Gig Harbor literally sparkles in the summer, whether it be from sunlight hitting the water in the boat-filled harbor or from people smiling as they enjoy the waterfront property scattered around the maritime city. Renting hotel rooms during this time of year generally was not a problem, at least before this economic downturn.
While the summer weekends were selling out for this year, the city’s hotel managers noticed there were more mid-week vacancies than they usually had going into the summer months.
The City of Gig Harbor stepped up to help bring in mid-week tourists and created the “Big Gig,” mid-week promotional package deals with the help of the city’s four main hotels.
“We just decided to launch a new campaign to help in this economy,” said Laureen Lund, marketing director for City of Gig Harbor. “People are shopping around and looking for deals. We are trying to show there’s more than weekends in Gig Harbor.”
The packages promote savings on rooms, meal specials and local activities.
“There is so much offered in the harbor that we want people to be aware of,” said Katie Heuer, who is in group sales at the Best Western Wesley Inn. “We have really good expectations for it.”
Heuer, who has been at the hotel for a year, said she has seen a difference in the level of camaraderie among the various local hotels and other business establishments.
“We’ve been going out to different restaurants and shops seeing what is going on,” she said. “There is more of an effort to get people to come out to the city. It’s definitely a joint effort.”
The target audience for Gig Harbor’s marketing campaigns are Washington staycationers – those who want a getaway, but don’t want to purchase a plane ticket, so they stay close to home for their vacations.
“There is a lot of reason to come back to Gig Harbor, if you haven’t been here in a while,” said Lund.
The city has also launched a new Web site, GigHarborGuide.com, which allows tourists to book hotel rooms directly from the site and has a community calendar on it.
The city has updated its own Web site making it more state-of-the art and thus, easier to find information on things like permitting, said Lund.