Tourism destinations in Hocking Hills are proving there is strength in numbers.
Eight lodging facilities and an antique mall partnered with the Fairfield County Visitors & Convention Bureau and, with a minimum contribution of $1,000 each, hired Columbus marketing firm Lord, Sullivan & Yoder about a year ago to publicize their offerings.
Our primary focus of that group is to increase midweek and off-season overnight stays, Valery Junge, general manager of the AmeriHost Inn in Logan, says of the Hocking County Marketing Initiative.
Not only has LSY helped these businesses develop new, unified marketing efforts, such as learning vacations in which visitors watch a cook make his specialty at one of the inns or a local artist work with clay, but the agency has also helped them draw media coverage. For example, efforts by LSY resulted in a full-color, full-page story in an October edition of Dayton Daily News. That brought a swarm of visitors to the marketing partners, which in addition to AmeriHost include the Spring Street Antique Mall in Logan, a cabin development in Logan called Blackjack Crossing and other lodging facilities such as Shaws Restaurant & Inn in Lancaster and Ash Cave Cabins & Conference Center in South Bloomingville.
That filled our hotel for the last 10 days of October, Junge says. Everybody calling said, I saw this article in the Dayton paper.
Other publicity has included stories in AAAs Home & Away magazine, with six pages of text and photos, the The [Toledo] Blade, The Columbus Dispatch and The Indianapolis Star. To draw visitors from further away, LSY coordinated radio contests in target markets such as Philadelphia and Charleston, S.C., in which listeners called in to say why they were so stressed that they deserved a vacation to Hocking Hills.
This is the first time anybody in our area has dealt with a professional marketing organization, says Junge, noting that the group has committed to a second year with LSY. Up to this point we have done things on our own.
That can be expensive. For example, LSY told members that a full page advertising purchase similar to the editorial content printed in Dayton Daily News could have cost $30,000; the six-page Home & Away spread value was $119,000.
Thats the kind of money we cant even begin to think about, Junge points out.
Joan Slattery Wall is a reporter for SBN.