NOVEMBER, 2002 Shops
KIRKLAND TOURISM PROGRAM
MARKETING ACTION PLAN
The Kirkland Lodging Tax Advisory Committee
November 26, 2002
(Updated January 14, 2003)
Bombar Public Relations, Inc.
Luxurient Travel Group LLC
TABLE OF CONTENTS
OVERVIEW ................................................................................. 2
GOALS ...................................................................................... 5
RESEARCH ................................................................................. 6
STATEGIC ASSUMPTIONS .......................................................... 18
KEY OBJECTIVES ...................................................................... 20
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES ....................................................... 22
EDUCATION, TRAINING AND INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS ............ 26
VISITOR INFORMATION CENTER ................................................. 28
BRANDING ............................................................................... 31
OVERALL COMMUNICATIONS TOOLS AND USAGE .......................... 33
CONSUMER MARKETING STRATEGIES & TACTICS.......................... 36
SIGNATURE EVENTS.................................................................. 53
ORGANIZATION AND FUNDING STRUCTURE ................................. 55
EVALUATION ............................................................................ 59
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 1
Kirkland is a highly attractive community with an appealing mix of
tourism products and activities of interest to the visitor market.
However, it is not an obvious tourist destination. Kirkland will need to
give consumers appealing reasons to visit.
Seattle is the region’s #1 tourist attraction. The natural gems of
Mount Rainier, the Cascades and Olympic mountain ranges, and the
San Juan Islands, are second. As yet, Kirkland is not on the domestic
and international visitors’ radar. In time, with the right tourism
development and marketing, Kirkland has the potential to be as well
known as communities such as Sausalito, La Jolla, Santa Monica and
Gross Point, Michigan.
At present, Kirkland is a “second or third visit” destination. Only after
visitors have seen Seattle and the surrounding region will they
consider other options like Kirkland. However, Kirkland is in fierce
competition with other local destinations, such as the wine country, La
Conner, Port Townsend, and Tacoma, to name a few. Consequently,
distinguishing Kirkland’s attributes and proximity to Seattle is key.
Visiting friends and relatives is Kirkland’s primary out-of-the-area
visitor market. A close-in market for Kirkland is area residents
interested in strolling, shopping, dining and exploring fine arts and
entertainment. Overnight stays should be promoted to the regional
two(+) hour drive market.
Providing more information about Kirkland’s offerings on a consistent
basis will help increase the number of daytime visitors. Co-op
promotions will support overnight stays. Tourism marketing will need
to provide special reasons and incentives for visiting during the off-
season months from October through June.
The primary visitor gem for Kirkland is the waterfront and its many
parks from Carillon Point through downtown, along with its art
galleries, boutique shops and restaurants. A sustained branding
program should image this attraction, as well as Kirkland’s cultural,
shopping and dining features.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 2
The biggest challenge to Kirkland’s tourism is the lack of a downtown
boutique hotel. The downtown area is vibrant and walk able, but not
Visitor services that are used as conveniences for out-of-town guests
include brand name retail along 85th Street/Rosehill and in the Totem
Lake and Juanita Village areas.
The Totem Lake area is a hub of commerce and host to many fine
independent and chain restaurants, along with a wide variety of
consumer retail stores. It is also the site of three of the five major
hotels within the Kirkland area, and as such serves as a hospitality
corridor for the city. With its concentration of affordable lodging, this
area is a focal point for visiting friends and relatives.
These areas benefit from their location adjacent to I-405, making it
easy for motorists to reach. This area also serves as a connector to
the Juanita Beach/Village area and for out-of-city attractions such as
the Woodinville wineries, Red Hook Brewery, and the Sammamish
River Trail, to name a few. Another potential attraction for Totem
Lake is the relatively underdeveloped and underused nature preserve.
The Tourism Marketing Opportunity
Kirkland is an under-communicated and under-utilized visitor
destination of great attraction to area residents, as well as visiting
friends and relatives, and other visitors who have been to the Seattle
area before. With its new commitment to tourism marketing, Kirkland
should enjoy extremely positive outcomes in visitor revenue
generation. The key will be to implement a tourism-marketing
program that reaches the markets with the most potential for
conversion to customers.
The visitor experience will be enhanced with additional color in the
downtown retail core in the form of vertical banners, signage and
flowers. A staffed Visitor Information Center and boutique hotel are
infrastructure elements that downtown critically needs.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 3
Visitor gems include Juanita Bay Park and McAuliffe Park (in
development) and the strand of open water view parks from downtown
to Carillon Point.
In addition, future tourism development in Totem Lake and downtown
(retail/hotel) will only serve to enhance Kirkland as a visitor
destination for recreation and relaxation, and also for those traveling
who need good amenities and value options. The continuing
emergence of close-by attractions such as Woodinville’s Wine Country,
also promises to have a positive effect on Kirkland’s tourism appeal.
The Kirkland Tourism Marketing Action Plan
The following Tourism Marketing Action Plan will set out the
overarching goals of the program and present strategic assumptions
as guidelines for its successful implementation. The plan identifies 3-
to-5-year objectives, and recommends an organizational structure for
program implementation and a funding strategy. In addition, a
system for managing internal communications, partnership building
and education of Kirkland’s tourism stakeholders are recommended.
Branding is defined and a number of strategies are prioritized to
address consumer marketing. Additional strategies, such as
advertising and media buying, can be added in the future as the
funding pool grows.
The Tourism Marketing Team responsible for the plan’s implementation
will find tactical “how-to” details, a resource listing of local tourism
stakeholder organizations, a resource listing of regional and statewide
tourism marketing organizations, a preliminary media list, and more.
As such, this document serves as a manual for implementation.
The Tourism Program needs to be evaluated on an annual basis, and
recommendations for program measurement and reporting are also
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 4
The primary goal of Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Program is:
to attract quality visitors to Kirkland to increase tourism business
income and related tax revenues in order to sustain a vibrant and
healthy economy, while preserving community, cultural and
A second goal of Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Program is:
to assist in building a sustainable world-class tourism product by
providing educational and training opportunities to Kirkland’s tourism
sector to support the growth of Kirkland as a visitor destination
offering quality service and a positive visitor experience.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 5
This section details research findings. It includes:
1. National data on trends in visitor travel and tourism interests
2. Findings of a survey conducted of close-in consumers using the
research instrument on Zoomerang.com.
3. Findings from an email survey of Kirkland’s neighborhood
4. An analysis of existing Kirkland websites.
5. An analysis of visitor information requests to the Kirkland
Chamber of Commerce.
National Research Findings – Travel Industry of America
Dominant Travel Themes
• Feel-good travel—emotional connecting with family and friends.
• Nature as therapy.
• Americana (Heritage/Roots).
Latest Travel Trends and Facts
Vacationers are traveling more by automobile.
America is starting to look the same. The same retail stores, lodging,
restaurants, etc. are to be found. This “homogenization” of America is
creating more interest in authentic heritage tourism.
On average each month, 31% of U.S. households take at least one trip
traveling 50 miles or more from home and include at least one
Most travel in the U.S. is intra-regional, with 60% of personal trips
remaining within the census region of origin.
Consumers today have little time to plan a trip. When one combines
this “time poverty” with the increasing frustration and hassle of travel,
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 6
there is a need to restore the spirit of freedom with value. Value is a
perception, not just pricing.
As consumers continue to lead stressed-out, hectic lives, they will
continue to respond to packages and itineraries that “do the thinking
for them.” The best packages and itineraries include:
• Scenic beauty
• Unique dining and shopping
• Exciting, fun and unique activities
• Ensure quality
• Ensure convenience and enjoyment
• Realize the consumer is buying an experience—not a ticket or
• Think of a package as an all-inclusive cruise
• Packages don’t always mean discount; consumers say
convenience of planning is the first priority.
Additionally, TIA reports that the following activities were planned by
visitors after arriving at their destination:
• Restaurant (48%)
• Shopping area (45%)
• Museum or Exhibit (26%)
• Sightseeing Tour (24%)
• Other Activities/Attractions (24%)
• Movie (16%)
• Live Theatre or Other Performance (14%)
• Festival or Parade (13%)
Top Activities for Travelers
According to RTM research and as documented by TIA, the activities
participated in by U.S. resident travelers included the following for 2000:
• Shopping (33%)
• Outdoor (Camping, hiking, biking, etc.) (17%)
• Historical Sites/Museums (14%)
• Beaches (10%)
• Cultural Events/Festivals (10%)
• National/State Parks (10%)
• Theme/Amusement Parks (8%)
• Nightlife/Dancing (7%)
• Gambling (7%)
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 7
• Sports Event (6%)
• Golf/Tennis/Skiing (4%)
Favorite trip activities by mature travelers include shopping (29%), visiting
historical places or museums (15%), attending cultural events or festivals
According to a report in Modern Maturity, “over-50s” report they are likely to
travel 3+ times per year (68%), travel by car (46%), for relaxation (42%)
or adventure (32%), and prefer to travel either with their mate (39%) or
family (22%) or as part of a tour group (16%).
Destinations must strengthen their leisure marketing muscles and
sharpen their target marketing skills. Today’s consumer has an
enormous range of vacation choices, with packages and discount deals
Technology use will continue to dominate travel-marketing trends.
The proliferation of online services such as Expedia, Travelocity and
web marketing is a mega trend in travel planning. Consumers now
demand access to online trip planning and trip purchase.
TIA reports that most online travel planners seek maps or driving
directions 74%, or are searching for airfares/schedules 69%, and
looking for places to stay 67%. Just over half, 53%, of online travel
planners search for things to do at the destination.
Fast, accurate, user-friendly travel planning technology will be the
main travel marketing tools of the future.
