Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel spins the magic wheel to determine the winners of this year’s silver salmon derby at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel spins the magic wheel to determine the winners of this year’s silver salmon derby at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Firm updates council on efforts to market Kenai to visitors

During 2021, the company seized opportunities to highlight local businesses and promoted relocation to Kenai

Concentrated efforts to promote the City of Kenai as a place to live, work and play are yielding returns. That’s per Coy West, the CEO and Founder of Diving Point, a strategic marketing agency that has worked with the City of Kenai for about three years. West updated the Kenai City Council during the body’s Feb. 2 meeting on how the firm has worked recently to promote the city on a statewide and national level.

“​​As we have sought to promote the city, we are really trying to bring all eyes onto the great things that are happening here and the great things to come,” West told the council.

West said Divining Point focused on promoting the City of Kenai as the best place for people to start a business, to relocate their family and to visit while on vacation. During 2021 especially, West said, the company seized opportunities to highlight Kenai’s local businesses and focused on promoting relocation to Kenai.

A desire among people nationwide to relocate, West said, is driving an increase in real estate demand that Divining Point tried to capitalize on. Though real estate inquiries into the Kenai Peninsula shifted last year from what the firm was targeting, he said, interest grew from unexpected places, such as Georgia and Nevada.

“We really identified that these people were looking to get out of the cities and states that they’re in right now and pursue a completely different direction in their lives,” West said.

West said the annual Kenai Silver Salmon Derby is something that is coming to be closely associated with the city. Touted as “The World’s Most Responsible Fishing Tournament,” the derby awards prizes to anglers whose fish weigh in closest to a “magic number” determined by the spinning of a wheel.

Meant to discourage catch and release methods that can be harmful to local salmon populations, last year’s event offered derby participants thousands of dollars in prizes and saw more than 130 people register. West said Divining Point was able to take out a full-page editorial in Parks and Recreation Magazine, which is distributed throughout the United States.

“It’s starting to actually define Kenai in some ways for its uniqueness,” West told the council.

Success of Diving Points marketing efforts, West said, can be seen, in part, in the growth of sales tax revenue in the city. While other municipalities on the Kenai Peninsula took financial hits to sales tax revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Kenai continued to report gains.

Looking ahead, West said Diving Point is focused on continuing the current momentum and that their efforts will shift back to tourism as summer approaches.

“We’re looking forward to the work that we still have remaining here on our scope, as well as the great things that we have laid before us,” West said. “I’m really excited about some of the achievements that we’ve made just in the last six months.”

The Kenai City Council’s full Feb. 2 meeting can be viewed on the City of Kenai’s YouTube channel.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

More in News

The sign in front of the Homer Electric Association building in Kenai, Alaska, as seen on April 1, 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
HEA rates to increase Jan. 1

The cooperative’s last rate increase took effect in April 2020

AP Photo/Erin Hooley
An eight-week-old sea otter rescued from Seldovia, Alaska, peaks out of his enclosure at Shedd Aquarium Wednesday, Dec. 6 in Chicago. The otter was found alone and malnourished and was taken to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward which contacted Shedd, and the Chicago aquarium was able to take the otter in. He will remain quarantined for a few months while he learns to groom and eat solid foods before being introduced to Shedd’s five other sea otters.
Seldovia sea otter pup has a new home at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium

The northern sea otter was found alone and malnourished and taken to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward

Students from Nikiski Middle/High School and Kenai Middle School join Jesse Bjorkman, Ken Felchle and volunteers from the Kenai Peninsula Chapter of Safari Club International on an educational moose hunt in Nikiski, Alaska, on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (Photo provided by Jesse Bjorkman)
Lessons in big game hunting

Students learn to ethically and responsibly harvest a moose and process its meat for food

Cook Inletkeeper Energy Policy Analyst Ben Boettger presents information about retrofitting homes to be more energy efficient at the Cook Inletkeeper Community Action Studio on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Inletkeeper turns focus to energy for next community climate solution

The meeting marked the official kickoff of Cook Inletkeeper’s fourth installment in its local solution series

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Woman arrested after allegedly shooting neighbor’s house

The woman had been trying to break up a dog fight, troopers said

A pie chart shows Kenai Peninsula Borough School District expenditures by object for the current fiscal year. (Chart via KPBSD)
Explanation of how KPBSD organizes funds caps ‘Budget 101’ series

Finance Director Elizabeth Hayes delivered the presentation to school board members during a Monday work session

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, answers questions from constituents during a legislative update at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Ruffridge predicts school funding, energy security will be top issues in Juneau next session

Ruffridge has represented District 7, which includes Kenai and Soldotna, in the Alaska House of Representatives since October 2022

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meet on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
New school board group will study 4-day school week

The group will meet regularly until next July, when committee members will present their findings to the full board

Members of the Kenai/Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee raise hands to vote in favor of a proposal during a meeting at Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Advisory committee supports protections for lake trout and king salmon

Advisory committee recommendations will be weighed by the State Board of Fisheries alongside public testimony as they deliberate on each proposal

Most Read