Marketing efforts switching to recreational activities, including hiking, lake sports
By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
In response to the COVID crisis, many people have been seeking fun activities that can also be done safely with social distancing. Outdoor activities seems to be the natural solution and Otsego County has
plenty of outdoor activities to do for those inclined.
Cassandra Harrington, executive director of Destination Marketing, is well versed in outdoor activities for Otsego County. She goes kayaking and said Gilbert Lake State Park is “one of my favorite places to go
hiking.” She said she also plans on going skydiving with Just Jump at the Westville Airport.
So, when she was approached by people looking for things to do in Otsego County that are socially distanced and outdoors, she had the answer.
“During the pandemic, one of the trends people were seeking to do was outdoor activities,” Harrington said, explaining that Otsego County “has a ton of natural resources.”
Destination Marketing started an initiative called Cooperstown Naturally, which aims to introduce those in need of outdoor activities to the plethora of options that exist near Cooperstown and in Otsego County.
Some of these activities include biking, hiking, boating, camping, fishing and more.
The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Zoom town hall Tuesday, July 27, to discuss workforce needs for small businesses.
The participants included Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-New Hartford, and Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie.
The overall sentiments of the Zoom call echoed the reality of a huge problem with understaffing and the difficulties hiring employees in Otsego County.
Business owners spoke of restaurants being unable to service customers due to staff shortages and some businesses being forced to close early based on having no staff available.
Audrey Benkenstein, from Opportunities for Otsego, spoke about how many of her organization’s positions required advanced degrees and training, which made finding employees very difficult.
“We serve a vulnerable population and without staffing our programs suffer,” Benkenstein said. She said there were also lack of transportation options, lack of internet issues and lack of day care assistance available.
Otsego County’s tourism efforts are being refocused on outdoor activities, fall weddings and vaccinated out-of-state residents, according to a presentation given to the Otsego County Board of Representatives at its May meeting.
Harrington addressed the Representatives at their meeting, which was held via Zoom, because of the coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday, May 5.
She said the group is looking to increase late summer and fall tourism in an effort to boost 2021 bed tax money.
Harrington said her group, which was spun off from the county in 2014 and added Schoharie County as a client two years ago, has shifted to a virtual campaign, allowing it to add several promotional categories and “pages” to its promotional materials.
DMC is launching an outdoor activities website that culls information and links to all the other county locations for hiking, boating, fishing, winter sports and more. Those sites include state parks, Otsego 2000’s Otsego Outdoors website, information about playgrounds, camp sites, hotels and more.
COOPERSTOWN REFLECTS – 7 p.m. Join panel on Zoom to for ‘Cooperstown Reflects on Racism and Tourism’ discussion with representatives from The Baseball Hall of Fame, The Otesaga, Destination Marketing, Adirondack Diversity Solutions, & Destiny Does Happen. Presented by Cooperstown Village Library. Visit fovl.eventbrite.com to register.
COOPERSTOWN – Two lucky Philadelphia residents may soon be able to find themselves in Cooperstown thanks to a contest and marketing campaign through a new partnership with Carvertise and the Destination Marketing Corporation for Otsego County.
“We’re always on the lookout for creative ways to break through the white noise of advertising,” says Cassandra Harrington, Executive Director of Destination Marketing. “This campaign is effective on its own, but also complements other components of our marketing strategy.”
COOPERSTOWN – The county Board of Representatives this morning approved a second three-year contract with Destination Marketing of Otsego County, ending months of uncertainty about the privatized tourism-promotion effort.
The contract runs from this coming Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019.
On issue that was resolved: DMOC had sought a five-year contract, but settled for three.