The San Ramon Valley Tourism Improvement District, more commonly known as Discover San Ramon, revealed its strategy to drive tourism in San Ramon during the City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, a campaign aiming to brand the city as a place of leisure.
Presented by Sacramento-based marketing and advertising agency Mering -- previously known as Mering Carson -- the strategy seeks to extend the visits of current business travelers already in San Ramon, instead of drawing in new tourism from outside communities.
“The primary strategy is to reach (current business travelers) while they are here; we can do some email through the hotels but that really is limited so the plan is to reach them while they are here using digital tactics,” Mering president Lori Bartle said. “It may be too late to extend the trip that they are on, but a lot of these folks are coming on a regular basis.”
Mering seeks to sway business travelers to stay longer off a creative strategy revolving around the phrase “Nothing Compares to San Ramon.”
“When it comes to leisure time and relaxation, nothing really can be something amazing. And with San Ramon’s wide-open natural surroundings and friendly vibe, there’s no better place to get away and enjoy the rejuvenating effects if doing absolutely nothing,” Mering’s creative director Scott Conway told the council.
Mering officials hope that through branding San Ramon as a place of leisure, business travelers will elect to book an extra night or more in their hotel in order to take advantage of the rest and relaxation offered in the city.
Ideas of executing the campaign include launching an advertising featuring video commercials and posters, and promoting local cultural events such as the “Nothing Compares to Beer in San Ramon” festival, the San Ramon Leisure Sports Olympics and dedicating the first Sunday of every month as a "day of leisure."
To further complement the campaign, Mering created also created a new logo for Discover San Ramon and a conceptual idea for a virtual reality welcome sign that could answer questions about San Ramon in a similar way to the Iphone’s Siri.
The council was overall supportive of the presentation, saying they thought the idea of “Nothing Compares to San Ramon” as a clever tagline.
“This is a process that required a bunch of dull bureaucratic stuff like establishing this tourism district, and then it required a long period of time to get actual capital to hire a company like Mering,” Councilman Phil O’Loane said. “Not all of this is going to work but its clever and hanging out for an extra day doing nothing can be (pretty great).”
Discover San Ramon was formed in 2015 to promote San Ramon's tourism industry after the city decided to separate from its affiliation with Visit Tri-Valley -- a coalition of regional municipalities that includes Danville, Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton.
With the city removing itself from the regional district in order to focus funds more directly on attracting tourism to San Ramon, hotels associated with Discover San Ramon are charged a $2 tax when a room is rented for less than 30 days that is put toward a tourism fund for San Ramon.
Discover San Ramon’s president Dennis Garrison says that after years of planning the organization is in a prime position to launch an extensive campaign within the next two to three years.
“The board made a strategic decision to adopt a more innovative option,” Garrison told the council. “We looked at a lot of options that came back from the consultants who did an outstanding job as I think you all can see. The board felt that in order to make the biggest bang for your buck we need to be aggressive.”
“(In 2019) we still took in more than we spent so we've built a reserve again. We think we are in the right strategic position to kick off a big marketing campaign for the next two to three years. We have the reserves and the cash flow to do that,” he added.
The San Ramon City Council video records its regular meetings, which are held typically twice a month on Tuesdays. Video recordings are available online at www.sanramon.ca.gov.