COOKEVILLE – Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau staff, Vice President of Visitor Development Zach Ledbetter and Public Relations & Marketing Director Molly Brown, joined the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development for the 2018 Bonnaroo Arts & Music Festival in Manchester, TN, June 7-10. In preparation for the festival, the visitors’ bureau team worked with local hotels to coordinate discounted rates for Bonnaroo attendees and promoted “Roo-cations” via social media campaigns.
During the festival, the team attended several press events, including a presentation by TDTD’s Public Relations Director Cindy Dupree and Communications Content Manager Amanda Stravinsky. Ledbetter and Brown joined Dupree and Stravinsky, along with TDTD’s Public Relations Media Specialist Jill Kilgore and Marketing Director Nekasha Pratt, in distributing Tennessee-branded gifts to the media in attendance.
“It is always a pleasure to work with the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau staff,” said Dupree. “The visitors’ bureau team is business-smart to capitalize on Bonnaroo’s proximity and encourage the many thousands in attendance to “Roo-cation” in Cookeville-Putnam County.”
The visitors’ bureau team also provided media hot sheets and visitor guides to journalists onsite and connected with writers and editors from publications such as The Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Now Playing Nashville, and the Associated Press.
In addition to great networking with national media and the TDTD team, the visitors’ bureau had the opportunity to meet with festival-goers to learn more about the demographics of these visitors. Attendees from Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, Canada and more were surveyed.
“This music festival is a great example of our state’s brand, ‘The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.’” said Ledbetter. “Bonnaroo is recognized on an international level and is only a short-drive from Cookeville. Attendees who choose not to camp have the opportunity to ‘’Roo & Ride’ with select hotels offering shuttle service to and from the event.”
“Nashville and Murfreesboro are leveraging opportunities to host these guests. We need to do so as well,” added Ledbetter. “Attendees can stay in Putnam County for more affordable rates, have little to no traffic congestion with an easy drive or ride via Hwy. 111, and can add a few extra days before or after the festival to explore our state parks, downtown breweries, outstanding culinary options and more.”
The dates for next year’s Bonnaroo Arts & Music Festival are June 13-16, 2019. Area hospitality partners (e.g. hotels, restaurants, and attractions) are encouraged to reach out to the visitors’ bureau to feature discounts, packages, and specials that can be marketed to these potential guests to Putnam County. The visitors’ bureau is also researching opportunities to work with other music festivals in similar fashion, e.g. CMA Fest, Muddy Roots Festival, Jammin’ at Hippie Jacks Americana Music Festival, etc.
The Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau serves as the designated destination marketing organization (DMO) for Putnam County. Tasked with inspiring travel and overnight stays in Putnam County, the visitors’ bureau promotes to targeted drive and fly markets, e.g. Atlanta, Birmingham, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. Marketing pillars include outdoors; fitness/sports; motorcycling; arts/culture; and culinary/crafts.
The visitors’ bureau is funded by a portion of the Putnam County lodging tax. Most recent U.S. Travel Association statistics (2016) demonstrate direct tourism expenditures (dollars spent by travelers to Putnam County) reached $123.06 million, generating $2.56 million in local tax revenue. Putnam County currently ranks 17th of Tennessee’s 95 counties and generates 1,020 hospitality jobs with $23.02 million in payroll to area residents. Each household in Putnam County saves $342.86 in taxes due to visitor spending. For more information about the work of the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau, go to VisitCookevilleTN.com.