Increase in off-season travel.
The average American takes one long vacation, 5-9 days, and four to
five short “getaways” during the year. Weekend travel accounts for
almost one-half of all travel.
The latest figures from TIA documented the following seasonal travel
pattern for 2000:
• Winter 20%
• Spring 23%
• Summer 33%
• Fall 24%
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 8
RTM prediction: Continued increase in off-season travel interest, again
with packages and special promotions providing the top interest.
Primary destinations for off-season travel will continue to be in the 3-4
hour driving range from home.
Close-In Consumer Survey Executive Summary
Zoomerang.com survey respondents held a positive image of Kirkland
as a nice, quiet, attractive small town. When visiting Kirkland, they
were able to do their favorite activities—dine, walk on the waterfront,
shop and visit art galleries.
Almost sixty percent said they would recommend Kirkland to out-of-
town visitors, but the others (41%) said they would not recommend
Kirkland. These respondents said Seattle has more than enough for
residents and their guests to do, so there is no reason to visit Kirkland.
Since most people have out-of-town visitors only a few times a year,
they must pick and choose the “biggest” attractions.
Of those who would recommend Kirkland, it is an alternative to the
hustle and bustle of Seattle, with great dining, shopping and walking
opportunities. It seems that Kirkland would be best promoted as a
great place to escape from the hectic city, a place that is close by and
easily accessible but very different. Or, as one respondent put it,
“accessible from Seattle but feels like a world away.”
Survey respondents named 43 restaurants they have dined in, most of
which are in downtown Kirkland. The Third Floor Fish Café was the
most commonly-mentioned restaurant. Survey results indicate that
downtown Kirkland is a great place for an evening of dining, strolling
by the water, and shopping or visiting galleries with friends.
Most people had not visited Kirkland via boat. One person said he was
not aware of this option. Because people seem to be especially fond of
walking on Kirkland’s waterfront, promoting the “visit Kirkland by
boat” option may be quite successful, especially when the larger
marina facility has been completed.
Two-thirds of respondents had not attended any of Kirkland’s special
events, such as ArtWalk, July 4th or SummerFest. Most respondents
said they got their Kirkland news from the newspaper or by word of
mouth. One said that he “would have to search it out with effort.”
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 9
Zoomerang.com Survey Details
An online Zoomerang.com survey was sent to Puget Sound area
residents to get their impressions of Kirkland as a visitor destination
and their preferred activities when visiting. The survey was sent to 130
people, of whom 43 responded, for a response rate of 33%.
The general impression of Kirkland was a positive one. Almost all
respondents said Kirkland was a nice, upscale, friendly community.
Restaurants, shops, the downtown waterfront and art galleries were
noted as being especially attractive. Only four people mentioned
parking as a problem, and two actually said that parking is easy. Only
three people said that traffic was a problem. Six people said that
Kirkland was a great place to walk, whereas only one person said it is
not pedestrian friendly. A few respondents considered Kirkland
“expensive” and “high-end.”
The majority of survey respondents (47%) visit Kirkland a few times a
year, and 30% visit monthly. When they visit, they are most likely to
dine (91%), shop (65%), or visit art galleries (60%). Other popular
activities include visiting friends (53%) and nature walks/parks (41%).
Few attend the theater when visiting (14%), and only one person has
attended a sports game in Kirkland.
Most people (70%) had not visited Kirkland via boat. Of those who
have, most dined in Kirkland or walked around downtown. One
respondent said he didn’t realize Kirkland could be visited by boat.
When asked to name the restaurants they’ve dined in, respondents
most frequently mentioned the following downtown restaurants:
• Third Floor Fish Café (12 mentions)
• Anthony’s Home Port (10)
• Yarrow Bay Grill (8)
• Szamania’s (8)
• JJJ Café (7)
• Kirkland Roaster (5)
• TGI Friday’s (5)
• Riki Riki (4)
• Crab Cracker (4)
• Cucina Cucina (4)
• Kidd Valley (4)
• Mama Lucia’s Italian Kitchen (4)
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 10
• Carillon Point (4)
Other restaurants mentioned three times or fewer were:
• Acropolis • Las Margaritas
• Ale House • Marina Cantina
• Baja Café • Marina Park Grill
• BBQ Chicken place • Noah’s Bagels
• Beach House Café • Six Degrees
• Ben & Jerry’s • Original Pancake House
• Brown Bag • Raga’s Indian Cuisine
• Café Juanita • Santorini’s
• Calabria • Sasi’s Café
• Costco • Taco Del Mar
• Dexter’s • The Foghorn
• El Paradiso • Tully’s
• Gelato place • Wah Luck Teriyaki
• Hector’s • World Wraps
The majority of respondents (74%) had not attended major events in
Kirkland such as ArtWalk, SummerFest, Taste! Kirkland, July 4th or
Magical Night of Shopping.
When asked about their favorite activities in Kirkland, walking,
especially on the waterfront, was the most popular, mentioned by 19
people. Dining, visiting friends, shopping and art walks/galleries were
also mentioned as favorite activities by a quarter of the respondents.
Seven people said they like to attend special events, such as Taste!
Kirkland, the Wednesday Market, or concerts.
The majority of respondents (79%) have shopped in Kirkland’s
About half of the respondents have out-of-town guests visit them a
few times a year. About a third (29%) have visitors more frequently,
about once a month.
A slight majority of respondents (59%) said they would recommend
Kirkland to out-of-town visitors, but 41% said they would not!
Newspaper and word of mouth are the most common ways that
respondents learn about Kirkland events (60% each). Next closest,
with 15% of respondents, was radio.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 11
Respondents’ favorite activities include:
• Dining (95%)
• Arts/Cultural Activities (86%)
• Shopping (77%)
• Farmers Markets (56%)
• Festivals (49%)
• Cycling (33%)
• Boating (30%)
• Other (23%), including:
o Theater / Foreign Films
o Exercising (walking)
o Exploring nature
o Family activities
• Most respondents were aged 36-65 (20% aged 20-35, 41% aged
36-50, 37% aged 51-65)
• Almost all respondents were college educated or beyond.
• Most were female (74%).
• About half of the respondents make joint travel and social
decisions with their spouse/partner (54%), while 44% make
travel decisions on their own.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 12
Kirkland Neighborhood Survey Executive Summary
The amenities that visitors to Kirkland enjoy are also predominantly
what residents enjoy.
Promotion to residents will be an important function, as many
expressed interest in gaining more information about what there is to
do in Kirkland on a regular basis.
In addition, residents are interested in more opportunities to engage in
Neighborhood Survey Details
An email survey was sent to Kirkland residents via the Kirkland
Association of Neighborhoods (Kari Page assisting) to gather their
feedback on Kirkland’s attractions and events. The survey was sent to
more than 100 people, and 14 responded with detailed input.
Respondents said the most appealing attractions in Kirkland are its
waterfront, parks and restaurants. All 14 respondents mentioned the
waterfront, usually first in their list of favorites. Ten mentioned parks
and seven mentioned restaurants. Other appealing attractions were
art/galleries (5), walking downtown (4), shops (3), music/concerts (2),
and views (2). Mentioned once each were Kirkland’s “downtown feel,”
the Wednesday Market, Kirkland Performance Center, Costco and
flowers planted in downtown.
When asked where they take visiting friend or relatives, respondents
again most often mentioned the Kirkland waterfront (10), parks (7)
and restaurants (6). Visiting the downtown area was next most
mentioned (5). Respondents also take visitors to Seattle (3), Carillon
Point (3), or on an Argosy Cruise (2). Mentioned once each were the
Kirkland library, Costco, the Silver Gallery, shops, view,
condominiums, and the San Juan Islands.
Respondents gave a variety of suggestions for making Kirkland more
attractive. Two of the 14 respondents said parking needs to be
improved (more/better/longer), and two said that downtown rents
should be more affordable. Other than that, each of the following
suggestions was mentioned only once each:
• More restaurant/coffee shop seating
• More picnic areas
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 13
• More benches
• More friendly pedestrian areas downtown
• Cleaner public restrooms
• Indoor gym/pool
• More view restaurants
• More live music
• More affordable art, shops, jewelry, crafts
• Covered playground at Peter Kirk Park
• Remove big boat from marina
• More hotels
• Install elevated public viewing area
• Remove I-405 and 85th Street
• More bike lanes/trails
• Year-round farmers market
• Light rail linking with airport
• Make kids in Peter Kirk Park clean up their garbage
• Expand Wednesday Market
• Smaller scale buildings
Eight respondents said that Kirkland’s events are enjoyable. Two said
they were not interested in community events. Suggestions given for
improving events included:
• More free parking/free shuttles to ease parking (3)
• Fireworks/bigger fireworks on the 4th (2)
• Include local Kirkland food only at Taste! Kirkland (2)
• Smaller portions/prices and Taste! Kirkland
• Have farmers market on weekend
• Open market earlier in day
• More shade
• Better weather!
Respondents were very interested in off-season events—12 of the 14
were interested. One person wrote, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Only one person
was not interested.
When asked if they receive sufficient information about what’s going
on in Kirkland, five respondents said they don’t receive enough
information, and others gave suggestions for improving the flow of
information. Two said they receive good coverage. The rest of the
answers indicated that coverage is okay, but could be improved.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 14
Comments about communication included:
• Coverage good, but not sure if average non-involved citizen is
getting enough information
• City Update good, but not distributed often
• Kirkland Courier should carry more information
• Flyers should be posted at grocery store, library, neighborhoods
• Need more information about Kirkland Performance Center
• Weekly or monthly e-mail circular or newsletter would be good
• Publish events in Seattle newspapers
Finally, respondents were asked to rate the following on a scale of 1
(awful) to 10 (sublime). The average score is given.
