New plan to market Scottsdale - East Valley Tribune: Business

New plan to market Scottsdale

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Posted: Monday, June 30, 2003 10:25 pm | Updated: 1:15 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

A corporate chief executive who discovers the lush greens, spectacular desert scenery and posh accommodations in Scottsdale is likely to come back with his executives or sales team — maybe eventually with the whole company.

That’s the premise behind a new Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing plan that begins with a special section in “Forbes magazine” in January and culminates with an invitation-only April golf tourney for chief executives.

The local tourism agency and Forbes publisher Steve Forbes plan to announce the program Wednesday during a luncheon at Grayhawk Golf Club.

Battered by the corporate travel cutbacks of the last couple of years that have left too many rooms empty and others selling at too low a price, Scottsdale is targeting corporate decision makers, said Brent DeRaad, marketing vice president for the tourism agency.

About 60 percent of Scottsdale tourists come to the city to attend a meeting rather than just for a vacation, DeRaad said, and half of the meetinggoers are corporate groups. The visitors bureau commissioned a study by national meetings industry consultants, Gerald Murphy & Associates, to poll the business bunch and find out how they decide where to meet.

According to the study, 60 percent of the time chief executives and top management of companies have a say in where to hold the meetings. In contrast, only 11 percent of the meeting destinations were influenced by independent meeting planners.

While Scottsdale continues to court the meeting planners, city hoteliers could book more business by catching the attention of the corporate big shots, DeRaad said. The most surprising study finding, DeRaad said, is that half of the top executives were not familiar with Scottsdale. The new marketing strategy aims to change that.

The result could not only bring more meetings to Scottsdale but also corporate relocations or new regional offices, said Richard Bibee, general manager of the Renaissance Scottsdale resort.

“We've seen it happen time after time, where a person of influence in a company visits our destination, sees the wonderful amenities, and we become a preferred location,” Bibee said. DeRaad said Scottsdale will pick the tourney invitees, aiming for chief executives at the helm of companies in the industries the city is trying to attract.

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