Kevin Kane

Experience Memphis with Kevin Kane; President and CEO of the Memphis CVB

Get Ready To Walk Across The Mighty Mississippi

Starting October 22, 2016, the Big River Crossing will now be open to pedestrians.

The new public pedestrian bridge, dubbed Big River Crossing, will be the country’s longest active rail/bicycle/pedestrian bridge as well as the longest pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi. The path spans about one mile long across the Harahan Bridge.

The four-lane bridge was first opened in 1949, connecting Memphis, Tennessee to West Memphis, Arkansas across the Mississippi River. The pedestrian path on the bridge has been in prospectus since 1975 when a hiking path across the bridge was first proposed.

Construction began on Big River Crossing in 2014.

Big River Crossing came to being as part of the Big River Strategic Initiative, which advocates for the celebration and activation of the Mississippi River and its surrounding landscape.

Personally, I can not wait to lace up my walking shoes and take the hike across the bridge! It will be such an amazing experience for Memphians and tourists alike to get to see the bright lights of our beautiful city for the first time right from the water!

The opening day is said to be a big free event, hosting food trucks and music on both sides of the bridge. At 7PM that evening, they’re even lighting it up and shooting off fireworks.

After the opening day, the bridge will be open daily to the public from dawn until 10 PM.

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Take a sneak peek at the crossing with their 360 view here!

Travel Weekly Exposes Pokemon Go’s Opportunities & Challenges to Tourist Attractions

Article Via Travel Weekly:

The explosion in popularity of the mobile video game Pokemon Go since it was released on July 6 presented both opportunities and challenges for travel destinations last week.

The game sends phone-clutching players into the streets to catch virtual monsters in the real world. According to the app-focused research firm SensorTower, Pokemon Go had surpassed 15 million installs as of late last week, at a time when it was only available to smartphone users in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

One measure of its popularity is that users are spending more time playing it (33 minutes daily on average) than they are spending reading statuses on Facebook (22 minutes) or posting photos on Snapchat (18 minutes).

But the very fact that Pokemon Go forces players to actually get off the couch and leave their homes also posed challenges and opportunities for attractions and destinations.

“It came out last Wednesday, and come Monday it was a big conversation at our marketing meeting,” said Legoland rep Brittany Williams. Inside the park, she said, “We are definitely seeing a lot more phones out. You can tell what they’re doing. They’re definitely following their phones around.”

In Manhattan last week, some stores and attractions had started enthusiastically seeding their properties with Pokemon characters and “lure modules” as a means of drawing in potential new customers.

On the other hand, Pokemon players were beginning to pose a problem for attractions like the 9/11 Museum in New York and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, both of which complained that the game was inappropriate given the solemnity of their missions.

For the uninitiated in the world of Zubats and Spearows, Pokemon Go is built around the hunt for cute, cartoonish monsters that populate streets and other environs. In fact, the name Pokemon is a shortening of “pocket monsters.”

Players follow GPS maps to designated Pokestops, often landmarks such as murals or historical buildings, where they collect Pokeballs used to trap the creatures. The goal of the game is to “catch ’em all” and to use the resulting menagerie of monsters in battles against other players in “gyms.”

While Pokemon has been around since 1996, Pokemon Go has taken the game’s virtual universe and incorporated it into the real world using augmented reality. The game overlays animated characters onto the live, first-person view on a player’s smartphone, so a Caterpie worm can show up on your dog’s head or a poison bat can flap above your front door.

“Augmented reality has been around for a while,” said Norm Rose, an analyst with Phocuswright. “Both virtual reality and augmented reality can be huge for the travel industry because they allow a user to look at a destination through their own lens.”

In Amsterdam, for example, Rose pointed to an augmented reality app that enables visitors to see inside the homes they’re passing as they float down a canal.

“Pokemon Go is an example of how you can drive engagement with game-ification,” Rose said.

With so many people playing the game in public, so many Pokestops set at real-world landmarks and so many monsters showing up virtually anywhere, Pokemon Go is having a noticeable impact on some attractions.

“Yesterday, there were five teenagers who were looking for a Pokemon outside my office,” said Cincinnati Zoo communications coordinator Angela Hatke. She asked the group if they’d come to the zoo, which houses giraffes, black rhinoceros and polar bears, just to catch virtual animals.

“The only reason they came to the zoo was just for that,” she said. “They were here just to play.”

