Allen & Gerritsen has been selected by The Central Pennsylvania Convention & Visitors Bureau to lead a major destination/organisation rebranding effort.
“The hiring of A&G is the first step to fulfilling a strategic commitment to use increased hotel bed tax revenues to enhance the marketing and promotion of Centre County as a tourism destination,” said Fritz Smith, CPCVB executive director. “We have a tremendous story to tell; our outdoor, historical and cultural assets are wonderful undiscovered treasures. We need to better tell that story and create a compelling and appealing identity that resonates with potential visitors.”
Fritz said eight firms responded to the nationwide RFP issued in April, with four selected to formally present to the CPCVB, members of its marketing committee and key community stakeholders.
“The firms all made very compelling cases,” Fritz said. “After careful deliberation, the consensus was that A&G really spoke to us on a personal level. They demonstrated that they understood the community and would be able to wrap their hands around our unique market and help craft a compelling message to the right audience.”
Fritz said in part that message needs to reflect that while Penn State is an important tourism asset and partner, Centre County as a destination is more than just the university. He added that A&G’s strong creative aesthetic and vision, knowledge of the area, experienced staff, and focus on partnership were key factors in the selection decision.
Edward Tubbs, chief operating officer of Hospitality Asset Management Company, and president of the CPCVB board of directors, applauded the process for selecting A&G.
“This was a critical decision for the CPCVB,” Edward said. “Knowing the process to select an agency was completed in such a professional and well-thought-out manner speaks to the positive future of the organization and the benefits that will come to all in Centre County.”
A&G principal Tim Reeves, who previously oversaw Pennsylvania’s tourism efforts under Gov. Tom Ridge and still resides in central Pennsylvania, said he is “tremendously honored to have been chosen to lead a new era for Centre County and for the organisation.”
Tim said the A&G team – which includes a Penn State University alum – knows Centre County well and views its “remarkable, yet largely undiscovered assets” as a strength in attracting visitors, if marketed well. “This is an incredible opportunity to put Centre County even more on the map,” he said.
Fritz said with the selection of A&G to head up the destination/organisation rebranding, and the selection of several local marketing firms — Loaded Creative, 3Twenty9 Design/Hello Social Co., Seven Mountains Media and Centre Daily Times/McClatchy – to craft a vision for agritourism in the county – tourism is poised to make a greater impact on the local economy.
“The ripple effect of welcoming more visitors to Centre County is good news for the hospitality and agricultural industries, business growth and job creation, and the overall economy,” he said. “We look forward to this partnership with A&G and working with all stakeholders to position Centre County as a destination people want to come to, stay and explore.”