Tag Archives: Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

Will the Scottsdale Brand Continue to Adapt and Stay Relevant?

Piltz_Amanda Sue CropBy Amanda Sue Briggs
Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors

Class 30 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

“Scottsdale would not be Scottsdale without the surrounding Valley.” That was the overwhelming theme of Beyond Scottsdale City Limits Day, held at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. However, as became apparent throughout the panels and discussions, some aspects of the City of Scottsdale have historically been more accepting of that fact than others.

IMG_8366The Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, led by Rachel Sacco since 1987, is an agency that helps promote the Scottsdale area as a premier tourist destination. But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, the first time the CVB suggested that multiple hotels partner with the CVB to promote Scottsdale – the destination – rather than the Scottsdale hotels, it wasn’t immediately a popular idea. But, as Ms. Sacco pointed out, “they have to come to Scottsdale first before they can book a night in a Scottsdale hotel.” That was over 20 years ago. Since then, hoteliers and resorts in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley have gladly voted to tax themselves in order to fund the CVB and its mission to promote the Scottsdale area as a premier tourist destination.

Collaboration is how the Scottsdale CVB found success when differentiating the Scottsdale area from its competitors, such as Palm Springs and even Phoenix/Tempe. “There is nothing more competitive than convincing people to come to your destination,” explained Ms. Sacco. It’s all about the brand of the destination – and the Scottsdale brand is one of the best in the world. Scottsdale only became that premier brand by its collaboration first with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa and Fort McDowell Indian Communities, then Paradise Valley in 1987, followed by Fountain Hills in 2000.

IMG_8383The tourism industry knows that Scottsdale would not be what it is today without the surrounding communities. And other cities often admit that they owe Scottsdale for some of their success. Gilbert, for example, which has passed Scottsdale in population, says that their town became “cool” because it’s “next to Scottsdale.” John Lewis, Mayor of Gilbert, said Scottsdale helps “open the door” to other Valley communities, which is a great thing for our entire region, because each community offers something unique and different.

But Scottsdale has not historically reciprocated that sense of community with our neighbors. Representatives from other neighboring communities spoke of Scottsdale’s “snobbish-ness”. They cited multiple cases, such as Scottsdale’s decision to look down its nose at the idea of connecting to nearby communities via mass transit, the fact that Scottsdale was the only city to decline the Phoenix Planning and Zoning Commission’s invite to work together, and Scottsdale’s inability to be “flexible when it comes to ideas about the future”.

Scott Smith, Interim CEO of Valley Metro, made the best case for why Scottsdale should change, be more cooperative with the region, and be more forward-thinking. One of the things keeping Scottsdale from doing things like light rail and other changes is the argument that Scottsdale has a brand to protect. The Scottsdale brand and its importance is undeniable: as Rachel Sacco from the CVB said, “it’s all about the brand”. But is keeping Scottsdale where it is – and being rigid and unaccepting of change – all for the sake of protecting its brand really the right answer?

Mr. Smith gave the example of Kodak, a company that vehemently protected its outdated brand in the midst of a changing industry. We all know what happened in Kodak’s case. Other companies chose instead to adapt their brands to stay relevant. Amazon, for example, began by only selling books, but adapted its business model to include a variety of products and consumer goods to meet the needs of its current customers as well as cultivate new ones. The result is a successful brand that is loved by fiercely loyal fans.

The Scottsdale brand is undeniably a successful and powerful image. Whether or not the brand will continue to adapt and stay relevant, well, I guess we’ll find out…

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What’s Behind the Scottsdale Brand? How Can We Protect It?

Andrea AkerBy Andrea Aker, Class 28
Aker Ink®

Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

What comes to mind when you think of Scottsdale? Luxury, golf and shopping… or “Snobsdale” and perhaps smugness? A variety of terms and connotations emerged during our class day, Beyond Scottsdale City Limits, where local leaders shared their thoughts on the role of collaboration among cities as well as the state of Scottsdale’s brand.

While all cities battle conflicting viewpoints to some extent, it seems the passion and pride of Scottsdale residents has been put into question a bit more since voters struck down the General Plan late last year. This issue has come up during many of our classes since the election, and it resurfaced once again as dignitaries from around the Valley converged.

