COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau announced today the launch of VisitCookevilleTN.com, a dynamic new website designed to serve as the bureau’s No. 1 marketing tool to inspire travel to Putnam County. The launch is part of several efforts of the visitors’ bureau in celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week.
VisitCookevilleTN.com, designed by WD Stone & Associates, offers captivating imagery including still photography and video to allow users to envision themselves in the experiences available in the Cookeville-Putnam County area. A direct feed from the @CookevilleTN Instagram account offers user-generated images to showcase travel to Putnam County through the lense of those experiencing area attractions. Easy navigation along with state-of-the-art GPS/mobile and itinerary capabilities create a user-friendly site to serve not only as a trip planning tool, but as a resource once guests have arrived to the area as well.
The launch of the site is a next phase in rebranding efforts that began with the introduction of a new logo, a bear on a bicycle sporting a canoe on his back, the “o’s” of Cookeville serving as the bicycle tires. Several variations of the logo have been created, e.g. a bear on a motorcycle, a bear working out, a fishing bear, and so on.
“The bear represents the adventurous traveler,” said Zach Ledbetter, vice president of visitor development. “We don’t want people to come here expecting to see the bear; we want them to come here to ‘be the bear.’”
Additionally, with the launch of the site, is the official launch of a new merchandise partnership. The visitors’ bureau has partnered with Cookeville Reserve to build the brand through high-quality logoed merchandise. After a soft launch at strategic events and through social media sharing at @CookevilleReserve, @CookevilleTN, and via local outdoor social influencers, immediate traction has transpired. Select area retailers, such as The Outdoor Experience, will carry the shirts, hats, camping mugs, pint glasses, and more, while CookevilleReserve.com will serve as a primary source for purchase. Guests can also “Shop the Bear” from any page of VisitCookevilleTN.com.
“We feel we are finally packaging and marketing ‘who we are’ and leveraging our outdoor and fitness opportunities as well as other tourism assets,” said Ledbetter.
An example of that marketing package is apparent in the branding tagline alone. “Cookeville, A Natural Fit” represents the area’s natural attractions as well as the amenities leading it to be a sports and fitness destination.
Surrounded by state parks and natural areas, serving as host to countless sporting events as well as home to the “Fittest on Earth,” the marketing of fitcations has become a pillar to the bureau’s marketing strategies. Motorcycle tourism has become another top-level pillar in these initiatives.
The next phase of marketing and branding efforts for the visitors’ bureau will include the publishing of a new visitor guide. The guide will mirror the aesthetics of the website with inspiring content and imagery, fun “Did You Knows” along with area maps. Printing of the guide is expected in the coming weeks as partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and a matching marketing co-op grant.
Most recent economic impact numbers list Cookeville-Putnam County at 16th of Tennessee’s 95 counties in direct tourism expenditures. With $122.15 million in direct visitor spending, tourism provides more than $300 per year in tax relief per household in Putnam County.
“Our selection of National Travel & Tourism Week for our official announcement was intentional as this year’s theme is the ‘faces of travel,’” said Ledbetter. “We are proud of the momentum our team is gaining. We have a county-wide team of hospitality partners, city and county stakeholders, and area volunteers that are working daily to take visitor development to a new level.”
“We continue to grow as a visitor destination because of the great work of these area team members. We hope that the new website, visitor guide and implementation of an industry newsletter will equip our ‘faces of travel’ to offer an even higher level of service to our guests.”