New visitors bureau targets midweek activity
When I moved back to Grass Valley in six years ago, I naturally began to observe the area and find out what had changed since I left back in the late 60s. Though I had family here and was a frequent visitor, I really didn’t have a sense of what made the area tick.
As I was listening to some local politicians discussing job creation, it occurred to me how important that was. But I felt that tourism was equally important to the economy and future growth. From then until mid-2006 I was involved in a couple of other projects, but this issue of tourism kept nagging at me.
Based on some of my experience and a niche need that I observed, I presented an outline to the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce that created a Business and Convention Bureau for midweek conventions, seminars and special events to our area.
At this time the Holiday Inn was just about to open, although we already had significant quality lodging and event venues for an area our size. As time went on, I met the owners and general managers of these facilities and asked them if they would like to get together to consider creating this organization. The response was 100 percent positive.
Please keep in mind that during the past several months I had discussed this with several local organizations and attended a couple of public meetings to see if there was interest in strategic marketing for Nevada County. We formed a smaller group and generated a couple of plans, but things just didn’t develop.
What we have created in the Grass Valley-Nevada City Convention and Visitors Bureau is not a strategic marketing plan, rather a targeted sector of visitor. We will market Grass Valley and Nevada City to businesses, associations and groups all over California and northern Nevada in order to attract conventions, meetings, seminars and special events.
Much of this potential is midweek, which is of interest to the lodging we have here – about 500 rooms, including 350 in Grass Valley. Our member partners include Best Western Gold Country Inn, Grass Valley Courtyard Suites, Holbrooke Hotel, Holiday Inn Express, Sierra Mountain Inn, Holiday Lodge, Stagecoach Motel and the Coach n’ Four Motel.
Event venues include the Fairgrounds, Veterans Memorial Building, Elks Lodges and Miners Foundry, along with a number of parks and smaller venues. For a community our size, we have a lot to offer, including a rich history, beauty, restaurants, unique retail, museums and wineries.
The Grass Valley-Nevada City Convention and Visitors Bureau will work side-by-side with the local chambers, downtown associations and some with the Nevada County Economic Resource Council. Please keep in mind that we are not competing with any of these fine organizations. Rather we are working to bring people here under the aforementioned premise.
It will then be the job of the various organizations on how they would like to represent themselves to our visitors.
During the next several months, our job will be to continually educate people in our area as to what the function of the Visitors Bureau is, plan our growth in general tourism, watch how funding earmarked for tourism is spent, evaluate its effectiveness and market our area outside the Nevada County borders.
Have you attended or know of a meeting, convention, seminar or any type of special event that we could host? If so, please call me at 273-7934, and I’ll follow up. I know that the hard working people in our hotels, motels, restaurants, event venues and others will be most appreciative.
John Zurflueh, director of the Grass Valley-Nevada City Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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