• 7.6 Restaurant quality and variety
• 7.1 Friendliness of community
• 6.9 Local arts community, including galleries
• 6.4 Performing arts (Kirkland Performance Center, etc.)
• 6.3 Special events (Taste!, Market, etc.)
• 5.3 Communication of local activities
• 5.2 Parking
Existing Kirkland Websites:
An Analysis of Current Online Visitor Information
Four websites currently exist for Kirkland. They are:
• City of Kirkland
• Kirkland.net Virtual Community
• Kirkland Chamber of Commerce
• Kirkland Downtown on the Lake
The following is an analysis of these websites’ visitor information.
City of Kirkland (www.ci.kirkland.wa.us)
The City of Kirkland’s website provides easy access to their visitor
information, with a “Visit Kirkland” link on their home page. The link
takes viewers to a web page that gives a general description of
Kirkland’s performing and visual arts, restaurants, and parks system
(with great map). A separate Events Calendar lists City of Kirkland
hosted and sponsored events only. There are good maps on the “Maps
and Directions” page. However, the visitor information is limited and
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 15
Kirkland.net Virtual Community (www.kirkland.net)
The Kirkland.net website provides a wealth of information geared
mainly toward residents or potential residents. (Information on
neighborhood associations, schools, traffic, etc.) The website provides
interesting detail about Kirkland’s public art, artists and art donors,
and a comprehensive list of galleries. Kirkland businesses are not
searchable by type. The Parks and Recreation link provides some
general information useful to visitors, such as shopping, outdoors
recreation, and activities and sports.
Kirkland Chamber of Commerce (www.kirklandchamber.org)
The Kirkland Chamber of Commerce website provides general
information on its “About Kirkland” page. It gives visitors a good feel
for Kirkland’s history, lifestyle, natural amenities and businesses.
Although this website gives a good general description of Kirkland, it is
not geared toward visitors. There are no specific listings about
accommodations, restaurants, or other visitor information. A business
directory contains listing of chamber members only. The Events
Calendar lists only chamber-related meetings and events.
Kirkland Downtown on the Lake (kirklanddowntown.org)
Of the four websites analyzed here, the Kirkland Downtown on the
Lake website has information most geared toward the visitor. It’s
Visitor Information pages provide information on accommodations,
dining, arts, parks, festivals and events, shopping, nearby attractions,
and more. It positions Kirkland as a visitor destination and provides
the resources visitors need to plan their visit. However, this site is
limited because it focuses only on downtown Kirkland, and it lists
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 16
Analysis Visitor Information Requests
to the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce
Over a 5 month period, the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce was
contacted 339 times with requests for visitor information. The majority
of those requests were by phone (69%), and most of the rest were in
person (29%). Only 1% of requests were made by e-mail or by letter.
Most people requested information about Kirkland events and activities
(43%). Maps and brochures were also common requests (25%). Less
than 10% requested information about hotels, restaurants or boating.
Total Requests by Means 339
% Phone Requests 69%
% Walk-in Requests 29%
% Email Requests 1%
% Letter Requests 1%
Total Requests by Type 388
% Event/Activity 43%
% Map/Brochure 25%
% Restaurant 7%
% Hotel 6%
% Boat 6%
% Other 12%
Based on the low number of e-mail requests, Kirkland would benefit
from a stronger presence on the Internet with a visitor information
website. Detailed information on a designated website should help
reduce time-consuming phone calls. The website could also include a
form to request printed materials, such as maps and brochures.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 17
Strategic Assumption #1:
The marketing strategy needs to include campaigns to increase hotel
occupancy in order to generate the highest possible revenue from the
1% hotel/motel tax. In addition, it should concentrate on shopping
and dining to sustain a vibrant local tourism economy.
Strategic Assumption #2:
Tourism for Kirkland is desirable as long as it brings advantages to
those who live in the community and does not degrade the
community’s quality of life. Tourism should amplify and support the
arts, local retail and service businesses, and the natural attributes of
Strategic Assumption #3:
Tourism growth is most desirable in the shoulder and off-seasons from
October to May. The primary aim of the tourism program is to “fill the
gap.” When the weather is good, Kirkland has no shortage of visitors.
The program needs to avoid spiking the spikes and concentrate on
taking the dip out of the dips. During the peak season (June-
September), it is desirable to assist visitors and residents in learning
about tourism-related activities. Tourism marketing will improve visitor
communications and awareness of Kirkland’s attributes and attractions
Strategic Assumption #4:
Tourism is a clean industry that provides entrepreneurial/business
ownership opportunities, entry-level jobs, part-time work desirable to
working mothers, and is attractive to all ethnic groups. Strong tourism
marketing should support the tourism development goals of the city
and tourism stakeholders. Tourism marketing in Kirkland should take
place in concert with ongoing, quality regional tourism development
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 18
Strategic Assumption #5:
Consumers want diverse experiences and make choices regardless of
organizational borders and boundaries. Collaboration will present the
best possible scenarios and experiences for visitors, and is vital to
building sustainable tourism. Geo-tourism is the latest term coined to
reflect the values and interests of communities and to enhance or
sustain the geographical character of the place being visited—its
environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its
Strategic Assumption #6:
Because visitors are looking for unique experiences, visitor interest will
be concentrated primarily on the downtown and waterfront areas.
However, the 85th Street/Rosehill and Totem Lake areas have favorite
brands and amenities that visitors, not just residents, use, and a
majority of Kirkland’s hotels are located in this zone. Therefore,
providing good visitor information about these amenities and services
is essential. New opportunities such as the Juanita Beach area
redevelopment and a revamped Totem Lake Mall will have a future
impact on this program.
Strategic Assumption #7:
Tourism stakeholders should cultivate opportunities to extend the
visitor activities of the corporate/business travel market.
Strategic Assumption #8:
The tourism marketing strategy needs to encompass all of Kirkland
and also branch out beyond the city borders to make linkages that
make sense to the consumer/target markets. Kirkland’s marketing
efforts will yield the greatest results by linking to other destination
marketing organization (DMOs) wherever possible. This will leverage
visitor awareness throughout the Eastside, Puget Sound, Pacific
Northwest, and the domestic and international travel marketplace.
Strategic Assumption #9:
At present, Kirkland has a total of only 522 motel/hotel/B&B/inn
rooms. The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (L-TAC) budget will
remain modest until an expansion in lodging takes place. Kirkland
lacks a boutique hotel in the downtown area and has limited meeting
space for the small group, association and corporate meetings market.
Tourism product development is needed to expand Kirkland’s capacity
as a visitor destination.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 19
Based on the goal and strategic assumptions for the Tourism
Marketing Program, the following 10 Key Objectives have been
identified for the first 3-to-5 years of the program:
TO INCREASE VISITOR REVENUE:
Increase the number of visitors to Kirkland, including overnight stays,
with a special emphasis during the shoulder and off seasons (October
to May), and convert those visitors into consumers.
Increase the number of visitors attending arts and cultural events and
activities, with a special emphasis during the shoulder and off seasons
(October to May).
Extend the corporate/business travel market by engaging groups and
individuals in visitor activities.
Establish integrated marketing services to present a unified
image/brand identity of Kirkland as a visitor destination.
Provide visitor services to disseminate Kirkland visitor information,
encourage overnight stays, and provide friendly concierge and travel
assistance as needed to the general public.
Expand the group tour market by enhancing Kirkland product
offerings, especially through hands-on experiences and storytelling,
and growing the itinerary selection.
Expand Kirkland’s partnerships in wine tourism, cultural tourism and
eco-tourism to gain access to niche market opportunities.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 20
KEY OBJECTIVES, continued
TO SUPPORT TOURISM DEVELOPMENT:
Serve as a liaison for Kirkland on tourism-related opportunities, and
provide a “clearing house” function. Serve as a central resource for
effective communication between Kirkland’s tourism stakeholders.
Encourage professionalism, quality service, creative product
development, local and regional collaboration, and also address
emergent needs of tourism stakeholders and those working within the
visitor industry through education and training.
Provide data, research and reports to aid in the assessment and re-
directing of the Tourism Marketing Action Plan to ensure the most
strategic use of limited tourism funding and public-private resources.
Participate in economic development planning by providing input on
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 21
1. Lake Washington provides stunning scenic beauty to visitors
from Carillon Point through downtown and in Juanita. Sweeping
views incorporate the downtown Seattle skyline and the Olympic
mountain range. From certain viewpoints, Mount Rainier is also
2. Kirkland’s lakefront areas are pedestrian, cycling and boating
friendly. There are many points of access to the waterfront
through a string of well-maintained and colorful parks. Parks
have visitor amenities such as restrooms, docks, paved
walkways, play and picnic areas, and public sculptures. In
addition, organized water activities include secured swimming
areas, a kayak/canoe concession, boat tours and much more.
3. Downtown Kirkland has an eclectic mix of stores, many of which
are one-of-a-kind. Kirkland offers individualistic expression and
quality/value. Kirkland has homegrown character in an upscale
urban village setting free from skyscrapers and malls. It also
has a critical mass of sophisticated stores, including art galleries,
decorative art and furniture shops, jewelry stores and clothing
boutiques appealing to high-end consumers. Lakefront
residential real estate is architecturally attractive.
4. Kirkland’s public parks and public art are exceptional assets.
5. Kirkland has a good selection of brand favorite hotel and retail
stores in Totem Lake, Rose Hill and Juanita’s new shopping
6. The city has an authentic “small town” feel with friendly
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 22
1. Downtown Kirkland needs a boutique hotel to build easy access
rooms into the tourism structure. At present, all hotels are more
than 1 mile away from the downtown retail core and restaurants
and other tourism attractions such as the Kirkland Performance
Center, Marina Park and Argosy Cruises.
