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Plain Ol' Plano? No, Bureau's Just Striving for 'Easy'
April 1, 2005
Word association: "Plano the tourist destination." What comes to mind? Balloons, sure. Or relatives visiting from Wisconsin or Houston. Then you draw a blank, right?
The reality is that 80 percent of out-of-town visitors come to Plano for business reasons, not to see the sights. And the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau is gearing a new message to visitors and would-be visitors with that fact in mind.
It's because the visitors bureau commissioned a new study of who visits Plano, what their expectations are, what would bring them back, etc. It also plumbed the city's self-image, with some interesting results.
Locals fancy their town as progressive, affluent, clean and educated, according to the study, done by North Star Destination Strategies of Nashville. And get this: Planoites think the city is more culturally diverse than Texas.
Business visitors, on the other hand, think of Plano as an easy home base, a nice jumping-off spot if they have business in the area. Visitors think it's a clean, high-tech, polished city. And homogenous. (What happened to culturally diverse?)
That all boils down to Plano as attractive to corporate travelers because it's an easy place to do business and it's close to Dallas for those interested in a little extra.
So there you have it. That plain ol' Plano "P" is trying to get across the idea of simplicity as part of a campaign to "make it easier to do business here," says visitors bureau director Mark Thompson. The campaign involves different promotional materials, media buys and a goal to improve the bureau's Web site.
The simple image might disappoint locals who associate with the Lexus and fancy their town more culturally diverse than Texas. But there's money in selling simple, easy and efficient.
In the year spanning 2003-04, Plano hotels sold more than 800,000 room nights. Those were business travelers who came to town and left with their wallets considerably lighter.
It lifts the whole community to make that process easy.
Online at: www.dallasnews.com