Tag Archives: Heather Ainardi

Corner of Aspen Ave. and San Francisco Street in historic downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.

Flagstaff banks on Valley residents trying to beat heat

Compared to the Valley’s 100-plus degree days and stifling summer nights, Northern Arizona is an oasis of mild weather and cool temperatures. It’s no surprise that Flagstaff, the hub of the high country, is a popular tourist destination for Phoenicians in the hot summer months. Indeed, 40 percent of Flagstaff’s annual visitors are traveling from within the state of Arizona, with 18 percent coming from Phoenix, 8 percent from Scottsdale and 7 percent from Mesa.

“During the summer, we see that many visitors are simply visiting Flagstaff for climate relief,” says Heather Ainardi of the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). “During summer months, hotel occupancy ranges between 75 to 85 percent and our attractions see a dramatic increase in attendees.”

A yearlong study conducted by the Flagstaff CVB has shown just how much of an economic impact tourism has on the city. Flagstaff saw 4.6 million visitors from February 2014 to January 2015, garnering a total economic impact of $575 million and creating 7,311 local jobs. Tourism produced more than $38 million in state and local taxes, including an all-time high of $6.2 million from Flagstaff’s Bed, Board, and Booze (BBB) tax, a 2-percent tax on restaurants, bars and lodging. The BBB tax, which targets tourist-driven services, provides funding for parks and recreation, city beautification, tourism, economic development and arts and sciences in Flagstaff.

According to the study, 75 percent of the visitors that Flagstaff sees are overnight visitors and 60 percent travel with family. This means that family-friendly destinations are among the most popular tourist spots.

“Lowell Observatory, the Museum of Northern Arizona and the Scenic Chairlift Ride at Arizona Snowbowl still rank very high,” according to Ainardi.

While Flagstaff is the primary destination of 53 percent of its visitors, many also use it as a base to explore the rest of Northern Arizona. The Grand Canyon is an 80-minute drive from the city, while Williams, the departure point of the Grand Canyon Railway, is only 30 miles west of Flagstaff. Just east of the city are popular destinations like Meteor Crater, the site of a 50,000-year-old meteorite impact, and Twin Arrows Casino Resort.

“We see an increase in visitors each summer,” says Navajo Gaming CEO Derrick Watchman. “Our busiest months are from June through August.”

Twin Arrows is working on its second phase expansions, which include a spa that is sure to entice more valley visitors in the future.

The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau kicks up its tourism campaigns in the summer, inviting Valley residents to escape the heat. Last summer the #VisitCool promotional campaign included a “Cool Zone” outside of Chase Field, where fans could escape the July heat before an Arizona Diamondbacks game. Visitors to the Cool Zone took in imagery of Flagstaff, including some of its most popular tourist destinations. The #VisitCool campaign will return this summer, reminding overheated Phoenix residents that they can retreat to cooler weather without leaving the state.

5 fun things to do in Flagstaff

Planning a summer getaway to beat the heat? Here are five things you can’t miss in Flagstaff.

Historic Route 66 & downtown district: A drive down the historic Route 66 will make your modern car feel like a classic cruiser.

Lowell Observatory at Mars Hill: This historic observatory will bring out your inner scientist.

Day hikes in the Coconino National Forest: From easy beginner paths to advanced heart-pumping hills, every hike is packed with beautiful nature and scenic adventures.

Museum of Northern Arizona: This museum will be a hit with any history, art or culture fans.

The Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail: This self-guided pub crawl offers up to $25 in food and drink discounts at some of Flagstaff’s finest craft breweries.

Flagstaff_NAU_Skydome

Flagstaff CVB Launches New Marketing Campaign

Visitors planning a trip to Flagstaff this summer will see a brand new look when they research the destination online. The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau launched a new marketing campaign that drives potential visitors to the redesigned flagstaffarizona.org website, which went live on Tuesday, June 18.

“We are excited to provide visitors with a newly designed website that is easy to navigate and use to find up-to-date information about Flagstaff and the surrounding region,” said Heather Ainardi, marketing and public relations manager at the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau. “With the new campaign and website being launched at the same time we are able to provide a consistent message to consumers and travel professionals seeking information.”

Based on research and focus group recommendations the Flagstaff CVB designed the new campaign and website to capture the “Flagstaff vibe,” explain the seasonality of the destination and feature a wide variety of activities found in the area. Highlights of the new campaign include an updated logo with a stamp effect, a distinct color palette to represent each season of the year and photo rich advertisements featuring engaging headlines.

The new advertisement headlines and message is flexible for all markets and will be adjusted based on placement. For example in the Phoenix metropolitan market the new Flagstaff ads will read, “If you were an egg, you’d fear no sidewalk” or “Out of this world, but not out of the way.” In southern California consumers might see a broader reaching message of, “If you were a dog, you’d wag your tail off.” For certain international markets where Route 66 is a popular attraction, the ad will read, “If you were a kid again, you’d need your mother road.”

Since the website is the primary call to action in the campaign’s advertisements the website received a fresh look and increased functionality so it can serve as the premier resource on visiting Flagstaff. The redesigned website is more interactive and features increased content including a destination blog, frequently changing homepage highlights and four unique pages that explain the visitor experience in each of the four seasons.

“Flagstaffarizona.org has been designed to not only provide current travel information, but also be a future planning resource. Links to collateral requests and e-newsletter sign ups are prevalent throughout the site,” said Ainardi. “In addition to general travel information for visitors, the site also provides details for travel professionals, meeting planners, media and filming companies.”

The new campaign debuted with advertisement placements in Flagstaff’s target markets of Arizona, Southern California and Las Vegas; and uses a variety of mediums including traditional print, online, outdoor and television commercials. On Wednesday, June 5, the campaign literally rolled out around Phoenix in the form of light rail train and city bus wraps.

For more information on Flagstaff, visit www.flagstaffarizona.org or call 800-842-7293. Located in the historic train depot at One E. Route 66, the Flagstaff Visitor Center is open Mon – Sat 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.