It’s been a busy spring for Trinity County Chamber of Commerce volunteers working to boost marketing efforts aimed at drawing more visitors to come and spend their vacation time and dollars here.
The all-volunteer County Chamber of Commerce is funded through a combination of annual membership dues from local businesses opting in for a fee of $85, plus a $20,000 share of Trinity County transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenue and any grants it can secure.
In recent months, efforts have been undertaken to split the Chamber into two divisions: one to advocate for businesses and another, the Trinity County Visitors and Development Bureau to focus on marketing the area.
Chamber president and secretary of the visitors bureau, Kelli Gant of Trinity Center, spoke of this spring’s marketing campaign aimed at casting a wider net during an update to the Trinity County Board of Supervisors on April 16.
“The TOT money should be used to generate overnight stays in the county to generate more TOT money, so we need to focus long distance on Sacramento, the Bay Area, and beyond. Visitors from Redding just go home at night,” she said.
The Chamber’s websites at www.trinitycounty.com and www.visittrinity.com are maintained by volunteers, “and it’s a good start, but we need to drive people to our websites so we are grateful to have two great partners, the Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association and the Redding Convention and Visitors Bureau. The two work closely together and our strategy is to ride their coattails,” Gant said.
She serves as an at-large member representing Trinity County on the Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association’s board of directors that has developed an Upstate California campaign.
“People get confused when you talk about Northern California and think it means anywhere from Fresno to Yreka, so because we are very rural, we picked ‘Upstate California’ like Upstate New York and other ‘upstate’ areas in the country,” Gant said, noting the Upstate California Visitors Guide includes tourism information on eight counties, but it only lists businesses that pay an annual $250 membership fee which is what the Chamber pays to be a member.
She said this year’s focus has been a fire recovery campaign to let people know “we didn’t burn down and to come up and see us. We’re not just ashes. Our target is young people who like what we have to offer: the outdoors.”
Volunteers from Trinity County have also staffed booths at travel and adventure shows this spring including one in San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Clara, paid for mostly by the city of Redding and Shasta Cascade.
“They asked for volunteers and we raised our hand,” Gant said, adding the time was spent visiting and informing people where Trinity County is and what it has to offer.
“Some in San Diego asked where Redding is, so it was a learning experience,” she said, adding prospective visitors want maps and itineraries of things they can see and do over a period of one to three days. Another frequent question is about available RV parks in the area.
“That’s a big challenge in Weaverville. Once you get out of Weaverville, there’s nowhere to turn that big RV around so you can go back to park and visit the cute little town,” she said.
Gant said the Chamber still holds most of the TOT revenue, but the goal going forward is to make the Chamber efforts to promote businesses self-supporting on membership dues and to put the $20,000 in TOT money toward the marketing side.