|REPORT ON KINGMAN AREA PROMOTION DERIVED FROM PARTICIPATION IN THE MILES OF POSSIBILITIES CONFERENCE
|Pending promotional opportunities
Grand Canyon Caverns
Hualapai Tribe/Grand Canyon West
Kari Jo Hill
Route 66 Association of Kingman, Inc.
McLean County Historical Society
Missouri History Museum
Viva Cuba, Cuba, Missouri
Report on Kingman area promotion derived from participation in the miles of possibilities conference
Pending promotional opportunities
Generous support from neighboring communities as well business owners and organizations have sponsored a large portion of my promotional endeavors to date. However, as these funds are generally insufficient for fully capitalizing on the numerous opportunities that are made available, if they are deemed of value as a component in tourism related economic development an investment will need to be made by the city.
Regarding benefit to the community, an overwhelming percentage of the promotional initiatives I am involved with are difficult to quantify as they seldom generate immediate results. However, it is increasingly obvious that my role as an unofficial “ambassador” does have merit.
As an example, in 2014, I attended the 51st annual Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri, and distributed area promotional materials. At this event, I met with two travel planning consultants from Adventure Caravans, and facilitated arrangements for Kingman to be included as a two day stop on their Route 66 tour.
On the afternoon of October 30, 2016, I hosted an Adventure Caravan group of 45 people and provided a tour of the Powerhouse Visitor Center, a walking tour of the historic district, and arranged for a dinner at Calico’s Restaurant. This was the second year for their two-day stay in Kingman, and I have confirmed dates for their tour next October.
Six years ago, I responded to a request for a breakfast meeting with a group of Dutch motorcyclists at a local restaurant. This tour was led by Dries Bessels of the Dutch Route 66 Association, an inductee into the Route 66 walk of fame, and the recent grand marshal for the Andy Devine Days Parade.
Resultant of that meeting U.S. Bikers, a Dutch based tour company, now overnights in Kingman on four or five tours annually. In addition, resultant of the relationship with this company I was provided an opportunity to speak on Route 66 in Arizona at the largest holiday and tourism fair in western Europe, and to distribute Kingman area promotional materials at that event. This is another example of the long-term benefits derived from my promotional initiatives.
Increasingly, I receive requests to meet with journalists, and to provide tours at the Powerhouse Visitor Center or in the historic district. Most recently I spent several hours with a team of French journalists, and facilitated area arrangements for a Czech Route 66 Association crew filming a documentary on bicycling Route 66.
As financial compensation from media groups is minimal at best, I can only provide these services on a limited basis. As a result, this year alone I have had to respectively decline requests from media based in New Zealand, Japan, Australia, and the United States.
Additionally, as requested funding assistance needed to make attendance of events in Springfield, Missouri and Springfield, Illinois economically feasible was not approved by TDC, I respectively declined invitations to speak and have a promotional display at two of the largest Route 66 events of the year.
Pending requests for attendance or participation in events in the next 20 months include the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival in Springfield, Missouri (last year’s attendance was documented to be more than 30,000 people), an international Route 66 Festival in Shamrock, Texas, the Miles of Possibilities Conference in Joliet, Illinois, and the 2nd European Route 66 Festival in the Czech Republic.
Additional benefits of participating in events such as this is the opportunity to promote Route 66 itself as a destination. This in turn leads to increased tourism in the Kingman area.
Miles of Possibilities Conference Overview
The Miles of Possibilities Conference originated with the Crossroads of the Past & Future Conference that took place in Kingman, Arizona during the 2014 Route 66 International Festival. At that event an announcement was made that an expanded version of the conference would be hosted by the City of Edwardsville in 2015.
The 2016 conference was hosted by the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. A supplemental conference is scheduled for November 10 – 11, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. The next conference in the series is scheduled for October 19 – 23, 2017, in Joliet, Illinois.
The slate of speakers at the conference in Bloomington included:
- Cory Jobe, Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism
- Fred Walk, Towanda, Illinois Community Development
- Deborah Carr Senger, McLean County Museum of History
- Frank Butterfield, historic district development consultant
- Ellie Alexander, Tourism Director, Pontiac, Illinois
- Cynthia M. Fleischli, Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association
- Kaleigh Moore, social media marketing consultant
- Joe Tulley, event planning and marketing consultant
- Frank Norris, National Park Service (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
- Daniel Bruce, community marketing and promotion consultant
- Professor Nick Gerlich, utilization of video and photos in community marketing (Canyon, Texas)
- Aimee Awonohopay, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
- Geoff Ladd, nonprofit organizations for historic preservation, consultant
- Jerry McClanahan, artist, author, historian (Chandler, Oklahoma)
I spoke on Saturday afternoon. The primary focus of my presentation entitled Route 66: Crossroads of the Past and Future focused on international interest in the highway and heritage tourism as a catalyst for revitalization and economic development in southwestern rural communities. During the question and answer period that followed, I provided promotional materials from the Kingman area to people planning on travel to Arizona this winter, or along Route 66 next spring.
