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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Now a word about tourism...

We did it. We thought of a good idea and we executed.

Every retailer I have talked to enjoyed an excellent or even over-the-top day in sales activity. One person estimated that they had over 100 transactions and thus around 500 people in their store that day. The restaurants were overwhelmed. Traffic on the streets was daunting, and Navasota enjoyed a truly tourist driven event. For the first time in a long time we felt a surge of outside money that all of downtown could benefit from.

This event was not the brain child of a merchants association, Chamber of Commerce or a City committee. It was generated by the private sector. Private Sector. Another name for Bert Miller and Blues Alley staff and volunteers; Debbie and Richard Grimes, Cindy Gomez, Luke Graham, Russell, Linda and Raegan Cushman, Rick Valdez, Kippy Havis, Phyllis and Henry Duncker. A small team working for a common goal... with a generous benefactor... And a great deal of donated advertising from Houston and BCS radio stations, the Houston Chronicle and the Navasota Examiner. Thank you for your help.

If you are still reading and want to know how we did this, how we got an amazing bang for our buck, here goes.

1) We ignored the negatories. We set out to shatter some common myths. "You can't go up against Chappel Hill," "People don't support local events," "Nobody wants to have a party on a backwater creek behind downtown," and "It's the week after Round Top, everybody's already been up here, and spent all their money."

2) We went after a niche. A market already primed for Navasota. Blues music already attracts a number of people in the hottest month of the year. Navasota is already designated as the Blues Capital of Texas. The Bluesfest has proven that it is a viable product, with a devoted following.

3) We utilized the biggest people mover in Texas: Bluebonnets, which we have by the millions, and took advantage of the traffic already headed our way. We advertised this identity, of being a bluebonnet mecca on the radio profusely. Then, when the bluebonnets were in their peek we offered the average radio listener something to do... since they were already scouring the countryside. Even though many radio listeners were not interested in blues, they were crazy about the wildflowers, and they came.

It will work every time.

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