Discover Austin gets creative to bring in more tourists

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(ABC 6 NEWS) – Austin is filled with plenty of fun things to do from the SPAM Museum to the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center and even though the pandemic has caused some people to stop traveling, Discover Austin is getting creative to try and get more people to SPAMtown.

The newest way they are getting creative is by the new Stay and Play incentive.

"It encourages meeting planners, groups, reunions, to come back to Austin, and we will give you an incentive for coming here in the near future," Executive Director of Discover Austin, Nancy Schnable said.

It’s something that will help out local hotels.

"2020 was like somebody shut the light switch off," Owner and General Manager of Austin’s AmericInn, Larry Powell said.

Powell said he saw cancelation after cancelation in 2020 like many other hotels, but when 2021 rolled around more people started traveling again.

"It was tough yeah we struggled, but we made it through," Powell said.

But things are still not back to how they were before the pandemic and that is where the new incentive will hopefully help.

Applicants must book 10 minimum rooms on peak nights and utilize a minimum of 40 total room nights. Applicants get a $10 per lodging room rebate up to $1,000 for hosting. The program is for new to Austin meetings and events that take place anytime from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2024. This can be at any hotel in Austin.

"We are looking for all sorts of creative ways to bring visitors into our community and so just by doing some research we found out there are some other communities around the nation that are doing something like this and we hadn’t heard of one in this particular area so we thought why not try it," Schnable said.

They’ve already got some groups booking their rooms.

"They were in this one particular location for 18 years and with the stay and play incentive they were like we will try to bring it in Austin," Schnable said.

Not only will you be rewarded, but the community also will too.

"That is not only going to help the hotel business or hotel industry, but it’s also going to help our community it’s going to help our restaurants, bars, you know if people stay here in Austin they usually spend a little money in Austin which helps us out overall," Powell said.

You can learn more about the new incentive here.

Another way they have tried to boost tourism is by wrapping a 53-foot semi-trailer with plenty of Austin photos.

The trailer rolled out in August 2020 and will be on the road for the next 10 years.

Every month they get a report to see where the trailer has traveled in the United States.

"It has been really fun to see how when questions and comments come into our office or they are requesting additional information that we can see when we get that report that a lot of time it is where that trailer has been," Schnable said.

Another way they are trying to bring more attention is through Petunia the Pig, a car that looks like a pig.

She is going on tour this summer in the midwest. This is just one more way they wanted to show people that Austin should be a place you’ll want to visit.

"There is so much to do here and so the traveling trailer kind of lets people throughout the United States know when you are comfortable and ready to travel Austin should be on your bucket list," Schnable said.