Houston Has a 'Record-Breaking' Stretch of In-Person Events Scheduled for Late 2021 (and More on Cities' Branded Tourism Safety Initiatives)
As vaccine efforts increase across the U.S., some cities are making a push to help the tourism industry that had been so badly impacted by the pandemic.
Almost a year after the initial shutdowns in the U.S., popular tourist destination cities are using branded safety efforts to attract visitors and ensure that they feel comfortable, helping bring back much-needed tourism dollars to businesses like hotels and restaurants.
One example is Houston Clean, which initially launched in August. The program includes mandatory training for tourism and hospitality workers in the city to follow CDC guidelines, as well as providing visitors with recommendations on how to stay safe while they’re attending events, trade shows or just dining out. After a year mostly without in-person trade shows, Houston has reportedly re-booked 92% of canceled conventions for future years in Houston. One source told Forbes that they expect “a record-breaking six-month stretch of conventions for the second half of 2021.”
This has major implications for the promotional products industry. The obvious one, of course, is that any return to in-person events should bring back revenue for the many promo businesses that rely on trade show and event customers for revenue. Houston's model seems to be working, with a reported 31 of 32 upcoming events hosting more than 1,000 people each.
The other thing of note here for promotional products companies is the opportunity for branded items within these programs. In addition to Houston, tourist destinations like Nashville, Clearwater, Palm Beach and Santa Barbara are all attaching a catchy name to their safety protocols. That means that there will likely be branded signage at participating hotels and restaurants, pamphlets handed out to employees to follow protocol, and things like hand sanitizing stations or floor decals within businesses.
In Nashville, restaurants and music venues can participate in the Good to Go program that demonstrates to visitors that they are following necessary safety protocols. Those participating businesses can hang a decal in their window, so people know the business is taking all necessary safety measures.
When you're ready to return to Nashville, look for the green Good to Go music note decals to find businesses that are committed to your health and safety. Additional information about Good to Go and how Nashville is inspiring recovery, please visit https://t.co/8X9661B2iA. pic.twitter.com/6s1yB3r0jw
— Nashville Meetings (@MeetMusicCity) March 17, 2021
Clearwater is implementing a “Rise to Shine” pledge, where people commit to basic safety measures like frequent hand washing, social distancing and wearing masks. By signing the pledge, people can win round trip flights or other perks. And, once in Clearwater, they might run into “Sunshine Steward Street Team” representatives, who look to reward tourists following the pledge with gift cards to local businesses.
It’s been a long year, and the business environment remains challenging. We’re not totally through it yet, but a gradual return to in-person events and a recovering tourism sector is certainly encouraging news for the promo industry. Branded programs like Houston's appear to be working. It may only be a matter of time before other cities jump onboard.