Campaign features Hays' charm, fun
By JUDY SHERARD
Whether it's a welcome banner, newspaper ad or billboard, the object of the Market Hays Plan is to have a familiar motif.
The plan to develop a brand or recognizable look in promoting conventions and tourism started approximately a year ago, said Jana Jordan, director of the Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Jordan said approximately 25 stakeholders -- advisory board members and representatives from lodging, attractions, convenience stores and Hays Recreation Center -- met for a one-day retreat about "what we should be concentrating on to market Hays. They're the experts and know what people are looking for."
The result is a marketing campaign that presents a consolidated pattern using the tagline, "small town charm ... big time fun."
Jordan said Hays often is a family travel destination for sports and outdoor recreation.
"We like to hit March through July (promoting) Hays as (a) summer vacation spot. We're doing more in-state advertising, where most clients come from."
The CVB has introduce new campaign faces for the billboards, which are important because of traffic on nearby interstates. New billboards are located near Lawrence, Topeka and Wichita.
Hospitality industry staff are encouraged to pass out a small pocket-sized map to visitors. The map includes local businesses and attractions, and local workers are encouraged to recommend choices. Hotel clerks and others then are entered in a drawing for Hays Chamber of Commerce cheques.
Lina Miller, administrative assistant at Best Western Butterfield Inn, said the clerks seem to like it.
"I know they're handing them out," she said.
Jordan said her office also has increased its presence on social media such as Facebook to let travelers know "what is going on in the community that day."
The CVB also has launched a new website, haysusa.net, that emphasizes the new look.