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Tourism marketing to push Williams cowboy culture

The Cataract Creek Gang performs a skit for tourists in June 2018. Marketing contractor Heather Hermen said she plans to continue capitalizing on the cowboy culture to draw tourists to Williams.
Photo by Wendy Howell.

The Cataract Creek Gang performs a skit for tourists in June 2018. Marketing contractor Heather Hermen said she plans to continue capitalizing on the cowboy culture to draw tourists to Williams.

“We aren’t putting all of our money into one basket, but being as diverse as we possibly can,” marketing consultant Heather Hermen said as she gave a six-month update to the Williams City Council Dec. 13.

Hermen owns Front Burner Media which is the marketing contractor with the city of Williams.

In August, Hermen coordinated a presentation with NBC 12 Midday to film in Williams. She said the filming aired Aug. 17 and Oct. 5 and reached over 4 million viewers.

“We will be repeating that in February and they’ve contacted us about coming back in July 2019,” she said.

Herman said in November her company hired a drone operator to film footage of Williams during the lighting of the downtown area. She said following that, 3TV and CBS 5 news stations came to Williams to film the area the weekend before the Williams’ Christmas parade. They also used some of the drone footage. Hermen said that airing drew 1.7 million viewers in the Phoenix valley area.

“Williams is certainly not a dark night city, it looked like a beacon of Christmas lights from that drone footage,” she said.

Hermen said Williams was recently featured in an edition of Arizona Highways magazine. She said the city was advertised on the inside front cover and received digital advertising on its website.

“We’re leveraging every dollar and every ounce of power that we can to get further promotion,” she said.

Recently Williams was featured in WestJet magazine. Hermen said Williams was highlighted in the November issue that was distributed on airplane flights in Canada. She said an advertising insert was inside the magazine and the insert was also sent to newspapers and other print publications in the country. It encouraged an email signup.

“So far we have received over 5,000 email addresses and mailing addresses from interested parties in Canada who want more information on Williams,” Hermen said.

She said her company will use those addresses for a targeted email campaign, which will include a newsletter advertising events and places to visit in Williams.

Hermen encouraged local Williams businesses and groups to email her with events and other news for that newsletter.

For the international market, Hermen said Front Burner Media recently worked with a Chinese television station who live streamed a segment from Williams Nov. 1 and said the station contacted her company through marketing relations she has built overseas.

“We started at the visitor center with a cowboy and everything was interpreted into Chinese,” she said.

Hermen said the cowboy culture is a draw for Williams.

“We went over and watched the Wild West show, which was perfect because their guns were blazing,” she said.

Hermen said at the time of the live streaming 750,000 people were viewing the video, and in 30 minutes there were 150,000 likes.

“It lives on their website now and 2.7 million have viewed that video about Williams,” she said. “I would say it was pretty big hit and didn’t cost us anything.”

In the upcoming year, Hermen said she is hoping to partner with the Williams ArtWalk program.

“I’m working with Kris (Williams) to see how we can promote that as more of an event around the state, west coast, California, and get more people to come to that,” she said.

Herman said her company plans to do a sweepstake event for Channel 3 and Channel 5 for the Phoenix valley audience. She said they will use the stations’ social medium platforms for several weeks to do targeted promotion. The promotion will involve a Williams vacation and include a digital campaign and TV promotion.

Hermen also mentioned marketing the new direct flights from Los Angeles to Flagstaff.

“We want to take advantage of that,” she said. “We are going to market and advertise to the LA market, and mention they can fly into Flagstaff, get a rental car and experience the Grand Canyon by staying in Williams.”

She said she plans to continue reaching out to the international market, especially Australia, in the upcoming year.

“In terms of international, we know we get UK, Canadians, Germany and China,” Herman said. “But Flagstaff has been heavily going after the Australian market for about five years.”

Anyone interested in adding their events to future marketing efforts can contact Hermen at heather@frontburnermedia.com.

Other council news

The city approved $26,086 to outfit utility poles with raptor perches as mandated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. During surveys, the USFWS identified 26 city electric poles that have had either bird electrocutions or sightings of protect large raptors. This includes five poles near La Quinta Hotel, 10 poles near Cataract Lake and 11 poles near Kaibab Lake. The federal mandate requires installation of the bird guards on the poles for the protection of the raptors.

The council approved $30,507 to resurface the Tiny Tot toddler play park at the Williams Recreation Center. According to Recreation Director Rose Newbold, the park has seen significant usage since the installation in 2013.

The city approved a HURF Exchange funding grant of $464,000 from the State or Arizona for work on Grand Canyon Blvd. The Northern Arizona Council of Government has confirmed the project for a grant from the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program. The project will include milling, removal and replacement of pavement, driveways, sidewalk ramps, curbs and gutter. It also includes re-striping. The city will contribute $193,290 to the project that will commence in spring 2019.

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