Hatke doesn’t necessarily see that as a problem, though it might seem ironic to chase virtual monsters in a place full of real wild creatures. She said the zoo is a Pokemon Go hot spot with dozens of Pokestops located at exhibits like the Reptile House and landmarks like the cheetah sculpture. As long as visitors stick to public areas and glance up from their devices enough to not crash into barriers or each other, the zoo is welcoming Pokemon Go players.

“If people want to come here and play, we’re definitely encouraging it, but we want them to look up and look around,” Hatke said. “We’re hoping that they’re absorbing some information and wildlife.”

The zoo has also been exploring the potential benefits of Pokemon Go. Some employees purchased an in-app “lure,” which increases the rate of creatures, for a Pokestop near an ice cream stand. The idea is simple: If you draw players to the area with make-believe monsters, maybe they’ll purchase a cone to go with that Pikachu.

Likewise, the zoo is actively trying to increase the number of Pokestops in some of its less popular areas.

“Some exhibits off the beaten path don’t have Pokestops,” Hatke said. “We’re reaching out to the game to see if we can add them.”

Legoland’s Williams said she had noticed a similar benefit inside the park.

“The positive for us is that maybe [guests are] exploring new areas of the park that they don’t normally visit,” she said.

There are 25 Pokestops within Legoland, and so far players have brought the game inside without incident.

On rides, however, the park is emphasizing its no-devices policy. No cameras out. No phones out. No trying to catch Pokemon while zooming past Lego dragons and castles.

SeaWorld Orlando on Saturday promoted a Pokemon Go event, informing guests that it was “activating dozens of Pokemon lure modules,” guaranteeing that players would find “the rarest of the rare Pokemon” inside the park. SeaWorld Orlando has 25 Pokestops and two Pokemon gyms in the park.

Other destinations and attractions have been frustrated with their unauthorized appearance within the viral app. The Holocaust Museum is the site of three Pokestops, according to the Washington Post. To the museum’s dismay, players have begun catching creatures and collecting balls within its walls.

“Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” communications director Andrew Hollinger told the Post. “We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game.”

The Auschwitz Memorial in Poland and Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia have also lodged online protests regarding their inclusion. A tweet posted by Arlington reads: “We do not consider playing Pokemon Go to be appropriate decorum on the grounds of ANC. We ask all visitors to refrain from such activity.”

At least one property is responding to the Pokemon Go frenzy by promoting outright abstinence, at least for a limited time.

“To combat this mania and the overall addictive nature of the digital world,” Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas is hosting a digital detox weekend retreat Sept. 9 to 11. The itinerary includes yoga, guided meditation, spa services and zero or restricted access to mobile phones.

“Pikachu, Squirtle and Charizard will be nowhere in sight,” the hotel’s marketing promises. Because unlike the real world, when you want to escape Pokemon Go, you can always just turn off your phone.

Atlanta’s Out, Denver’s Back In

In case you missed Memphis Airport’s big news at the end of June, the low-cost airline Frontier has announced it will be bringing back nonstop flights from Memphis (MEM) to Denver (DEN).

This move, though, comes at a price. In exchange for more flights to Denver, Frontier will be cutting their running of nonstop flights from Memphis to Atlanta (ATL).

According to the airline, Memphis is one of 12 cities losing the arrangement, with the company stating low customer demand as the deciding factor.

The Memphis-Atlanta flights will continue to run three times a week until September 4, 2016. The Memphis-Denver service, which currently runs four times a week, will begin daily flights starting on August 12, 2016.

In the tourism and travel industry, such news can be taken both ways. We never want to lose opportunities to encourage domestic travel to our city, but at the same time, gaining more is ultimately the end goal.

Scott Brockman, President and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, said it well in a Memphis International Airport press release that addressed the flight roster change.

“We are disappointed to lose a route that added competition to one of our most popular destinations,” said Scott Brockman, President and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. “A primary goal of our air service recruitment is to provide options for our passengers. While these three weekly flights apparently did not create enough demand, we remain steadfast in our relentless pursuit of frequent and affordable air service. We will continue to work to add destinations and frequencies.”

In the end, though, it’s always about being forward-looking! The Memphis-Denver route has always been popular, showing an average 89 percent occupancy, and according to the press release, the return of these daily flights will actually increase Frontier’s total number of available seats.

I look forward to continue to see the new and exciting flight options at our Memphis Airport!

