MANCHESTER - The town alone can't attract visitors and potential residents; sometimes it needs a little help. The town's marketing committee has decided the best way to help draw visitors is with a public radio campaign and website.

At a select board meeting on April 29, the board authorized the funding for the project. All together, between voted appropriations from the 2013 and 2014 Town Meeting, the project was given $25,000 in public tax dollars.

Ron Mancini, the chairman of the marketing committee, said the idea the group is focusing is "Experience Manchester, the center of all things Vermont."

"Manchester has so much to offer and so much within a close proximity that it really is the center of all things Vermont - arts, recreation, shopping, dining, lodging," he said. "We can give people a sophisticated experience, a down home Vermont experience and a whole list of experiences."

On Monday, May 12, the group launched their website, experiencemanchestervermont.com, as well as their public radio campaign on WAMC public radio. Based in the Capital Region of New York, in the area surrounding Albany, N.Y., these ads will reach three million listeners within a three hour drive of Manchester. Mancini said the group chose radio because it will reach listeners from ages 30 to 50, with money to travel and in search of the types of experiences available in the area. The web page will act as a landing page for visitors, from there they can find information about lodging, res taurants and recreation.


Advertisement

The marketing committee also hope these radio ads will help draw perspective home buyers to Manchester.

"[The marketing campaign] puts a spotlight on the assets - cultural, recreational and educational assets," Mancini said.

The campaign is funded through both tax dollars and private money from business owners. Mancini said the total budget is $60,000; $25,000 from taxes and $35,000 from businesses. The radio advertisements will run every day until December of 2015.

In the April 29 select board meeting, town manager John O'Keefe asked if business outside of Manchester would be included in the campaign, in light of the fact that tax dollars were involved. He mentioned the ski areas specifically, because they do not have a Manchester equivalent.

Michael Kilburn, another member of the committee who gave a presentation in front of the select board, said the group is trying to keep their advertising focus local.

"That's a touchy subject, where as Bromley is...one might say that it's Manchester's ski area, it doesn't have a lot of beds or restaurants," he said. "Stratton's the opposite. At one point we were the lodging place for a lot of Stratton skiers, but now they're self-contained up there. That's had an influence on lodging in particular."

He said that the chamber of commerce focuses their advertising on the whole region. This campaign will instead just focus on Manchester.

Ivan Beattie, chairman of the select board wanted to know how this could be tracked and O'Keefe said the website could use Google analytics to track hits and where they are coming from, as well as sales tax revenue and gross receipts.

"The more accurate way to look at it, gross receipts... it is the raw data that includes, grocery, clothing, things that are not taxed," O'Keefe said.