In this section
April Ralph, Tourism and Economic Development Director
Town of Red River
“These programs have just begun to show their value and will continue as we navigate this "new normal". The Google DMO program has shed new and appreciated light on how to get better results for our business through Google. We are working with many of our small businesses to get them up to speed with their listing, photos, and other additional information. It has allowed us to clarify for our small businesses how to gain control of their online presence. The group from Google was always clear and concise and extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Just helping our businesses move into the 21st century is incredible. When Bill and Corey came here to do the Google 360 photos, mapping and updated videos and photos, they were very professional, very talented and extremely efficient and a pleasure to work with! Being a partner with New Mexico True is truly an asset and really appreciated in the tiny Town of Red River. By helping us, they give us the "coattails" to ride on to be able to compete in a larger and broader markets than we could on our own.”
Silver City Visitor Information Center
“The Murray Ryan Visitor Center in Silver City is excited to be a part of the Recovery Readiness initiative. By taking a proactive approach and working to prepare better tools and assets to showcase our community and all its natural beauty we are better positioned to market to the outside world when the time comes. The benefits from the marketing and technical expertise that has been made available are invaluable and will benefit us for years to come. The support from the State Tourism Department comes at a much-needed time and is greatly appreciated.”
Artesia Chamber of Commerce
“Here are my thoughts on the two grants we received in Artesia. In my experience, the process was super easy to apply. The webinars/zoom calls were perfect in length. I learned a lot about what our city looks like on Google and the potential for it to look way better! I think this definitely added value to our Chamber because it is now a membership perk we can provide to our members as something we can help them with on “Google my Business.” I really think that once the state is able to open up, Artesia will look like a wonderful and adventurous destination instead of a torn up/full of construction ghost town. We have 1 business in Artesia that is NM True Certified so it is kind of hard to say what the advantages are, but I do talk about her soap company a lot since she is the only one. One thing I wish you add is that I want to thank whoever put this grant in place because New Mexico as a whole is really going to need this marketing help if we continue to have families move out of state. Thank you all again so much for your hard work in looking into our towns/cities and teaching us how they can show up better and more accurate.”
Linda Burke, Executive Director
Greater East Mountain Chamber of Commerce
“The New Mexico Tourism Department is truly an asset for a small chamber of commerce like ours. We have benefitted from past grant programs and are currently gaining resources through the Recovery Readiness Initiative that would not otherwise be available to us.
Through the Recovery Readiness Initiative, NMTD staff are helping us put together photo and video sessions that will provide tangible assets for marketing of our region and outreach within our local communities. I am eager to soon be participating in the media asset audit and digital media training opportunities NMTD have made available. For a small chamber of commerce, these are tools we absolutely need but too often do not have adequate funding to secure independently.
The exceptional, award-winning tourism campaigns NMTD creates bring such broad recognition to New Mexico. Yet, NMTD staff is also extremely responsive and encouraging to work with on a local level. I greatly appreciate their support, patience, and encouragement in all our interactions.”
Shelley Oram, Chair
Pecos Business Association
“Being in partnership with New Mexico True Tourism Department has been such a game changer for our marketing abilities out here in the Pecos area. We have been able to produce a level of professional branding and reach demographics that we could never have done on our own small advertising budget. Working with the Tourism has been a truly enjoyable experience and we have honestly felt like we had a brilliant team of skilled professionals, as well as caring friends at our back… not to mention comprehensive resources and support at our fingertips. The Pecos Business Association was so honored to have been awarded the Google DMO program. We know this program will highlight and propel our very best features in the most accessible way to future visitors. Our 50+ businesses are eager to be on the road to recovery and we believe the program will benefit us in that way. It was a pleasure to work with Michael Clark and to see his masterful photography techniques first-hand. PBA is just a small organization and yet working with the NM Tourism Dept. has helped us shine a bright light on our best features to ensure our economic vitality well into the future!”
Leslie Boldt, Executive Director
Lovington Chamber of Commerce
“I want to thank your staff for being such a great community resource for us in Lovington. The City of Lovington had developed a community development team from a partnership between the City, the Lovington Chamber, Lovington MainStreet, and Lovington EDC and tasked us with developing the community through partnership, advocacy, and support. When the pandemic hit, Lovington ground to halt, as well as the rest of New Mexico. We were especially hit hard when our oil and gas industry crashed. Through the outreach you provided, from that very first phone call in reaching out to us about options available and explaining what the Recovery Readiness Program consisted of, we feel that we gained a valuable partner to our city.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first heard of the Recovery Readiness program but since starting it, I realized that I was getting valuable tools that I could use to revitalize our community. One of the most important resource I received was through the one on one conferences and analysis of our community. I had thought that Miles Partnership and New Mexico tourism were going to perhaps just do a refresh but when I received the reports and the training, I realized that I was getting so much more than that. I took a look at the pictures before and after the program on the portrayal of Lovington and I am extremely happy, as the entire community development team is, of how well and updated we look!
Another important aspect of the program to us was getting the chance of developing an actual destination marketing organization to attract visitors and presenting our quality of life to potential investors and stakeholders into our area. The city has turned over some of the parks and areas to us to continue showcasing our town which means we can continue to develop the program.
In addition, the “tokens” to get our businesses online and found in searches has been important and we are working on reaching out to every single one of them to get them more opportunities for success. The whole city is behind the photos and video vignettes coming up and the local news is anxiously awaiting to cover the progress. I’m supposed to call them right away with the times! Our Lea County Museum “sat” in with the rest of the team and we had a great zoom session talking about our city, points of interest, written content, history, uniqueness, and social media, and it was wonderful creating a plan for our destination. We had fun doing it and getting strategically thinking.
I can’t gush enough on the support Lovington has received (and thank you Celia and Casey for the handholding!) from New Mexico and the tourism department.”