Record Number of Americans Will Travel For July 4th

AAA projects nearly 43 million Americans will travel this Independence Day weekend.”

From Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4, it is projected that a record-breaking 43 million Americans will be traveling for the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend.

This is over 5 million more travelers than that of this year’s Memorial Day.

“We are well on our way for 2016 to be a record-breaking year for summertime travel,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “This trend is welcome news for the travel industry and a sign that Americans are taking to our nation’s highways and skies like never before.”

They predict that much of this is due to the major drop in gas prices, which are at 11-year lows this holiday.

The current average for regular gas in the state of Tennessee is $2.093, whereas last year it was up to 50cents more, averaging $2.545. In Memphis, the average is currently $2.130, with a year ago up to $2.613.


Eighty-four percent of holiday travelers – more than 36 million people – will drive to their Independence Day destinations, an increase of 1.2 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase 2.2 percent over last year, with 3.3 million Americans taking to the skies this Independence Day.

Thus, more than 36 million people will be hitting the road for their Fourth of July festivities –  that’s an 84% increase from last year.

Travel by airlines, though, is only estimated to rise a mere 2.2 percent over last year, with 3.3 million Americans flying high for Independence Day.

In sum, whether you are traveling or staying home for the Fourth, I hope you all have plans to soak up this Summer sun, enjoy the low gas prices, and celebrate the U.S.A.!


Memphis’ Own Hospitals Ranked In Nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals

Both St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital have yet again made the U.S. News and World Report‘s list for Best Children’s Hospitals 2016-17.


This honor twice-over is just another exemplification of the values and spirit that Memphis represents.

In the tourism industry, we are apt to embrace the history that has shaped our city, from Civil Rights to music. But we also acknowledge and encourage the present: and that means the booming business and good works happening in Memphis everyday. Our network of hospitals are paramount examples of this.

These hospitals stand as pillars within the expansive medical community in Memphis, offering unparalleled medical service to children from across the world, right in the heart of our city.  They were ranked as such:

  • St. Jude – Nationally Ranked Hospital in 1 Children’s Specialty and overall as  #4 in Children’s Cancer Hospitals
  • Le Bonheur: Nationally Ranked Hospital in 7 Children’s Specialties (for the sixth year in a row

As a proud Memphian, an honor such as this given to not one but two of our major hospitals in the city is so humbling.

Let’s all take a step back today and thank all of the medical facilities in Memphis for all that they do for our community and people every day!

Here is what Le Bonheur had to say about the recognition:

For children’s hospitals, the rankings went as such:

St. Jude – Nationally Ranked Hospital in 1 Children’s Specialty and overall as  #4 in Children’s Cancer Hospitals

Le Bonheur: Nationally Ranked Hospital in 7 Children’s Specialties

Read more and view the other rankings on the U.S. News Website:



Vote MEMPHIS In The BBQ Smackdown!

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CheapTickets is holding its annual BBQ Smackdown contest, and it’s no surprise Memphis is on the list!

CheapTickets, an online travel services company, offering discounts for an array of travel tickets, from flights and hotel stays to rental cars, customized vacation packages, and cruises.

The BBQ Smackdown contest is held each year in honor of America’s proudest holiday, the Fourth of July.

CheapTickets are asking their customers to vote which All-American city they think holds the title of the best BBQ, and for offering, they’re entered in a chance to win a trip to that city.

Here are the nominated cities:

  • Austin
  • Memphis
  • New Orleans
  • Nashville
  • Kansas City
  • Greenville
  • Charleston
  • St. Louis
  • Antonio

They’re also offering a promotion with participating hotels for a 17% discount on hotel stays. There’s no minimum stays, but the rooms must be booked by June 26, 2016, and you have to travel by December 31, 2016. The promo code is HOTSTUFF.

So, to all my fellow Memphians and Memphis-lovers, let’s show the USA again our pride in our BBQ. Get out and vote for Memphis today!

You can vote for the contest via Facebook here:




What To Do If The Airline Loses Your Luggage

Just the other day, I had a colleague lose their checked luggage on a business trip. As someone who’s had this happen to them as well, I can honestly say it’s one of the worst things that can happen to someone while traveling.

Some airlines, like Delta, now have great apps for your smart phone that allow you to track your checked luggage as you travel.

