Local tourism group takes action during bridge closure
Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula is a major tourist destination in the Pacific Northwest. Many visitors arrive from Seattle and other eastern locations via the Hood Canal bridge. This year, the bridge is undergoing a much needed retrofit to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion. The five- to six-week closure from May to June occurs during the start of the Peninsula’s tourist season.
The Department of Transportation and local news organizations have communicated alternate routes and other important information. However, the Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission (OPTC) wanted something more to promote local businesses during the closure. OPTC came to InsideOut to implement a program offering incentives for visitors and locals alike.
Step by step
1) Marketing to local business – The first step was promoting the idea to OPTC members. InsideOut created flyers with images and text targeting each major sub-area of the Peninsula. Flyers were were then distributed by each area’s OPTC representative. Participation is easy and FREE. Businesses wanting to offer a coupon or other incentive just contact InsideOut by email or phone.
2) Create web site and brochure – Next, InsideOut created a print brochure which directs potential visitors to an easy-to-use website, www.NoBridgeNoProblem.com. The look was kept simple and straightforward since we were also going for something that had an “official” feel. The site makes it easy to find the businesses’ offers as well as information on useful routes, maps and links to chambers of commerce.
3) Promotion in local/regional media – 10,000 brochures were printed and distributed via local ferries and Certified Folder. Local newspapers also picked up the story, providing free promotion of the web site. Participation by businesses has been very good. At this time, InsideOut has managed the coupon program and over 200 offers are currently available.