Covington’s tourists will soon be getting an all-access pass to downtown.
Tourism Director Jenny McDonald wants to bring more foot traffic downtown, and she’s hoping a "Hollywood of the South" themed badge pouch – the kind worn at conferences with lanyards – filled with coupons to local businesses and a mini map of downtown’s historic and filming highlights will do the trick for hotel guests.
Her idea was inspired by a recent governor’s conference she attended. McDonald realized she had kept the badge pouch around for multiple days after the conference, because she had put business cards in it, and she thought it could be an effective marketing tool.
The vast majority of Covington’s hotels are filled with corporate visitors – around 75 percent at the big three hotels, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn and the Baymont Inn and Suites – who generally stay in town for training or other business for multiple days but may never find their way downtown without a push.
"If we have this tool, and there’s a corporate person training with Baxter International or C.R. Bard and they’re waiting to check in, they could get this," McDonald said.
"They don’t have to read anything," she said, referring to the overwhelming number of brochures that greet guests looking for activities. "They would have an all-access pass, ‘A great stay is only a ticket away. See inside.’"
The coupons would be created to emulate movie tickets to play off Covington’s Hollywood-heavy history.
McDonald is working on designing the pouches, getting local businesses to buy in, and working to get the hotels fully on board.
"I come from a direct -mail marketing background, and (as a business) you have to have an offer, that’s what I’m teaching people. It doesn’t matter if it’s (a) 10 percent (discount) or whatever," McDonald said.
Her goal is to have 1,000 of the badge pounces made to "test the waters." Each pouch costs about 93 cents, while the participating businesses will pay for the printing of their coupons. Students at the Newton College and Career Academy will handle the design – the students are participating in the Home Grown Digital Internship program and working with Marketing Media Management of Louisville, Ky.
The pouches will also be stuffed with a mini map of downtown Covington to help visitors find their way downtown and locate spots of interest.
McDonald said even if a corporate visitor doesn’t use the pouch, he or she may be less likely to just throw it away and his/her spouse wife may see it and a seed could be planted the next time the employee has to travel back to Covington.
In addition, McDonald said the beauty of the idea is that it can easily be changed, as information about upcoming festivals and events could be placed into the pouch and coupons could be easily traded out.
"(Business travelers) are more likely to book in Covington if there is more to do there and this gives the hotels more tools to get repeat cus