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Salado efforts advertising funds to ramp up tourism

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TWC News: Salado efforts advertising funds to ramp up tourism
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You don't have to tell longtime Salado store owners like Charlotte Douglas how important tourism is to the village.

"We're always advertising, either individually or collectively as groups of shops," she said.

A big part of getting more people into her store has been getting the word out about the hidden treasure town.

"We know that Central Texas is one of the fastest growing areas in our state, so we're always getting new people,” Douglas said. “Particularly because we're so close to the Fort Hood area."

Soon business owners in Salado will get a little help through a marketing campaign highlighting what Salado has to offer, targeting residents in neighboring cities within a 50 mile radius.

Last month, the village aldermen approved the use of $20,000 in sales tax money towards promoting the village.

"I think the reason that the mayor and aldermen did contribute money to this the merchants got together and presented a very focused plan,” tourism director Debbie Charbonneau said.

The money will pay for billboards and TV ads which can only benefit relatively new store owners like Liz Wolff of Howling Wolff boutique, especially with construction and expansion going on, not just in her store but on a part of Interstate-35 in Salado as well.

"It certainly will help get us through the construction, but I also think the construction will be a good thing for us,” Wolff said. “I think with advertising, I think it will help bring more people into town."

For a village which has no industry and depends on tourism, some say the impact goes well beyond Main Street.

"The more people we're able to bring into Salado, that keeps our property taxes low,” Charbonneau said. “The people that may come in, they may or may not spend the night, they may or may not shop, but they may dine, but they'll always come back."

Officials say the new billboards are expected to go up this month, and the first television ads will hit the air in the next several weeks.

After six months, Charbonneau says they will meet again to decide how to move forward with the program for an additional six to nine months.

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