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10 Plus: Amy Landers, Promoting the Lakes Region

Kathi Caldwell-Hopper - July 1, 2013

Promoting the Lakes Region is a big job. It means managing a variety of tasks, from networking with businesses of all kinds to overseeing social media to attending public relations events and activities. Amy Landers, executive director of the Lakes Region Tourism Association, does all that and a lot more on a day-to-day basis.

1. How long have you lived in New Hampshire and what brought you here?

“I was born in the Lakes Region and stayed here until I graduated from high school. Then I went to Chamberlain College/Mount Ida for an associate’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. After that, I transferred to the University of New Hampshire to earn my bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.”

2. How did you get interested in promoting tourism?

“During my last semester at college, we had a guest speaker in one of my classes. Her name was Beth Steucek. At the time, she was with the NH Lodging and Restaurant Association. I asked her if I could volunteer in her office. I began with a six-month contract doing sales and this led into developing a full-time job.”

3. What is your professional background in the tourism industry?

“I worked for the NH Lodging and Restaurant Association for seven years. After that I worked at the Capitol Center for the Arts for a year setting up their Group Sales Department. Then I took the executive director position at the Lakes Region Tourism Association. That was14 years ago.”

4. Can you describe your job at Lakes Region Tourism Association, because it is a big job and people may not know what it takes to run such a large business that is a tourism/business leader?

“As the executive director, I am responsible for overseeing the entire organization, which involves providing guidance and direction to the board of directors; implementing the goals and objectives of the board of directors; developing and overseeing the budget; overseeing the development and implementation of grants; putting on two major fundraisers; membership and advertising sales; partnership and community relations; monitoring legislative activities; developing and implementing a domestic and international marketing plan that utilizes a variety of tools and strategies, including updated technology that reaches the region’s current target markets; [and] overseeing and operating two visitor centers and distribution of 800,000 publications.”

5. What are the challenges of working for an organization that must constantly serve the public and businesses in the Lakes Region?

“Trying to do the best job possible with a small staff and limited non-profit budget.”

6. Are you busy in the summer?

“Our office is busy year-round with the implementation of our domestic and international marketing plan. This includes advertising sales and putting together 800,000 publications; developing television commercials; reviewing weekly email blasts and press releases; implementing social media marketing on a daily basis; attending trade shows in Boston and Hartford as well as in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Canada, and Japan. It also involves overseeing ad designs; website contents for three websites (visitor site, media site, and group site); hosting tour operators and travel writers; and researching for future marketing plans.”

7. What sort of people come to the Lakes Region Tourism Association office for information?

Amy: “The visitor center is busy in the summer — the majority of visitors are coming from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey. In the late summer and fall, we see guests coming internationally.”

8. Where do you think the Lakes Region will be in the future, say, 10 years from now?

“In the past 14 years, I have seen the Association grow in so many different ways to become a much stronger, more vibrant organization. I hope to see this growth continue as we become financially stronger, have a larger membership base and enhanced marketing and strong partnerships in the community and outside of the state.  And I envision continuing to provide the best marketing plan to have an economic impact on our member businesses 365 days a year.”

9. What do you do in your free time to unwind and get away from the tourism industry?

“I ride my Harley to work — I love the wind in my hair! Otherwise I have six little children and we love outdoor recreation year-round. We love swimming, tubing, hiking, biking, and entertaining and, in the winter, we ski, ice fish, and go sledding.  As you can see, these are all activities we do right here in the Lakes Region!”

10. What do you love about the Lakes Region and what keeps you here?

“The people are what keep me working in the Lakes Region. We work with so many wonderful people and businesses that all care, help each other, and work together to make the Lakes Region the best location for a vacation, to live and to work. I am fortunate to have a great staff and members who care about their businesses and our association and a strong board of directors that wants to see the region thrive.”

11. Why do you think the Lakes Region remains so very popular?

“It is popular because of the varied outdoor recreation, the scenic beauty, the lakes, the tax-free shopping, the friendly people, the family-owned and -operated businesses, and the diversity of things to do.”

12. What is the history of the Association? How did it begin, who started it, when and how have the goals changed over time?

“The Lakes Region Association was established in 1936 by the state planning commission to promote Central New Hampshire. It has always been a non-profit tourism marketing organization and the only one in the state that still exists under the original plan. It is the oldest tourism marketing organization in the state.” 

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