Basecamp Grass Valley tourism campaign focuses on social media |

Basecamp Grass Valley tourism campaign focuses on social media

A mock-up of the full-page advertisement of Basecamp Grass Valley on the San Francisco Chronicle travel section.
Submitted Art |

Grass Valley City officials are stepping up their efforts on a tourism marketing campaign that highlights local business and promises visitors an escape from their mundane and hectic urban lives.

“It’s profiling all the great activities that are in and around Grass Valley, and then coming back here as your basecamp to enjoy all the eateries, the bars, the amazing entertainments and hotels that are here,” said Grass Valley City Manager Bob Richardson, who is spearheading the campaign.

Basecamp Grass Valley is a promotional program launched by Richardson, as well as a team of city staff and interested residents, that aims to attract young and adventurous people to the historic Gold Rush town.

The mostly web-based initiative includes a Facebook page, and a website, which provides links to organizations such as the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Association, as well as local shops, restaurants and other venues.

Richardson said the bulk of the work that has been done over the past months has been focused on building content for an extended campaign. Crew members have also branched out in the evenings and weekends to shoot videos throughout the county, he said.

The most recent outreach effort included a full-page advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle special travel section on Nevada County. The advertisement cost the city less than $4,000 and is the result of teamwork between the city and some local businesses, according to Richardson.

“That includes a permanent online presence of that advertisement,” he said, adding that the advertisement came out Thursday.

Other projects included the distribution of thousands of Basecamp packets, an initiative that cost $2,000, Richardson said.

Basecamp Grass Valley is also collaborating with local hotels, restaurants, bars, and entertainers in joint-marketing videos to promote Grass Valley.

Snapshots of Grass Valley venues such as The Owl Saloon & Grill, Del Oro Theatre, downtown streets and local people can be glimpsed in the most recent video the Basecamp team made for music group Lolo Gervais, “Straight UP.” The video can be viewed on the city’s Vimeo account.

“It gives them a very low-cost, marketing piece that also profiles Grass Valley,” Richardson said. “So as they go out and pursue the marketing of their own businesses, it also promotes Grass Valley as well.”

Julie Baker, executive director of The Center for the Arts, said she and the Basecamp team are exploring ways to anchor the organization into downtown for arts and entertainment.

“We do a lot of marketing ourselves to sell tickets to shows,” said Baker. “So it makes sense for us to work in conjunction, to then say to people: If you are coming for an event at the Center for the Arts, now you can visit all these great downtown stores, and wineries, and restaurants, and all the things that downtown Grass Valley has to offer.”

The campaign promises to be more cost-effective than the “Enliven Your Senses” program launched by city officials in 2011 that resulted in the creation of

Then-City Administrator Dan Holler told The Union that $62,000 had been allocated to the project in 2011. City officials also asked local merchants to contribute $15,000 to support the campaign.

Today, that website sits somewhat static in the realm of cyberspace. The last blog entry on the GoGrassValley site dates back to December 2012.

Richardson told The Union in a previous story the new promotional campaign is focused on social media, a cost-cutting mechanism. Richardson said $4,500 has been spent to pay a local programmer and web designer for the new Basecamp website. He estimated the city will allocate $3,000 from the general fund every year to continue the tourism effort.

“Grass Valley is a wonderful spot for vacationing,” Richardson said. “When we work for local businesses in this way, it strengthens all of us.”

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, please email, or call 530-477-4236.

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