|2010 Board of Directors|
Media, British Columbia
CLEAR Communications, Conference Co-Chair
Media, Nova Scotia
VIA Rail Canada Inc.
New Brunswick Tourism
Media, British Columbia
Media, Northwest Territories
British Columbia Chapter
|Contributors to This Issue|
I don't know about you, but it has been glorious to have a whole month free of snow (sorry Alberta!). The leaves are popping out in Ontario, the air is warming and spring and summer - filled with travel ideas and clear roads - are just ahead of us. Hopefully, this issue of the newsletter will help re-energize you, give you some ideas for new markets to pursue, and perhaps even generate some new ways to approach the business of promoting, writing about and photographing travel.
|Message From the President|
|If we thought we'd be able to come home from the 2010 TMAC conference in Cardiff, Wales, and get some much-needed rest, well, we were sadly deluded. Your national board has been busy these past few weeks, and things are only going to get busier.|
Our biggest priority right now is to get TMAC's financial house in order - a little spring cleaning, as it were. We've been doing a dizzying amount of number-crunching lately and, thanks largely to the hard work of treasurer Dale Dunlop and past-president Hélèna Katz, we have already made a number of much-needed improvements to the way TMAC deals with its finances.
We've been trimming costs where we can, and we're also looking at myriad ways of raising money. While there will be some slight cost increases to our members - for instance, the early bird media rate for the 2011 conference will rise in price from $65 to $100, while the regular fee will go from $115 to $175 - we fully intend to add more value as well.
For instance, we're in the process of creating a committee to increase both sponsorship opportunities and member benefits. And while we're reducing the number of issues of TMAC Travels this year, we plan to add even more valuable information in each edition. Look for the next issue in early September.
We've also launched a membership drive, focusing this time on new industry members (see Hélèna Katz's note below for details). And we've made a commitment to not only understanding finances better ourselves, but to providing greater transparency for all TMAC members. That's why treasurer Dale Dunlop has started a regular column in TMAC Travels (see below), explaining just where your money is going.
Most excitingly, though, with the valuable input from the communications and professional development committees, we're looking at some pretty creative ways of raising our members' profiles while also generating revenue. We fully expect some great new opportunities for all TMACers in the coming months.
Speaking of communications, it's something that needs to go two ways to be effective. We want your input, too, and that's why we'll be sending out a survey in a few weeks to gauge your thoughts on a number of things, including the website, the handbook and the media marketplace.
Keep an eye out for that, along with lots more great ideas from your national board.
- Joanne Sasvari, national president, TMAC
This will be the first in a series of Treasurer's Reports that will appear periodically in the TMAC newsletter. The idea is to provide all TMAC members with up to date and accurate information as to the state of our finances in a manner that involves genuine transparency. For those of you who attended the AGM in Cardiff you will recall that, in the absence of then treasurer Ted Flett due to a serious accident, I delivered the Treasurer's Report on his behalf. Having received the report less than a day before it was due to be delivered I had more questions to ask than answers to provide. I did know from a very quick perusal of the documents that TMAC had serious financial issues.
The serious issues arose almost completely from the decision to subsidize media attendees at the last three conferences over and above what TMAC might receive from CTC. This practice was simply unsustainable and accounted for a large deficit at the Richmond conference and a smaller one from Wales. I was pleased with the response of the TMAC members at the AGM. Of course there was dismay, but there was also an understanding that hindsight is 20/20 and that looking for scapegoats was a waste of time. We all got in this together and we are all going to right the ship together.
After the board elections at the AGM, I agreed to act as treasurer for this fiscal year, but only on the condition that two things happen: (1) that TMAC create a Finance and Audit Committee to provide financial governance advice and oversight and (2) that TMAC, for the first time ever, draft and adopt a budget. Both these conditions were eagerly accepted by the new board. The Finance and Audit Committee was struck with the treasurer as automatic chair and Hélèna Katz and Grant Fraser as the other members. All three members have experience with financial statements, budgets and audit requirements.
The first order of business was the crafting of the 2010 Budget which was largely the work of Helena and Leya Duigu from TO Corp. Regretfully it could not be a balanced budget because the 2010 conference and its attendant expenses were already in the books. However, work has already begun on the 2011 budget and you have my word that we will do everything possible to ensure it generates a surplus.
Frankly, I could go on for pages about what has been happening behind the scenes with respect to TMAC's finances and how to improve them. Set out in point form are some of the most important:
- TMAC will now receive quarterly financial statements that will be posted online after board approval.
