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Visit Fairfax Insider February, 2016
What's New, Marketing Sales & News, Tourism Industry News
Barry Biggar Barry Biggar Named Extraordinary Mind in Hospitality by HSMAI
Paradise Springs Winery Paradise Springs Winery Becomes 1st Bi-Coastal Wine Brand
FXVA Logo New Amenity Options Available for Partners
Businessman Visit Fairfax Sales Team Updates
Calendar Fairfax County Events Calendar
Roll Call Roll Call
Hilton logo Hilton McLeanTests Innovative New Concepts
Mint+ logo DMAI Unveils New and Improved MINT+
Tourism by the Numbers Fairfax County Tourism by the Numbers
What's New Header

HSMAI Names Visit Fairfax CEO Barry Biggar as one of the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality

Barry Biggar
hsmai logo
Visit Fairfax is proud to announce that Barry Biggar, our President & CEO, has been honored by Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) as one of the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality, Sales & Marketing. The award will be presented on February 16 at the annual HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala in New York City.

The Top 25 recipients were selected based on their creativity and innovation, cutting edge sales or marketing campaigns, triumph in challenging situations, and sales efforts that resulted in dramatic gains. Our illustrious leader finds himself in good company alongside other industry leaders of hospitality giants such as Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, Google, and the PGA National Resort and Spa.

Barry has been President & CEO of Visit Fairfax since 2008. He previously served as the President & CEO of the Bryan-College Station, Texas CVB and has also served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Lexington, Kentucky CVB. He is internationally recognized as a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME), has served on the DMAI Board of Directors and has chaired DMAI's Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) as well as the Destination & Travel Foundation.

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Barry on this prestigious and highly-deserved honor. Barry, we are so thrilled and honored to work with you and look forward to all of the extraordinary moments to come with you at our helm. Read more about the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality and the HSMAI Adrian Awards here.

Paradise Springs Winery Becomes First Bi-Coastal Wine Brand in U.S.
Congratulations are in order to the folks at Paradise Springs Winery, who recently launched a second winery in Santa Barbara County, California, making it the first bi-coastal wine brand in the United States. Founded in 2007 in Clifton, Virginia, Paradise Springs was Fairfax County's first winery and continues to thrive and make high-quality, award-winning wines.

"With the demand for Paradise Springs wines outpacing the quality fruit currently available in Virginia, we decided to look for an opportunity in a new market, one that would add diversification to our portfolio of wines as well as provide a cross marketing platform for each region," says Kirk Wiles, CEO and Founder of Paradise Springs. "The wines coming out of Santa Barbara are world class and with its proximity to 23 million people in Southern California, we decided it was a good fit for the brand. The Paradise Springs mantra has always been about producing the highest quality, handcrafted wines while embracing varietal correctness in the region. Santa Barbara turned out to be the perfect fit."

Paradise Springs Santa Barbara produced two wines in 2014 and are now available for order. They plan to open a tasting room near the ocean in Santa Barbara in 2016.

Learn more on Paradise Springs' website and/or read a great profile of the expansion in The Washington Post right here.

Paradise Spring Wine Bottles

New Amenity Options for All Stakeholders in Partner Extranet,
Please Update Your Listing

Each of our attractions, restaurants, and hotels have the ability to control their own listing on www.fxva.com, which is an easy – and free – way for you to get additional exposure for your business.

We have recently overhauled the amenities section within our Partner Extranet. While previously very hotel-driven, the changes made are now much more user-friendly for ALL of our stakeholders, including restaurants, attractions, wineries/breweries and campgrounds.

We ask that you take a moment to log-in to the Partner Extranet (need a password? Email amorris@fxva.com) and fill in the appropriate details for your business. If you already have a user name and password, click here to get started: http://extranet.fairfax.simpleviewcrm.com/. For a quick tutorial video on how to do this, watch here: http://screencast.com/t/w0uAupjsup.

