Revamps of its physical and digital appearances are among the efforts Visit Mesa is undergoing to attract a whole new audience to the city through a new promotional campaign.
Visit Mesa president and CEO Marc Garcia said the organization has created a new branding effort, Mesa City Limitless, to broaden Mesa’s appeal to a wider audience than the families who travel to Mesa during the six-week MLB Spring Training season.
“It’s important to fill those hotel rooms throughout the year,” he said.
Not that the “family-friend” visitors who populate the city during the winter are unimportant — Garcia emphasized Visit Mesa will not deviate away from that group — but the point, he said, is to branch out beyond Mesa’s core audience and attract new types of tourists. One area Garcia cited as an example was the collection of travelers who come not just from neighboring Mexico and Canada, but from places like China, Brazil and Germany. In order to attract from those countries to come to Mesa, Garcia said Visit Mesa is working to incorporate Mandarin, German and Portuguese into some of its promotional materials.
A cornerstone of the new push is an emphasis on a younger, what he called “sexier” demographic to the downtown Mesa area, including expanded nightlife opportunities for 20-somethings.
Garcia said the expansion into that demographic comes in tandem with the incoming colleges — for example the soon to open Benedictine University — in downtown Mesa, as well as infrastructure improvements like the light rail.
“As that population (college students) grows, the market is going to meet those expectations they have,” he said.
Visit Mesa director of communications Michelle Streeter added the downtown hotels, whose bed tax helps fund Visit Mesa, and the colleges will have a “reciprocal relationship,” with the colleges employing the hotels’ meeting spaces, rooms and other assets.
Another aspect of Mesa Garcia said Visit Mesa is highlighting is its athletic facilities in order to lockdown long-term contracts to host professional and amateur events at new venues like the Wrigleyville West Spring Training stadium and established places like Longbow Golf Club.
The latter hosted the LPGA’s Gateway Classic, the event that launched the tour’s current season, back in February.
All of this, plus the organization’s encompassing of geographic areas outside Mesa like Queen Creek and the Tonto National Forest, falls in line with the “limitless” concept Garcia said represents a large shift from previous promotional efforts focused on the aforementioned family audience.
“You can’t always focus on what’s been your norm,” he said.
Beyond the pitches, Garcia said the new campaign encompasses Mesa’s visitors center, as the building has undergone several interior changes — among them a new conference room and the addition of interactive computers in the front lobby.
The Mesa City Limitless overhaul isn’t finished — the visitors center has another phase in its physical upgrade, and the organization’s website hasn’t incorporated the new slogan or branding yet — but Garcia said the response “has been positive” since Visit Mesa unveiled it at a conference in Las Vegas in June.
“I think it’s going to explode; it’s going to take off,” Streeter added.
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