2. Retail and restaurant businesses turn over. Closed businesses
need window dressings to minimize the negative perception of
vacancies. The main thoroughfare, Lake Street, lacks a “third
place” or “euro-village” such as a bakery/café/deli/market with
open air seating.
3. Art galleries can be intimidating to some visitors. A “live arts”
forum of some sort, such as an emporium with a collection of
studios under one roof, would provide a place for the public to
converse with local artists and watch them work. Souvenir-
priced items as well as art pieces would have great appeal for
the friends and relatives and group tour markets.
4. Parking is challenging, particularly for longer-stay visits. Off-
street parking is difficult to find during peak hours and options
such as at the library need highly visible communications and
5. Traffic, especially along Lake Washington Boulevard, Lake
Street, Central Way and Market Street can get backed up.
Traffic jams dampen the visitor experience. In addition, Central
Way east of downtown is not pedestrian-friendly.
6. Visitors to downtown will tend to stroll along the waterfront
corridor and Park Lane. Unless they have guidance, such as
directional banners or signposts, they will not naturally walk up
to Peter Kirk Park, Park Place or the Kirkland Performance
7. A majority of the hotels—those along the I-405 and State Route
520 corridors—are dislocated from downtown. The Totem Lake
area, while part of the tourism industry because of its hotels,
restaurants and certain retail stores, is not a primary tourist
attraction as it exists today.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 23
Tourism growth should be focused on market segments that are most
desirable and can yield the highest return on investment of limited
tourism marketing dollars.
PRIMARY CONSUMER MARKETS
Taking into account Kirkland’s current tourism infrastructure, the
following key groups of customers represent the most attractive
• Visiting Friends and Relatives. This is the largest built-in market
impacting many of our area’s residents. This audience may stay
in local homes, but also purchases a large number of hotel
• The Free and Independent Traveler (FIT) who is visiting the
Puget Sound area. This audience most likely will use Seattle as
a base of operation, but they are looking for things to do after
they’ve visited the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the Locks,
etc. Much as Sausalito has acquired a large number of visitors
from dominant San Francisco, Kirkland likewise represents
another travel choice in a similar vein.
• Corporate/Business Traveler. People traveling on business will
extend their participation in visitor activities when given good
tourism information and time permitting. A nonworking spouse
will take advantage of recreational and shopping opportunities.
In addition, a business stay may convert to FIT and a romantic
or family getaway.
• Small Groups who might be attending a meeting, conference or
convention in the area. These groups plan visits usually long in
advance and represent targets for customized packages.
Working with meeting planners and tour operators, Kirkland has
the opportunity to cash in on this substantially-sized market.
• Area residents will visit Kirkland because they consider it
attractive for a day trip but it feels away from home. Keeping
this group informed about new developments will bring them
back more frequently. This is also the group to cultivate for off-
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 24
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing also needs to target opinion makers and
gatekeepers. Some of these audiences include:
• Travel writers (Society of American Travel Writers)
• Columnists and travel editors
• Travel and feature television programs (both local and cable)
• Online travel sites
• Meeting planners and local in-bound tourism facilitators
• Concierges on the Eastside and in Seattle.
EXTERNAL PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS
• Cultural Cascades
• Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau (See Seattle)
o See Seattle Cultural Tourism Division
o See Seattle News Bureau
o Consumer Housing Division (Hotel Hotline)
• Washington State Group Tour & Travel Association (WSGTTA)
• Washington State Tourism
• Woodinville Wine Country Association
o (Washington Wine Commission)
It is critical to sustain a high degree of communication between all
parties with a vested interest in Kirkland’s tourism in order to sustain
vibrant engagement that will meet the goals of the program. These
• The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (L-TAC)
• Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce
• Kirkland Downtown on the Lake
• City of Kirkland (City Manager, Planning, Parks and Events)
• Kirkland Mayor and City Council
• Kirkland hoteliers
• Kirkland retailers and merchants
• Kirkland restaurants
• Kirkland’s cultural community (new arts council)
• Kirkland Heritage Society
• Kirkland Gallery Association
• Kirkland civic leaders
• Kirkland neighborhood leaders
• Select members of the Kirkland business community.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 25
EDUCATION, TRAINING AND INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS
Using training and education forums to improve the tourism
development environment and provide internal
communications to tourism stakeholders and neighborhoods.
Training and education programs for tourism stakeholders are proven
methods for improving the tourism product in communities, as well as
internal communications, partnership involvement and marketing
opportunities. For those involved with tourism-related products, it is
suggested that a three-fold program be considered:
1. Perhaps under the auspices of a joint effort between the
Chamber of Commerce and Kirkland Downtown on the Lake,
monthly tourism breakfasts could be held with programs
designed to share success stories and to bring concerns and
challenges to a networking group.
2. On a quarterly basis, a series of seminars could be held with
special local speakers (sponsored or originated by both tourism
and non tourism-related local businesses). Topics could include:
• Developing Relationship Marketing in Tourism
• Building Public/Private Partnerships
• New Consumer Trends and their Application to Tourism
• Building Business with Special Events and Promotions
3. A quarterly e-newsletter would be posted on the tourism
website. The same newsletter would be e-mailed to key
stakeholders with their permission. Topics might include:
• Program updates
• Media coverage
• Case histories (both local and in general from the tourism
• Partnership ideas
• Marketing and media relations opportunities
• Visitor trends and statistics
• Tourism industry news
• Calendars of events
• Special timely columns
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 26
A second, but equally important audience, is Kirkland’s neighborhoods,
whose continuing understanding and support is crucial for the success
of any tourism-marketing program. So they can better understand the
nature, benefits and value of local tourism, it is suggested that
1. Be given the opportunity to opt-in to receiving the monthly
tourism e-newsletter. They would be alerted to the newsletter
by post-card mailing, through the Kirkland Courier, and by
publicity posted through other city communications channels.
2. That all residents would be sent another post-card alerting them
to an electronic annual report posted on the Tourism website.
For those not possessing personal computers, the library would
be suggested as a venue where they could read this report.
3. That an annual Town Hall meeting would be held in conjunction
with a City Council meeting which would feature the annual L-
TAC report to the community.
Ongoing communication to tourism stakeholders will be a day-to-day
function carried out by the Kirkland Tourism Team. Elements of that
interactive communication would include email alerts about:
o Opportunities for partnership promotions;
o Workshops and events of value to Kirkland’s tourism
o New tourism products coming online locally
o Tour operator and press leads
o Calendar items
o People on the move (personnel changes)
o Award opportunities and winners
Much of this communication can be issued in the monthly e-newsletter
to avoid excessive mailings. However, time-sensitive items should be
emailed for immediate action.
A key role of the Tourism Contractor will be to stay informed about
Kirkland’s tourism activities and then to screen and respond to
opportunities on behalf of Kirkland’s tourism stakeholders.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 27
VISITOR INFORMATION CENTER
The tourist has been conditioned to seek out a Visitor Information
Center whenever they travel or venture to a new place. That VIC
serves as a focal point for information gathering and planning. The
VIC also becomes the site where updated information is sought for
those who may wish to sample new opportunities, or to revisit old
For Kirkland it is recommended that a two-stage strategy be followed
in the construction and development of an outstanding VIC befitting
the image of the city.
• Step I: Make an agreement with Argosy Cruises to share their
existing visitor information booth as the interim Kirkland VIC.
The goal would be to double the size of the existing facility and
provide it with year-round information dispersal capabilities. The
site would offer brochure racks, calendars, maps and other
The goal for having the enhanced existing site operational would
be the Summer of 2003. Using volunteers, the booth would be
operational on weekends during off-season months (October-
April), and with extended weekday and weekend hours from
The initial Kirkland VIC site would be created so that it would be
compatible with the proposed repositioning of the restroom
facilities at Marina Park. Much in the style of the Interstate
Highway rest stops which incorporate information sites with rest
facilities, the restrooms would supplement the value of the site
and probably help in drawing attention to the VIC operation.
A second part of expanding the scope of the Visitor Information
Center is tied to working with Kirkland Downtown on the Lake
and the Chamber of Commerce. If KDL would agree to expand
their coverage to include all of Kirkland for visitor information
purposes, visitors could be directed to the KDL offices for
additional brochures and visitor information. The same situation
would hold with the Chamber of Commerce, using their proposed
new facilities as another center for visitor information and
materials. Using these two existing organizations would add
synergy to the VIC concept with little or no additional cost.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 28
In addition to the larger sites, mini-VIC’s would be established at
Carillon Point, Totem Lake Mall, Juanita Village, City Hall, the
Kirkland Library, Chamber of Commerce offices and perhaps
Evergreen Hospital’s gift shop and elsewhere. Other mini-sites
could be developed as requested by neighborhood or merchant
The mini-sites would have brochure racks and signage serviced
by the volunteer VIP’s for the VIC’s. Business partnering could
be pursued to help meet the costs for all VIC sites.
• Step 2: When feasible, create a new, purposefully designed
outstanding Kirkland VIC as part of the new Lakeshore Plaza
project under consideration as referenced in the Kirkland
Downtown Strategic Plan. A design competition might be held to
come up with a design that best represents the qualities of living
in Kirkland. The advanced VIC would include new technology in
the form of interactive computer kiosks that would operate on a
24/7 basis. On-demand videos, CD’s or other multi-media
formats would be available.