Thank you for your time in helping us showcase you, our stakeholders, in the most accurate way possible.

Marketing Sales & News Header

Visit Fairfax Sales Staff Busy Selling Fairfax County

The Visit Fairfax sales team is busy selling and promoting the county at various tradeshows and events. Here is a list of recent activities as well as what will be happening over the next few months:

Associations and Reunion Market:
  • In December and again in January, Visit Fairfax attended the VSAE monthly luncheon meetings in Richmond, VA to secure additional state association leads.
  • This month, we exhibited at the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) "Destinations Showcase" trade show in Washington, DC, in search of more association and corporate groups. This was our 11th consecutive year exhibiting at the show.
  • 8th Annual Visit Fairfax Family Reunion Workshop
  • We also just hosted the 8th Annual Visit Fairfax Family Reunion Workshop at the Hyatt Regency Fairfax. As always, we invited our great Fairfax County hotels and attractions seeking additional family reunion bookings to join us for this terrific event. We had an incredible rate of advance registrations this year, and saw a record turnout of family reunion planners to the workshop. (see photo)
  • Later this month, we will be traveling to Muscle Shoals, AL to exhibit at the "Rendezvous South" trade show, sponsored by ConventionSouth magazine, to secure additional regional association leads.
  • In April, Visit Fairfax will travel to Richmond, VA for two days of sales calls on state association planners.
  • Also in April, we'll partner with our colleagues from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) and other DMOs from around Virginia to conduct three days of sales calls in the Raleigh, NC metropolitan area.
  • And in May, Visit Fairfax will host the Virginia Society of Association Executives (VSAE) for their annual meeting. This will be the first time in their 80+ year history that the group has EVER held this program in Fairfax County! Hosting the group's annual meeting will allow us to showcase Fairfax County to almost 100 association executives and planners over three days.
Tour and Travel Market:
    Chinese FAM
  • Visit Fairfax helped host a very successful last-minute Chinese FAM in December brought to us through Air China and Capital Region USA. Thank you to all of our partners who helped make this FAM come together! Visit Fairfax will continue to work with these tour operators to help develop new and expanded itineraries within Fairfax County. (see photo)
  • Visit Fairfax attended American Bus Association's Marketplace from January 9 - 13, 2016, which celebrated ABA's 90th birthday. During this show, we joined Virginia Tourism Corporation in marketing the event Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon, which made ABA's list of Top 100 Events for 2016. We met with more than 30 scheduled tour operators during appointment sessions and networked with many others. If you are interested in receiving lead notes from this tradeshow, please email mmcclure@fxva.com.
  • Visit Fairfax also attended National Tour Association's Travel Exchange from January 31 - February 4, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. If you are interested in receiving lead notes from this tradeshow, please email mmcclure@fxva.com.
  • Visit Fairfax went to New York City to attend Receptive Services Association of America's Annual Summit. This provided us with the opportunity to meet with receptive operators to discuss what they need from Fairfax County in order to send more international clients to this region. If you are interested in receiving lead notes from this tradeshow, please email mmcclure@fxva.com.
  • In March, for the first time, Visit Fairfax will attend Active America China in Fort Worth, Texas to continue our mission of actively engaging the growing Chinese market. As well as going to Active America China, Visit Fairfax will also be going in-country to China from March 28 – April 1, 2016.
Sports Market:
  • Visit Fairfax will attend the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) Sports Symposium in Grand Rapids, from April 3-7, 2016. One of the sports travel industry's largest tradeshows, the NASC Sports Symposium generates lead opportunities through appointments with 25+ sports event planners and decision-makers responsible for selecting destinations for state, regional, national, and international events.
  • The second planning meeting of the 2016 USA High School National Championships was held on February 11, 2016. Visit Fairfax worked with the Zenith Group (housing bureau) to assist with hotel selection and offered various visitor services to support the event.
  • Visit Fairfax attended the Virginia High School League's state championship site selection meeting in Charlottesville, VA in December 2015. At this meeting, the bid process for many of the 150 state high school championships sanctioned by VHSL was reviewed with Virginia DMOs. VHSL was urged to work directly with DMOs to source tourism information for events or allow high school athletic directors to work directly with DMOs to develop room blocks and provide other tourism-related services for state competitions.
Government Market:
  • Visit Fairfax will attend the Society of Government Meeting Planners (SGMP) National Education Conference in May 2016 in San Diego. SGMP NEC is the largest annual event in the government meetings industry.
Visitor Services:
    Ambassador Program
  • A full class of Fairfax County hoteliers attended the 2016 sales version of the popular Visit Fairfax Ambassador Program. The class not only presented all they needed to know about Fairfax County tourist attractions, but also provided an overview of the various marketing and promotional tools provided by Visit Fairfax, and helpful tips on how to use them. Future Ambassador classes are offered frequently in various parts of the County, so contact Sue Porter to sign up: SPorter@fxva.com. Classes are always free! (see photo)

