On May 12, the U.S. Travel Association will stage the first-ever U.S. Travel Rally Day to promote travel and meetings in communities across the country. Convention and visitors bureaus, local governments, and business leaders are invited to take part by organizing a community rally. The nationwide event will take place during the 26th Annual National Travel and Tourism Week, which is intended to promote travel and tourism through locally sponsored events in various communities across the country.

From Seattle to Miami, and 24 other cities in between, convention and visitors bureaus have already signed on to host rallies on May 12 (a full list of participating bureaus is available at the U.S. Travel Web site. Interested destinations will also find a rally-planning toolkit on the Web site, with press-release templates, frequently asked questions, a sample event checklist, national statistics about the travel industry, and other resources.

The Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau held a successful “Meetings Mean Business” rally in downtown Spokane on March 6, where more than 200 elected officials, business owners, and hospitality-industry employees showed their support for meetings. The event—which cost the CVB only $781—got significant media coverage in national industry publications as well as the city’s local newspaper and television stations.

Harry Sladick, president and CEO of the Spokane Regional CVB, offers the following tips for organizing a successful travel rally:

  • contact state and national elected officials to notify them of the upcoming rally;
  • keep the event to no more than 20 minutes;
  • select a handful of speakers, including important elected officials;
  • print buttons and foam-core signs with simple and consistent messages;
  • ask key partners, such as hotels, restaurants, and attractions, to attend with their staffs;
  • contact the regional media to let them know that elected officials will be speaking at the event; and
  • hire a professional photographer, and post high-resolution, downloadable photos of the rally on your Web site.

For more information about U.S. Travel Rally Day, including planning resources and an overview of the Spokane meetings rally, go to U.S. Travel’s Web site.