PORT TOWNSEND — With fall officially here, Port Townsend is preparing for the slow winter tourism months with a new marketing plan that aims to put the city on the map as a winter destination.
Christina Pivarnik, the director of marketing for the city, presented the plan at the Port Townsend Main Street Program Merchant Breakfast last Wednesday. It is to be implemented this November.
“We had a committee begin work on ideas for this winter campaign in May, even before the end of the summer season,” said Pivarnik.
The plan targets four audiences: foodies, families, adventure travelers and romantics, with the theme of “Escape to Port Townsend.” According to Pivarnik, the city will target one of these “personas” per month starting in November and running through February, months that are traditionally slow.
November caters to the food-lover by promoting the local farmers market and events highlighting local food and drink. According to the plan, the city is looking at a wine tour with the Olympic Peninsula Wineries Association in early November and is hoping to create a “Thanksgiving Feast” event.
December is families, with the hope that plenty of holiday themed activities will bring out local families as well as tourists. Highlights will include the Key City Public Theater’s performance of “Port Townsend Christmas Carol – A Ghostly Musical,” a tree lighting, visits from Santa and a New Year’s Eve celebration.
January will be all about adventure travelers who come to town for Strange Brewfest or to take the Martin Luther King Day three-day weekend to participate in an adventure hike or bike ride.
February’s events cater to romantics, just in time for Valentine’s Day with wine and chocolate tours, dinner theater and a Valentine’s Day ball in the works.
As for how to market these events, the plan is to harness social media — Facebook, Instagram and the use of hashtags — to promote events. The city will also use traditional advertisements on buses in Seattle and Portland, Ore., and on local radio stations.
Pivarnik said the city is also hoping to get in publications such as NW Travel + Life and Portland Monthly. Pivarnik said a monthly giveaway for a two-night stay and a meal in town is being developed, as well as a “best of fall” photo contest.
“This is in addition to the traditional holiday marketing the city does in collaboration with the Port Townsend Main Street Program,” said Pivarnik.
The city’s budget for holiday marketing in 2016 is $4,000, according to Pivarnik, however she said that city manager David Timmons and the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee have agreed to use lodging taxes from the city’s reserves to help with some additional marketing. Not all events are set in stone, but Pivarnik said the city is excited to see how it goes this fall.
“We’re excited to have this extra boost for tourism through a traditionally slower season and hope all of our businesses reap financial benefit from the campaign,” said Pivarnik.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5550, or at [email protected].