Virginia City looks to capitalize on success of ‘Below The Surface’ tourism campaign
Since its inception, the campaign has gained steam on social media and tourism circles and is looking to carry on that momentum into 2017, says Deny Dotson, Virginia City’s director of tourism.
Dotson indicated the campaign, which consisted of a series of videos— each one pinpointing an aspect, business or individual in Virginia City and the surrounding areas — has generated well over a million page views on Facebook and YouTube. One featured video was released per month beginning in May.
TravelNevada, a site that features the state’s tourism attractions, also has featured the campaign, as has BrandUSA, a destination marketing service for the United States. A television monitor at the Virginia City Visitor Center features the videos on a continuous loop.
“It’s been a cool project,” Dotson said. “We’ve talked to some of the people who participated in the series, and they seem to feel like they got a good return on their investment.”
One of those businesses that was highlighted was Virginia City Brewery and Taphouse, a startup that produces its own craft beers for distribution around Virginia City, Reno and Carson City. The business was featured in an episode titled “Craftsmen,” and is the first brewery to reside in Virginia City since 1995. It is situated in a historic building on C Street that originally housed the City Bakery and Restaurant.
Virginia City Brewery and Taphouse’s brewmaster, Adam Lundy believes the “Below The Surface” campaign has brought new business to the relatively new company.
“A lot of people around town said they’ve seen the video and I think it’s been a big help in bringing people in,” Lundy said. “It seems like we have been busier since it came out. Our bartenders say business definitely has picked up.”
Lundy added that not only has it given the brewery more publicity but helps to educate people on various nuances of the brewery.
“I thought it was a good fit from the start,” Lundy said.
With the good vibes, the tourism commission has plans to further develop the campaign.
Dotson said Virginia City’s tourism partner, RAD Strategies, Inc., researching other avenues on social media for further exposure.
They also want to present a television ad campaign for “Below The Surface” with any local or national station that is interested.
“We wanted to do an ad campaign last year, but it was just too expensive with it being an election year,” Dotson said.
To help get the project off the ground last year, the Virginia City Tourism Commission applied for assistance from Travel Nevada’s Rural Grant Program. Dotson said they will apply for another grant from the tourism agency if needed, although he adds the application process does not begin until this summer.
In addition to positive response on social media, Dotson said there has been a buzz about the campaign from other destination representatives at various tourism conferences. RAD Strategies also was honored with a 2017 Silver Spike Award for the campaign presented by the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
For more information, go to http://www.vcbelowthesurface.com.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.