Fairfax County Events Calendar
Please go to www.fxva.com/events for more details and updates. Keep up with seasonal happenings at http://www.fxva.com/things-to-do/seasonal-holidays/.

Got an event coming up? Submit your Fairfax County event listing using this form on our website.

February 13 8th Annual Visit Fairfax Family Reunion Workshop at Hyatt Regency Fairfax
February 13 Astronomy Festival at Riverbend Park
Starting February 13 Special Exhibit: Nine Paintings from John Chapman on View at George Washington's Mount Vernon
February 13-28 "When the Rain Stops Falling" at 1st Stage Tysons
February 13-14 Virginia Opera: Romeo & Juliet at George Mason University's Center for the Arts
February 13-14 Preamble Scramble and Presidential Trivia at Sully Historic Site
February 13-15 Presidents Day Weekend Celebration at George Washington's Mount Vernon
February 14 Valentine's Day Wine Dinner at Paradise Springs Winery
February 14 Valentine Wine Pairing Dinner at The Winery at Bull Run
February 14 Bluegrass Barn Concerts with Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass at Frying Pan Farm Park
February 14 Winter Jam 2016 with For King & Country, Matthew West, Crowder and more at EagleBank Arena (formerly Patriot Center)
February 18 The Jones Family Singers at The Barns at Wolf Trap
February 20 Workhouse Cabaret Series Broadway Memories at the Workhouse Arts Center
February 20 Puppetry Festival at The Alden Theatre
February 21 Maple Syrup Boil-Down at Colvin Run Mill
February 22 George Washington's 284th Birthday at George Washington's Mount Vernon
February 24 VOICE with Matt Haimovitz – If Music Be the Food of Love at Reston Community Center
February 24 Grammy Winner Marty Stuart at The Barns at Wolf Trap
February 27 Disney Fantasia: Live in Concert at George Mason University's Center for the Arts
February 27 Beginning Beekeeping at Green Spring Gardens
February 27 Lincoln Connections Van Tour at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park
February 27 Collectors Showcase at Workhouse Arts Center
February 27-28 Capital Remodel & Garden Show at Dulles Expo Center
February 28 Seeds of Independence Breaking Bread: Community and Food at Gunston Hall

March through April March 20 kicks off the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC and events will continue through April 17. DC isn't the only place with blossoms, though. Check http://www.fxva.com/cherryblossom for details on the great events and blossom locations throughout FairfaxCounty.

