Resident dedicated to putting Everett on the must stop list
EVERETT - The city hopes tourists near and far will choose to “Experience Everett.”
Everett native Sean Straub came up with Experience Everett and his company, Videri LLC, is getting paid $120,000 to market the city this year. His nearly one-man company was hired last year for $90,000.
The money comes from taxes collected from hotels and motels, not from taxpayers, city cultural arts manager Carol Thomas said.
Videri’s strategy centers on spreading a good vibe about Everett on social media. It launched www.ExperienceEverett.com — an interactive calendar of events — and Facebook and Twitter accounts last year.
“We want to reach the tourists before they even come to Everett,” Straub said.
Experience Everett highlights local events. For example, the new Everett Craft Beer Tour Saturday, March 2 will bus beer fans between three local breweries. The tour starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Port Gardner Inn and tickets are $50.
He also worked to have the Everett Craft Beer Festival, an event put on by the Washington Beer commission, come back this August. The festival last year attracted 3,400 people and restaurants reported spikes in business.
His next ideas include a food truck bonanza day and a spirits tour with stops in Snohomish, he said. He also secured a family outing held by the nonprofit group PEPS to move from Woodinville to Everett. The August event is expected to bring more than 500 families.
Experience Everett promotes the city on four fronts: aerospace, arts, nature and Comcast Arena.
Tourism marketing is changing, Straub said. Taking a few Facebook posts viral can spur a lot of interest. Experience Everett’s Facebook page surpassed 2,000 “fans” this week.
Straub can’t track how many people actually are buying hotel stays as part of his efforts — a core funding source for tourism marketing — but Straub outlined how the tourism efforts are working through social media.
A considerable number of people are visiting the websites on their smartphones. Tourists are on the go, Straub said.
One immediate focus is to get people to exit Interstate 5 and explore Everett. Canadian tourists are a big source of revenue, Straub said.
He’s also launching a campaign for businesses to put stickers in their windows and producing a set of business cards with events listed on them.
One card Could have a picture of a Boeing 787 with information on Boeing tours on the back of it.
Straub also is involved in building Everett’s entertainment scene. Last year, Straub and friends created the separate Everett Music Initiative to bring notable indie bands to the Anchor Pub.
The city chose to take its marketing efforts online last year, dropping a $130,000 contract with the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau to man the visitor’s center at Comcast Arena and handle tourism promotion.
Straub, a fourth-generation Everett resident, pitched the tourism strategy to city leaders and got the contract.
Videri’s $120,000 contract extension starts March 1 and is broken down to $95,000 for labor, $24,000 for marketing materials and advertising and $1,000 for various expenses.
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