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Dig campaign looks to promote local businesses in off season

New effort — Using themed months and featuring businesses online, Dig Our Valley promotes tourism in a visual way


The off season, generally known as January through April, means a decline in business sales and tourism. To try and counteract the annual decline, Travel Yamhill Valley started “Dig Our Valley” last year. Halfway through its second year, the campaign is still evolving with the help of participant feedback.

“Our goal was to really find an off season campaign that would be easy for our members to take advantage of but also encourage people to experience the Yamhill Valley in the non-prime season,” said Mary Czarnecki, Dig president.

She said many businesses run promotions on their own, with the same hope of drumming up business and visitors.

“The idea was to really bring those into the visual experience and promotions together,” she said.

The campaign includes a different theme every month that ties into what the community might be thinking or experiencing.

“January was ‘Epicurean Excursions’ because we were thinking people would be tired of cooking for friends over the holidays, February ‘Oenophile’s Outings’ because of the romance of Valentine’s Day,” Czarnecki said. “With spring break in March we wanted to focus on family (with ‘March Forays’) and April (‘Agricultural Adventures’) kind of rounds out the full campaign because by that time it’s spring and people are less hesitant to adventure outdoors.”

Sarah Starnes works with two businesses participating in the campaign, Distinctive Destinations and Art Elements Gallery.

“The Dig campaign has been working great both for the gallery and Distinctive Destinations,” Starnes said.

For Art Elements, she said they aren’t sure if more people are coming to artist receptions after seeing information that’s listed on the Dig site, but there are more people coming in generally.

“(It’s) just something extra to do in the area besides going to the tasting room,” she said. “I think people either come and do their tastings and either doing so much tasting they want a break from it or want something else to do. I think we fit that bill very well with the demographic that’s coming to the area.”

But Starnes said it has brought in more customers for the vacation home business as well.

“That’s definitely been a big help to us because it’s kind of the shoulder of the slump season and it’s getting interest in the houses we have,” she said. “For us it’s great because they may not be reserving right now but making reservations in the future.”

Chrissie Manion said she joined the campaign to get more exposure for her new enterprise.

“They do a great job promoting Yamhill Valley and it seemed like a great program to be a part of,” said Manion, owner of Kookoolan World Meadery.

Although she only joined a month ago, she said she hopes Dig will let more people know who they are and what they’re doing.

Czarnecki said it’s really a chance for businesses to expand on ideas they already had and increase exposure, or for people to kick off of the campaign’s ideas and drum up more business in the off-season.

As for the future, she said they revised the plan a little coming off of the first year, and are looking to grow more with the next year.

“Looking forward to next year, what did we learn in terms of getting in touch with visitors and what were the most popular promotions, and give more support to our members to offer promotions like that,” she said.

To learn more about the campaign, visit www.digourvalley.com.



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