While visitors may consider Scottsdale to be the golfing and spa mecca of the Valley, the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is working to change that by showing visitors a side of the city they may have never seen before. It’s sending the message that visitors can embark on an adventure of their own that extends beyond the resorts and into the desert.
In an effort to enhance Scottsdale visitors’ experiences and inform them of activities they may not know about, the CVB has focused on marketing and branding the area, as well as providing excellent customer service via an interactive visitor information booth called the Scottsdale Adventure Center, located inside Scottsdale Fashion Square.
“Anytime you go to Scottsdale, your vacation, your trip, even your business meeting can become an adventure because there’s so many things to see and do here that are so quintessential to Scottsdale,” says Rachel Sacco, president and CEO of the Scottsdale CVB.
The Adventure Center has eye-catching images of desert-area activities, including hiking trails and hot air balloon rides, a three-dimensional graphic of a hiker climbing Camelback Mountain, the messages “Your Scottsdale Adventure is Waiting” and “Start Your Adventure” printed atop the images, plus a mountain bike on display. Visitors can also make particular reservations directly at the center.
Sacco says CVB officials chose Scottsdale Fashion Square for two reasons: First, with only a few months to get the center up and running, they needed a key location that could be built and opened quickly. Second, the mall is a high-traffic area and a convenient place for residents and visitors to access the center.
Scottsdale Fashion Square hosts thousands of people on a regular basis. The day of the Fiesta Bowl game, around 120,000 people walked through its doors. The Adventure Center at the CVB desk in the mall had more than 2,000 visitors within the first few weeks of its opening.
“More people come through that location than we’ll ever get at a remote location in Scottsdale,” says Steve Helm, AVP Property Management at Macerich, the owner of Scottsdale Fashion Square. “Here, we are reaching more people and re-branding the CVB desk and the shopping center to be the Adventure Center.”
According to Sacco, visitors have been most curious about what they can do outdoors in the Sonoran Desert, a preserve made up of a third of the entire land base in Scottsdale.
“When we talk about the preserve, a lot of visitors don’t know how to get there, how large it is and what they can do there,” Sacco says. “People aren’t aware of how to access horseback riding, mountain biking, rappelling or hiking that we know the population that comes here is interested in.”
For those visitors passing through, the Scottsdale Adventure Center is also a way of luring people to come back and embark on an entirely different adventure they may not have been aware of and couldn’t fit into their schedule on their first trip, Sacco says.
The Scottsdale Adventure Center has two more phases yet to be completed, which the CVB hopes to have completed within the next year.
One of the phases includes a mobile adventure center that will be taken to every event with the same end goal in mind as the Fashion Square location; instead of merely passing out brochures and answering questions, the mobile Adventure Center will provide an interactive experience.
“This idea was really identifiable and very unique to park it at every event with all of our materials inside and hopefully make reservations from there,” Sacco says. “This will help visitors realize all they can do in Scottsdale.”
[stextbox id="grey"]Scottsdale Adventure Center
Scottsdale Fashion Square
7014-590 E. Camelback Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
First floor of the mall just east of the food court
10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday
10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday[/stextbox]