Advanced technology kiosks could also be emplaced at the
former rack sites, upgrading the quality of information available
for visitors, or inquirers. It may be possible to sell advertising at
the VICs as a method for producing the income to purchase and
maintain these sites. Partnering with local-area technology firms
would help to develop these advanced visitor information sites.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 29
Staffing Through Volunteer Corps for the VICs
Volunteer resources could be developed in conjunction with the
Kirkland Senior Center and the existing city volunteer support
organization. A corps of docents would be developed and trained and
put into the field. The City of Kirkland Volunteer Coordinator could
supervise the development of the program and train a core group of
volunteers to become trainers and managers of the program. In time,
a volunteer Volunteer Coordinator (or small team) will run the program,
with minimal support needed from the city.
Training would include a historical perspective on the community, along
with techniques on customer service and problem solving, and periodic
familiarization trips to all of Kirkland’s tourism attractions (including
merchants), as well as partner attractions (Woodinville wineries).
Recognition is a critical component required to make this program
succeed. Rewards for the volunteers could include “Volunteer of the
Month” certificates and photos on the VIC wall, local merchants offering
free meals, gift certificates and special merchandise (hats, scarves,
umbrella’s t-shirts, etc.). Annual events would be hosted to thank VIC
docents for their involvement.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 30
Kirkland’s tourism branding should be the visual, verbal and behavioral
expression of the vision and values that drive the Kirkland community
involved in tourism. This “promise” should be integrated into every
aspect of Kirkland’s tourism-related programs and communications.
Branding also creates a strategic way to distinguish your destination
and set the standard for its total identity. When people look at
anything associated with your destination, an immediate recognition is
triggered. All parts of the destination hang true to the brand.
Branding is more than a logo. It permeates as an understanding of
what a destination is about in every aspect, including customer service
behavior, product delivery, promotions, image, marketing and so on.
All this builds brand equity – a place in the consumer’s mind where
your brand is distinguished from other destinations.
Branding Kirkland as a Visitor Destination
Kirkland is in a unique position of being able to craft its branding from
the ground up. Its current identity is not “honed” in the Puget Sound
area, and it is not a recognized destination in the domestic and
international visitor markets.
This presents an enormous opportunity to position Kirkland with
branding that will set its course toward greater positive recognition for
the next 10 to 20 years. The primary branding application will be in
the visual identity presented through the website, brochures, banners
and other collaterals used by the Tourism Program.
The single most important attribute for Kirkland’s tourism positioning
is the lake. Other core attributes (including the #1 attribute) are:
1. Location on the lake
2. Interesting variety of things to do
3. Energetic and exciting atmosphere
The Kirkland Tourism Marketing Action Plan serves as a guideline for
the graphics branding team to develop a logo and look for Kirkland as
a visitor destination. The visual branding should incorporate the
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 31
• Attractive ribbon of parks
• Pedestrian-friendly waterfront and downtown
• Sporty atmosphere on and off the lake
• Homegrown village atmosphere
• International melting pot
• Many one-of-a kind boutiques and specialty stores
• Human scale of buildings (no mall/skyscrapers)
• Upscale homes form attractive backdrop
• Wide variety of restaurants, many with water views and options
for outside dining in warm weather
• Public art sculptures present joyful and interesting surprises
• Allure of fine arts galleries, decorative arts stores and gift shops
• Delightful eco-treasures in an urban setting (such as eagle pair
and beavers at Juanita Bay Park).
• authentic and not over promise
• consider the entire city and place Kirkland geographically
• engage the audience with an impression and allow them to use
their own imaginations
• complement existing taglines that have established their own
equity, such as Kirkland Gallery Association’s “Come for the Art.
Stay for the Experience.”
Characteristics of a Good Theme-line:
Keeping in mind the vision, values and character of Kirkland, the fact
that it needs to address many individual attractors under one umbrella
on the lake Simply Vibrant.
Kirkland. Culturally Vibrant. Simply
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 32
OVERALL COMMUNICATIONS TOOLS
TOOL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR USE
• Should represent Kirkland as a visitor destination and
provide valuable information for consumers. It should
also be easy-to-use for trip planning.
• Should cover information of interest to residents and
locals as well as out-of-towners. All other
communication tools should drive people to the website.
• Should be a portal to websites of umbrella organizations
Website that promote tourism, such as Kirkland.net, the City of
Kirkland, Chamber of Commerce, Kirkland Downtown on
the Lake, The Arts Gallery Association and nonprofits
such as Kirkland Arts Center, Kirkland Performance
Center and the Heritage Society.
• Will be highly graphic and easy to use.
• Will focus on the needs of the consumer.
• Name site sample: www.visitkirkland.org.
• Should be used for internal communications.
• Will be used for highly targeted consumer
E-mail • Should be used to survey consumers.
• Should be used to survey stakeholders
• Messages will be brief and link people to the website
where more information is available.
• Should be used only for high-priority items, i.e., when
immediate action is needed on urgent issues.
• Should clearly articulate the action and desired
response for the tourism task force or stakeholders.
• Priority use is as a tool for informing tourism
stakeholders about events and activities of the Tourism
Marketing Program, including partnership opportunities
and results from campaigns.
• Means to stay informed both internally and through
• Open to all Kirkland tourism stakeholders
• Held quarterly. Half or full day with box lunch.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 33
• Should articulate Kirkland as a visitor destination in both
print and electronic pieces.
• Should be distributed to media mailing list and as new
press prospects arise.
• Should be updated to reflect new products and
• Should be organized by activity/lifestyle theme.
• Should be designed to reflect Kirkland’s branding.
• Should be image-driven and reflect visitor experiences
and opportunities in Kirkland. Should be designed to
reflect Kirkland branding.
(In general) • Should have colorful photos and include web address.
• Mailed as needed to fulfill visitor inquiries.
• Should have a listing and description of Kirkland’s retail
stores that have products and services of value to the
Shopping Guide visitor.
• Should reflect Kirkland branding.
• Ad sales on left side of booklet will underwrite costs.
• Should have a listing and description of Kirkland’s
• Should reflect Kirkland branding.
• Ad sales on left side of booklet will underwrite costs.
• Should be postcards that are easy to read and more
Mass Mailings economical to distribute.
• Letters should be used for internal correspondence.
• Press should be cultivated to spread visitor and local
• Will need a printed Press Kit and website Press Room
that responds both to the overall messages and to time-
sensitive items, such as events.
• Campaign should be planned to launch the Kirkland
Media Relations Tourism branding and website.
• Press tours should be conducted periodically.
• Connect with Regional Partner itineraries.
• Offer individualized itineraries.
• Partner with hotels/restaurants/tour operators for
comped overnight stays, dining, cruises. etc.
• Provide “behind the scenes” experiences.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 34
• Should be a selection of classic Kirkland scenes.
• Serves to position Kirkland as a visitor destination.
• Provides needed service to visitors.
• Should be used in press and tour packets.
• Should include sights beyond downtown, such as Juanita
Bay/Beach and McAuliffe Park.
• Should be sold at VIC for additional revenue stream and
at other appropriate locations.
• Should be distributed at VICs, events and festivals,
concierge desks at Eastside hotels and selected Seattle
Brochure • Also partner locations: Chamber, KDL, Library, McAuliffe
Distribution Park, KPC, KAC, Heritage Hall, Argosy booth, galleries
(as able), restaurants (as able), etc.
• Mailed in fulfillment of visitor inquiries.
• Handed out at regional networking meetings.
Tourism Product • Should be provided or produced by other entities and
and Promotions marketed by the Kirkland Tourism Program.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 35
CONSUMER MARKETING STRATEGIES & TACTICS
Strategy #1: Develop and maintain an official Kirkland Tourism
Visitors need a designated website where they can learn about
Kirkland (where to stay, what to do, where to eat) and find the
resources they need to plan and book a visit. This visitor information
website (known as the “consumer site”) would position Kirkland as a
visitor destination and provide a complete picture of what the city has
The website should be the primary marketing tool to encourage
visitors to come to Kirkland. All other communication should promote
Recommended name for the website is www.visitkirkland.us or
www.kirklandtourism.com (both currently available). The .us suffix
was released earlier this year and positions Kirkland in the United
States. This is helpful in the international markets.
Kirklandtourism.com might be more readily found on search engines
such as Google.com.
The website should be promoted as Kirkland’s “Official Tourism
Website” and should be endorsed by and linked to tourism stakeholder
organizations’ websites, including the City, the Chamber, Kirkland
Downtown on the Lake, the Kirkland Performance Center, and the
Kirkland Arts Center, to name a few. Those websites should also link to
the tourism website.
The website would serve as a portal to the many events and activities
Kirkland has to offer the visitor. The website will point visitors to the
appropriate external websites that will provide more detailed
Visitor Communications Process
Visitors follow a typical process of discovery. The website will be
structured to build awareness, act as a planning tool and convert
potential visitors into consumers.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 36
The Visitor Communications Process
Awareness Visitors search the Internet.
Information Gathering Find and explore the Kirkland website.
Planning Use the website to plan a visit to Kirkland.
Decision Making Use the website to reach partner websites and
Trial Visit Kirkland.
Return Revisit the website to see what’s new, and then
return to Kirkland again.
To gain exposure for the Kirkland Tourism website in regional,
domestic and international markets, it is critical to link to:
• Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (www.seeseattle.org)
• Washington State Tourism (www.experiencewashington.com)
The website should be geared toward the main things visitors look
for—where to stay, what to do, and where to eat. It should include
these main links and subcategories:
• General Introduction
• What’s Happening This Week
• What To Do
o Parks and Wildlife
o Arts and Entertainment
o Events and Festivals
o On the Water
• Group Tour Information
o Meeting Facilities
• Maps and Parking Information
• Press Room (see below for more information)
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 37
• Tourism Industry Section (see below for more information)
• Contact Us
• Photo gallery
• Vacation Deals and Promotions
o restaurant coupon programs
o special event hotel rates
o hotel promotions
• Online Request Form
o visitors guide
• Online Goodies
o Kirkland desktop background
o Kirkland screensaver
o Kirkland electronic postcard
• Links (Link to area hotels, attractions, etc., and get link on their
The website should be photo-driven, with many large scenic and action
photographs and concise text. An excellent model is the Sausalito,
California Chamber of Commerce’s website (www.sausalito.org). The
website is attractive and well written, with large color photos. Visitor
information includes restaurants, shopping, lodging and activities. The
website has a distinctive feel and is branded with their tagline, “The
Jewel of the Bay.”