But, if you are to have lost your luggage on a trip, here are a few tips on what to do:

  1. Take a Deep Breath – The worst thing you can do is panic. Before you do anything, take a deep breath and stand back. Especially if you are on a business trip, you don’t want to start your time in panic mode.
  2. Report the Loss – Grab your luggage ticket and head to the lost and found luggage counter. If they can’t find it in an immediately obvious place such as the tarmac or still in transit, then they will have you fill out a luggage claim. The airport personnel will then photocopy this tag and your passport before giving you a reference number. You can then move to your hotel or next location. They will send you a call or text with more information if they’ve found your baggage.
  3. Check Back In – If you still haven’t received a notification after 24 hours, go to the airline’s website and enter in your reference number to the lost luggage section.
  4. Customer Service Is Key – As a lot of us have seen with airlines, because they deal with so many issues on a daily basis, finding out more information can be difficult or a lengthy process. So don’t be afraid to call their customer service personnel. Give them all the information about where you’re staying and for how long, making sure they’re aware how dire this situation is.
  5. Get Your Claim – There are laws in place to ensure that airlines have to reimburse you for your losses. Meaning, they should, at least, cover your travel essentials, such as clothing and toiletries . Some airlines may cover all the monetary losses of your bag, but they all differ. Don’t be afraid to ask for the costs reimbursement.

Follow these steps and I ensure you that you can at least stay organized during the frenzy of lost luggage.


To view more tips on lost luggage visit

A Wrap-Up of Memphis CVB’s MEMTalks

“Memphis.. is where where many musical genres converge to create a one-of-a-kind Memphis sound; where high culture meets outdoor adventure; and where family fun meets urban energy.

It’s these unexpected combinations that make the Memphis experience sounique and why, no matter how many times you visit, you’ll always discover a new beat.” -Haley Berlent, MEMTalks 2016 speaker.

On Wednesday, June 9, the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau held their annual tourism convention at the Cook Convention Center and it was a SUCCESS!

The first ever MEMTalks joined together over 500 people excited for the future and growth of travel & tourism in Memphis and greater Shelby County.

Eight different speakers took the stage, from professionals and celebrities to Memphians making moves in the community. And they left the audience with nothing less than a heap of positivity, encouragement, and a reaffirmed appreciation for this amazing city.

Speakers included:

  • Hayley Berlent– Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of The Additive Agency discussing the Memphis Brand
  • Roger Dow- President andCEO of the U.S. Travel Association discussing How Memphis Fits Into America’s Travel Outlook and the Importance of Taking Time Off
  • Jay Salyers- VP of Miles discussing the digital impact of Memphis travel and tourism with a presentation how Memphis is Always On
  • David Nicholson- Memphis Director of European Operations with Lofthouse Enterprise discussed Memphis Across The Pond, how Memphis fares with travelers overseas
  • Terri Lee Freeman- President of The National Civil Rights Museum with a presentation on Moving Memphis Forward, creating the remembrance of civil rights history in a positive light
  • Kelly McDonald- President of McDonald Marketing discussing How to Market To People Not Like You
  • Boo Mitchell- Owner of Royal Studios with the Story Behind Uptown Funk
  • Logan Guleff- Winner of Master Chef Jr. with a celebration of What’s Cookin In Memphis

Aside from these official speakers, we had quite a few surprises take the stage!

Ned Canty from Opera Memphis presented two of the Opera’s stars, where they gave a hilarious performance as Memphis tourists to the tune of the Memphis Grizzlies’ GrizzLine.

And Mayor Jim Strickland joined me in presenting Boo Mitchell with the Spirit of Memphis award.

From Gibsons Doughnuts and homemade BBQ  to Ardent Studios and Al Kapone performing, Wednesday’s event was truly a full of Memphis pride.

And as Boo Mitchell said, “There are a lot of music cities, but Memphis is the music city of the world.”

It was such an honor and humbling experience to be able to host the first annual MEMTalks event, and I look forward to many for years to come!

