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2014 Tourism Players
January 27, 2014 - Ernest Hohmeyer
It can be a complicated thing.
To promote one's business, town or event and working with the various layers of marketing from local initiatives to regional and state efforts can be a winding road.
The region is working on straightening out this road. The Tourism Council – a stakeholders group of many of these organizations is trying to create easy to understand road signs.
So below is the beginning of a tourism promotion reference guide. It is by no means a complete list but it should give you an idea of the landscape.
We will start off with the state and regional players and then bring it down to local organizations and how they may connect.
I Love NY
The state tourism promotional agency also has an international division. It provides matching funds to regional organizations and subsequently the counties.
Adirondack Regional Tourism Council
The state through I Love NY has broken up the Empire State into tourism regions.
The one that represents us here in Franklin, Essex, Hamilton and Clinton Counties is the 8-county Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (visitadirondacks.com). Members of the council are the county “TPA’s” or “Tourism Promotion Agents.” The ARTC coordinates regional tourism campaigns and through I Love NY provides matching funding to the counties.
Each of our counties has a “tourism promotion agent.” They do this in a host of different ways. Essex and now, Hamilton counties have a contract with the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST). Clinton has a county chamber that quarterbacks the effort and Franklin County has recently created a dedicated Tourism Advisory Committee.
How each of these counties receives its money is also varied. Essex and Clinton achieve theirs through an occupancy tax while Franklin and Hamilton are allocated through their own funds. Franklin is also trying to set-up a “bed tax.”
Parts of the county funds go to support the region’s promotional programs through ARTC and in turn they receive an allocation from them to perform specific campaigns.
Whew! Still with me?
Local Tourism Agents
On a community level who our key contact for tourism is also varied. In the Saranac Lake area it is ROOST, while in Tupper Lake for example it is their local chamber.
And here is where the intersections of the tourism promotion map can be busy.
Other organizations are also involved. For example, the Saranac Lake Area Chamber provides support.
There are also numerous downtown marketing organizations, municipal initiatives like the 6’er program and did I mention a slew of event committee’s? Also, there are industry marketing initiatives again for example in the arts, wellness, etc.
You & Me?
And finally, there is you and me: individual businesses, attractions and venues.
When we get this far down the trail, the road markers can be difficult to read sometimes.
Different tourism organizations have various marketing priorities and can be locked into a municipal boundary. Some do more than just tourism marketing. Further, not all are only interested in local events. Their priority is promoting “destination” activities. This can range from promoting our region for skiing to larger events such as the Empire State Games.
Many activities and community events are placed in our various calendars of events, local visitor centers and chambers to get the word out. Local media in print, radio and TV play a big role here as well.
Then of course there is the world of the internet with social media that is a marketing giant no matter what you are promoting.
So where we do go when our businesses wants to engage in tourism promotion? What about our events?
The best answer may be to start off by contacting a local organization.
Enter the Tourism Council
Don’t worry many of us couldn’t figure this all out either. So a tourism council was formed. This is a nice term for corralling all the tourism groups – or as many that would play – into one room. This stakeholder’s group is meant to:
• Increase communication and networking • Coordinate promotions • Leverage resources • Reduce redundancy
The Tourism Council currently includes ROOST, the two counties, local municipalities, chambers and industry groups in retail, arts, wellness, outdoor recreation, lodging and others. This consortium assisted in coordinating a Saranac Lake area marketing game plan between ROOST, the Chamber and local governments.
One Council objective is gaining an understanding of what each organization is doing and what their objectives are for 2014. To help with this a simple reference guide of who is doing what is being developed.
Part of what can be frustrating is the constant barrage of those seeking marketing support. It is probably not true, but it feels like many of these are last minute requests and our road is constantly filled with new flashing neon signs to “Please provide support.”
If there were more of plan and an overall sense of what the marketing priorities are, it may be easier for us to play.
Another goal is to avoid redundancy where appropriate such as multiple maps and numerous event calendars.
Increasing awareness also extends to the most important party: you. As such, the Tourism Council partnered with the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and the Saranac Lake Area Chamber to host a “speed networking event.
None of this means much if the community and its businesses don’t understand the tourism promotion road signs at work for you, so I encourage you to contact any of these organizations or the Tourism Council.
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