A webcam would be a good addition to the website, pointed at Marina
Park, art in progress inside Kirkland Arts Center (in bad weather
months), or the downtown scene on Lake Street.
An electronic Press Room would serve as a communication tool
between Kirkland’s tourism stakeholders and the media. Its purpose is
to gain media coverage for Kirkland by making it easy for the press to
get timely news and interesting information related to visiting
Kirkland, and give them ideas when writing stories.
The press room would include two sections:
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 38
• News—Press releases from Kirkland tourism marketing unit and
tourism stakeholders (new accommodations, seasonal events,
special promotions, etc.)
• Story Ideas—Brief write-ups of interesting, off-beat and lesser-
known (hidden gem) activities in Kirkland, with links for more
information. This is a good place to promote off-season
activities. Ideas can be rotated as needed.
A press room is a “must visit” resource for the media when it includes:
• Interesting and timely content that is easy to read.
• Great photographs that are easy to download and copyright
cleared. (Photos should accompany News and Story Ideas
Example Story Ideas:
• Spotting the eagle couple at Juanita Bay Park through the
seasons, including the summer solstice walks.
• An all-year-round Santa artist carves figurines at his store,
Reasons to Believe, daily.
• Wander through a botanical treasure shrouded in history at
• Eastside Trains has been attracting model train trackers, old and
young, for 20 years.
• Cyclists take a body break by stretching their legs at the new
• Bright-colored Italian motorcycles, red leather jackets and all,
adorn Café Veloce in Totem Lake. Diners view crash videos.
• Don’t miss Kirkland’s most beloved sculpture, The Puddle
Jumpers, at Marina Park…or the other 44 public art pieces
around the city!
• Live by George! Special opportunity to sit in on a live broadcast
on King-FM hosted by George Shangrow, every month at the
Kirkland Performance Center.
• Kirkland has the most public access of any community on Lake
Washington through its string of public parks.
• Kirkland is the 7th most scenic urban walk in the nation (from
Carillon Point to downtown), according to the National Volkssport
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 39
Tourism Industry Section
A separate page dedicated to Kirkland’s tourism stakeholders will be a
critical component of the website. This “Industry” section would
provide a forum for:
• Ongoing education and training
• Information dissemination (Tourism Marketing team can pass on
• Interactive discussion (posting comments/email news group)
• Updates on how to use the tourism marketing services.
This section would also provide stakeholders with information on how
to post their events and press releases to the Kirkland Tourism
For an analysis of existing Kirkland websites, please see the research section.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 40
Strategy #2: Implement a media relations program.
Kirkland needs to be in the news! Media outlets that cover travel, arts
and entertainment, and food and lifestyle offer considerable
opportunity for increased and regular exposure. Media coverage will
increase consumer awareness of Kirkland that will, in turn, result in
The tourism marketing team will help Kirkland get in the news by:
• Developing a press kit (print and online) and distributing it to a
full and current media list.
• Developing story ideas and posting them on the website.
• Actively pitching stories to the local/regional media.
• Organizing press trips to bring regional travel writers to Kirkland
• Working with regional and state partners planning press trips to
include Kirkland in their itineraries.
• Providing linkage to Kirkland’s media relations programs to
Kirkland tourism stakeholders to expand and enhance their own
• Providing basic media-relations support for those stakeholders
who do not have a media-relations capability.
• Tracking media results.
Target media include:
o calendar listings
o arts and entertainment
• Lifestyle Magazines
• Local Broadcast Media
• Niche (Vertical) Publications
A target media list is attached in the Addendum.
Tips for gaining media coverage and a sample press release are
attached in the Addendum.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 41
Strategy #3: Partner to create packages and itineraries for the
consumer/small group market.
VIP Services, Convention Services Northwest in Seattle and Dominion
Tours in Vancouver, B.C., and the Washington State Group Tour and
Travel Association are looking for stops for their 30+ people tour
itineraries through Kirkland. These visitors are seeking special
experiences and real-life storytelling. They want to be taken behind
the scenes into private areas where the general public is not allowed.
The top three topics are:
Consider adding the following ideas (or brainstorm your own) to the
group tour itineraries.
• Wildlife Tour: View eagles and beavers in the wild at Juanita Bay
• Food & Wine: Learn to make a (name the dish) at Sur La Table
with guest Chef (name the chef – rotate among interested
restaurants). Tie in with A Grape Choice or Woodinville Wine
• Art in an Hour: Tie-in with Kirkland Arts Center to create a small
souvenir using a simple painting technique.
• Act Your Heart Out: Tie in with the Kirkland Performing Center.
Provide a behind the scenes tour and offer first hand experience
to be in the limelight. Willing participants learn to act out a
scene under the direction of a theater producer. Benefit for a
nonprofit such as the American Heart Association.
• Develop tie-ins with restaurants: Chef’s tables, cooking
demonstrations, hands-on “make a dish” events, etc.
City of Kirkland Parks and Community Services Department
Once the Corporate Partnership Program is in place, review activities
for tour group potential. The Kirkland Tourism Program should also
publicize Park activities to Kirkland residents, local area residents, out-
of-town visitors (VFR market), regional DMOS and tourism partners,
and corporate meeting planners.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 42
Ideas to consider for the group tour and corporate meetings markets
for McAuliffe Park:
• Jerry McAuliffe conducts private tours of his property and
• Antiques Road Show: Experts from the antiques mall bring
samples and discuss how to tell a treasure from a trinket.
• Restaurants host fund-raising dinners. Chef uses gourmet
seasonal ingredients from the garden and shows visitors how to
use outdated items found in antiques malls as creative
• Conduct tours with master gardener/docent and stage a
botanical activity, or show how to decorate the garden with old
implements and utensils found at garage sales and antique
Also see the Consumer Marketing section Strategy #5 on partnering
with Washington State Tourism for linkage to the state’s Domestic and
International Tour Operator program.
Opportunities with Microsoft
Microsoft has small group needs for corporate meeting facilities and
social activities. The challenge is positioning Kirkland’s offerings to
the internal meeting planners, as this function is spread throughout
the company with no central organizing.
Microsoft meeting planners search the internet and use websites and
email as their primary research and communications tools. They look
for meeting rooms and use hotels in Bellevue and Seattle as well as
the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland. The Woodmark is also a resource for
VIP level guest stays. Cruises are booked directly with the tour
operator (Argosy, Waterways, etc.)
There is an “Event alias” where a Kirkland resource listing might be
placed. A link to Kirkland’s tourism website can be championed by
Carol Cooper, a special event planner at Microsoft and Kirkland
Preview tours of a unique property such as McAuliffe Park and a
familiarization tour of Kirkland’s small group offerings have potential,
but are not standard.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 43
Strategy #4: Create off-season partnership promotions and co-
operative advertising programs.
Kirkland has special tourism products and services, that provide
excellent partnership promotional and cooperative advertising
opportunities. Organized by the Kirkland Marketing Program,
businesses related to the product could pool resources to buy ads to
position Kirkland and their businesses.
Once established, any special tourism promotions would be publicized
on the official Kirkland Tourism website, brochure, and media relations
Kirkland has many resources for wedding planners, including venues
(hotels, parks, etc.), bridal shops, spas, nail and hair salons, jewelry
shops, and rehearsal venues (restaurants, etc.). Timeframe: January.
Kirkland is a great place to shop for the holiday, with its two Christmas
stores, Michael’s craft store, art galleries, restaurants (gift
certificates), and decorative arts, jewelry and specialty apparel stores.
Ask restaurants to offer dining options as credit to the Tourism
Marketing Program. These will be used for press tours, FAM tours by
tour operators, as gift incentives for VIC volunteers, and other
Restaurants feature selection of Woodinville wine purveyor varietals at
reasonable prices. A portion of the proceeds would go to an
environmental cause, such as the protection of eagles (Kirkland-based
East lake Washington Chapter of the Audubon Society, www.elwas.org,
has built platforms for the eagles in Juanita Bay and hosts a one-day
educational festival there annually). Seasonal promotion, early spring.
Restaurant Coupon Program
Participating restaurants can provide visitors and residents with
frequent diner cards, coupons from the website, or coupons sent to
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 44
those on a mailing list. Coupons should be printable from the “Vacation
Deals & Promotions” section of the visitor website.
Ask hotels to offer a set number of stays (sliding scale based on
number of rooms) as credit to the Tourism Marketing Program. These
will be used for press tours, FAM tours by tour operators and other
Hotel Discount Program
Visitors will be able to book special rates with participating hotels when
they come to a special event in Kirkland. The special rates, with
instructions on how to book them, should be promoted in a “Vacation
Deals & Promotions” section on the visitor website.
“Extra Room” Hotel Discounts for Residents
Promote hotels to Kirkland residents as “spare bedrooms” for visiting
guests. Provide 30% off when resident books a room for a friend or
relative, October to March.
