Most Viewed Stories
Award brings sunshine to YVB
The Yuma Visitors Bureau's clever confidence just earned it a state tourism award for its promise to make a cloudy Yuma day worthwhile.
The locally iconic photo of the Pilot Knob Hotel, circa 1905, with a sign boldly offering “free board for every day the sun doesn't shine” inspired a contemporary campaign by the YVB — participating hotels would give guests coupons for free meals at nearby restaurants if, according to a panel of local arbiters, the sun did not shine that day. The campaign won this year's Governor's Tourism Award for “Innovative Promotions” at the Governor's Conference on Tourism, held this week in Phoenix.
Lori Stofft, president of the YVB board, said authenticity, creativity and uniqueness are best for marketing campaigns.
A lot of tourist cities could never make such a claim about their sunshine, she said — think Seattle or Portland.
“It really played up on something that's very authentic about Yuma,” she said.
This city boasts an average of 350 days of sunshine per year. “The almanac bears it out for sure,” Stofft said.
The promotion started last August to celebrate Arizona's centennial and is nearly over.
“This award should be an inspiration to other small cities because it demonstrates that a great idea is more important than a huge budget,” said Linda Jordan, YVB executive director, who accepted the award on behalf of the YVB staff, along with her immediate predecessor Susan Sternitzke and former YVB employee Kristan Sheppeard. “It was imagination that turned a simple idea into a promotion that grabbed attention around the world, all on a modest budget.”
With the summer storms flirting with Yuma, there's still time for visitors to get a meal on the house. Here's how it works: If it's cloudy, a committee of YVB staff and board members and local meteorologists will start monitoring the weather. They will decide by 5 p.m. if the sun did not shine that day. If it didn't, the team calls a “Code Gloom” and participating hotels will prop a life-size cut-out of Mayor Alan Krieger (with umbrella) in their lobby area and guests get a coupon for up to two free meals per room. Other merchants and attractions, including the Yuma Territorial Prison State Park, Desert Hills Golf Course and the Yuma Sun, also offer freebies and discounts.
“It's a great honor to have our staff's creativity and hard work recognized by professional colleagues across the state,” Jordan added. “Putting Yuma in the spotlight is what we're all about.”
See more www.visityuma.com/freeboard.html to learn more about what visitors get when it's “cloudy with a chance of tacos.”
Hillary Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.