Jamestown Attracts the World – 2019

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Photo Courtesy of Jon Elder.

Contributing Writer
Walt Pickut

Jamestown’s Attractors’ Group has set out to draw the world to Jamestown, and they seem to be winning. Their job is to market Jamestown’s attractions to increase tourism and highlight all the great things that are happening in Jamestown, New York.

From Non-Profit to Profit

The Jamestown Attractors kicked off their campaign in response to the 2010 “Jamestown Up Close” initiative. It started as an alliance of popular, non-profit tourist sites, historic locations, museums and scenic attractions, committed to growing visitation in Jamestown.
It soon became obvious that attractions bring more than people to town, according to Zack Agett, Marketing and Events Manager at the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC). People bring sales. That includes hotel rooms and multi-day lodgings – the hospitality community – merchandise, retail goods and services, dining and beverage sales, seasonal and sporting clothing, and memorable event experiences of all kinds.
The Jamestown Gazette itself boosts circulation dramatically during every summer tourist season, not only serving more visitors who come to the region, but also bringing good news for all its advertisers, according to owner/publisher Stacey Hannon.
Tourism has proven to be a pillar of economic growth for Jamestown and the entire region. Attractions bring income, jobs and thousands of new friends to Jamestown. Jamestown’s non- profits enhance the return-on-investment for local businesses. More people equals more customers for everybody.
An unofficial but enthusiastic response from a number of downtown Jamestown restaurants suggests that in the busiest tourist seasons, visitors enjoying local attractions boost sales by 10 to 15 percent and more.
Vic Tarana, owner and operator of five local Tim Horton’s Restaurants, confirms that tourists attracted to Jamestown always increase foot traffic at his business, and coincidentally, add to his employees’ job security. As Zack Agett sees it, this once again confirms that the attractions of the non-profit sector help build the all-important profit sector of the local economy.

More than Museums

“The Jamestown Attractors are not just about museums anymore,” Agett told the Jamestown Gazette last week. “Seeing the potential, a few years ago some businesses started to come on board with the attractors.”
At a recent meeting of the Jamestown Attractors group held at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, more than 30 individuals representing non-profits and local businesses gathered to plan a wide- ranging, multimedia promotional blast to advertise events and attractions in the greater Jamestown region. Representatives of two major local hotel chains, as well as local media, attended the meeting. Though January 2019 starts with the popular Open Doors Jamestown event, a full year of more events is being planned, with many already on tap.

A Destination of Destinations

The Attractors Group operates on the principle that a city and a region can become a tourist destination when it is home to many other destinations. The non-profit sector – the museums, scenic attractions, entertainment and recreational sites – often serve to introduce and enrich all of the region’s other attractions.
The power of an Attractors’ Group, according to Agett, recognizes that while competition is good, so is cooperation. The Attractors can accomplish through cooperation what few individual businesses can alone.

The Power of Communication

At the present time, the Attractors Group has established a unified social media audience that reaches about 4,500 Facebook friends nationwide, a Twitter following of nearly 700, and more than 1,000 on Instagram, as reported by JRC.
A tourism initiative like the Attractors’ Group, spearheaded by local non-profits, creates an environment ideal for strategic relationships and partnerships focused around tourism hot spots and their business neighbors.
With the national average expenditures on tourism nearly doubled in the last 5 years alone, according to the U.S. Travel Association, the unique power of the JRC Attractors’ Group to communicate with the public has become an important part of the local economic engine.

Hello Jamestown

“YouTube advertising has become a great outlet for the ‘Hello Jamestown’ commercials,” Agett said. Hello Jamestown is also targeted for national television distribution. In addition, Google AdWords is a Pay Per Click avenue the Attractors plan to focus on for 2019. AdWords will direct traffic to JamestownUpClose.com without asking the user to navigate there themselves.

Experiential Marketing

JRC’s Attractors’ Group is deploying an ever-widening range of tactics and strategies to help the ongoing, community-wide job of building the local economy. They are reaching out to the people of Jamestown, ultimately the most important attractor and welcoming committee, to engage with visitors from across the country and around the world.
It is the experience of Jamestown that guests will take home with them.
“Experiential Marketing” focuses primarily on helping consumers experience a place and an event in a sensory way. This adds the indispensable emotional and relational connections more than any other channel of communication can. Experiential Marketing gets people experience
“Jamestown Up Close” by participating in the event and forming and emotional connection.
Agett says the people of Jamestown have distinguished the community by helping visitors immerse themselves in the area’s fun and memorable experiences. On an economic basis, this generates customer loyalty for businesses.

The Cost of Profit

Funding of the Attractors’ Group marketing campaign, according to Agett, is primarily, but not exclusively, through local foundations. The Public “Farmers’ Market,” for example, is currently funded in part by a USDA grant. That includes the Mobile Market that was piloted last year to bring a fresh produce market into some of the city’s most underserved “food deserts.”
“We saw positive results from that, and hope to improve the program even more, working with a select group of nationally prominent universities, including such as the University of Buffalo and North Carolina.

Learn More

The original group of non-profit Attractors has grown and evolved into a new economic driver for the Greater Jamestown Region. It is definitely no longer just “A group of museums.”
Readers are invited to visit JamestownUpClose.com, enjoy Hello Jamestown on YouTube, or simply call (716) 489-3496 and ask for Zack. JRC’s new home is 301 E Second St, Suite 301, Jamestown NY 14701-5207.

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.