By LYNN SKALL
A community partnership between the Questa Economic Development Fund, Chevron, and the Village of Questa has invested $31,840 to advertise Questa in a cooperative effort with the New Mexico Tourism Department. The State generously supplemented this amount with a grant of $63,680—two dollars for every dollar of Questa’s contribution—for a total of $95,520 in paid co-op advertising, to be used entirely to promote the Questa area.
The award letter from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Tourism Department said, “The Tourism Department had the good fortune of garnering an additional multi-million dollar infusion of funding and the ‘Co-Op’ program was its main beneficiary. We received over $3.6 million in funding requests this year and through careful analysis and consideration, we awarded entities based on a rigorous set of criteria, including quality of applications.”
“After 18 months of COVID-19 restrictions, this public/private partnership will position Questa to benefit from the pent-up demand for travel,” said Questa Mayor Mark Gallegos. “We’ve seen a recent increase in travelers since the state opened up, and this new marketing will further expand tourism to our area, increasing business revenue and local gross receipt taxes.”
Malaquias Rael, Jr., Chairman of QEDF added, “This is a tremendous opportunity for our community to tell the story of St. Anthony’s historic reconstruction, to highlight local artists, and events. By promoting outdoor adventure and our cultural heritage, we’ll attract a whole new group of visitors to Questa who’ll discover the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, hiking in the Gorge, and fishing for our native Cutthroat Trout. Once they’ve been here, they’ll want to come back.”
The Questa New Mexico True Co-Op advertising campaign launched this month and runs through July 2022. “We’re using the widely recognized and successful New Mexico True design style,” explained Lynn Skall, director of QEDF, “Our cooperative marketing will complement, and be supplemented by the state’s paid promotional efforts.” Local graphic artist, Emily Wilde, with E. Wilde Graphic Design, is creating the ads to tell Questa’s story. The advertising is designed to reach different groups of people in specific age ranges, from 25 – 64, targeting decision-makers who plan vacations.
The in-state marketing plan will reach a highly qualified audience who are already interested in New Mexico. The campaign will stimulate additional overnight “stay-cation” visits with exploration and travel to Questa. A series of half-page ads will appear in Albuquerque The Magazine in November, April, May, June, and July, and in New Mexico Magazine in April, May, and June. This advertising will be enhanced with special editorial content, digital newsletter listings, email subscriber circulation, and online versions of the articles on their websites.
Outside the state, excitement will build to stimulate travel to Questa in markets across Texas, including Dallas, Austin, and Houston. Texas Monthly will feature a half-page ad in their April issue with bonus editorial coverage, custom email content placement, and inclusion in their online digital travel section.
Denver’s popular 5280 Magazine will be used to create awareness and compel visits to Questa from throughout the greater Denver area using three different half-page ads running in April, May, and June, plus targeted digital banner ads.
Nationally, Questa’s advertising will be featured in the annual New Mexico True Adventure Guide, distributed across the country to over 600 Barnes & Noble stores (located in all 50 states) and 260 Books-a-Million stores; at tradeshows and promotional events, plus fulfilled directly to interested potential visitors, and distributed widely at New Mexico visitor centers, chambers of commerce, hotels, and convention and visitor bureaus.
“We will be featured in publications with a combined circulation of over 600,000 subscribers, plus we’ll get the benefit of pass-along readership that is typically two to three times that many people,” said Skall. The ads will be part of New Mexico focused travel sections, outdoor adventure issues, and destination guides.
The campaign also incorporates extensive online promotional advertising, including digital display ads, Facebook and Instagram advertising, managed search engine marketing, strategically placed articles and virtual tours, all targeted to our specific audiences and markets. Plus, the funding includes a day-long photo shoot using drone technology, social media management, professionally written articles, and advertorials (paid “ads” designed to look like articles with photos and a few descriptive paragraphs).
In recognition of the public/private partnership and joint funding commitment, the State’s award letter commended Questa, “We are incredibly appreciative of your efforts and participation in the process; key stakeholder collaboration and a shared responsibility for marketing have long been and remain critical components of reinvigorating New Mexico’s tourism economy.”
The preliminary Questa advertising plans were presented at the July 14 Questa Business Entrepreneur Network meeting. The September 15 QBEN Meeting will be a full presentation of the Questa co-op advertising campaign, featuring all the ads and editorial content for each market. For more information, contact Lynn@questaedf.com or call (575) 586-2149.