Norfolk Receives “Most Cost Effective” WOW Award presented by Destination Marketing Association International
The WOW Awards: Recognition of Exemplary Ideas in Visitor Services, celebrate DMOs' creativity, effectiveness, and adaptability in servicing the many visitors that experience destinations worldwide. The WOW Awards Selection Committees honor one winning submission for each of the following categories: Most Creative Most Cost-Effective and Most Replicable. Awards were presented at the 2015 Visitor Services Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah.
(Photo: From L to R: Charles Jeffers, COO, DMAI; Barbara Gullickson, Visitor Services Manager, Visit Norfolk; Chris Lewis, Visitor Sales & Services Manager, Tourism Kelowna, WOW Awards Selection Committee Chair)
Most Cost Effective: VisitNorfolk - "Extreme Office Makeover"
Visitation had been declining at VisitNorfolk's visitor center off the interstate, which is 20 minutes from downtown, for years. As a result, the center was closed on January 31, 2015 with a goal to eventually reopen in a new development downtown. In the meantime, the city still needed a visitor center, so the CVB administrative office lobby was converted into a temporary establishment.
VisitNorfolk installed brochure racks recycled from the old location, added a flat-screen presentation, merchandise for sale, community bulletin board in public access area, 1-hour free parking and extended operations to include Saturday and Sunday hours. In doing so, it managed to maintain state certified visitor center status -- all for just $1,500.
The largest expense was a state highway sign, but wayfinding signs were placed throughout the city at no additional cost. These signs will continue work with future plans for a downtown center. Attendance at the newly named Tourist Information Center has already increased 200%.