Kirkland Performance Center
KPC’s greatest need for promotion is in the summer. Although this
runs contrary to the Tourism Marketing objective to promote visitors
into the off-season, this provides special promotional opportunities for
KPC while a majority of visitors are attracted to downtown during the
fair weather months. Spring-time/summer-time promotions with
restaurants, festivals and events throughout the city of Kirkland will
Backstage tours with storytelling and catering tied to park-based
activities can be organized for the small group market.
The Kirkland Library
Collaborate with the public library to transform the lobby into an
informal “Visitor and Community Resource Room” with literature racks
providing local and regional leisure activity literature. Bookmark all
library computers with a designated “Visitor Information” button that
launches the Kirkland Tourism website. The library has 9,00 to 12,00
visitors a day.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 45
Art in the Dark: Kirkland’s Artists in Action. Visitors want to be given
unusual opportunities and have “storytelling” experiences. Encourage
the arts community to provide forums during the dark days of winter
where artists can be viewed engaged in their work (evenings and
weekends could be tied to restaurant visits), can explain their vision,
techniques and even provide ways to let visitors try their hand. This
can be done in settings “off the beaten track.” Consider back of the
store space, even private garages—locations that add to the
authenticity of the experience.
Work with the arts community to develop Kirkland Tourism Graphics
Standards Guidelines manual. This would guide the production of
brochures to provide a cohesive look and a blended “family” of
materials to present to the public.
Publish A Shopping Guide: Engage merchants to participate in an “At
Your Service” shopping guide featuring specialty retail shops, branded
chain retailers, service industry businesses, and other merchants
interested in increasing their visibility through the Tourism Marketing
program. Pay to play promotion. Partnership participation by Greater
Kirkland Chamber of Commerce.
Shopping Guide: Engage merchants to participate in an arts-branded
shopping guide. Promote cultural tourism through fine art, decorative
arts, glass art, fine furnishings, furniture, community art, performance
art, books/reading, and human decoration: jewelry and clothing. Pay
to play promotion. Tagline: Practice the art of giving (and getting!):
Shop Downtown Kirkland. Partnership participation by Kirkland
Downtown on the Lake.
Historic walking tours start from this historic building on the corner of
Market Street at Central Way. Either self-guided or when available,
docent-guided. Maps available now, but would benefit from
professional design production.
Explore partnership opportunities with the Woodinville Wine Country
Association, the Washington Wine Commission. Cross-promote with
Kirkland hotels and KPC focusing on a wine and entertainment
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 46
Strategy #5: Extend market reach by partnering with regional
and statewide Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs)
Exposure to broader markets can occur with zero or minimum
investment by engaging with programs being implemented by regional
and statewide tourism marketing organizations.
The relationship is mutually beneficial. These organizations need local
information and resource support to fulfill their programs with the
press, tour operators, co-op partners, and other members of the travel
Active participation will gain Kirkland visibility before potential visitors
in markets too costly to reach through direct channels. In addition,
representatives from these organizations are already in place to
present Washington state, Seattle, and the Eastside as visitor
destinations. Supporting their efforts will position Kirkland to new
markets, and is valuable in the long run in putting Kirkland on the
domestic and international map.
Washington State Tourism (WST)
(WST is a program within the Business and Tourism Development unit
of the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and
Economic Development. There is no charge for general participation.)
WST provides umbrella marketing for the state as a visitor destination.
Annual advertising campaigns drive visitors to Washington state,
primarily to the regions for outdoor experiences and promote the
Various opportunities and programs for Kirkland to market itself as a
visitor destination through Washington State Tourism include:
1. The Washington State Tourism website city listing and events
The website www.experiencewashington.com allows cities to
post their own information and list upcoming events. Kirkland’s
listing is at www.experiencewashington.com/City_C516.html.
Action: Update with a new, catchy description.
To learn how to post information to this website, visit
www.experiencewashington.com/industry and click on Web
Forms. Or, contact Linda Mitchell at 360-725-5060 or
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 47
2. The Washington State Tourism website press room.
Here, tourism organizations and businesses can get their news
posted and have it viewed by the media. The press release
section of the press room can be viewed at
Action: Post press releases to this website by e-mailing them to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please format press releases as shown here:
3. The industry section of the Washington State Tourism website.
The latest news, research data and reports, and resources for
tourism organizations is available at
4. Co-operative advertising opportunities.
Tourism organizations can team up with other related businesses
and organizations to get great rates on advertising.
Action: For more information, contact Betsy Gabel at 360-725-
5056 or email@example.com.
5. CD ROM tour operator guide.
This CD provides information for receptive tour operators who
put together tours in Washington state.
Action: It is recommended that Kirkland organizations supply
their information for this guide so that tour operators will be
aware of visitor opportunities in Kirkland. To learn how to get
information on this CD, contact LeAnn Miljour at 360-725-5051
6. What’s Happening in Washington State: Travel Notes from
South of the Border.
A monthly travel newsletter distributed to Canadian media. The
newsletter provides information about events, festivals and
getaway ideas in Washington state.
Action: To learn how to get your information in this newsletter,
contact Timothy Lynch at 604-925-8187 or
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 48
7. Tourism conferences.
Periodic conferences hosted by the state’s Tourism office, the
National Association of Tour Operators, and other national, state
or local organizations such as the Washington State Association
of Convention and Visitors Bureaus are listed as scheduled on
the industry website at www.experiencewashington.com/industry.
8. E-Bulletin newsletter.
The state’s quarterly tourism newsletter informs of current
events, programs, opportunities, conferences and more.
Action: To be placed on the mailing list, contact Michelle Reilly
at 360-725-5067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Story Line press release.
A periodic listing of short (30-200 word) blurbs announcing
tourism-related news of interest to the consumer. Sent to 4,000
Action: Send news to Carrie Wilkinson-Tuma at
10. Tourism Network Meetings.
The state’s Tourism office convenes quarterly tourism network
meetings attended by destination marketing organizations
throughout the state.
Action: To participate in these meetings, learn about tourism-
related news throughout the state, spread news about Kirkland,
and meet key tourism stakeholders, contact Carrie Wilkinson-
Tuma at email@example.com.
Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau
(Kirkland Tourism Program should become a member.)
The Seattle News Bureau of the CVB is a portal for press opportunities.
The flow of information to the Bureau is key to gaining exposure.
Provide press information frequently, including off-beat happenings
and hidden treasures.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 49
Meet with the Bureau seasonally to brainstorm story ideas and review
annual editorial calendars to see which would fit Kirkland’s offerings.
The Bureau will then include Kirkland items in their pitches. The
Bureau can provide press clips of coverage as issued.
Consumer Housing Division
For the Off-season, this division organizes the Seattle Super Saver
program. In the high season (March through October), they run the
Seattle Hotel Hotline. This includes inventory from the Eastside and
beyond. Check to ensure that all Kirkland hotels are plugged into this
program. Gain leads from the FIT and meetings markets.
Cultural Tourism Division
Kirkland Performance Center and the Gallery Association are already
engaged in programs focusing on Cultural Tourism. This is a new
initiative for Seattle, and provides for special opportunities to reach a
target market niche of visitors with in interest in the arts, culture and
dining. Under the slogan “Have A Cultural Affair” Seattle has themed
its Super Saver program, created an Evening Out program with
American Express and developed a comprehensive online arts calendar
of events (www.culturalaffairs.org). The challenge will be for Seattle
to keep gaining funding from special sources for these programs.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 50
Strategy # 6: Leverage marketing by creating partnership
promotions with neighboring tourism-related groups.
Visitors don’t travel within organizational boundaries. Synergy
achieved by harnessing Kirkland’s tourism-marketing initiative with
outside-of-city-limits organizations will build more opportunities for
Kirkland. It is recommended that natural partnerships, co-oping
opportunities and even joint venturing should be considered as means
to extend the reach of the tourism-marketing program.
One way to promote Kirkland’s hotels is to look at what neighboring
Woodinville is doing with the promotion of its Woodinville Wine
Country concept. A majority of Kirkland’s hotel rooms sit at the front
door to the Sammamish Valley and the growing development of its
tourism attractions in the form of new winery visitor centers, the Red
Hook brewery and pub, and the Willows Lodge (a part of the same
hotel organization as the Woodmark Hotel). Redmond is another
natural potential partner for cross-marketing.
Kirkland should explore becoming a member of the Woodinville Wine
Country Association, as wine-tourism is a fast-growing sector of the
industry. Benefits could include:
• Opportunities for cross promotions with Totem Lake area and
other Kirkland lodging and dining entities with the world-class
quality of Washington state wines.
• Opportunities for joint media relations and familiarization
programs to attract quality writers to both Kirkland and
• Opportunities to develop special promotions for Kirkland
residents and/or their visiting guests (free glass of wine, free
Other opportunities to tie-in with events in Bellevue (hotels, SAM,
Bellevue Square), Redmond (Towne Center, Marymoor Park) and other
local cities should be considered as cost-effective ways to enhance
Kirkland’s reputation as a visitor-friendly place. The manager of
Kirkland’s tourism marketing program should be active in seeking out
and developing these kinds of cooperative programs.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 51
Strategy #7: Integrate tourism and economic development.
The Tourism Marketing Program should be a force for interactive
engagement on economic development discussions and initiatives,
both within the City of Kirkland (Economic Development Task Force)
and with its neighbors in the region.
The community should look to the Tourism Marketing Program for
visitor market data and information, partnership relationships and
marketing support ideas.
The visitor industry is made up not only of hotels, restaurants and
attractions, but also of retail stores. Kirkland’s retail mix in its
shopping centers, thoroughfares and downtown will be greatly
enhanced with an integrated approach to economic development.
Tourism product development is a function of economic development.
