Photo caption: Several members of the community joined City of Prescott personnel during an educational presentation. They included, left to right, Dennis Gallagher, President, Prescott Western Heritage Foundation; Kira Gill, Fly-U-Shuttle; Margo Christensen, Vice President of Marketing, Ponderosa Hotels; Heather Hermen, Front Burner Media; Billie Orr, Prescott Mayor Pro Tem; Ann Steward, Sales and Marketing Coordinator, City of Prescott; John Heiney, Community Outreach Manager for the City of Prescott; Wendy Bridges, Economic Development Coordinator, City of Prescott; and Doug Reed of Tour Prescott.
If the efforts of enthusiastic supporters of national and international travelers to the Prescott area succeed, the Quad Cities may see an increased number of guests coming to “Everybody’s Hometown” to enjoy the many attractions the community has to offer.
Representatives from the City of Prescott Tourism Office and the Prescott Tourism Advisory Committee met with several business and hospitality-tourism leaders to discuss Destination Marketing Organization (DMO). Their purpose: to define further and intensify efforts to promote Prescott and the area as an attractive travel destination.
John Heiney, Prescott Community Outreach Manager, and his staff shared specific details about the value of such a marketing plan during the 90-minute presentation Aug. 16 at City Hall.
Heiney said the DMO is not a membership-based organization but rather a means by which the entire community can be promoted as a whole.
“It is our long-term strategy to promote the entire area through our marketing, public relations and media campaigns,” he said.
Explaining that funding to support the Destination Marketing Organization comes from the 3-percent bed tax visitors pay when they stay in Prescott hotels and motels. Heiney said having those funds allows focusing on all segments of travel and tourism in the region, among them:
- meetings and events
- leisure and recreation
- museums and history
- sports and tournaments
- Arizona’s Christmas City
- World’s Oldest Rodeo
As examples of how the money was used, Heiney said about $250,000 went to local nonprofits for specific events such as the Courthouse Lighting at Christmas, support for local museums such as Sharlot Hall, Smoki and Phippen, and for 27 nonprofit groups that use funds to support Prescott events.
Another $295,000 was used for City services such as open space management, recreations service and capital projects and the parking structure.
“All this is money that goes directly back to the community,” he said.
City of Prescott Sales and Marketing Director Ann Steward used a PowerPoint to illustrate various roles of the DMO. She explained that Destination Marketing Organization activities created an official point of contact for planners, tour operators and tourists.
“We actively solicit media and travel and trade professionals. We also work with meeting planners for leisure, convention, sports events and motor coach tours,” she said. “We don’t organize these events, but we help promote, educate and inform about them.”
Heather Hermen, the owner of Front Burner Media that works with the City in promoting the community, said the local DMO also cooperates with the Arizona Office of Tourism through a program created for rural destinations. “This cooperative effort gives us exposure we could not afford otherwise.”
Hermen also told of marketing that occurred through promotional releases in True West Magazine, a widely circulated monthly magazine that focuses upon history and tradition of the American West.
Other promotional campaigns include television promotions through AZ Family Channel 3, CBS 5, AZTV 7 with Sandy Moss, and Cox Media Co-op during fall and holidays, Hermen said.
Heiney summed up the purpose for the DMO by saying “destination marketing is intended to tell the nation — and the world — about Prescott. We want exposure in both national and international markets so that visitors will be aware of our community. The entire community can help by supporting our DMO efforts.”