March 2 Lúnasa with Tim O'Brien at Reston Community Center
March 4 The Alternate Routes at The Barns at Wolf Trap
March 5 Tea with Lady Washington at George Washington's Mount Vernon
March 5-6 D.C. Big Flea Market at Dulles Expo Center
March 5-April 17 In it Together: Service Members, Community and Dialogue Through Art at Workhouse Arts Center
March 6 Maple Syrup Boil-Down at Colvin Run Mill
March 6 Bluegrass Barn Concerts with Charm City Junction at Frying Pan Farm Park
March 6 Jane Austen Tea at Sully Historic Site
March 12 Family Day:Women in Aviation and Space at National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
March 12 Family Fun: St. Paddy's Peas and Potatoes at Green Spring Gardens
March 12 Lucky Leprechaun 5k at Reston Town Center
March 13 Wear Green Campfire at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park
March 13 Museum Series: Deeds Not Words at Workhouse Arts Center
March 17 St. Patrick's Day Party featuring Black Masala at Jammin' Java
March 19 History Symposium: Downton Abbey at Green Spring Gardens
March 19 Easter Egg Hunt at Sully Historic Site
March 19-20 Dinosaur Egg Hunt at Hidden Oaks Nature Center
March 20 Inaugural Bridal Showcase at The Workhouse Arts Center
March 20 Direct from Ireland: Celtic Nights: Spirit of Freedom at George Mason University Center for the Arts
March 20 Easter Egg Hunt at Lake Fairfax Park
March 22 Liberty Lecture at Gunston Hall
March 26 Easter Egg Hunt at Herndon Town Green
March 27 Easter Sunday Mimosa and Pastry Bar at Paradise Springs Winery
March 27-29 Super Pet Expo at Dulles Expo Center
March 30-31 Black Violin at The Barns at Wolf Trap
March 31-May 1 "Proof" at 1st Stage Tysons

April 1-2 Craftsmen's Classic Art & Craft Festival at Dulles Expo Center
April 2 Sean Watkins at The Barns at Wolf Trap
April 2 Children's Cherry Blossom Celebration at Green Spring Gardens
April 3 Mr. Vaudeville and Friends! The Great Vaudeville Radio Hour with Mark Brutsché at Reston Community Center
April 6-17 Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus Extreme at EagleBank Arena (formerly Patriot Center)
April 9 Ellis Paul at Jammin' Java
April 9 Civil War Soldier Campfire at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park
April 9 Reston Founder's Day at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods
April 9 Boardwalk Astronomy at Huntley Meadows Park
April 10 A Touch of Japan for Cherry Blossom at Sully Historic Site
April 14 Animal Feeding at the Nature Center at Hidden Pond Nature Center
April 16 Pirate Fest at Lake Fairfax Park
April 16 New York Neo Futurists at The Alden Theatre
April 16 Bluebells at the Bend at Riverbend Park
April 17 Moscow Festival Ballet: Swan Lake at George Mason University Center for the Arts
April 21 John McCutcheon at The Barns at Wolf Trap
April 22 Cigar and Spirits Tasting at George Washington's Mount Vernon
April 23 Earth Day Celebration at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park
April 23-30 Historic Garden Week in Virginia at various locations
April 23-24 Virginia Opera: The Flying Dutchman at George Mason University's Center for the Arts
April 24 Britain on the Green at Gunston Hall
April 26 Historic Garden Week in Virginia: Falls Church/Arlington House & Garden Tour at TBD Location
April 29 An Evening with Noah Gunderson at Jammin' Java
April 30 Fairfax Civil War Day at Civil War Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim
April 30 Springfest at Workhouse Arts Center

Roll Call
Roll Call!

You may have recently spotted Visit Fairfax at or with:
  • Tending to business at a board meeting at George Washington's Mount Vernon
  • Ringing in the holiday season at an Open House at Karin's Florist in Vienna
  • Celebrating the New Year and taking time to view Chairman Sharon Bulova's State of the County address at the Chairman's New Years Reception
  • Working with Marriott International at the Falls Church Marriott Fairview Park hotel to train them in the lead distribution system (Want to learn? Contact Ali Morris at amorris@fxva.com.)
  • Getting a site tour of the new renovations at the Dulles Expo Center
  • Checking out the construction and space at one of Fairfax County's upcoming breweries – stay tuned for info!
  • Strategizing for the coming years with our neighboring counties about our collaborative efforts in the Canadian market
  • Meeting the brilliant team behind the Fairfax Connector bus system and learning about upcoming marketing efforts

