With National Tourism Week around the corner, local businesses may have a way to get their business in front of a statewide audience just in time.
The Arizona Office of Tourism is re-launching ValueAZ.com, an annual in-state summer promotion of travel deals and packages around the state.
A business that wants to put together a package deal can contact the tourism office that will then put the offer on ValueAZ free.
“This helps us drive customers to you,” said Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, who spoke Tuesday at the Business Buzz luncheon.
In addition, the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) is launching “Arizona Calling — Share Something Amazing,” an ePostcard campaign featuring iconic images of Arizona sponsored by the Governor’s Task Force on Tourism and Economic Vitality.
Residents and visitors can pick out a postcard online and use a predetermined message or fill in their own. The ePostcard is then e-mailed free.
“As summer approaches and families are making vacation plans, ValueAZ offers exceptional travel deals across the state and what better way to say to family and friends ‘wish you were here’ than with a beautiful postcard featuring photography of some of Arizona’s most beautiful tourist attractions,” Henry said.
ValueAZ will run from May through September and with any luck drive some of the 35.3 million overnight travelers that visited Arizona in 2009 to Rim Country businesses.
In 2009, those visitors spent $16.6 billion, approximately $45 million pumped into Arizona’s economy everyday.
“Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool and we want our residents to explore Arizona and share their positive experiences with others,” Henry said. “We know our best spokespeople are Arizona residents. Through ValueAZ and the Arizona Calling ePostcard campaign, they can now share that knowledge with others.”
With the Rim Country’s awesome location, weather and community spirit, the area has a lot to offer visitors, Henry said.
Rim Country Chamber of Commerce Manager John Stanton said while residents may realize the beauty of the area, many people do not know Payson exists.
“When they do come up and see the Tonto Natural Bridge, for example, they are amazed and comment, ‘I never knew this was here,’” Stanton said.
“We need to find a way to bring more people in,” he said. “It amazes me how much of a secret place we have.”
Moreover, while the Grand Canyon may draw visitors with the North and South Rim, Payson has the third rim — the Mogollon Rim, said financial advisor Scott Flake, who helped organize the Business Buzz.
Flake and Stanton asked Henry how to get more visitors to the area to highlight these features.
Henry said capturing visitors takes a clear plan.
Every day, the AOT works on driving more visitors to the state.
Through billboards, magazines, newspaper articles and research, Henry said they push the state. Research tells Henry and her staff that Generation X and Baby Boomers are the most likely demographic to visit Arizona and those visitors are most likely to come from Chicago and Los Angeles followed by Minneapolis, San Francisco and Denver.
Rim Country needs to develop its own marketing strategy that sells the area.
For more information, visit www.ValueAZ.com or www.Arizona Guide.com.