FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Convention & Visitors Bureau has rebranded itself as “Visit Fairfield Iowa.”
Visitors bureau Director Terry Baker said there were a few reasons for the change, one of which was to more clearly distinguish the bureau from the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. Adding to the confusion is that the Fairfield Convention & Visitors Bureau is inside the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.
“People call my office wanting to book a wedding at the convention center,” Baker said. “Even though our office works closely with the convention center on projects, we’re still separate entities with separate operations.”
Baker said the organization’s legal name will remain the Fairfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, but it will be known as Visit Fairfield Iowa in all its advertising and branding. Baker said another reason for the name change was to make the organization more visible in online searches.
“When you want to visit somewhere, what do you put into Google?” Baker asked. “You say, ‘I want to visit Fairfield Iowa.’ This will allow us to come up higher in searches to give us better public recognition.”
Baker said the new name focuses attention on the organization’s mission to attract visitors to Fairfield and Jefferson County. During the past year, the visitors bureau has put its energy toward small business support while maintaining awareness of Fairfield as a travel destination.
“Traveling to Fairfield has slowed down considerable this year, as it has just about everywhere,” Baker said. “But we know that travel and tourism is a resilient industry and it will return. It’s important that we keep our hospitality and tourism-related businesses vibrant so that future visitors can enjoy them.”
The visitors bureau is funded mainly by the hotel and motel tax and receives support from the Jefferson County supervisors. Baker said the steep decline in tourism in 2020 was evident in the precipitous drop in hotel and motel tax revenue. Baker said she estimates tourism was down 50 percent or even as much as two-thirds compared to prior years.
The visitors bureau theme and logo will remain the same, and that’s the “Tune into our Vibe” theme it shares with other organizations in town, including the city of Fairfield. Residents will notice the visitors bureau’s new name online and on marketing materials, though it will be noticed most by people in other towns, since the bureau is focusing on drawing outsiders to come here.
The visitors bureau began a little over 15 years ago and was initially housed in the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce before moving into the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center in 2007, the year it was built.
Baker said the organization’s goals for 2021 include keeping Fairfield “top of mind” for potential visitors and supporting the local hospitality industry such as hotels, restaurants and attractions.
“We’ve been helping local merchants with social media marketing,” Baker said.
Baker said she’s begun a marketing campaign in the states that border Iowa to help put Fairfield on their radar.
“We’re targeting people who would have a nice day’s drive to come here and spend the night,” she said. “We know they might not do it right now, but when they’re feeling more optimistic about traveling, we want to be in their plans.”