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May 1st, 2013
Great Cities Have Great Downtowns

In his mySA.com blog this week, Valero Alamo Bowl staffer Rick Hill writes about his efforts to make one partiulcar bowl staffer sing San Antonio praises as loudly as she does her native Denver.

The post is called "Great Cities Have Great Downtowns" and begins:

I always get worried when Lara Smedley, the Valero Alamo Bowl’s Senior Manager of Events and Marketing, travels home to Denver.

Her Facebook posts for her last 5 trips always have repeated the same theme: she might not come back to San Antonio. Here is what she posted last weekend:

  • “So excited to be home this weekend and go hiking with my bestie. #godscountry”
  • “Step off the plan and my allergies are gone #freshair #milehigh”
  • “Home sweet home…at least till Tuesday #beauty”
  • “Colorado sunset from the back porch #blessed”

Thus the reason I often repeat Mayor Castro’s quote that “great cities have great downtowns” around the office so much two-fold. I want to keep positioning our city as top destination for tourists and high profile events but I’m also selling Lara on staying.

Luckily I have her drinking the San Antonio Kool-Aid more. Lara even came up with an innovative marketing plan.

GreatDowntownThe bowl debuted a “Downtown Partners” program last Fall that gave downtown establishments the opportunity to reach fans (both local and out-of-town) attending Bowl Week festivities. Downtown Partners received a listing on the Valero Alamo Bowl’s mobile website including description, directions, social engagement and special offers/events. Partners also received collateral to display such as posters, table toppers, employee stickers and t-shirt.

It was a win-win as both highlighted something our city does very well (makes events and their fans feel like the center of attention) and drove business through the 237,00 users who clicked through the Downtown Partners tab on our mobile site. The Downtown Alliance recognized it as the “Best Marketing Campaign” at their recent Downtown’s Best Awards. Here’s Lara celebrating with the award.

When she comes back to work today I need to remind her how excited she was to plan a staff outing to celebrate our staff’s designation as Certified Tourism Ambassadors during the upcoming National Travel and Tourism Week activities. There is a reason 28 million people visit our city every year.

Lara will also see firsthand all the exciting downtown developments when she moves cloer to the center of the city later this month. I’ll bring over some barbacoa tacos and Big Red as a housewarming gift and suggest she start using some new hashtags like: #SAPorVida #PuroSanAntonio #SA2020