Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spectacular Results...

January 29th:

Hey gang, I couldn't wait until we can all get together at a meeting to share some news with you!

I just had to let you know our tourism efforts for Knox County are really paying off! And to say, please, MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW! All hands on deck!

I was, and am, truly convinced that if our Real Rural Tourism Symposium, and the Adventure Trail that we developed from that, had never reached a soul outside Knox County, just changed our own perspectives, opened our own eyes it would be worth every penny, every minute we put in to it.

But WOW, we definitely are getting attention outside our own little realm!

Hopefully, when we get tired or discouraged we'll remember what great results we are seeing locally, and abroad, from one little Adventure Trail Map and a couple of days of hard work and hospitality!

I am so proud of our Knox County Visioning Team, our friends and neighbors who've responded, and your decision to "Sell our Hometown without Selling our Souls". Now its time to reap the rewards, which is actually when the longer, harder work begins, but also the most satisfying...just like harvest when you're farming.

So here's the latest deal resulting from your work and dedication.....
and your belief in our heritage and its' value....

If you remember, April Garner, from the Texas Historical Commission's Austin office, was one of our most enthusiastic guests for the Real Rural Tourism Symposium. We also had Jill Campbell, who is the Regional Coordinator for the region to the East of us, called the Texas Lakes Trail, visit with us last summer.

Knox County made a great impression on them, which they've shared with their associates at the Historical Commission and the folks they work with in the different regions of Texas.


March 12th we will host the Texas Plains Trail Regional Meeting in Knox County, and they are adding a day, either the 11th or 13th to tour...sightsee, eat, shop, sightsee, eat, Knox County, to their usual 1 day agenda. They have also asked us to tell our story as "the program" for their meeting.

By the way, this is the Texas Trail that Knox County is on, but the Director Deborah Sue McDonald has never been here before, also true of most of our neighbors from the North since this trail goes all the way up through the panhandle and west through the big city of Amarillo. So let's knock their socks off!


March 25th, we will do it all again! The Texas Lakes Trail, which ends in Baylor County, will hold their regional meeting in Seymour, and again, even though we are not in their region, the Knox County story will be the meeting's featured program. They are also adding a day of touring to their regular one day meeting agenda, with that day being here in Knox County! This meeting is to be attended not only by our neighbors, the regional partners, but by at least 3 of the other Texas Trail coordinators and staff from Austin. Welcome back April and Jill!

I've promised them we can put together a mini, two or three hour, tour for those who only have that much time, or a whole day and night for those who can come early, stay late. We will also be making all the arrangements for the Texas Plains Trail meeting....they've put themselves in our hands. So check your calendar, dust off your backseats, practice your best story and let's entertain!

Now you might be wondering.....What is she so excited about? This probably won't be more than a dozen or twenty folks and they won't be here very long or spend very much money. Here's the deal people, state agencies who promote tourism need poster children, other communities who want to sell tourism need successful examples... this is marketing at its best and most believable source and you don't pay for the advertising!

Remember a one page ad in a national magazine is about $35,000, in a regional magazine about $9,000, and how many people will actually come to Knox County from that advertisement? After all do you believe what you read in an advertisement? Or do you tend to go where your friends, family and neighbors rave about? When recommended by a real person, whom you trust and who has a reputation with you to uphold, real people believe them. Real people, who might visit us, love us and want to join us another time, or for a lifetime! So, consider that between just these two groups they directly influence the decisions of folks in over half the geographic area of Texas. And, indirectly through their associates, all of Texas! Now that's a real lot of folks!

Here's a challenge.....Hey Dennis, can you get the building done so Pam can sell these folks some fabric? Anybody else got a new enterprise I might not know about? Looking for a date to set as a deadline to get something done? Here it is! Any business owners willing to put together a coupon for $$ off, free drink or a big sale to get our visitors into your store? Any offers for welcome baskets, door prizes or take home, remember us fondly, come back soon trinkets? Any teens interested in the tourist business experience, want to volunteer as a tour guide or ambassador for Knox County? Any of you Knox County supporters who won't be able to help in person, but could contribute towards the costs of hosting these groups or attracting the next one? Any volunteers to help me gather up and put together a packet to mail out to all their members in February enticing them to be sure and make the long drive to come see us in Knox County?

Let's decide, together, not to waste any opportunities this year! It's harvest time!

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