During the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority's third annual Partnership Summit, hosted at County Line Orchard in Hobart, attendees from four counties and two states received a recap of the benefits and opportunities provided by the organization to partners.

Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore CVA, explained that his staff works to offer a seamless, positive and passionate display of what our industry means to visitors.

"Our customers don't know where county lines are, and they don't care," said Batistatos. "We work to serve the customer and to provide a seamless geographic experience."

What started as a staff of two, the South Shore CVA has grown over the last 30 years to consistently provide partners and visitors what they need from a tourism bureau.

"We bring the passion to you, our partners, that you bring to your businesses," stated Batistatos.

Throughout the summit, presentations were made summarizing the bureau's 2013 accomplishments in public relations, social media, sporting events, conventions, technology and marketing. Additionally, attendees were provided with information on upcoming events and opportunities during the coming year.

The summit highlighted various partners and events that worked with the South Shore CVA on public relation efforts.

"You have all built it, it is our job to help you get the information out there," said Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Nicki Mackowski-Gladstone.

According to Mackowski-Gladstone, the South Shore CVA worked with a variety of partners and events to assist with securing additional earned media.

"In 2013, the South Shore CVA had $7.2 million in earned media, not just for our organization, but for our partners and for the region," said Mackowski-Gladstone.

Other presentations included statistical information on the South Shore CVA's social media efforts, how to work with the South Shore CVA on sporting events and conventions, technological advancements and information on the South Shore CVA's website and mobile website, new marketing efforts and the benefits to partnering with the South Shore CVA.

According to Natalie Kirby, director of marketing and promotions for the Gary SouthShore RailCats, the annual partnership summit is a great way to see what the South Shore CVA has been working on and what to expect of the organization in the coming year.

Kirby stated that the RailCats partner with the South Shore CVA for the continuation of reaching out to the community.

"We are attracting new people to the ball park, and the staff is great to work with," said Kirby.

New partners of the South Shore CVA, Ron and Kim Van Sessen, owners of Inspiration Wood Cottage Inn & Retreat in Westville, attended the summit to receive more information, learn what opportunities are available through the partnership and to find out what other tourism industry members are doing for their businesses.

"It's easier for me to understand what the South Shore CVA has to offer having seen the presentations," stated Kim Van Sessen.

Ron Van Sessen stated that Inspiration Wood Cottage Inn & Retreat opted for a basic partnership with the South Shore CVA, but may look into trying new things now that they've learned more about their options.

"Partnership with the South Shore CVA is a valuable resource," said Ron Van Sessen. "We hope to figure out ways to use it to the full potential."

For more information on partnership opportunities with the South Shore CVA, contact Megan Langel, partnership sales and development manager, at 219-554-2176 or at megan@southshorecva.com.