Those little, virtual pins you can drop onto a Google map to mark a location will enter the real world as key pieces of Penticton’s new tourism marketing strategy.
The group launched its You Are Here campaign last week to encourage people who are simply dreaming about being in Penticton to actually follow through and make a trip here.
Besides the pins, physical versions of which will be placed at some local business, the campaign is also making heavy use of social media by encouraging people to tag online posts and photos with the hashtag #youarehere.
Online posters who use the hashtag are eligible to win a one-night stay at Penticton hotel.
Tourism Penticton CEO Jesse Campbell said the campaign, which was developed with the help of an outside agency, will cost $155,000, but is expected to have a long shelf life.
“When the Tourism Penticton board reviewed the concept to begin with, there was some excitement about the sense that the You Are Here campaign has some legs beyond what a typical campaign length might be, like a year,” Campbell said.
“So we do believe this campaign has the opportunity for being utilized into future years.”
The campaign also has a dedicated webpage — www.alreadyhere.ca — and will be advertised on TV in B.C. and Alberta, and along the transit system in Vancouver.
Campbell said measuring the success of You Are Here will include tracking hotel room occupancy rates, rounds of golf played at local courses, visits to tasting rooms at wineries and visitor centres, plus website hits.
“We measure success by dollars, and ultimately our goal is to drive up revenues in Penticton and Wine Country,” she said.
Campaign partners include Air Canada, Discover Naramata, the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism and two areas of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.
The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association is also at the table, and CEO Glenn Mandziuk said regional partnerships are the way of the future.
Mandziuk said Okanagan communities shouldn’t be fighting amongst themselves for tourists, when other countries like China and New Zealand are the biggest source of competition.
“These are the people that are taking tourist dollars away from us, and the only way we can compete against that is if we come together in partnership,” Mandziuk said.