- All banking documentation has been brought up to date.
- All required tax returns have been filed - this will cause TMAC to receive a significant tax rebate that was held up pending filing these returns.
- The Finance and Audit Committee has tightened controls on the amounts of expenditures and payments that can be made without board approval.
- All significant cheques are now signed by at least one member of the executive after approval by the treasurer.
- Discussions have been ongoing with the auditors as to how TMAC might better govern itself financially, including potentially changing the year end.
- All significant contracts must be approved by the board and signed by two members of the executive.
- Monthly account reconciliations are now to be provided by TO Corp.
What I would like to ask each and every TMAC member to refrain from doing is asking - why weren't these things done before? TMAC has grown from a tiny, mostly Toronto based group of friends to a national organization that is the leader in its field. Every organization has growing pains and the transition from local to national organization was not accomplished overnight. It is simply time that we all realize how big and quickly TMAC has grown and that it is now time to adopt financial measures more suited to the organization TMAC has become.
If you have any questions please feel free to direct them by email to the Finance and Audit Committee with copies to the president at the email addresses in the handbook.
- Dale Dunlop, Treasurer, TMAC
|Industry Member Recruitment|
Who loves TMAC the most?
Need another bottle of wine or perhaps a $25 gift certificate for Chapters/Indigo?
TMAC has just launched a campaign to recruit more industry members to our ranks. Although we would be delighted to have more members from Canadian attractions
and destinations, we are particularly keen to recruit representatives from American and European destinations. Grab your list of industry contacts who haven't yet discovered the benefits of TMAC membership, sing the association's praises and sign them up! Benefits to industry include:
- Access to nearly 200 travel journalists from across Canada who contribute to media outlets in Canada, the United States and overseas.
- A printed and electronic membership directory.
- Access to TMAC's listserv, where media members often post requests for story leads.
- Annual conference, which includes professional development sessions and a media marketplace.
- Electronic newsletter with articles on professional development.
- Voting privileges at the AGM.
- For American destinations, the current exchange rate means Canadians are more interested in travelling to the United States than ever before. This is a prime opportunity for them to raise awareness of their destination among Canadian travellers.
- More information about TMAC is available at www.travelmedia.ca
So what's up with the wine and the gift certificate? Once you've chatted up TMAC, please send past-president Hélèna Katz (email@example.com
) the names of the folks you've tried to recruit. On August 1, she will announce the winner of either a bottle of wine or a gift certificate to the TMAC member who successfully recruits the most new industry members. And don't worry. The wine won't be produced in her bathtub. It will be from a reputable Canadian winery.
BRITISH COLUMBIA - The B.C. chapter's 2010 AGM, held on April 27 at the Sylvia Hotel in Vancouver, was a bittersweet affair as Joanne Sasvari, who has been the chapter's chair for the past three years, stepped down to take on the national presidency. But the chapter is in great hands with its new chair, Randall Shirley, and a terrific board of directors. Here they are:|
President: Randall Shirley, media
Vice-president: Jane Mundy, media
Treasurer: Morgan Sommerville, industry, Immedia Inc.
Secretary: Lisa Clement, industry, Vancouver Coast and Mountains
Events co-ordinator: Amber Sessions, industry, Tourism Vancouver
Members at large: Lucas Aykroyd, media; Joanne Blain, media; Jane Ince, industry, JI Media Connections; John Lee, media; Luba Plotnikoff, industry, Oceanside Tourism Association
Stay tuned for some exciting events throughout the rest of 2010. For more info, check out our Facebook page, and keep an eye on your email inbox for the latest news and invitations.
