SIGNS OF TOURISM RISING IN VIRGINIA- 2014
Word from the street in Virginia yesterday at the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association’s (VHTA) third regional 2014 tourism summit is that American consumers are currently trending from buying “real stuff” like cars, boats, and new kitchens, to more “intangible experiences” like vacations.
They said, “Leisure is King.”
If this is true in Virginia, and companies are seeking new ways to capture the attention of increased visitors on our highways, then perhaps that’s why more Virginia tourism entrepreneurs have been clicking on the Electronic Message Center tab on our website this year!
Yesterday’s VHTA summit at Berry Hill Plantation near South Boston, VA was interesting. Linda Shepperd, Halifax County’s Director of Tourism; Shelia Bradley, Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) Board Member and 60th District Legislative Aide; and VHTA’s new head man, Eric Terry, opened up the third summit of the year after earlier successes in Wytheville and Richmond. Hearing about the competition from all 50 states and countries abroad, it was really neat to see the collaboration on marketing ideas that can help capture Virginia’s fair share of increased US travel.
Thad Smith, VTC Brand Director, explained the VTC’s current brand philosophy. The VTC acts as the state’s brand voice, focuses on relevancy to consumers, and provides fuel for tourist industry marketing. Providing fuel for marketing is a big thing these days as most of the industry emerges from a big down cycle, and part of the fuel provided is in co-op advertising opportunities. Just as makers of goods in the tangible retail industry offer resellers co-op marketing perks, the VTC allocates resources to share in advertising costs for those in the tourism trade.
Due to a limited budget, Thad brought up that requests for VTC Co-Advertising need to be both affordable and effective, and mentioned many ways they help partners in Virginia’s Tourism Industry defer ad costs in these media:
- Virginia Travel Guide
- Trip Advisor
- Blue Ridge Outdoors
- Leisure Media
- Southern Living
- Orbitz Explorer
When considering affordable and effective advertising, I immediately thought of digital signage. If a hotel or restaurant is situated on a road with a high traffic count, the cost per impression with digital advertising makes it highly “affordable” and “effective”.
I asked Thad about co-op funding opportunities for on-premise digital signage advertising, such as for tourism retailers like hotels and restaurants. He said there are initiatives for co-op help with off-premise billboard ads, but was not aware of any on-premise sign co-op advertising opportunities. He said he would bring it up to the VTC Board to discuss. It seems like a good medium where tourist centers, hoteliers, chambers of commerce, and other travel-industry related organizations could help Virginia spread the word about all of Virginia’s many travel destinations directly to the travelers.
Mark Hackley is an Account Executive at Holiday Signs, 540-416-3154
6 BENEFITS OF DIGITAL SIGNS:
- Part 1- They Connect With The Community
- Part 2- They Can Be Paid For By Your Vendors
- Part 3- They Grab Attention of the Masses
- Part 4- They Allow You to Own the Media Channel
- Part 5- They Have a Long Track Record of Getting Attention
- Part 6- Use Them for Promoting Loss Leaders