The shift of the seasons has arrived, fall is in full effect and the heat of the summer is gone; along with most of the tourists. One might wonder how those people find Hood River, if it’s through social network, family members, or something else. Well, it’s a bit of all of them!
Hood River County’s Chamber of Commerce is leading the skilled marketing and active social networking required to get the word out to people about visiting this beautiful place. Local events are promoted on the chamber’s website (hoodriver.org) calendar, the largest tourist and event website in the Gorge, which gets about 45,000 visitors a month.
On Sept. 29, the Harvest Ride and the Hood River Hops Fest were scheduled for the same day. Kerry, Cobb Hood River Chamber of Commerce executive director explained how the advertisement for those events was handled: “For the Harvest Ride, because the event fell on the same day as the Hood River Hops Fest, we both promoted each other’s events through social media. The chamber offered $3 off the entry fee to Hops Fest for Harvest Ride participants.”
This large scale advertisement is also very important to local businesses, since out of 480 businesses that are members of the chamber; 350 of them are, to some degree, dependant on tourism for their business, according to Cobb.
“Although agriculture is the biggest source of revenue in Hood River, tourism is a very big part of our revenue system; it’s probably the third most important market segment after agriculture and technology,” Cobb said. “Fortunately, we live in a beautiful place with lots of things to do.
“So when someone holds a bike race, the people that come also discover all the other outdoor recreational things there are to do (windsurfing, kayaking, rafting, fishing, horseback riding, etc.), plus wine tasting, shopping, beer, local food, and farmers markets,” she said. “The list is a long one but once they have visited, they tend to come back again and again and they also tell their friends and families too.”
Every summer, it’s hard to miss the chamber’s effect on people outside of the Gorge. There are so many new tourists doing things that all help the local businesses and economy, and many will come back and enjoy the experience of the Columbia Gorge again.