The City of Wilsonville has launched a new tourism website that provides visitors and residents with a wealth of information on things to do in and near Wilsonville. Led by the Tourism Promotion Committee, ExploreWilsonville.com advances a key element of the City’s tourism development strategy.
Committee chair Jeff Brown, general manager of Holiday Inn South Portland/Wilsonville, said “ExploreWilsonville.com responds to the number-one issue identified in the tourism development strategy: the need for an authoritative website for Wilsonville tourism. These days, most visitors get their travel information online. ExploreWilsonville.com provides visitors and new residents with a central clearing house on local tourism attractions, major community events and hospitality businesses.”
The committee formed a marketing subcommittee that focused on tourism website content and functionality. Staff of Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affairs (“Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory”) and the Washington County Visitors Association (“Oregon’s Tualatin Valley”) contributed professional advice. Kevin Ferrasci O’Malley, CEO of the Wilsonville Area Chamber of Commerce, notes that during a survey of attendees at Fun in the Park 2016, the most-often requested content for a tourism-related website was a comprehensive list of area events for attendance by family, often with out-of-state visitors.
The objective of the City’s tourism development strategy is to increase the occupancy level and room-rates of Wilsonville’s lodging properties that generate transient lodging tax revenues, where half of proceeds support local police and other services sustained by the general fund. The strategy also seeks to encourage visitors to linger longer and patronize all kinds of area businesses in order to strengthen the local economy. State law requires a portion of local hotel/motel tax revenues are spent directly on tourism development and promotion; traditionally Wilsonville has spent approximately 50 percent of lodging tax revenue on tourism development and promotion and visitor services.
As a community situated on the edge of two counties—Clackamas and Washington—and located near Marion and Yamhill counties, the tourism strategy suggested that a City tourism website would best fulfill the needs of Wilsonville residents and visitors. As host community with the largest number of hotel rooms—over 600—in the North Willamette Valley and South Portland regions together with a strategic location near Oregon Wine Country and historical and agricultural attractions of French Prairie and within close proximity to the culture of the greater metro area, ExploreWilsonville.com takes a regional approach to tourism.
ExploreWilsonville.com was designed and developed by Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member and former tourism committee member Elaine Swyt, who operates local website-hosting firm Mediaphysics. Mediaphysics continues to maintain the site as the TPC continues to develop their longer term strategies.
The City’s tourism promotion program is a coordinated effort through the City Manager’s Office and the Parks and Recreation Department. The committee is working to advance an increased level of tourism promotion activity, especially during the Fall-Winter-Spring tourism “shoulder season” when capacity is most available at area lodging and hospitality businesses.
For more information, go online to ExploreWilsonville.com; or contact Parks and Recreation staff at 503-783-7529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.