ATHABASCA – Saturdays are the best, especially in the summer, but this summer, Saturdays in Athabasca are going to get a little more super.
The Athabasca District Chamber of Commerce is in the early stages of a marketing initiative for the community that will encourage visitors to come to town and get out to see what Athabasca businesses have to offer.
Chamber secretary Steve Splinter told Athabasca town council about the initiative at the May 3 council meeting, just to give officials an update on some of the plans the chamber executive hopes to see gain some traction.
“What we're trying to do here is bring people from outside the community, to the community, on Saturdays in particular, to come visit and see what we've got to offer,” he said. “How we're doing this is we are encouraging businesses, community groups, anyone who's got something to do, fundraisers, partnerships, whatever, we're really opening the gamut here.”
Businesses and organizations are urged to plan events and promotions on Saturdays throughout the summer, tell the Chamber of Commerce about it, which will in turn promote it with calendar postings and a push from local marketing firms.
The goal is to get potential visitors to check the calendar with their online apps and entice them to come to town to check out the event and/or promotion by providing a simple online experience by providing all they need to know about that event
“They click on a link and (they’re there) within two clicks. The whole idea is they’re on a landing page for that event. We're trying to make it as quick and seamless as possible,” said Splinter.
“The whole idea is there on a landing page for that event. We're trying to make it as quick and seamless as possible. The marketing organizations I'm dealing with, there's three of them. And between the three of them, they're hoping that we're going to have in excess of a million impressions through the summer depending on what grants come through and what type of budgets we're looking at.”
The chamber is applying for a grant through Travel Alberta, but Splinter said he expects there will be a fee for businesses that wish to participate — perhaps $100-$200 — but the aim is to keep it as low as possible to get as many on board as possible and growing the initiative to have a significant impact.
Some of the suggested possibilities so far include dog washes, pet shows, pizza tastings and more, but the options are really only limited to one’s imagination.
“So, this is my kind of my heads up, saying this is what we're doing and we're really going to hustle it right through to the September long weekend. And we're gonna see if we can make this an annual event,” he said. “If we get a good response this year, we can build on it and hopefully be able to go without any government granting or anything else and have a lot more of our own control and we can really try and build this into a big festival.”
Splinter went on to say there are five scenarios they are exploring, depending on the financing that comes through, so even if the grant application is declined this year, the initiative will go on.
Council agreed to support the initiative with a letter to be used as part of the grant application that if successful will be used to cover marketing fees.