile, 60-city tour to build awareness and appreciation of the industry’s economic impact.

With the political party conventions starting next week, U.S Travel is continuing the campaign with the launch of Vote Travel 2.0. This includes using a non-traditional approach to maximize the Vote Travel message at both political conventions.

This includes reaching delegates through touch points as they enter and travel within each city - Tampa for the Republicans and Charlotte for the Democrats. U.S. Travel is pushing a message that will stay with attendees — that the travel industry generates $1.9 trillion in economic output and includes 14 million of U.S. jobs—and without it, the conventions wouldn’t be possible.

Vote Travel outreach at each convention will include:
·         Vote Travel branded key cards at Marriott hotels in both Tampa and Charlotte;
·         Handing out Vote Travel Digi-Clean microfiber screen cleaners to everyone renting a car from Hertz and Enterprise. The screen cleaners will be on Vote Travel branded cards containing statistics on the economic impact of the travel industry and a call-to-action for delegates to visit the www.VoteTravel.org website.
·         Back-of-the-house tours for policymakers and delegates, in partnership with Marriott, to show the nuts and bolts of how a convention works.
·         Street marketing teams will push the Vote Travel message by handing out t-shirts, squishy buses and buttons in both cities;
·         Taxi cabs will receive Vote Travel air fresheners;
·         Convention bus drivers will be wearing Vote Travel buttons;
·         Through a partnership with taxi company Uber, delegates who enter the “Vote Travel” code will receive a $20 discount on their first Uber ride. This is also a nationwide promotion.  
·         Twitter trivia contest for all delegates to promote the economic impact of the travel industry:
·   Full contest details will be announced next week on www.votetravel.org
·   Delegates can enter by following @USTravel on twitter and correctly responding to a daily trivia question, and including the hashtags #VoteTravel and #RNC2012 and #DNC2012 (during the respective conventions)
·  Winner will receive grand prize giveaway of a trip to Las Vegas (2-night stay at MGM Grand, tickets to Cirque du Soleil show, $300 in food credit and $1,000 American Express gift card)
·         Hosting Toast to Charlotte and Toast to Tampa receptions, in partnership with American Hotel & Lodging Association and the National Restaurant Association. U.S. Travel also praised the support of major travel industry firms for the program and the encouragement offered employees to get involved.

As part of U.S. Travel's continuing grassroots effort to get travel employees to think more politically about their jobs and to educate them about the political process, U.S. Travel will also be rolling out a voter resource site as well as a “Get Out The Vote” toolkit for travel industry organizations.

The bottom line is for the travel industry to having a presence at the conventions and getting the Vote Travel message in front of delegates, the association says. "Our goal is to ensure that policymakers continue to understand the value of the travel industry and to view travel as the key to economic recovery for this nation," U.S. Travel says.

Visit www.ustravel.org  or  www.poweroftravel.org

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