Michael Haynie of Parkway Management – Wins Maryland’s Tourism Person of the Year

378h Annual Tourism Awards highlighted recent three-day annual summit in Cambridge
CAMBRIDGE, MD – The annual Maryland Tourism Awards Ceremony highlighted the 38th Annual Maryland Tourism & Travel Summit, held last week at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa & Marina . The summit, sponsored and managed by the Maryland Tourism Coalition (MTC), drew together hundreds of the state’s top tourism industry professionals for the latest discussions on tourism trends and strategy for increasing visitation and spending in Maryland.

Michael Haynie, a long time Tourism Professional, won the coveted Tourism Person of the Year award. Michael has devoted his entire professional career to the lodging and hospitality industry. Throughout his professional career, not only has shown but spoken his commitment to the tourism industry in Maryland. He is always on the front-line fighting for the tourism industry whether it be on a panel, media interview, in Annapolis before the legislature and has gone far as the highest position in the state to give the facts that they need to hear about “tourism.” He was in the front-line fighting with the Comptroller for Post-Labor Day. He saw and knew what the impact of that would be on tourism. He worked to get that passed and it came to fruition and it has made a great impact on tourism in the State of Maryland. I can personally say that this nomination is way overdue for someone who has the passion beyond and within his soul. Michael is a big reason and example of why “tourism” in Maryland is where it is today.

Michael served as Chair of the Maryland Tourism Coalition 2017-2018. In both of his years as chair he was instrumental in securing the Governor and Lt. Governor at three straight Tourism Day events in Annapolis. He served on the Comptrollers Task force for Tap Reform. Served on the Governor’s Task Force for a Post Labor Day School Start (and unbeknownst to many was the driving force behind the task force recommendation and subsequent executive order). Michael ha testified in the legislature more than 20 times over the course of 13 years for various Tourism related funding bills, initiatives, etc. Most recently, Michael helped secure an additional $1 Million dollars from the Governor for the Maryland Tourism Development Board. He has volunteered hundreds of hours in the Public School systems Hospitality and Culinary related schools serving many times as chair of the board. Michael was named the Tourism Mentor of the year in 2007 and was named the MHLA Hotelier of the Year in 2009. He serves on the Hospitality Boards for Morgan State University, Community College of Baltimore and has served on the board of Anne Arundel Community College Hospitality School.

Michael Haynie has been leading the break-down in some of the cultural and geographical barriers in state tourism and has been the force behind in bringing many people and businesses into the mainstream of tourism and understands the need to advocate for the promotion and marketing of tourism in our state.

MTC also presented Stuart Rice of Maryland Tourism Coalition with the MTC Judge’s Award. Mrs. Rice has been the Administrative Assistant of MTC since 2013. In that time she toted enough MTC “stuff” that if laid end to end, would circle the globe. She worked throughout an illness that would make most of us hide in our beds. But not her. She wore her head scarf proudly, went through all of her treatments like a champ, and never, not one single time missed a beat with MTC. She embodies all the best qualities of a true professional. Without her guidance and grace over the years, I‘m not sure where MTC would have landed without her.

The full list of award winners is as follows:


  • Best Product or Event (Small) – Annapolis Sailing Schooner Woodwinds – Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Annapolis Sailing Cruises: Schooner Woodwind.
  • Best Product or Event (Medium) – Carroll County Tourism – The Carroll County Barn Quilt Trail – It represents the county’s agrarian history by including the local farmers and their barns and enhances the visitor experience by providing art, history, and a scenic driving tour which weaves in and out of small towns showcasing the Main Streets and their small businesses.
  • Best Product or Event (Large) – Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce – Ocean City Key Card Book, was produce to be handed directly to the guests upon arrival to their hotel or vacation rental. Inside this booklet are 24 colorful advertisements for area businesses, along with coupons and a welcome message. The advertisers in this piece see a direct impact and increase in business by tracking the coupons or the “where did you find out about us” when they serve guests.
  • Best Printed Promotional Material Award – Visit Frederick “Explore the Outdoors” aims to give visitors a quick glance at the wide variety of outdoor recreation available in the county by showing eye catching images, small bits of engaging copy, and references to locations where more detailed information can be found. Each section of the brochure features a different type of outdoor recreation available in the county.
  • Best Destination Guide – Visit Frederick – An inspirational piece, the guide shows a variety of stunning images and eye-catching design. As a tool, the guide offers easy to understand maps, listings, and other resources as a quick reference for those who prefer to use a printed piece. The guide includes a “Bucket List”, a roundup of the county’s specific must do activities.
  • Best Media and Public Relations Campaign – The National Aquarium in St. Baltimore, Md. was honored for their campaign, “The Water is Calling”. Celebrating the primal connection between humans and the ocean, this campaign was truly innovative in how it leveraged and layered traditional and digital media, utilizing some of the leading-edge technologies available in the digital space such as video creative in Facebook carousel ads. The campaign generated awareness with 105,039,476 million impressions, directly contributed to 30,505 online transactions, drove 802,565 sessions on aqua.org and increased the eCommerce conversion rate by 13.94 percent year-over-year. More tangibly, the campaign directly contributed to a 3 percent year over-year increase to general admission attendance during peak summer season. Additionally, they saw a 4 percent year-over-year boost in attendance in September.
  • Best Website – Allegany County Tourism – The previous website creative was 14 years old, unresponsive to mobile view, and ill-maintained. The new website visually represents the new brand and spirit of the county. It features a platform that allows for unlimited users and business listings, customizable search features, monetization, and a polygon geolocation search tool. Social media integration was incorporated using a third party, Crowd Riff. Tourism also integrated Ride With GPS, which features interactive road cycling routes. The Blog, which was previously hosted on a separate URL, was migrated to the new website to increase visitor’s length of time on website, provide digital consistency, and generate content.
  • Best Use of Social Media – Visit Howard County ‘s Farms Food & Fun is new digital marketing campaign around its farms, breweries, farm-to-table restaurants, and all things ag. The new campaign included a relaunch of a new blog on the Visit HowardCounty.com website, social media ads, print and eblast campaigns with Recreation News and Edible DC
  • Best Digital Campaign – Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum was honored for their Waterfront Wedding at CBMM. This campaign included digital advertising of various sizes across a network of websites, all of which then directed visitors back to their website, where they had the option to download their official wedding guide for additional information and details. Viewers directed back to the site were also given appropriate contact information to interact with staff to further answer questions and promote the venue. The three-month campaign averaged 700 clicks per month over first two months, and substantially increased web traffic and direct email/phone inquiries. They booked weddings on 100% of its available dates for 2018.
  • Cooperative Partnership Award – Town of Ocean City, Worcester County Tourism, Wicomico County Tourism and Maryland Office of Tourism – This year’s award is a celebration of American music, arts and craftsmanship. Although the festival would take place in Salisbury, Maryland, participating partners recognized that the size and scope of the National Folk Festival would generate a positive impact for the eastern shore as a whole. Participating partners applied for and received a public private partnership grant through the Maryland Office of Tourism. By working together, they carried out an expanded campaign, reaching four different markets. The 2018 event, despite a weekend of bad weather, still drew over 60,000 according to festival host, the City of Salisbury
  • Visionary Impact Award – Visit Hagerstown/Washington County Tourism and Maryland Sports Commission for their work on the USA Cycling Amateur National Road Championship. To bridge the gap in group business that had once been a well-known convention destination, they had to absorb the loss of the convention business and grow group travel. They envisioned holding a national championship to drive group business for the future and it worked! Coordination of efforts with government agencies, private sectors and CVBs is a rare and often difficult undertaking. Because of the success of the 2018 event, they are confident in submitting and executing additional sports events with expertise they acquired as a major sports event planner. Led by a new vision of how to adjust to the new normal for their county, points to an unprecedented level of doing what it takes to convert tourism sales and growth.
  • New Professional of the Year – Erin Coulter of Buttonwood Beach RV Resort – Erin is eager to please, quick to smile, and anxious to learn while offering her own ideas and solutions. She handles thousands of clients through the summer month as each of them were the only thing she had to do, creating that connection which makes for a great guest experience. In the tourism and hospitality industry, the success or failure of our businesses and destinations depends on service. She has the magical ability, that’s hard to describe but easily felt, to provide exceptional customer service.
  • Best Small Business of the Year – State Ventures, LLC. developed a network of regional guides, anchored by Maryland.com, and includes Ocean City.com, Annapolis.com, College Park.com and ShoreCraftBeer.com. This company leverages decades of experience and an extensive network of sites and contacts to help grow tourism businesses both online and offline. They have recently partnered with the Tri-County Council to receive grant funding from the USDA to assist in further marketing Shore Craft Beer Vacations.
  • Tourism Volunteer of the Year Award – Jackie Panowicz of Custom Media – Jackie is the first to volunteer to help whenever we need someone. She’s assisted in all our events throughout the year and has also held many different committee chair positions for MTTS. In addition to being committee chair, she also volunteers for other committees, usually serving on 2-3 more.
  • Audrey Davenport Hospitality Person of the Year – Claudette McDonald of Watermark Journey. Her countless positive reviews glow on Trip Advisor, Google and many other platforms. She is devoted to education by not only bringing the classroom to life but also stimulating the curiosity to learn. She works hand in hand with teachers in order to engage thousands of students for a lifetime of travel, exploration and love of learning. Each day she has made out tourism community a place to visit and a dream for our younger generation to hope to come back and visit.