MALONE — Franklin County legislators got an update on efforts to boost tourism in the region before their regular court meeting last Thursday.
Phil Hance, the county’s director of tourism, detailed the promotional efforts, beginning with Saranac Lake’s partnership with Bing Bang Boom Media, Inc., a commercial video production firm based in Adirondack Village.
He said Saranac Lake is partnering with the company and has developed a plan to spend $20,000 on five videos promoting tourism in that community and in Harrietstown.
Funding for these efforts flows through the county to municipalities, and those municipalities must show in detail how the money will be used before it is released by the county. Hance said this policy gives the county a measure of control over exactly how the money is spent and ensures that messaging meets the needs of the county.
“The first three videos didn’t have a strong enough tourism theme, so they reworked the first three,” Hans told deputies. “The slogan now is ‘come for a visit, stay for life’.”
He said this was followed by “candid discussions” between the village of Saranac Lake, Harrietstown, Bing Bang Boom and the county tourism office, in which the production company was asked to focus more on tourism in the last two videos it was contracted to produce.
He said the first video will focus on “winter fun” in the southern end of the county, including the Saranac Lake Ice Palace, ice fishing and other cold weather attractions in the area. The second includes local businesses like Hotel Saranac and Origin Coffee.
Hans said the new slogan represents a common theme in tourism promotion work.
“That’s one of the purposes of tourism,” he said. “Take your destination, bring a visitor and potentially convert them into a lifelong resident or repeat visitor.”
“Are you satisfied with the content at this stage?” asked regional governor Donna Kissan.
Hance said if the last two videos match the shot list and script provided to him, then he will be satisfied with the county’s return on investment. No money has yet been paid to the production company, and the target funding is from 2022.
“If you all decide to actually pay them for the paid media positions, there are a few stipulations I’d like to have in the contract,” Hans explained. He said one of those arrangements would be for his office to receive analytics on ad placement.
“What we don’t know is what the seller’s commission is,” said Hans. “So if we’re spending $20,000, let’s make sure we’re getting $20,000 worth of advertising.”
He said a second condition would be for the tourism advisory board to see videos and other promotional materials before the money is released, another step to ensure the county’s desired message is properly conveyed.
The total cost to the county for this effort will be $35,000, with $15,000 going to media positions.
He said the TAC is seeking permission to pay $35,000 to two other local initiatives, with the Malone Recreation Commission getting support for the playground and pool and Tupper Lake gaining funds to pay the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) for promotional work .
Hans said when the tourism contract between the Local Development Corporation (LDC) and TAC was suspended due to uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, he left a $35,000 bill with ROOST.
“There was some discussion in the TAC that in the spirit of what was to be achieved, it was put forward that there was a desire to reach this agreement,” said Hans. No contract was ever signed.
County lawmakers approved $35,000 for both Saranac Lake and Malone, but asked for a list of deliverables before paying Tupper Lake for the ROOST work.
“I’d rather see the item then pay for it,” Rep. Paul Lauzon, D-Fort Covington, said.
Lawmakers will vote on Tupper Lake funding after requesting the ROOST results list.