City of Prescott Community Outreach Manager John Heiney recently told the Prescott City Council that a professional services contract with Front Burner Media has resulted in a substantial uptick in national and international print and electronic exposure as well as significant hotel occupancy and bed-tax increases during the past year.
Heiney told Councilmembers, “All indications are that tourism statistics — number of visitors, dollars spent, taxes collected — are up substantially because of our relationship with Front Burner Media.”
Specifically, Heiney noted that an estimated 39 million people nationally and internationally had been exposed to information about the greater Prescott area, a calculated $14.2 million in media value exposure.
He also said hotel occupancy rates were up 2.8 percent over last year. Because of that, bed-tax collections were up almost 5 percent over the same time last year. Heiney explained it was through these collections that the $36,000 contract with Front Burner Media is paid. Following Heiney’s presentation, the City Council approved extension of a $36,000 professional services contract with Front Burner Media for the coming year.
Heather Hermen, founder and owner of the Sedona-based marketing and public relations firm, has been working with the City of Prescott since 2013. In 2016, in cooperation with the City Tourism Office, she increased the Prescott presence domestically and internationally.
“I work with the Arizona Office of Tourism promoting businesses and destinations I work with,” she explains. “The co-op advertising program AOT offers to rural communities helps us buy up to $50,000 in advertising and marketing programs, which it matches dollar for dollar. Because of this, we’re able to have an extended presence on TripAdvisor, in the LA Times online, and in international publications.”
Hermen is optimistic about the tourism future of Prescott and the greater area.
“I believe international visitors are looking for the less traveled more experiential vacation,” she says. “They want something different that their family and friends haven’t encountered. Sure, they want the Grand Canyon, but they want views that have not been trampled on by millions. They also want a restaurant that has a unique story, and they want a rich history and culture in a new destination so they can tell their friends who have never heard of it. That’s where Prescott comes in.”
Hermen continues, “I think Prescott is going to see an increase in visitation from our drive market right here in Arizona. I also think, with the new convenient flight service, we’ll see an increase in national and international markets that we’ll be targeting.” Among those markets are Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia.
Data collected from Prescott Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Manager Robert Coombs seems to corroborate what Hermen anticipates. “If past indications are reliable, we’ll have thousands more visiting Prescott,” he remarks. He notes that from October 2017 to October 2018, “walk-in “visitors were up 52 percent, from 1,687 to 2,571.