Joanne Sasvari, British Columbia chapter chair (Outgoing)firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBERTA - Right now, Calgary's media darling is Hotel Le Germain and its resto, Charcut, so when they graciously volunteered to host April's M & M in their new swanky digs - well, the Alberta chapter turned out in droves. We love the glasses made from wine bottle bottoms. The cool communal table. Love the Mason Jar chandelier, too. And the champagne bar's rippled felt wall, crafted from the lining of Sorrel winter boots - very cool. And the pig-head mortadella with zippy dill pickles - we loved that as well. Yes, love most certainly is in the April air - also evident in the babies that are popping up in Alberta's chapter. Jennifer Santos just gave birth to Baby Vida Gabrielle, a 6 lb. 13 oz. girl and Jessica Harcombe Fleming's bambino is due later in May. Alberta's next chapter meeting will be hosted by the Calgary Stampede in early June - at the Lazy S. And Edmonton Tourism has confirmed fall plans to help host a professional development weekend for the Alberta chapter. If anyone has suggestions for unique seminars or speakers who could benefit our chapter please contact Deb Cummings at email@example.com or Anastasia Martin-Stilwell firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Deb Cummings,
Alberta chapter email@example.com
- For 2010/11 the Ontario chapter is focusing on the following issues:
- Scheduling at least two, possibly three professional development seminars over the course of 2010/11;
- There will be at least five new board members for 2010/11. Elections will be taking place over the next two months with results in by June;
- We will be looking at and encouraging Ontario TMAC members to take specialized training courses that will lead to professional development, and the Ontario board will provide a financial incentive;
- With the TMAC Annual Conference in Ottawa in 2011, the Ontario board will be assisting Ottawa and Jantine in a variety of ways to ensure the conference is a success;
- We are hoping to have another Munch and Mingle outside of Toronto during the year. We are in discussions with Kingston and will be looking at other destinations such as London as a possible site for a M&M;
- Munch and Mingles for 2010/11 will be finalized for the entire year by the time the new board officially takes over in September 2010;
- We will initiate a "new member drive" and encourage members to be active in soliciting potential new members;
- Continue to accumulate and catalogue the TMAC archives;
- Encouraging industry members to utilized the professional skills of the media when they see an opportunity in their own business ( i.e. blogging, articles for editorial and advertorial support).
- Tourism New Brunswick has created a "wow" itinerary for media and industry members for our spring chapter meeting, which will be held at The Fairmont Algonquin June 4-6. We're looking forward to spending some time together to consult on issues, challenges and to share ideas and success stories. No doubt a lot of story ideas will be generated.
- Sandra Phinney, Atlantic chapter firstname.lastname@example.org
|Yahoo! Ontario member Sana Keller and her husband Markus welcome their new bundle of joy, son Kai Johannes Keller, born May 11, weighing 8 lb. 6 oz. Congratulations! |
Congratulations to Alberta member Jennifer Santos, who has recently given birth to baby Vida Gabrielle - 6 lb. 13 oz. of love!
Alberta industry member Jessica Harcombe Fleming has started a year leave and will be taking on the challenges of parenthood! Her bundle of joy is due May 25 (after this newsletter), so with this we send best wishes and congratulations!
Also happening in the period between spring and fall newsletters is the upcoming June nuptials of Ontario media member Josephine Matyas and her partner Craig Jones. Several TMAC friends will be attending the festivities in Kingston.
VIA Rail Canada is pleased to announce a special fare for Ontario chapter TMAC members to attend Munch and Mingle meetings - this great new initiative will make it easier for non-GTA TMAC members to attend monthly meetings. TMAC members will receive 50 per cent off adult regular fares in business or economy class. The discount is available for TMAC members only and on designated dates as defined by Munch and Mingle meeting dates. Offer is valid on specific dates and some booking conditions apply. See a recent email from VIA Rail to Ontario members for details.
The AAA Four Diamond Westin Nova Scotia has just entered the Halifax offsite catering market and will use its diverse multicultural kitchen brigade to bring culinary splendour and stylish presentation to Halifax's various venues. Westin's team of culinarians are excited to exceed the expectations of Bar /Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, or whatever their customers require, wherever they desire. Also, hot off the press: The Westin has achieved a four-leaf rating (out of five) from the Audubon Green Leaf Eco-Rating Program.
Nova Scotia Signature Resorts welcomes Graham Mann to the team. Graham is the new Sales Manager.
Three media members (George Burden, Darcy Rhyno and Sandra Phinney) are regular contributors to Life As A Human (www.lifeasahuman.com) in the travel, lifestyle, outdoor, adventure, photography and food categories. More Atlantic chapter members are planning to join the ranks.
Nimbus Publishing has published a new edition of The Tent Dwellers written by Albert Bigelow Paine in 1908. One hundred years later (2008) TMAC members Dale Dunlop and Sandra Phinney were part of a group who recreated that 100-kilometre journey in the wilds of Nova Scotia. Dale wrote the introduction to the latest edition and Sandra provided the photograph depicting a 2008 version of the book's four characters.