A boutique hotel downtown, a revived Totem Lake Mall, and enhanced
Marina facilities are all strategic ideas that would benefit the goals of
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 52
OFF-SEASON SIGNATURE EVENTS
Kirkland as a community could demonstrate its civic pride and also
enjoy two seasonal periods by coming together around a visible
concept. These signature events are designed to start small and build
into Kirkland traditions. In time, they will be woven into the fabric of
Kirkland life in the fall, holidays and spring.
These concepts could grow into week-long celebrations that will attract
area and out-of-town visitors. A special hotel promotion could be
designed to attracted visitors from the 2+hour drive-time markets
(Tacoma/Olympia, Bellingham, Vancouver B.C., Portland/Vancouver,
Spokane, etc.). Special festival rates, shopping packages, dining
promotions and other value-added merchandising could promote
Both the following signature events have the potential to tie-in to the
City of Kirkland Parks and Community Service Department’s Corporate
Bloom Clock Festival
This magnet event would be designed to leverage more regional
visitors to come back to Kirkland after a long, cold winter season.
A special designer garden could be created in Marina Park as the
“Official Spring Budding Clock” for the Puget Sound area. The clock
would officially herald the start of spring in our region. Early blooming
flowers (locus, crocuses, daffodils, etc.) would be tracked in their
blooming cycle with an official count-down to full bloom. News stories
would be generated on the progress of the bloom clock. These stories
would follow coverage of Ground Hog Day. The website would include
a live webcam shot of the garden and count down clock to encourage
ongoing and repeat visits.
Kirkland would become Puget Sound’s spring gardening center for a
week. Organize spring bulb and tree blossom competitions between
neighborhood gardens, and the bloom trail along Lake Washington
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 53
with business-sponsored gardens and flower boxes. A Kirkland’s best
garden (home and commercial) contest could be conducted with prizes
for the winners. At the same time, (perhaps in conjunction with
Larry’s Markets, Fred Meyer, etc.) a series of special gardening classes
could be offered over a week’s period. Hotels, restaurants and stores
could hold flower-themed promotions.
Timeframe: Early April (though not in competition with Easter or
Passover weeks). Where: Locations throughout the city limits.
Kirkland Candlelight Holiday Market and Walk
Bring the arts community together with merchants, businesses,
tourism stakeholder organizations and the City’s Parks Department to
host a Kirkland Candlelight Holiday Market and Walk.
Set up a market in tents and pavilions promoting arts and crafts, do-it-
yourself materials, hands-on demos, musical performances themed
around creative expression and holiday traditions. Models for this
market include the European Kindlmarket and Piazza Navona in Rome.
Emphasis is on hand-made decorations and gifts, both pre-made by
crafts people and ready-to-make by individuals and families.
Timeframe: Weekend after Thanksgiving through the first week of
Kick off event: Set luminarias (like the ferralitos of Santa Fe) from
Carillon Point along the waterfront promenade, through downtown to
Park Place, along Central Way and Market Street to Juanita Village.
Stage large public displays at key parks including McAuliffe Park and
also at Totem Lake Mall. These luminarias are a string of electrical
lights with a “brown bag” plastic shade over the light bulb that gives
off a burnt orange glow. Luminarias are inexpensive, and each
merchant, household, business and organization should be invited to
invest in their own set and to decorate their properties creatively. This
event will build civic pride.
Where: Market site—Peter Kirk Park baseball field.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 54
ORGANIZATION AND FUNDING STRUCTURE
The L-TAC will develop, recommend and monitor an annual Lodging
Tax Budget to be submitted to the City Council for approval to
promote tourism for the City of Kirkland.
The L-TAC will be responsible for supervising the implementation of
the Kirkland Tourism Marketing Action Plan, to be known as the
“Kirkland Tourism Program” as approved by the City Council.
All claims for expenditures for operating the L-TAC shall be made in
accordance with the annual Lodging Tax Budget recommendations as
approved by the City Council. Requirements are to be established by
the City of Kirkland Finance Director.
The L-TAC may develop contracts for specific services to carry out its
responsibilities. Such proposals shall be submitted to the City Council
for approval. A Request for Proposal (RFP) should be published and
distributed publicly by the L-TAC in accordance with City of Kirkland
The City of Kirkland shall serve as the Lodging Tax Fund collector. The
Finance Director will be responsible for communicating Lodging Tax
Fund estimates and actual revenues on a monthly basis to the L-TAC.
The fiscal agent responsible for payment of expenditures against the
Lodging Tax Budget shall be the City of Kirkland. The City of Kirkland
shall be responsible for payment of expenditures against the Lodging
Tax Budget and for providing monthly financial statements to the L-
The contractor will serve the L-TAC through a Memo of Understanding
but submit invoices to the City of Kirkland.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 55
Independent Contractor Scope of Work
The scope of work for a selected independent contractor shall include,
but not be limited to:
• The implementation of the Tourism Marketing Action Plan against
approved annual objectives and priorities.
• Serve as the internal communications coordinator and Kirkland’s
tourism point-person with regional partners, the press and travel
• Fiscal accountability: Manage the expenditures of the Tourism
Program within the approved annual budget.
• Provide monthly oversight reports and present new opportunities
at scheduled L-TAC meetings to track progress of planned
• Provide quarterly progress reports on the website and via email
to the L-TAC and broader community of tourism stakeholders.
• Provide an annual report (approved by the L-TAC) to the citizens
of Kirkland in both paper and electronic formats as a report card
on the Tourism Program and Lodging Tax Budget.
• Organize an annual town hall meeting (open to the public) with
the City Council and the L-TAC to formerly report on the results
in the annual report to the community.
• Draft an annual budget and work plan for the forthcoming fiscal
year in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year to be
approved by the L-TAC, with concordance of the City Council and
Funding Strategies and Priorities
The primary goal of the Kirkland Tourism Program is to provide
services within the scope and responsibilities outlined in this Kirkland
Tourism Marketing Action Plan. That goal supports the tourism-related
products and activities of Kirkland’s tourism stakeholders with
communications and marketing services. In terms of funding, the
Kirkland Tourism Program will be a two-phased program.
Phase 1: Establish and build the promotional and marketing function to
a sustaining level of the Lodging Tax Budget.
During Phase 1, the Kirkland Tourism Program will be established and
complete funding priority will be given to implementing the primary
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 56
infrastructure of the Kirkland Tourism Marketing Action Plan, including
the organizational development of the Kirkland Tourism Program and
its related internal communications and consumer marketing functions.
A minimum baseline for funding Phase 1 as a sustainable long-term
program should be established by the L-TAC and met before moving
into Phase 2.
Phase 2: Add special projects for sustainable tourism development
As the Lodging Tax Budget grows and monies become available after
the baseline requirements of the Kirkland Tourism Program are met,
consideration may be given to funding special tourism-related projects
as presented by the community or Kirkland’s tourism stakeholders.
These special projects might include tourism development (building
projects), tourism infrastructure projects (such as signage), events,
festivals, partnership promotions, and other products relating to
Funding requests should be reviewed by the L-TAC with the following
• Impact on the goal of the Kirkland Tourism Program
• Long-term sustainablility for tourism development
• Economic, community and environmental values of Kirkland
• Uniqueness or novelty of project
• Widespread benefits
• Continued funding needs/sources (if applicable).
In the meantime, local tourism-related organizations are encouraged
to pursue tourism-development projects, promotions, and initiatives.
Service support from the Kirkland Tourism Program will be given to the
marketing and communications needs of these projects and initiatives.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 57
Flow Chart for Kirkland Lodging Tax Advisory Committee
Tourism Program Jim Lauinger, City Councilmember
Marc Nowak, General Manager, Woodmark Hotel
City Council Jane Harrison, Director of Sales, Best Western Kirkland Inn
City of Kirkland Jeff Uveges, General Manager, Kirkland Silver Cloud Inn
Representing organizations involved in activities
authorized to be funded by revenues received:
Karen Lightfeldt, Kirkland Downtown on the Lake
Lisa Turnpaugh, Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce
Luanne Erikson, Kirkland Gallery Association
KIRKLAND TOURISM PROMOTION COORDINATION
Implement Tourism Marketing Plan (3-5 years):
• Design and maintain a tourism website • Coordinate tourism stakeholder communications
• Develop a themed branding campaign • Promote local partnership opportunities
• Create a consumer marketing & PR campaign • Organize training and education forums
• Create a Visitor Information Center system • Manage the budget and program expenditures
• Expand regional and state tourism partnerships • Report to L-TAC monthly
• Add a limited number of off-season events • Report to the community annually
Result: Local businesses, organizations, and events gain revenue from enhanced marketing support.
City gains increase in lodging and sales taxes.
Measuring the success of any long-term tourism initiative needs to be
based on two elements:
1. A Progress Report against key strategic values:
• Community values: Sustainable tourism through no or low
• Environmental values: Sustainable tourism through no or low
impact, or improved natural conditions.
• Economic goals: How are merchants, restaurants and
• Buzz factor: Are you hearing more talk about Kirkland as a
great place to visit?
2. A Report of Specific Program Results
• Analyze visitor spending through reports on quarterly and
yearly taxes collected by the City of Kirkland on tourism-
related entities such as restaurants, lodging, retail,
attractions, parks, etc.
• Website statistics
• Press clip coverage and ad equivalency
• Conduct case studies to show cause and effect. For example,
conduct a press trip, gain media coverage, and see if hotels
receive spikes in bookings in days following coverage. Result
is potential visitors have been converted into Kirkland
• Leads generated from regional Destination Marketing
Organization (DMO) partners.
• Anecdotal evidence from galleries and shop merchants,
restaurants and hotels is also important to gather because
while not statistically solid, is a good barometer at the
These data and anecdotal evidence of progress can be issued in an
Annual Report to the Community.
Kirkland’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 59