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Coasting Forward:

A plan to market and promote the Adirondack Coast during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

There is no doubt that this is an unprecedented time in recent history. The community, residents, businesses, government and travelers are all navigating a new landscape and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau (ACVB), a division of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, is doing our best to help ease travelers’ anxieties, welcome visitors back safely when the community is ready and help kick start a “support local” movement amongst those who call the Adirondack Coast home.

While this time has caused several challenges:

  • Visitors’ fear of travel
  • Residents fear of going out in public and welcoming visitors to their community
  • Temporary Closure of the US-Canada Border
  • Uncertainty in state funding for 2020 & 2021
  • Potential business closure
  • Questions around hosting large scale events

It has also created several opportunities:

  • Reimagining tourism marketing & offerings
  • Looking at new drive in markets
  • Strengthening the “Buy Local, Support Local” Movement
  • Engaging with potential travelers in new and fascinating ways
  • Looking at new cooperative ways to work with regional Tourism Promotion Agencies (TPA’s) to help present a unified, regional message and leverage limited dollars

This is why we have adjusted our marketing plan to include a “phased reopening” process. Just as NYS has done, we will look to each phase to re-introduce the Adirondack Coast to their audience (old and new) and community when the time is right.

The phases include:

  • Phase 1: Moments and Memories: Reminiscing about the Adirondack Coast
  • Phase 2: Be a Tourist in your Town: The Ultimate Staycation
  • Phase 3: Welcoming our Neighbors to the North! & Fishing Lake Champlain!
  • Phase 4: Open for Business: Embracing Travel
  • Plattsburgh International Airport
We know this is a hard time for everyone, but your Visitors Bureau team along with the leadership of
the North Country Chamber of Commerce, will continue to implement aggressive marketing efforts, to
not only help the community bounce back, but become stronger and more diverse.
 

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PHASE 1: Moments and Memories: Reminiscing about the Adirondack Coast

There is no doubt that when the State initiated “NY at Pause”, we immediately had to change our message to potential visitors. With everyone sheltering in place we had to switch the messaging from “Come Visit” to “Be Safe and We’ll Be Here”.
 
We chose to implement content and programs that connect our audience to memories they have of the area, giving them a moment of peace in this hectic time and focused on finding ways for our visitors/residents to bring the Adirondack Coast to their house.
 

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PHASE 2: Be a Tourist in your Town: The Ultimate Staycation

Phase two will be somewhat unconventional, when talking about tourism, but comes with great opportunity. We know that the community will be uncomfortable with visitors coming to the area and moving around and know that this acceptance will come with time. The ACVB will take this opportunity to build awareness among local residents about all there is to do in the area. We will encourage them to “Be a Tourist in Their Town”, “Plan a Staycation” and “Support Local”. Tourism is uniquely positioned to help societies and communities affected at this time return to growth and stability.
 
We also understand that residents and travelers will be looking for signs that the industry has its act together in terms of hygiene and employee safeguards. We will work with our Tourism partners to ensure the safety of customers, visitors, residents and the workforce.
 

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Phase 3: Welcoming our Neighbors to the North! & Fishing Lake Champlain!

The ACVB staff knows that the border being closed has essentially closed us off to one of our largest travel markets. However, we understand that this will not last and that leisure travel will once again be open. With that, we want to make sure that we continue to message to this audience that our neighbors are welcome, as they always have been, and we look forward to moving that relationship forward.
 
We will begin to implement some of our traditional Canadian marketing efforts with a new tone of sensitivity and welcoming. We will use messaging that reiterates our long standing relationship with them as well as memories of family trips they may have made in the past. As always this will be bilingual and a major focus.
 

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PHASE 4: Open for Business: Embracing Travel

This phase we do not anticipate until late in the year, if not 2021. The idea in this phase of marketing is to slowly turn back to what we know works and execute campaigns that encourage general travel to the area, similar to what we outlined in our original 2020 marketing plan. However, we will tweak the messaging to constantly remind travelers that we must practice safe travel habits and be sensitive as well as aware to those around us.
 

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Plattsburgh International Airport

Finally, we need to discuss Plattsburgh International Airport, as it was showing strong growth potential for the region to be a fly-in market.  We want to keep that momentum when travelers start to feel more at ease with air travel. This situation we expect to be fluid and the audience will change as we execute this plan.
 

Here is where PBG fits into each phase:

  • Phase 2: We will remind our local residents that we have an airport in their backyard that can take them to great and safe destinations.
  • Phase 3: We will incorporate messaging to our Canadian audience that PBG is still here and ready to serve them. We will incorporate messaging that will make them feel safe, but also reconnect them with our area and airport. Remember we are Montreal’s US Airport.
  • Phase 4: We will bring back marketing efforts in the DC market to start showcasing the Adirondacks as a vacation destination and that PBG can bring them here.
 

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Notes:

  • The ACVB will only roll out each phase as it makes sense from guidance put forth by New York State, CDC and local officials.
  • The ACVB wants to be smart with spending. We will only begin to spend money and rollout campaigns when we anticipate the strongest ROI. We want to ensure that we are using our past knowledge and expertise to help bring the Adirondack Coast back to the thriving destination that it has been.
  • The ACVB will also monitor the community's comfort level as we develop each step. The last thing we want to do is cause stress within the community.
  • The ACVB will exhibit patience and work with a fluid timeline to adhere to all the needs listed above.
  • The ACVB will continue to update and communicate with stakeholders throughout the year, and pivot efforts when needed.
The team at the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau and North Country Chamber of Commerce look forward to executing this aggressive plan and continuing our long partnership of Marketing Clinton County and the North Country Region.
 
 

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