By Meagan McGuire
VP Sales and Services
Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority
With the newly announced statewide restrictions along with recent shutdowns, furloughs and unemployment, people’s eagerness to do something to help is entwined with profound concern for their health, welfare and that of loves ones.
That’s why the tagline for the King County Tourism Recovery Marketing campaign hits home: “Do Something.” The campaign plays on a common theme: people want to support their community. We’ve seen posts on social media encouraging others to order takeout or patronize local family-run businesses so they can survive.
Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority and Visit Seattle are encouraging residents to “do something” (within their comfort level): to enjoy all the county has to offer in accordance with the guidelines of our “new normal.”
While the full economic impact of COVID-19 on King County is not yet known, the data points below provide confirmation of the devastating impact the pandemic has had on tourism and hospitality in this region:
- In 2019, the tourism industry generated $11.7 billion in total economic impact, along with 80,317 jobs. Visitors also paid $837.5 million in state and local taxes, which offset the annual household tax burden for local residents by $1,425.
- While regional hotel occupancies have shown consistent growth in recent weeks, occupancy is down significantly in comparison to prior years. For the week of Sept. 20-26, for example, the Seattle metro market had 38.5% occupancy (compared to 91.7% last year).
- The 2019 cruise season in Seattle generated $893.6 million and provided more than 5,500 local jobs. The 2020 season was canceled entirely.
- According to Tourism Economics, despite only accounting for 11% of employment in the US, the leisure and hospitality sector constitutes more than 40% of the country’s excess unemployment, with nearly 16.9 million jobs lost.
- As of today, 54 national citywide conventions previously booked at the Washington State Convention Center have cancelled, resulting in a loss of $379 million in economic impact.
King County businesses have had to make heart-wrenching decisions on how to cut costs to stay afloat, and many smaller ones may not have the means to market themselves. This campaign provides you tools and an opportunity to receive free marketing exposure by using your social media channels and marketing outlets to help spread the message that King County is open for business.
Check out visitseattle.org/about-us for more information about how you can participate in the campaign and sign the All Clear King County Pledge. South King County Business can also visit seattlesouthsidechamber.com/southside-promise.
Receive a free online listing
The campaign’s commercials (radio, social media, online channels, etc.) will direct people to visit its landing page. Your King County business can be listed on this page for free. You can sign up by visiting the All Clear King County Pledge webpage. Businesses in South King County can also take the Southside Promise for inclusion.
Post on social media
The campaign has developed a digital marketing toolkit to make it easy for local businesses to showcase their participation via social media. The post text has literally already been written, and photos, optimized for each social media channel, are available for download. It is just a matter of copying and pasting.
Use the hashtag
Whether using one of the predesigned posts from the digital marketing toolkit or another post related to your business, make sure to include the hashtag #DoSomethingNearby. This will increase the number of people who see the posts by connecting it to the campaign. It will also allow for Visit Seattle and the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority to see your posts and repost them on our channels.
Brand your business as open and clean
The “Do Something” campaign is gaining traction with the public, and the message and logo are becoming recognizable as a badge that says your King County business is clean, safe and welcoming. Displaying one of the downloadable posters or adding the logo, imagery or messaging to your own website or flyers will tie your business into the campaign. The toolkit includes all the written copy, logos and images so they are easy to copy and paste.