Have the recession and other events from recent years altered Scottsdale’s brand? While it’s clear that many residents want changes – especially among those who hit the polls – I don’t believe the brand has suffered permanent damage. However, I do think more leaders and residents need to find common ground, goals and priorities.

Rachel Sacco, President and CEO of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, shared five key distinctions that make Scottsdale a desirable place to live and visit. Promoting these aspects of our city, she says, will help protect the Scottsdale brand.

  • Desert Recreation – No doubt the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a local gem. More than 30,000 acres of pristine desert landscape and 120 miles of trails within city limits are certain to draw residents and tourists alike.
  • Resort Lifestyle – There are many benefits to being dubbed a resort destination, especially in attracting affluent tourists who impact tax revenue. I also don’t mind living near a stone’s throw of poolside service.
  • Arts – The Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts serves as a hub for the arts community, but artistic endeavors are present throughout the city.
  • Events – Think Barrett Jackson, Phoenix Open, Parada Del Sol, Scottsdale Culinary Festival, etc. These events draw people from all over the Valley, state and even the nation.
  • Transportation – This might be a weaker point from my perspective, but certainly worth noting and discussing. Ever been on Ollie the Trolley? Me neither, but I want to catch a ride one day!

Do you agree or disagree? At what level should local leaders focus on supporting these distinctions? How can Scottsdale collaborate with neighboring cities to further strengthen positive branding?

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If We Promote It, Will They Come?

Lloyd

By Stacy Lloyd, Class 28
Lloyd Media Group

Class 28 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program.   The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership. 
 

If you’re going to talk about the economy and tourism, you can’t ask for a better venue than the Phoenician’s J&G Steakhouse.

During last week’s Dining with Friends Alumni Event, we enjoyed both gorgeous views overlooking the Valley and a delicious three-course meal. Let’s just say the potato gratin had me (and everyone else at the table) at the first bite.

Tourism is a top employer in Scottsdale. But will it remain that way? Will tourists continue to spend money visiting Scottsdale?

Our featured speaker, Rachel Sacco, President and CEO of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (SCVB) addressed those questions and shared how Scottsdale’s tourism industry has rebounded since the 2008 economic crisis.

“In 2007, we were flying high,” Sacco said. “Then the recession hit; and hit hard; taking out everything. Now in 2013, we’re still struggling to come back. We’re slowing making our way back up.”

She described how SCVB took control of its destiny; namely through encouraging the passage of Proposition 200’s higher bed tax. Bed tax is collected by Scottsdale resorts and hotels and passed along to the city and SCVB.

One half of this bed-tax revenue is allocated for tourism-related capital projects, special events and some even goes to the general fund to support resident services.

Some of those tourism-related projects include expansion of the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center at West World, the Desert Discovery Center and the Scottsdale Museum of the West.

Passage of Proposition 200 also provided the SCVB with dedicated annual funding for the first time in its history. SCVB receives 50 percent of the bed tax revenue. This money is earmarked for SCVB to market Scottsdale as a world-class vacation and meeting destination location.

Sacco said one way SCVB does that is by promoting Scottsdale as a warm-weather destination for folks in cold-weather markets.

SCVB is planning a similar campaign like it did last year. It wrapped York City subway trains with giant images showing off Scottsdale’s enviable tourism assets: the Sonoran Desert, the Old West heritage, spas and golf. Each wrap has a web address so riders can learn more about Scottsdale.

Another SCVB plan is to showcasing Scottsdale to people in Chicago, Denver and Canada via Weather.com, boasting our high temperatures and sunshine.

Folks at the Grove, a luxury shopping mall in Los Angeles are also on SCVB’s list. Every day thousands of affluent consumers will see beautiful images of Scottsdale and hopefully be enticed to select our city for their next vacation.

Of course, it isn’t certain if these measures will work. I will say, if I was freezing in below zero temps and saw an ad for sunny Scottsdale; that alone would make me hop a plane for Arizona.

What do you think? Will these promotion efforts work? Is the upswing in Scottsdale tourism here to stay?

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Did you Know?!

