(Submitted) To officially unveil their new tourism campaign, ‘Soak in Roane,’ the Roane Alliance literally launched a cannon at Fort Southwest Point on Wednesday at the launch event.
The campaign includes a social media contest and Soak in Roane branded advertisements to raise awareness statewide about the county. The social media contest will take place in two parts, a “caption this” contest with weekly winners, and a grand prize winner to be announced at the new fall festival—Muir Fest, on September 9, 2017. The grand prize is a kayak donated by Uncle Lem’s Mountain Outfitters, and a camping weekend at Caney Creek RV Resort. More information can be found at www.soakinroane.com.
The goal of the campaign is to showcase, to travelers, all the ways they can ‘soak in’ experiences in Roane County through various activities and shops.
“We want more visitors; we want people to know more about this place,” said Pam May, vice president of Roane Alliance. “Visitors spent 65 million dollars last year, and we are in the top 25 (most-visited) counties in the state. So, we want to build on that.”
According to May, there are 450 tourism-related jobs in Roane County annually, and the goal of the campaign is to build upon that. Which, according to Alliance President and CEO Wade Creswell, tourism is a key part of job creation.
“The whole point (of tourism) is to attract people who don’t live here to spend their money here,” he said. “With the launch of this new campaign, our plans include promoting the best of Roane County in ways that have not been possible before.”
In collaboration with Knoxville-based advertising agency Designsensory, the campaign is designed to piggyback off of what Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam started when he formed the state tourism council in 2011.
According to current East Tennessee Regional Manager at Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Dave Jones, Haslam put together the tourism committee to change Tennessee’s approach to tourist development with a data-driven strategy. The committee then developed six tourism pillars—scenic beauty, music, outdoors, family vacations, experience and history. All six of those pillars are embodied in Roane County.
“The Roane team has taken what we’ve done from a state level and said, ‘how do we go further with that?’” Jones said. “(They’re) just connecting with what we’re doing and expounding on it for their community.”
According to Jones, hospitality is not what brings people to the community, but is what keeps them coming back to the community. Creswell agreed with Jones, citing a new customer service academy lead by the Roane County Chamber.
“We wanted to help train and create a culture of frontline workers … to be excited about what is here and about sharing it,” he said. “We want to provide that hospitable environment that brings people back—that’s really what tourism is all about.”