Trolley Tours Keep Rolling in Corvallis, Oregon
Strategy: Be Creative (More with Less), Take Advantage of Tech
Type of attraction: Main Street/Community, Tourism Organization
Summary: When the downturn in the economy affected Visit Corvallis’ budget, staff needed to find a way to cost-effectively market programs such as the Saturday Trolley Tour of historic homes.
When the downturn in the economy affected Visit Corvallis’ budget, staff needed to find a way to cost-effectively market programs such as the Saturday Trolley Tour of historic homes. Newspaper advertisements for the free summertime tours were eliminated, and instead the staff relied on free calendar listings in local newspapers, word of mouth, the Visit Corvallis website and an e-blast message. Public Relations Manager Melinda Claire Stewart worked to leverage several social media platforms to get the word out about the tours. The tourism staff also reached out to a network of local supporters and encouraged them to tap into their personal social media networks to spread the word that the tours were available. Sandwich boards with a "Trolley Tour Saturday" message were created and are displayed in front of the tourism office as well as at the Farmer's Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. “Our only cost for advertising the trolley tours in 2010 has been the one-time cost of $99 for the sandwich boards. Changing the date on the sandwich boards in future years will only be pennies compared to having a whole new one designed. Each Saturday that same sandwich board is placed out on the corner where the visitors load the trolley. It is very useful in helping the trolley riders find where they are to load the trolley.” says Christie Weigel, visitor services director for Visit Corvallis.” Thanks to these low or no-cost marketing efforts, the trolley tours are as popular as ever, running at capacity and often with a waiting list.”