Arizona Tourism Campaign

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The Arizona Office of Tourism is starting a three-month ad campaign to encourage locals and people from neighboring states to vacation here in AZ. Sherry Henry, executive director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, will discuss the campaign.

Ted Simons: The State Office of Tourism is starting a three-month ad campaign to encourage the idea of Summer vacations in Arizona. Sherry Henry is the executive director of the Arizona office of tourism. She here to discuss the Summer in Arizona campaign. Good to see you again.

Sherry Henry: Nice to see you. Thank you so much for having us as always.

Ted Simons: You bet yeah. Now, this is a Summer in AZ campaign. Give us more information.

Sherry Henry: Well, we want Arizona residents as well as some of our folks in the region, to think Arizona for their Summer vacation, because it's a great diversity, and the beauty and the great fun things you can do in Arizona. And encourage them to explore their own back yard before they decide to take their Summer vacation someplace else.

Ted Simons: Explore their own back yard, and I understand the campaign targeting folks in Phoenix, but Los Angeles as well?

Sherry Henry: You know, everybody is always amazed about that. But Southern California, Los Angeles is still our number one drive market. The folks love to come to Arizona, particularly those that want the water sports. Because you've got the Colorado River, Lake Havasu, you have skiing and kayaking and all these great activities, so the people from Southern California just flock over there.

Ted Simons: So what kind of marketing are we talking about here?

Sherry Henry: We're doing the whole gamut. We're going to be on TV, we're going to be in movie theaters, on digital billboards. We're going to be in the newspaper. We're going to be in magazines. This is a full-blown Summer campaign because you've got to really make your voice heard out there, and get people to pay attention.

Ted Simons: I think we have an example here, a 30 second spot that we're going to show. These people in L.A. are going to be seeing this?

Sherry Henry: Absolutely.

Ted Simons: Maybe -- Let's take a look at that ad.

>> It's here. And it's time to drive. After all, Arizona has great Summer adventures all within driving distance. Like here. And here. And here. And here. All amazing, all invigorating, and all close to home. It's a short drive, but long overdue. So start planning. Visit for ideas.

Ted Simons: There will be print and radio, and there's also --

Sherry Henry: Billboards!

Ted Simons: Billboards as well, a website, and it sounds like it's a relatively interactive type of a website.

Sherry Henry:, and you can actually go on the website and pick the activity that you think you might like to explore. And then a little mouse hits that, and up comes all of this information and suggested itineraries and where you can find those kinds of activities. So that's everything from hiking, biking, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff adventures, urban experiences, these fabulous resorts all have these wonderful travel plans and these travel packages. And most of them now have the big water parks, you can bring your family, Tucson, wineries, anything that is you're interested in, go on this web site and click on it.

Ted Simons: I think the attraction of white water rafting and jet skiing and kayaking is relatively obvious. The urban adventures idea, though, is rather curious. What's that about?

Sherry Henry: Urban adventures, you have to remember Arizona and particularly the urban areas have these gorgeous early mornings. So it's beautiful out there. And you can go hiking, and you can meet friends for breakfast. You can check into one of our amazing hotels. People come from all around the world to come to our resorts, particularly in the Phoenix and Tucson and even the Sedona area. And yet our residents don't think about that sometimes, that they can enjoy those same amenities in the Summer months for a fraction of the cost people pay the rest of the year.

Ted Simons: As far as this kind of a campaign, have we seen this sort of thing -- It seems like things have been tight around here in the state the past few years. Is this a ramp up, is this similar to what has been done in the past?

Sherry Henry: It is a ramp up, but it's similar to programs we've had in the past. We started doing a Summer campaign a number of years ago because the economy was so tight and we knew people were going to start driving more for their Summer vacations particularly. But over the years as our budget has been able to increase we recognize the value of that, also I think you have to look at the fact that tourism is such a major economic driver of revenue for our state, so not only do we get a great vacation, you can also help your state by keeping your money and your taxes in Arizona.

Ted Simons: Speaking of the taxes, which helped pay for this campaign, how much of the came pain cost?

Sherry Henry: A half million dollars when you put it all together. We're very fortunate that our media partners and our ad agency is able to get us so much leverage for the dollars that we actually invest. We usually get almost double that in terms of the exposure. So that helps us a lot to tell that Arizona story.

Ted Simons: When does the campaign start, how long does it last?

Sherry Henry: It started in May, and it runs through August, until about the time the kids go back to school.

Ted Simons: We talked about Los Angeles, how some folks are kind of surprised that folks in L.A. see water sports when they look at Arizona as opposed to what some of us see when we think of Arizona in the Summer time, what are the impressions, you've heard them, you've been around the country, you know what people from elsewhere think of Arizona as far as a tourism destination. What -- Besides the Grand Canyon, what are they thinking?

Sherry Henry: I think they always recognize the iconic -- Arizona is really known obviously for its beautiful scenery. And I think the thing we're trying to layer over that is the activities that exist in addition to that beautiful scenery. And I think that's the messaging our national campaign has had, our target cities campaign has had, all of that is to encourage you to remember not only is it fabulous and beautiful and diversified and all these different cultures, but you can do anything here. Absolutely anything. Any kind of adventure that you want, any kind of experience that you want.

Ted Simons: In terms of marketing, in terms of getting that message out, how do you do that and also -- And do you even mention the fact that it gets hot here? Really, really hot. Do you even mention that or do you just figure, if your this far along the path of visiting Arizona, you already know that?

Sherry Henry: I think that's a point, but in -- Particularly in the Phoenix area, it is hot in the few months of the year. But again, you have to work around that. And I think if you understand that, and know when you go outside and when you don't, people here, that live here play golf all Summer long right in the middle of the afternoon. I happen to be one of them.

Ted Simons: I am too.

Sherry Henry: So I think that what we want to do is tell that story to others. That you can do all these activities, and you can work around the heat, and our international visitors of course, they love the Summer.

Ted Simons: We've had you on before back in times when the state budget was a real problem and getting those dollars into the tourism office an even bigger problem from where you sit. How is that working? Are things starting to flow better, or is it still -- You still have to work to get these budget dollars into tourism?

Sherry Henry: We're very fortunate in that Governor Brewer is a great champion of tourism. And so with her guidance and her encouragement, she has done the one that has upped our budget over the last number years and that's really helped us. Again, because we're able to take those dollars and then we are able leverage them, so whatever we're contributing, we get almost double or more the exposure for those same dollars.

Ted Simons: Still a ways to go before the recession hit that level. Correct?

Sherry Henry: Yes.

Ted Simons: All right. Good luck with this. If I see a bunch of folks wandering around looking like they're lost --

Sherry Henry: -- just help them out.

Ted Simons: In Arizona in July, I'll point them to the water. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Sherry Henry: Thank you so much.

Sherry Henry:Executive Director, Arizona Office of Tourism;


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