Eight Things to Do in Memphis This Summer

Whether you’re from or traveling to Memphis, you’re going to be on the lookout for fun and safe things to do in the city this Summer. Here are eight things that anyone, family, friends, and loved ones, could do together this Summer:

1.    Go to Beale Street
As both the Number One Tourist Attraction in the state of Tennessee and home of the nation’s best blues music, Beale Street is easily the most iconic street in Memphis. Whether you’re a vacationing family, on a business trip, or part of a bachelor/bachelorette trip, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Beale Street. The club and restaurant scene are heavy
with live music, good food, and an overall fun, safe atmosphere.
Here’s a list of all the different vendors you can find on the street:

  •     B.B. King’s Blues Club
  •     Beale Street Blues Gifts
  •     Beale Street Tap Room
  •     Black Diamond
  •     Blue Note Bar & Grill, Inc.
  •     Blues City Cafe
  •     Blues City General Store
  •     Club 152
  •     Club Handy
  •     Coyote Ugly Saloon
  •     Dyer’s Burgers
  •     Eel Etc. Fashions
  •     Flynn’s Restaurant & Bar
  •     Itta Bena
  •     Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe & Honky Tonk
  •     Johnny G’s Creole Kitchen
  •     King Jerry Lawler’s Hall of Fame Bar & Grille
  •     Kingdom Kreations Spa & Salon
  •     King’s Palace Cafe
  •     Memphis Music
  •     Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe
  •     Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall
  •     New Daisy Theatre
  •     People’s Billiards Club
  •     Rum Boogie Cafe
  •     Silky O’Sullivan’s
  •     Strange Cargo
  •     Tater Reds
  •     The Pig on Beale
  •     Twelve Bar Balcony Bistro
  •     Wet Willie’s

2.    Visit a Museum
With Memphis being one of the cultural hubs of the South, it’s full of history. From moments in music history to civil rights, major events have happened here. If you’re looking for something to do this Summer that takes you out of the heat and into a world of the past, you should visit one of Memphis’ many museums. Out of the 25 you can choose from, here are _.

  •     Graceland
  •     Memphis Music Hall of Fame
  •     Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
  •     The National Civil Right Museum
  •     Stax Museum of American Soul Music
  •     Metal Musuem

3.    Take a Stroll Through the Zoo
The Memphis Zoo is one of the Mid-South’s largest and most interactive zoos. Not only do they have 18 different exhibits, but their newest, The Zambezi River, has visitors from all over flocking to the park. A day trip to the zoo is fun for families and friends.

4.    Go on a Group Tour
A walking tour is a great way to see and learn more of a city than you ever would from just walking around alone. Walking guides will not only show you some of the most historical sites of the city, but they’ll also entertain you the whole way. There are even some companies that offer ghost tours to tourists, taking them to haunted sites in downtown Memphis like the famous bar Earnstine & Hazel’s.
Another popular tour to take is a party bike tour. If you aren’t afraid to use your muscles and want to cool down with an alcoholic or non-alcolic beverage while you do it, then a pedal bike might be the best tour for you. Some of the companies in Memphis will take you through both downtown and Midtown for a few miles of a ride.

5.    Party at The Peabody
The Peabody is the inarguably one of the most famous hotels in downtown Memphis, known for its parade of ducks, a tradition that dates back to 1933. And every Thursday during the Summer, you can trek up to their rooftop terrace that overlooks the downtown skyline and Mississippi River for an unforgettable party. With live music and drinks, The Peabody Rooftop Parties have been named among the “Top 10 Rooftop Bars.”

6.    See Some Live Music
As Memphis is a city built and known for it’s deep musical history, you can’t expect anything less than good live music during the hot Summer months. In June, The Levitt Shell, an outdoor amphitheater, begins its free Summer Concert Series where people can lay out blankets and listen to music in Overton Park in Midtown. You can also find live music in basically every neighborhood in town. From blues on Beale Street to rock-n-roll at Minglewood Hall, walking into Memphis is like stumbling upon a stampede of sound.

7.    Go to a Ball Game
If you love baseball, then you’d definitely love a Memphis Redbirds Game, the official MiLB team of the St. Louis Cardinals. Played right in the heart of downtown at AutoZone park, tickets start at only five dollars and guarantee you a day of good fun, food, and drinks. Around every corner of the stadium you can find a fresh Memphis BBQ stand. And on Saturday nights in the Summer, you can expect rocking fireworks shows to the tune of different music genres and themes.

8.    Walk Down the Mighty Mississippi
Lastly, if you want to enjoy a nice walk with some good scenery, take a stroll down the Mississippi River through Tom Lee Park downtown. You can even stop by and take a ride on one of an Authentic American Riverboat Cruise down the river by stopping at Beale Street Landing at the end of the park.

So, whether you choose a fun restaurant in Midtown, listen to blues on Beale Street, or go visit the animals at the Zoo, it’s guaranteed you will have something to do in Memphis this Summer.

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