Ceela McElveny, Vice President
“Visit Albuquerque’s mission is to stimulate economic growth by marketing Albuquerque as a destination for leisure travelers and group meetings, and to enhance the city’s public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Our ultimate goals are to convince people to visit the city; promote distinctive events, attractions and activities for them to experience while here; prompt them to return in the future; and encourage them to influence others to visit.
Professional videos and photos are critical assets to showcase our city and inspire travel. Many of the images Visit Albuquerque has used in the past for our social media posts, website and advertisements showed large gatherings and crowded indoor events. Because these images send the wrong message during the pandemic, it was important to replace them with more appropriate imagery.
Through the Recovery Readiness Initiative offered by the New Mexico Tourism Department, Visit Albuquerque was able to acquire new still images and video footage that depict people enjoying the city while wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Our two-day photo shoot provided us with 20 still images and nine video segments that we will use in our marketing campaigns to demonstrate the city’s commitment to safe, responsible visitation.
In addition to highlighting COVID-safe practices, the images captured during our photo shoot with the Tourism Department also reflect our commitment to representation and inclusion by showcasing the diversity of our residents and visitors.
These images will be featured as Visit Albuquerque supports the local hospitality industry’s recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19. Investing in tourism, meetings and sporting events is critical to Albuquerque’s economy. Visitors generate millions of dollars of tax revenue for our city and create tens of thousands of jobs for our residents.
We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the New Mexico Tourism Department to acquire photo and video assets under the Recovery Readiness Initiative.”
Courtney Tucker, Executive Director
Taos Ski Valley Chamber of Commerce
Taos Ski Valley appreciated the readiness of the Google DMO team (Celia & Michael) and the extent of the knowledge base that they brought to the table. We were happy Michael was open to all my coordinating so we knocked the shoot out in one day instead of two! We feel that this ready-made team is invaluable to small non-profits, we not only learn a lot from our State's tourism initiatives, we push our own ideas a little further because we have State Tourism funding and support. By 'digitalizing' every business in Taos Ski Valley, we hope to keep old and retain new visitors at ready-to-book excitement levels. When recovery comes, we expect to be busy! The ability for NM True to be the umbrella brand for the State provides us with lots of opportunities to work collaboratively on promoting New Mexico with the help of grant opportunities. We look forward to continuing to work NM Tourism through the pandemic and beyond. We have ideas and it seems you have the supportive funds to help us pull off greater feats!
Tonya Stinson, Executive Director
Farmington Convention & Visitors Bureau
In these extremely challenging times, we are appreciative of the NMTD’s willingness to find innovative ways to assist the NM tourism industry when conventional marketing methods are not currently available. The Recovery Readiness Initiatives that the Farmington CVB has participated in have not only benefited our office but our members, as well. The initial undertaking of assessing our Google business inventory alone saved the FCVB time and money and provided a clear path to better managing how visitors see our community across Google platforms. Our local businesses have appreciated the ease with which we were able to issue verification codes. They struggled with claiming their Google business listing on their own and the tokens the NMTD/Miles Partnership provided allowed our office to quickly assist them. As the FCVB continues to navigate through the pandemic, we look forward to our members and partners having the time and ability to take advantage of the Marketing Academy that is also available via Google DMO.
Lynn Skall, Executive Director
Questa Economic Development Fund
The arrival of the novel Corona Virus earlier this year forced many businesses to "pivot" and design and implement new ways of doing business to stay viable and to continue to operate in some fashion that adhered to all state safety protocols while still generating revenue. I have been extremely impressed with the NM True Recovery Readiness Initiatives - what a spot-on, relevant, and widely beneficial program for all tourism community businesses involved and benefiting from these efforts. I'd like to give a huge Kudos to Celia who has done an exceptional job of scheduling meetings, sending reminders about deadlines and meetings - she solely kept me on track throughout the process - Thank You Celia! The communication with me all along has been exceptional! All meetings started on time with numerous key players involved in each meeting, and the meetings were professionally orchestrated with everyone very well prepared and providing knowledgeable, specific information about our small community of Questa. I am certain that Questa received the same level of attention and service that the much larger, more tourism-centric areas received. This made us feel well taken care of and an important part of the tourism destination business in the state.
The Google DMO, content creation and social/digital optimization is exactly what our Questa businesses needed. The assessment performed by the Team showed that over 70% of Questa businesses had incomplete and/or erroneous information and as many as 45% do not even have a website or Facebook presence on-line. This initiative, particularly during this pandemic, is exactly what was needed to "pour the foundation" for all of our businesses, as the launch pad from which they will grow by enabling them to be located during online searches, and to further promote their services to a much broader audience. This new solid Google presence, with photos, videos, updated information, and original articles is priceless for the time involved, the expertise of the partners, and the guidance of the Tourism Department, we could not have accomplished this on our own in twice the time. The value to our organization can't be enumerated, the improvements and stronger online presence will have returns for the business for years to come.
During the pandemic our businesses may be open, or not, or may be offering limited hours or new special services, and many have specific operational protocols with new ways for purchasing. These online improvements across the board served to help communicate these particulars at a time when this information is most needed and searched for. We have seen growth over the past 6-8 months with NM Stay-cation visitors, many of our businesses are reporting revenues are up!
On my first day on this new job I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Andrea Lawrence for lunch in Santa Fe, it was an extremely productive meeting and our relationship has grown substantially since late January. Our partnership with the NM True Team has been tremendous! I continue to be impressed and deeply grateful for each interaction, for their work, time and expertise. The initiatives that were developed in response to the pandemic were ingenious, and as I said previously, will have returns for the State and the state's businesses for years to come.
THANK YOU! I am honored and privileged to a part of the NM True initiatives and a partner with everyone at the Department of Tourism.