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Sunday, Nov 27, 2022
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Valley Tourism Marketing is a Challenge

How about these marketing slogans for Valley tourism? The Valley: We’ve Got Some Secrets The Valley: Value for the Vacationer The Valley: Better Than Hollywood Really The Valley: We Still Have Malls The Valley: Not A lot of Action, But We’re Close to It And Cheap These are, of course, ridiculous but they illustrate a big problem that the Valley has in capturing the tourism dollar. How can you let the world know that we’re actually a great place to stay when you take that L.A. vacation? It’s tough to come up with the right marketing plan. These suggestions are intentionally lame because I also want to make a point about the Valley underestimating itself in terms of being a tourist destination. As you probably have seen, these are subjects that are brought up in our special report on hospitality and tourism this issue. First to Problem No. 1: How do you market the Valley as the best place to stay when you’re taking an overall L.A. vacation? We’ve got considerably cheaper room rates than hotels Downtown, in Hollywood-West Hollywood and the Westside. It’s actually easier to get to the beach in Santa Monica from Woodland Hills than from Hollywood. Universal Studios is in the Valley, so is NBC, CBS, Warner Bros. Studios, Disney Studios and DreamWorks. That’s a huge chunk of so-called Hollywood. Most other cities would kill to be that close to those world-class attractions. And our hotels can be $100 per night cheaper than other parts of L.A. And they aren’t bad hotels. So how do you say that without sounding like we’re a discount place here? There’s gotta be a way to do it. Now to Problem No. 2: How do you make the Valley a better tourist destination? Well, start with an inventory of what we have here. The San Fernando Mission (the most under-marketed site in all of the L.A. area.) Campo De Caheunga in North Hollywood, right across the street from Universal. You’ve got Griffith Park and the studios, both film and television. How about putting together a list of locations where movies have been filmed over the years? There’s a ton of those. All these things are low-hanging fruit for marketers to have a field day with and they’re all purely Valley things. Combine those with other L.A. sites the Valley is close to and you’ve got success. No doubt about that. It just has to be marketed. But this can’t be done unless the Valley has a full-time tourism director. I know plans to get $600,000 from the city to make this and further enhancement of the Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau happen fell through due to budget cuts. I’m no tourism or marketing expert, but I don’t think it takes $600,000 to hire a full-time tourism director. The rest of the marketing and promotion will take that but at least a full-time director would be a start. A start to focusing full-time on promoting the Valley as a great place to visit. To the Economic Alliance and those involved with the Convention and Visitors Bureau: Boosting tourism is economic development. Business Journal Editor Jason Schaff can be reached at (818) 316-3125 or editor@sfvbj.com .

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