The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority is the destination marketing organization for the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines. If you were wondering what, exactly, a destination marketing organization is – well, it’s right in the title!
It’s the responsibility of the destination marketing organization (DMO) to market and promote a destination, whether that’s a city, state, region, or country, to business, groups and leisure travelers, to attract more visitors to the destination and boost the local economy.
Most major cities or tourist destinations have some form of DMO. For example, the City of Portland has Travel Portland, the state of California has Visit California, and the United States has Brand USA. Even if you didn’t know what a DMO was, you’re probably familiar with the work of DMOs through popular slogans or ad campaigns like “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” or “Slip a shrimp on the barbie,” from our friends down under.
Stronger Together: Seattle Southside
The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority is unique in the destination marketing world in that the three cities of SeaTac, Tukwila, and Des Moines together form the destination “Seattle Southside.” Each city is unique and has its own tourism strengths but together the region presents a stronger messaging selling point to those travelers unfamiliar with the area.
The creation of the Regional Tourism Authority was due to the efforts of RTA President & CEO Katherine Kertzman and local hoteliers who in 2014, petitioned the cities to create a self-assessed tourism promotion area fund to increase funding for tourism marketing.
“It has always my mission to showcase the unique attributes of the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila, and Des Moines that make the Seattle Southside region a fun, and exciting destination for leisure and business travelers,” says Kertzman. “Together the region has a more compelling story to share.”
Since then, the RTA has worked tirelessly to aggressively market and promote the destination to international and domestic leisure and business travelers.
Success of the RTA
It has only been three years since the formation of the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority, but the local economy is already reaping the benefits of their hard work.
In 2017, visitors spent $726.6 million in the Seattle Southside area, resulting in $75.4 million in local and state tax receipts. This booming local tourism economy employs 5,000 people and saves residents $916 in annual taxes. One final definitive note on the effectiveness of destination marketing: for every dollar spent on marketing the Seattle Southside destination, $42.86 is spent at area businesses. How’s that for a return on investment?
The nickname/slogan for Seattle Southside is Seattle’s Backyard. Perhaps you’ve seen or heard radio or web ads, segments on Seattle Refined, or a Link light rail train car wrapped in a Seattle’s Backyard ad? The point is, Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority is busy getting the word out about all the reasons to stay, play, and explore in Southwest King County.
Stop by their visitor center in SeaTac, just up the street from the Sea-Tac Airport light rail station, to learn more. For now, watch this clip to get a taste of some of the promotional work of the RTA and come join in on the fun!