Sacco: Experience Scottsdale efforts help to embolden Old Town moniker

Say goodbye to “downtown Scottsdale” and say hello to “Old Town Scottsdale.”

Rachel Sacco

This month, the city of Scottsdale officially launched its new marketing campaign to strengthen the brand and identity of Old Town Scottsdale amongst Arizona residents.

That local awareness is needed, especially as many of our neighboring cities are building up their own downtowns and historic districts. The competition for the local customer — some 4 million in the Valley of the Sun — is heating up, and Scottsdale can’t afford to miss out.

The municipality’s efforts to attract local consumers to Old Town Scottsdale complement Experience Scottsdale’s tourism promotion as we strive to bring national and international visitors to Scottsdale. Industry research shows that visitors desire to be amongst the locals.

And, if we draw more locals to Old Town Scottsdale to experience all its delights, then, the visitors will surely follow.

Thankfully, Scottsdale is already at an advantage. During the branding initiative, city staff learned that Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson residents consider Old Town Scottsdale to be unique, vibrant, fun and safe.

Fortunately, our visitors feel the same, which is why Old Town Scottsdale is a critical component of Experience Scottsdale’s destination promotion. We incorporate messaging about Old Town into every aspect of our programming — including marketing, sales, public relations and tourism. Through such efforts, we strive to spread the word about Old Town’s walkability and urban charm, as well as its art galleries, shopping, restaurants and museums.

Experience Scottsdale features Old Town in our visitor guides, and we promote the area extensively on our website and social media channels. In print and online, we feature articles like “Finding Arizona in Old Town Scottsdale’s Unique Boutiques,” and we produce YouTube videos about the area’s amenities – including a recent one on bike share.

Our digital “Old Town Scottsdale Guide,” which covers all the area’s districts, is one of our most popular. So popular, in fact, we condensed that information into a pocket-sized map, now available at the Scottsdale Tourist Information Center at Scottsdale Fashion Square and the Old Town Ambassador carts.

Beyond our publications, Experience Scottsdale also promotes Old Town by inviting our clients — national and international media, travel agents, tour operators and meeting planners — to explore the area firsthand. Last fiscal year, we hosted approximately 600 clients in Scottsdale, nearly all of whom spent time in our downtown core.

In doing so, our hope is that travel agents will sell the uniqueness of the area to their clients booking Scottsdale vacations; that meeting groups book conferences in Old Town hotels and consider the area’s shopping, restaurants and nightlife for after-meeting activities; and that media write about the area in high-end publications and online.

During the past nine months, nearly 400 Scottsdale destination articles generated by the Experience Scottsdale team have spotlighted Old Town. Those articles have reached nearly 1.3 billion readers through publications like Sunset, The Los Angeles Times, USAToday and more.

Old Town Scottsdale has so many opportunities and amenities for both visitors and locals to enjoy. Through the combined efforts of the city of Scottsdale and Experience Scottsdale, we hope to see more customers — from both near and far — explore Old Town’s shops, galleries, restaurants and nightlife options.

Editor’s note: Ms. Sacco is the president and CEO of Experience Scottsdale.

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