A few upcoming groups coming soon to Fairfax County:
  • Phi Rho Pi National Tournament – 2100 room nights
  • Cadillac & LaSalle Club Grand National – 1670 room nights
  • 2016 President's Day Capitol Hill Classic (Volleyball) – 1183 room nights
  • Vietnam Helicopter Crew Members Association Reunion – 1040 room nights
  • National Association of Investors Corp (NAIC) National Convention – 739 room nights
  • International Association of Yoga Therapists SYTAR Conference – 733 room nights
  • Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia Annual Conference – 370 room nights
  • Virginia Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting – 297 room nights
  • Ben Franklin Institute Summit for Clinical Excellence – 227 room nights
  • USS Sam Houston (SSBN/SSN-609) Veterans' Association Reunion – 172 room nights

If you'd like to meet our team to talk about how we can help you, please contact us at 703-790-0643. We'd love to help in any way we can.

Tourism Industry News Header

Hilton tests guest-greeting robots and noise-canceling rooms

The Washington Post recently reported on new concepts being tested by Hilton Worldwide at Fairfax County hotel, the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner. The 458-room hotel sits adjacent to Hilton Worldwide's McLean headquarters, allowing it to become a "laboratory of sorts."

There are three dozen tests underway at any given time and the hospitality giant continually partners with tech leaders such as Google, iRobot and 3M, hoping to outfit Hilton's properties with new, useful and innovative technology. Recent trials that have been quite successful range from Tesla charging stations, an app that allows guests to check in and unlock their rooms using their phones, and a guest-greeting robot named Ava. Other ideas in the works include noise-canceling rooms, 3M window treatments, partnerships with Uber and one-touch meeting and presentation software via Google.
Read the full story by Washington Post reporter Abha Bhattarai by clicking here. Photo courtesy Washington Post.

Destination Marketing Association International Unveils MINT+

Mint+ logo
In January, Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) unveiled a new and improved EmpowerMint database which allows DMO subscribers, including Visit Fairfax, to more effectively search for potential meetings and events business. This updated, searchable database DMAI is calling MINT+ has essentially the same functionality as before but with one major exception – the database has now tapped into additional meetings information compiled by CBIS (Columbia Books and Information Services).  For more than 40 years, CBIS has provided their users with compliance resources and training, print directories, online databases, and customized data delivery.
This new partnership means that Visit Fairfax will have access to even more information on potential meetings and events and the individuals that organize them. The database can be searched and sorted by meeting type, meeting size, likely meeting dates and more!

If you find yourself searching for business to fill a specific need time during the year, please give our sales team a call and let us help you! Call our main line at 703-790-0643 and ask for a member of our sales team. Read the full release about MINT+ right here.

If you have any local or national industry news to share, please send it to amorris@fxva.com so we can help spread the word. Thank you.

Fairfax County Tourism Indicators

Tourism Indicator
Fiscal YTD* through December 31, 2015
  • Occupancy: 68.3%
  • Room Night Leads: 30,663
  • Website Unique Visitors: 274,853

* FY16: July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016

Did you know?
  • Fairfax County is one of the top contributors of expenditures to Virginia's tourism industry.
  • Visitors to Fairfax County contributed over 2.85 billion dollars to the local economy in 2014.
  • Fairfax County's tourism industry creates almost 30,000 jobs within the County.
  • On average, visitors to our website clicked on and viewed individual stakeholder listings approximately 50,000 times per month. Ask us how to maximize your property's results.

Source: Virginia Tourism Corporation's Tourism Economic Impact Data

*Share your information with us. Is there something you would like to share with the Fairfax County tourism community? Send your news to Visit Fairfax so that we can include it in the next newsletter. Email amorris@fxva.com.

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