Kehayes, GeniaGenia Kehayes, Class 27
VP Finance Administration, Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

…that Scottsdale Stadium sits on what used to be cotton fields? … Harper’s Bazaar magazine staged a major fall fashion show and photo shoot in downtown Scottsdale in 1950? …the Rusty Spur Saloon is housed in what used to be a bank?  We learned these things and more as Class XXVII went on a whirlwind tour of Scottsdale during our History and Treasures Day.

We started out at Scottsdale Stadium, and I never knew that a number of teams called the stadium home before the San Francisco Giants settled there.  Next was a walking tour with Joan Fudala.   This lovely lady is a tremendous source of information about Scottsdale; she shared the information I opened with and more.

The Little Red Schoolhouse was our next stop and contains many historical artifacts of Scottsdale.  The museum manager told us that her parents actually attended school there and the “Rules for Teachers” posted on the wall brought to life how dramatically times have changed.

Did you know there’s an organic farm, Singh Farms, just east of the 101?  It has an almost forest-like atmosphere with garden beds interspersed throughout.  You owe it to yourself to attend the farmers market on Saturdays.  Spending just a brief time there proved to be very relaxing.

Liberty Wildlife

I really enjoyed Liberty Wildlife, which rehabilitates injured animals.  Those that cannot be released back into the wild as a result of their injuries are retained as education animals.  We saw a couple of eagles, a red-tailed hawk and my favorite, a desert screech owl named Ivan.

Scottsdale Airport was next, and it’s important to note what a major economic driver the airport is to our city, both in attracting employers and in the tax revenue it generates.  We were told that it gets utilized to capacity during our events season, but during the short time we were on the tarmac several jets took off and landed.

Los Cederos

We headed north to the Desert Foothills Family YMCA for a tour and more Scottsdale history.  Next was Los Cedros, modeled after a Moroccan Citadel.  It is rented out for events and meetings and houses some of the most beautiful Arabian horses.

Taliesin

We then focused on the Arts and headed to Taliesin West, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright.  Upon arrival one does get the sense of the experimental atmosphere that was intended for those studying there.

Finally, we went to Cattle Track Art Compound.  Ms. Ellis, the general manager, recounted a dynamic history of Cattletrack and what it was like to grow up there.  Photographers, painters, costume designers and hot rod shops still are housed there.  There was so much to see that we were encouraged to return to spend some time visiting the various shops and artists.

Even though I’ve lived here for years, I learned so much.   What little-known facts do you know about Scottsdale?

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Submissions Encouraged for Scottsdale Live!

Kelly Tope, Class 25
Senior Marketing Manager, Scottsdale CVB

I am fortunate enough to not have a fear of public speaking.  Now, before you go throwing things at me, I don’t mean like absolutely, positively no fear. But, I’m not throwing up behind the curtain either.  Call me crazy, but I think it’s actually fun to get up on stage, especially if you have an exciting topic.

Which is why I was so excited when I heard about the format of our (Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau) annual meeting this year.  Rather than bringing in one or two keynote speakers, we decided to engage the community through high-energy, fast-paced lightning talks.  Anyone can submit a topic (so long as it is somehow relevant to Scottsdale) and will have 20 slides and 5 minutes to talk about their passion.  Seriously, how cool is that?

So, if you’ve got a passion and a familiarity with Scottsdale (could I be talking to a more perfect audience), I encourage you to submit a topic to be considered for our annual meeting, which will take place October 19.  We welcome anything that could reveal the unique personality of Scottsdale – from fascinating people and thought-provoking ideas to intriguing experiences. So . . . What are you always talking about in conversation? What gets you bubbling over with excitement? What do you do in your spare time? What don’t others know that you think they should? Why do you love living, working or playing here?

Before you shut me out because you’re the person throwing up backstage (I’m sorry, I really don’t envy you), just think about it.  Could your desire to talk about your passion override your stage fright?  And, for anyone who is worried about staying on track (trust me, we’ll boot you after your five minutes), we’ve got you covered – the founder of Ignite Phoenix will be meeting with speakers to help coach them on giving a lightning-fast, timed presentation.

What are you waiting for?  Get on over to www.ScottsdaleCVB.com/AnnualMeeting for more info and to submit your topic. Submissions are due September 23.  Oh, and if you just want to come and watch it all go down, you can buy tickets at the same site.

What’s Your Passion? The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is inviting you to share it!

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