Commission | Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes

08/27/14
Meeting Minutes, 8/27/2014

Nebraska Tourism Commission Meeting
August 27, 2014 – 10:30 am
Nebraska State Fair Board Room, Grand Island, NE

Commission Chair Jeff Boeka called the meeting to order at 10:30 am.

Commissioners and staff present at the meeting: Jeff Boeka, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites of North Platte; John Chapo, Lincoln Children’s Zoo; Roger Kuhn, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission; Deb Loseke, Columbus/Platte County CVB; Roger Dixon, MECA of Omaha; Dana Markel, Greater Omaha CVB; Roger Jasnoch, Kearney Visitors Bureau; Lisa Burke, North Platte CVB; Kathy McKillip, Nebraska Tourism Commission; Bryce Arens, Nebraska Tourism Commission; Heather Hogue, Nebraska Tourism Commission.

Audience members/presenters present: Rich Claussen, Bailey Lauerman; Sean Faden, Bailey Lauerman; Dan Cooper, Bailey Lauerman; Ron Sack, Bailey Lauerman; Jill Heggen, Swanson Russell; Carol Schlegel, McCook Chamber of Commerce; Brad Mellema, Grand Island CVB.

Approval of Meeting Agenda
John Chapo motioned for approval of the meeting agenda. Roger Jasnoch seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Approval of May 7, 2014 Meeting Minutes
Dana Markel motioned to approve the minutes from the May 7, 2014 Nebraska Tourism Commission meeting. Deb Loseke seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Financial Report
Treasurer Roger Dixon deferred to Kathy McKillip to discuss the current budget report. Current fiscal year budget shows 17% of available funds have been spent so far (July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 is fiscal year). The next Biennial Budget Request for fiscal years 2015-2017 is due to the Governor’s office in mid-September. Kathy’s request will include a $150,000 increase for PSL (staffing, to be supported by recent desk audit updating job descriptions and duties), a $250,000 increase for grants, and $500,000 to fund the Nebraska Passport Program. Deb Loseke motioned to approve the Biennial Budget Request as presented. John Chapo seconded. Motion passed with a request from Roger Jasnoch to review an itemized outline of advertising/marketing expenditures for future years. Roger Dixon motioned to approve the draft Agency Narrative as part of the budget request, to accompany the accomplishments directed by the 2012 Strategic Plan. Roger Kuhn seconded the motion. Motion passed.

Group Discussion: Visitor Improvement Fund Language
Roger Dixon inquired if the Commissioners want to attempt to amend the language in the Nebraska Visitors Development Act in order to regulate County Visitors Committees regarding the spending of Visitor Improvement Funds (lodging tax dollars). The Best Practices were created as recommendations for each county to follow, but the Nebraska Tourism Commission cannot enforce the recommendations as a non-regulatory government agency. It appears the majority of counties do follow basic Best Practices, Commissioners in counties where lodging tax spending may not
necessarily follow the Best Practices will encourage their Visitor Committees to do so.

Marketing Update/Website Review
Bailey Lauerman website team presented the website over-haul plans for www.VisitNebraska.com this fall. Recommended changes include:

  • Features allowing the site to be more searchable/user friendly
  • Site will be compatible with desktop/tablets/phones
  • Destinations/events can be saved into Trips
  • Advertising and Premium Profiles
  • Yelp! Integration
  • Facilities will manage/update their own content

The website will be introduced in October, followed up by monthly webinars/instructions to all industry members and facilities. John Chapo motioned to approve the inter-active website/content as presented and reviewed by the Commissioners. Roger Dixon seconded the motion. Motion passed.

2015-2017 State Tourism Marketing Outlook and Update
Rich Claussen from Bailey Lauerman presented the marketing outlook highlighting industry trends, brand creation, target audience, creative (photography) and promotion of ads. The photography will focus on “capturing a moment” and the feeling of the brand. Roger Dixon motioned to approve the 2015-2017 Marketing Outlook as presented. Deb Loseke seconded the motion. Motion passed.

2015 Nebraska Travel Guide
Ron Sack from Bailey Lauerman reviewed the proposed layout for the upcoming 2015 Nebraska Travel Guide magazine. Recommended changes for the guide this year include:

  • Each section will infuse the brand and include a “nice moment”
  • Guide will no longer be divided by regions, but organized by analytics instead
  • Cover photo will be Lake McConaughy kite flying
  • Primary ads will be placed inside front/back covers, rather than interrupting content throughout

The Commissioners reviewed :60 and :30 second commercials and YouTube shorts. Dana Markel motioned to approve the 2015 Nebraska Travel Guide layout and changes as presented. Roger Jasnoch requested co-op advertising opportunities become available annually in May (due to budget approval processes of CVBs/Chambers). Lisa Burke seconded the motion. Motion passed.

Director’s Report
Kathy McKillip reviewed current Commission projects including:

  • Touchscreen kiosks have been installed at some of our staffed visitor centersacross the state (most popular is the kiosk at the Henry Doorly Zoo Imax)
  • Nebraska Passport Program: so far 8 visitors have completed all 80 stops in 2014
  • Nebraska Building location for Nebraska Tourism Commission State Fair booth
  • NWSS partnerships, staffing assistance from the industry
  • Mid-Year tourism reports
  • Office space updates, Department of Administrative Services has presented the Commission with 3,100 square feet of office space inside the Nebraska State Office Building. Square footage options and space layout still in negotiation stages. DAS would have to approve RFP process if the Commission chooses to move off of state property. Roger Dixon motioned to proceed with RFP process, if further negotiations with DAS don’t fit the needs of the Commission. Deb Loseke seconded the motion. Motion passed.
  • Marketing grant fund discussion, funding amount for next cycle of Tourism Marketing Grants will remain the same as previous year.

New Business
Election of the Executive Committee. (Currently each Executive Committee member serves a one-year term, moving up in rank each year.) Slate presented for this vote of Executive Committee members:

  1. John Chapo – Chair
  2. Roger Dixon – Vice Chair
  3. Deb Loseke – Treasurer

Roger Jasnoch motioned to approve the slate of Executive Committee. Roger Dixon seconded. Motion passed. Legislative Session discussion. Senator Luncheon will be held again in January 2015. Commissioners discussed if additional industry organizations/communities should attend and/or host the luncheon with the Commission. Roger Jasnoch inquired if the number of Commission meetings held each year should increase, and if each meeting should have a public comment period. John Chapo noted the role of each Commissioner is to gather input from constituents to discuss/share at Commission meetings, if this is done then there is no need for each meeting to have a public comment period. Roger Kuhn noted the Commissioners can accept formal requests in advance from constituents to attend and/or testify at any meeting. According to open meetings laws, public comment doesn’t offer a dialogue exchange. It is instead an opportunity for the public to present concerns or bring inquiries to the Commission.

The next Commission meeting will be held October 21st in North Platte. Deb Loseke motioned to adjourn. John Chapo seconded the motion. Meeting adjourned at 2:38pm.

Respectfully submitted by Heather Hogue.