For anyone, including INBOUND’s editor, who’s seen the unspeakably beautiful visual experiences that one enjoys when visiting Sedona, there has been a sticking point: the mind-bending chokehold of slow traffic as it snakes its way over Arizona Route 89A through the small (est. population of a little more than 10,000) city that is a favorite destination of Arizonans, Americans and travelers from throughout the world.
But the sticking point is becoming unstuck.
“We want people to come here and be happy, and nobody likes traffic, even if you’re stuck in traffic staring at the most beautiful red rock formation you’ve ever seen,” said Kegn Moorcroft, the director of communications for the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, said in an article posted on a blog at CrowdRiff.com, explaining that no one wanted to approach the problem with an approach that depended on wider roads because “that visitors are drawn by the small town appeal, something an eight-lane highway could jeopardize.”
Sedona Secret 7: Moorcroft and the team from Sedona spent a year of working through potential solutions. At the same time, they came upon a rare opportunity to turn their vision into reality. In July of 2016, they submitted their proposal for a new tourism microsite to promote Sedona’s lesser-known attractions to the Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism and its “Grand Pitch” competition, which awarded one winner $100,000 in free media buys from the Arizona Office of Tourism’s media partners.
“And we won The Grand Pitch, which means that we had $100,000 of ad buys with major, amazing publications and online digital assets.”
The result, SedonaSecret7.com, is “a highly visual standlone website that drives interest toward seven lesser known attractions in seven popular tourism categories: hiking, biking, arts and culture, spirituality, vistas, stargazing and picnics.”
There were was a big deadline, though. As Moorcroft explained, “We had to put it together in one year, and present on our success at the next conference one year later.”
After winning the Grand Pitch, Moorcroft and her team began collaborating with key local partners to bring their idea to life, including:
—The Forest Services department to help scout locations
—State and local governments to secure shooting permits and ensure they were promoting the right trails at the right times
—Local nonprofit agencies to ensure they were on board
—Local influencers to employ as photographers
—Their agency of record, OH Partners, to help orchestrate the production within the allotted time
Since its launch to the public following the 2017 Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism in July, the microsite has averaged about 200 sessions per day, approximately two minutes each. “Phase two is integrating CrowdRiff* with this website, which we’ll begin likely in February (2018),” said Moorcroft. “We’re probably going to do a [user-generated] gallery within each of the seven themes, and we’re hoping to use the Sedona Secret 7 hashtag to pull out some great imagery that’s already out there.”
CrowdRiff is described as s an “Artificial Intelligence-powered visual content marketing platform that enables marketers to discover and deliver top-performing visuals across every channel.” For more information on the work of Crowdriff, visit: www.crowdriff.com.