Less than one year away to the first annual Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA). April 7, 2011 will be the start of the 25-day, $10-million festival of artistic inspiration, collaboration and creativity. The festival currently includes 111 regional arts organizations and several dozen national and international performers collaborating with local talent. The festival pays homage to the artistic spirit of Paris from 1910-20. The work includes the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program creating its first digital mural, incorporating images by a French photographer, a cabaret-style musical inspired by Marc Chagall's wife, an oratorio written by a young classical composer, jazz vocalists and an all-ages choir and film pieced together from archival footage, Victor Talking Machine sounds and the little-known story of James Reese Europe, an African American musician and WWI lieutenant. For information, contact Donna Schorr, 215-599-0782, email@example.com
|PD Ottawa Conference Report|
The professional development (PD) committee recently reviewed the evaluations of the keynote speaker and PD sessions held in Wales, noting comments and suggestions for next year's conference.
As a point of interest regarding keynote speakers: names like Bill Bryson, Stuart McLean and Michael Palin were suggested. We tried to get Palin and Bryson last year but they were either not available or it wasn't their cup of tea. (Bill Bryson wished us well but is not interested in delivering keynotes. Michael Palin was not available . . . likely just as well as the price tag for his appearance ranges from $25,000 to $30,000.) This year, we tried Stuart McLean and Rick Mercer but they are both booked for road trips during March of 2011 (and the price tags are, ahem, more than our entire budget for keynote and PD combined).
There were some other great suggestions but most were from the United States or from the West. We are trying to keep our costs down by getting as much talent (speakers/presenters) as possible from Ottawa, Toronto or Montreal. This will reduce travel/accommodation costs considerably. The good news is that we have many great speakers/presenters to choose from this region. And, in spite of the fact that TMAC does not have a million dollar slush fund to dip into, we are negotiating both keynote and PD sessions with talent that will make you drool. You'll be dancing a jig when you see the line up. We just need to cross a few t's and dot a few i's.
And yes, we heard loud and clear that you want to learn something. Also that social media is on most of your minds, as is strategic planning, marketing in new ways, evaluating social media etc. The PD sessions theme is "Coming Home to Technology" and we'll have concurrent sessions that will appeal to neophytes as well as those of you who are experienced in the world of blogs, twitter and Facebook. If we have enough money we'll also set up sessions on producing/editing videos using small hand held recorders or cameras. Oh yeah. There will be a city tour led by professional photographers who will work with small groups and guide you in the art of doing a shoot for a multi-page spread. Finally, there will be sessions in French for our francophone members.
How's that for listening?
Mind you, there were also requests for sessions on how to write attention-grabbing query letters, how to deal with copyright issues, how to pitch a book project to an editor etc. Our hope is to address some of these by getting experts to submit articles to our newsletter and/or to host short online PD sessions starting in the fall.
Concerns or further comments? Contact us.
- Sandra Phinney and Ursula Maxwell-Lewis (co-chairs)
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Kate Pocock, Julie Watson and Evelyn Hannon
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
|To Market, To Market|
|COLUMN EXPLORING MARKETS|
by TMAC media member, Lola Augustine Brown
In this month's column, markets columnist Lola Augustine Brown will share information about a couple of U.K. newspaper travel sections.
Please click here to read the article.
|Ask an Expert|
|ASK AN EXPERT|
Laura Paquet Two articles will be presented this month, the first from media member Laura Paquet onwriting a book, and the second from media member Andrew Princz on the development of his website.
Please click here to read the article.
|TMAC Travels - Newsletter Submission Guidelines |
|Submissions should fit into one of the following categories:|
MEDIA MEMBER NEWS
Professional news about you: books published, awards won, new markets obtained, positions attained, requests for travel-related information (story-specific requests ONLY), contact/profile information updates/changes.
Social notices about you: weddings, babies, non-industry awards and so on (at the editor's discretion and with a 50-word limit; these must be things directly connected to the member).
NOT allowed: requests for comps (airfare, accommodation, tickets, etc.), assignment requests, promotion of stories already written.
INDUSTRY MEMBER NEWS
Professional news about you/your company: announcement ONLY of new products, new clients, travel-related info requests, contact/profile updates/changes.
Social notices: as per Media, above.
NOT allowed: press releases, promotion of anything beyond new products, new clients or awards. (For information on distributing electronic press releases to all media members for a fee of $75, please contact TO Corp at email@example.com).
The newsletter also seeks chapter news and info on press trips (short descriptions with dates, rough itineraries, requirements - e.g. assignment letter) as well as tips, news and updates submitted by members.
Items must be sent, with "TMAC TRAVELS" in the subject line, to Josephine Matyas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Items may be edited for length, grammar or clarity. The newsletter will be delivered to members by e-mail regularly. Material should be sent by the 1st of each month unless the editor gives prior approval.