Destination Marketing Successes #2

Bishop: A Small Town With a Big Back Yard
Civitas Blog, March 8, 2019

The town of Bishop lies within driving distance of some of California’s iconic landmarks such as the Sierra Nevada mountains, Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite National Park, and Death Valley.  Far from being overshadowed by these well-known destinations, Bishop is a major resort town with its own attractions like the Buttermilk Boulders, and its own claim to fame, like being recognized as a Top 50 Adventure Town by National Geographic in 2011.

While the town could have rested on reputation, Bishop instead decided to pursue further adventure by establishing the Bishop Tourism Improvement District (BTID) in 2014.  A 2% assessment became effective on January 1, 2015, with funds set to be used for tourism promotion programs.  The programs included carefully considered projects from marketing to trout stocking, as well as tracking and measurement of results.

The Bishop website was rebuilt and launched in January 2016.  By 2017, the BTID annual report found: “78.3% are new users. This proves marketing efforts are working to create new interest. The new website is an excellent tool for measuring effectiveness of all marketing investments. The significant increase in organic search indicates brand awareness is increasing – people are searching specifically for Bishop.”

In those two years, annual occupancy also increased from 60.7% to 67.0%, equating to nearly 20,000 more room nights per year.  There were even some increases in average daily rates during off-peak times.

In January 2019, the Bishop City Council unanimously approved the renewal of the Bishop TID for another 10 years, ensuring ongoing support for the “small town with a big backyard.” “The TID for Bishop has been the biggest game changer ever for our destination marketing efforts.  Now that we know we have stable, secure funding for a 10-year term, we can begin serious long-term planning for our programs,” exclaimed Tawni Thomson, the Executive Director of the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau.

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