Mount Redoubt is seen from the Kenai Bluff on July 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)

Mount Redoubt is seen from the Kenai Bluff on July 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)

Kenai tourism granted more than $400,000 for summer marketing campaign

The grant is designed to encourage Alaskan communities to promote COVID-safe travel in the state this summer.

The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council was awarded a $410,000 grant from the state’s COVID-Safe Travel Grant Program, according to a press release from the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

The grant is designed to encourage Alaskan communities to promote COVID-safe travel in the state this summer through the use of effective marketing campaigns.

“We received many great proposals and are thrilled to provide this grant funding to Alaskan nonprofits to advance the efforts of promoting COVID-safe travel to and within Alaska this year,” Julie Anderson, commissioner of the department, said in the release.

Other peninsula recipients include the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center and Seward Chamber of Commerce.

The goals of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council’s grant implementation plan are to increase the number of tourists to the peninsula this summer, increase traffic to the council’s website and market the peninsula as a COVID-safe travel destination, emphasizing the state’s tourist vaccination policy.

The council wants to reach both an in-state and national target audience with its new marketing campaign, according to the implementation plan. According to the application, the tourism council aims to allocate 25% of grant funding to in-state media placement and the remaining 75% to reach a national target audience.

In a step-by-step plan, the council outlined exactly how the grant funding will be allocated.

First, the council plans to update its website to include landing pages for both the in-state and national COVID-safe tourism campaigns. The application provides information for booking local accommodations, so tourists can more easily plan their two- or three-week stays on the peninsula.

The second step outlines the council’s two different digital ad campaigns, targeted at both in-state and national audiences.

For the in-state “come out and play” campaign, the council will try to reach people from Anchorage to Fairbanks with stock photography ads of popular recreation activities taken in Homer, Seward, Kenai and Soldotna. The application states the photos can be static or converted to video or animated digital content.

For a national audience, the council plans to launch its “get in it” digital campaign to encourage peninsula tourism. This campaign is specifically designed to stand out on a busy webpage by using moving images, unique sizes and bright colors, with words across the graphics enticing people to travel to the Kenai Peninsula.

Step three of the implementation plan is to increase search engine optimization by using online targeting methods such as geotargeting, geofencing and affinity audience remarketing. By making Kenai Peninsula tourism more widely known when internet searching, the council aims to convince travelers that Alaska is not only a great tourist destination, but also a COVID-safe summer vacation option, according to the plan.

The tourism council originally requested $500,000 for the project, and was awarded $410,000 from the state.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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