Additional promotion for the Kingman area was derived through an interview for the local NPR radio affiliate. Specifically, I spoke about Route 66 as a catalyst for economic development.
In private meetings with Aimee Awonohopay, we discussed development of a Native American advisory group to work with the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative, and representation of Native Americans at the European Route 66 Festival. This will result in pooled resource marketing opportunities for the Hualapai Tribe.
I also attended meetings pertaining to development of the 2017 Miles of Possibilities Conference, the 2nd European Route 66 Festival currently scheduled to take place in the summer of 2018, and plans for the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative in 2017. Resultant of the latter, I participated in a conference call with members of that initiatives economic development committee on Monday, October 31 that centered on development of Rutgers University Route 66 Economic Impact Study.
Economic Development, Tourism, and Marketing Meetings During Travel
While traveling to the conference in Illinois, I had personal meetings with economic development directors, tourism directors, chamber of commerce presidents, mayors, and community organizers. The topic of discussion in these meetings centered on historic district revitalization, tourism and economic development, Route 66 specific tourism, and hindrances to development.
During these meetings, I developed networking opportunities, and shared information about Kingman area development. Additionally, I presented “souvenirs” that had been provided by sponsors such as the Hualapai Tribe.
Meetings were held with:
- Bill Hendrickson, Executive Director, San Miguel Economic Development Corporation
- Gail Houser, Executive Director, Tucumcari Main Street Corporation
- Larry Clonts, Director, Shamrock Economic Development Corporation
- Patrick Tuttle, Director, Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Ron Hart, Director, Route 66 Chamber of Commerce
- Renee Charles, City of Galena
Promotion derived from travel to and from the conference
Travel to and from events provides an array of additional promotional opportunities resultant of my extensive network of contacts along the Route 66 corridor. This includes distribution of promotional materials such as rack cards and flyers in visible locations such as displays maintained personally by museums, business owners, etc.
Examples of these locations would be the information desk at the National Route 66 Museum, the gift shop and information center at the Wagon Wheel Motel, in room information displays at the Roadrunner Lodge and Globetrotter Lodge, etc. Additionally, on this trip I initiated development of a network beyond Route 66 and provided promotional materials for display at places such as the Galesburg, Illinois information center, and at similar locations in Limon, Colorado and McCook, Nebraska, that maintains a display of travel planning materials for numerous states including Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico, and “souvenirs” to the directors of these locations.
I also made several presentations during this trip. The subjects included Route 66 in the southwest, the Route 66 renaissance, and celebrities on Route 66, including movie filming locations. These were made at the Missouri History Museum (two presentations) in St. Louis and at Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri.
I also capitalized on opportunities such as a television interview in Cuba, Missouri about Route 66 economic development in rural communities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7p_hmZlUww&index=2&list=PLrt1W8Zs3xmBK-sTEwHdgoUIY7a3dGuGp
Meetings before and after the television interview led to discussion about a promotional video under development by Promote Kingman, and a request that the completed video be submitted, for review, to the reporter who will be doing a series on the Route 66 renaissance.
In Lebanon, Missouri, I met with a tour group from Australia and made a presentation on the “160-miles of smiles” in western Arizona. The group was then given Kingman area souvenirs that had been provided by sponsors. While with the group arrangement was made for them to lunch at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner.
The Route 66 Association of Kingman, a sponsor of this trip, has been developing a promotional and marketing network by providing honorary memberships, which includes addition to the associations mailing list, to international Route 66 associations. As per request, I extended this network by providing honorary memberships to select individuals.
The Route 66 Association of Kingman plaque will now be displayed at the U Drop Inn Visitor Center in Shamrock, Texas, at the Roadrunner Lodge and Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, Route 66 Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, National Route 66 Museum, Route 66 Chamber of Commerce, Munger Moss Motel, Wagon Wheel Motel, and numerous other locations along the Route 66 corridor.
Also, as with the trip to Germany and previous trips along Route 66, I provided museum passes, discount motel coupons, and other Kingman area materials to travelers met at motels, cafes, museums, and attractions when it was learned that they would be continuing their trip through Arizona.
In summary, the recent trip, as well as the Miles of Possibilities Conference itself provided an array of opportunities for the marketing and promotion of Kingman, the surrounding area, for the Route 66 community, and for Kingman as a destination for Route 66 travelers. Many of these will provide for long term contributions to area tourism.
The Road Ahead Report HERE