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Sat, Oct. 24

Tusayan proceeds with reopening marketing strategy

TUSAYAN, Ariz. – As Grand Canyon National Park’s phased reopening began May 15, the Tusayan Town Council is shifting its focus from immediate emergency response to future planning.

Until now, the council has mainly utilized predetermined amounts from the town’s $800,000 relief budget to provide food security and to assist students transitioning to online school, which totaled an estimated $62,000. Recently, the town also authorized $37,000 for the purchase of PPE and no-touch thermometers to assist businesses preparing to reopen.

Since immediate concerns have been addressed, the council is now in the process of deciding how to market Tusayan as a safe place to visit during the coronavirus pandemic.

Marketing plan

In recent weeks, the Tusayan Council and the Grand Canyon Chamber & Visitor Bureau have discussed ideas related to marketing Tusayan during the pandemic, and the many challenges it faces.

So far, the chamber has assembled a plan, which provides potential marketing strategies through a variety of resources including online as well as print advertising. The bulk of the work would be performed by the marketing company Madden Media, an Arizona-based company, which has assisted the town with various marketing campaigns in the past.

During a May 13 town council meeting, the chamber presented a variety of ideas, which were then followed by a discussion with Madden regarding the best ways to promote Tusayan.

The emphasis was on the town itself as a destination, as well as the town being a safe place to visit.

“We want to focus on Tusayan. Why we believe Tusayan is the place to be, that we’re safe, we’re healthy, we want to encourage people to do the same in our community while they’re visiting Grand Canyon,” said Tusayan Mayor Craig Sanderson.

Representatives from Madden provided samples of work which would includ web stories and content distribution, social media campaigns, and linked advertising through a variety of travel sites. The estimate of Madden’s services is $117,000.

Other plans presented by the chamber included the potential use of grants through the Arizona Office of Tourism, reworking current promotional videos to include social distancing (estimated at $900), as well as potentially including a YouTube channel, and a mapping program via the Chamber of Commerce site.

Other ideas presented includ possibly creating a “landing page” via Expedia.com, ads through AAA, Arizona Highways and the Arizona Drive Guide. Estimates relating to these expenditures were discussed, however, some are in direct relation to duration of ads.

After a lengthy discussion, the council passed two separate motions.

The first, designated Vice Mayor Brady Harris, council member Becky Wirth and Town Manager Cynthia Seelhammer as representatives to work closely with the chamber to ensure the direction of advertising to reflect the town’s preferences, and make decisions regarding the use of up to $200,000 of town funds from the $250,000 provision for services provided by Madden Media, among other services mentioned in the chamber’s presentation.

The second motion would also allow the assigned members to investigate other strategies in addition to the partnership with the chamber as part of a secondary effort at a total not to exceed $250,000.

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