What is the South Central Tennessee Tourism Association

 

The South Central Tennessee Tourism Association "SCTTA" a non-profit tourism promotional agency, created by the state of Tennessee, with a mission to serve as a catalyst to enhance regional economic and community growth through the support, promotion, and development of tourism.

SCTTA serves as one of nine statewide regional tourism organizations recognized by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development as a partner. Each of the nine regional organizations works closely with the State Department of Tourist Development to promote and implement marketing strategies and grant opportunities for service regions. 

 

SCTTA serves 13 counties, 37 cities or towns, and hundreds of unincorporated communities in a region including Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Perry, and Wayne Counties.

Experience Tennessee Branding

Starting in 2020 the South Central Tennessee Tourism Association launched a new marketing brand for the region, Experience Tennessee.

 

The concept of the brand is built around the flexibility of what "Experience" means. Our region offers an almost identical layout to our entire state. From the mountains in Sewanee down to the hills and valleys of Lynchburg, Wartrace, and Bell Buckle. Rivers spread across the map from the Duck and Elk, the Buffalo, and the granddaddy of them all, the Tennessee River. 

By leveraging this flexible brand we invite our guests to not only visit what our state has to offer but experience it. Experience the Rivers, Experience the Waterfalls, Experience the Natchez Trace, the outdoors, the music, the whiskey, and so much more. 

 

Narrative Based Marketing Focus

 

In 2020/2021 SCTTA not only shifted the branding of the organization but also the way we market. The foundation of this new marketing approach is built around what we call "Narrative Based Marketing". 

 

We feel like by focusing on the experience of Tennessee, we must support that by telling the stories of Tennessee. This past year we have done this by producing over 100 original blog pieces covering all 13 counties. We have also participated by funding and/or organizing three separate media tours with our partners at Nashville's Big Backyard and the State of Tennessee Tourist Development Department. 

In 2021/22 we have plans to double the number of original pieces that come from SCTTA.

New Website, partner pages, and community pages

With the new branding efforts, SCTTA also launched a new website, ExperienceTN.com. This site focuses on tourism-related activities in the region including, trips & trails, experiences, shopping, dining, and lodging. 

The page will also drive users to a new partner page and community page program called ExperienceTN.guide. This site is designed to promote our community partners and business partners with a sleek searchable site that provides tourists a friendly, simple online experience.

The new guide platform will also host community pages so that each of the SCTTA communities has a consistent presentation, with details on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in each community.

This new platform will also help us better manage data and who we focus our marketing efforts on. 

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New Approach to the visitors guide

 
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Visitors' guides are only as relevant as the information in them. That is why we have transitioned to a monthly digital visitors guide versus a one time annual printed guide. 

We have also changed the deliverable that the guide provides from a directory-based piece to a narrative base piece. This follows the same direction of the website marketing strategy by telling the story of our region. This also allows us to present the original content in a manner that is relevant to visitors and potential visitors. 

In FY 21/22 we are also planning on returning to print by producing a quarterly visitors guide as well. The quarterly guides will start with the Spring 2022 edition that will come out in February of 2022. Each quarter after that we will produce 10,000 of these guides to be distributed throughout the state and local welcome centers. 

Experience Tennessee Mobile App Launch

 
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Visitors' guides are only as relevant as the information in them. That is why we have transitioned to a monthly digital visitors guide versus a one time annual printed guide that quickly becomes outdated. 

We have also changed the deliverable that the guide provides from a directory-based piece to a narrative base piece. This follows the same direction of the website marketing strategy by telling the story of our region. This also allows us to present the original content in a manner that is relevant to visitors and potential visitors. 

In FY 21/22 we are also planning on returning to print by producing a quarterly visitors guide as well. The quarterly guides will start with the Spring 2022 edition that will come out in February of 2022. Each quarter after that we will produce 10,000 of these guides to be distributed throughout the state and local welcome centers. 

App Assets at Launch (September 1st)

  • Tennessee Whiskey, Wines, and Brews

  • Downtown Tennessee Locations

  • Duck River Access Points

  • Elk River Access Points

  • Richland Creek Access Points

  • Buffalo River Acess Points

  • Lakes Locations

  • Waterfall Locations

  • History Markers and Historic Places

  • Parks and Outdoor Recreation 

  • Golf Course Locations

  • Disc Golf Course Locations

  • Highway 64 Travel Guide

  • Enjoy the Drive on 55 Travel Guide

Print Assets

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With the transition to new branding, we have also worked to establish a new print asset program. Moving forward we will manage an extensive library of print materials that work in conjunction with both our online and mobile app assets. 

This list includes print materials for the following:

  • Experience Tennessee Visitors Guide

  • Tennessee Whiskey, Wines, and Brews

  • Experience the Outdoors

  • Experience the History

  • Experience Geocaching

  • Tennessee Antiquing Trail

  • Travel Highway 64

  • Enjoy the Drive on 55

Partnerships that Matter

The success of our organization is centered around the relationships and partnerships we have across the region and throughout the state. By partnering with local county and city governments, chambers of commerce, and tourism committees and commissions, we are able to invest in marketing assets, marketing campaigns, and other strategies designed to drive economic impact into our region's communities.  

With each of our assets transitioning to digital platforms as well as traditional platforms, we are also starting to include local efforts within our regional efforts. For example, the Hohenwald Chamber of Commerce produces a Wine Guide that awards travelers for visiting four area wineries with a collectible wine glass. The SCTTA Whiskey, Wines, and Brews Trail also has an award-based program for completing particular parts of the trail. By promoting both of these efforts through the regional site, visitors can take advantage of both promotions, and the local marketing efforts are highlighted as well. 

 

Industry Development

One of our most important roles as an organization is industry development. It is important that we provide information and data for local government officials and partners to make educated decisions about how they invest and the returns their investments provide. 

Much like our partners at Hospitality TN, we have developed an industry development platform based on three key functions, Advocacy, Communication, and Education. 

Advocacy - SCTTA is an advocacy resource for all of our partners across the region. We work with partners to advocate for investments and policies that provide results for our industry. This includes advocating policy to local city councils, county commissions, chamber boards, or any other official governing board or commission. 

Communication - Like most other success stories, we believe communication is key. SCTTA has developed several resources for our partners to communicate information about the industry, grants, and content. SCTTAPartners.com is a website designed specifically to provide detailed information about our efforts as an organization, and tools for partners to utilize. In addition to this site, SCTTA produces a weekly newsletter dubbed "The Friday Roundup". Each of these efforts are designed to provide more up to date and consistent information in addition to our quarterly organizational meetings. 

 

Education - SCTTA offers partners an annual "Tourism Impact" presentation that we can provide to local civic groups, city boards, city councils, county commissions, and schools. This presentation highlights the impact that tourism has on the area, the state economic impact report, domestic tourism impact, and destination travel impact. This program also highlights the need for continued advocacy of the industry based on facts and data that support industry efforts.