“Berea Proud” in Kentucky

Strategy: Emphasize Value, Enhance Your Product, Serve Local Community

Type of attraction: Main Street/Community, Tourism Organization

Summary: Berea, Kentucky has long been known as an arts community that draws cultural travelers. Still, when the economy began to falter, the Berea Tourist & Convention Commission’s staff knew that they couldn’t take their success for granted.

 

Berea, Kentucky has long been known as an arts community that draws cultural travelers. Still, when the economy began to falter, the Berea Tourist & Convention Commission’s staff knew that they couldn’t take their success for granted. “We knew that many people see Berea as a retail experience, but we wanted to let them know that there were more reasons to come and spend time here,” explains Belle Jackson, executive director of the Berea Tourist & Convention Commission. A new section on “Free Things to Do in Berea, Kentucky” (http://www.berea.com/25-free-things-to-do-in-berea) was added to the Berea.com website featuring many free activities that locals enjoy. 

Another program the Berea Tourism Commission took on in response to the economic downturn was “Berea Proud.” The goal of this internal marketing campaign was to get local people to see the value of tourism and to recognize what a special place they lived in—or as Jackson describes it “…to look at ourselves as our first customer.” Components of the program included:

 ·        A Friday night concert series billed as “Free Dog Night” with free grilled hot dogs served up by the local volunteer fire department

·        A local beautification program including flower boxes throughout downtown

·        An ambassador program that placed local volunteers on a Saturday trolley to greet visitors

“When people are able to hear music and see beautiful things around them in the place they live, they are happier and proud of the place they live in.  Travelers today want to escape to a place that makes them feel good,” notes Jackson, adding “It seems to be working.  We are still holding our own despite the craziness around us.”