Q5: Visit Stillwater promoting local businesses

We have seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted individuals, industries, and cultures worldwide. The travel and tourism industry has virtually come to a halt in an effort to flatten the curve and save more lives. We asked Visit Stillwater Chairman of the Board Chris Norris how our local destination marketing organization has been impacted.

1. What is the greatest impact you have seen in the past couple of weeks? 

The cancellation or postponement of virtually every event for at least two months. To make it even more impactful, for over a decade April and May have been our busiest months of the year in the number of events held. We were also slated to host Big 12 Conference and NCAA men’s and women’s tennis championships this May. Like the rest of the country, our event venues, attractions and restaurants (indoor dining) are also closed. As of right now, two of our hotels have temporarily closed.

2. What is Visit Stillwater doing now to promote Stillwater?

We have transitioned our focus from marketing to visitors to communicating to residents to better support our local business partners. Our staff has called almost 200 local businesses to promote their hours of operation, delivery, pick-up, or curb-side services, online shopping options and the availability of gift cards. They continue to update the information on our website and social media throughout each day since things are continually changing. Staff has also recently added a coloring contest for kids and adults online, as well as incorporated virtual tours featuring many of our local museums, attractions and restaurants. These 360 degree images will give our residents something to look forward to and visitor’s incentive to visit when traveling again.

3. How can local businesses get added to the information at VisitStillwater.org?

Just email details to Cristy@, Nicole@, or Michelle@VisitStillwater.org. Businesses should also monitor the information in case changes need to be made over the upcoming weeks. We respect and are following the guidance issued by local leadership. Our staff is working remotely and practicing social distancing. All of our phone lines have been forwarded to our employees who are more than happy to help in any way possible. 

4. What are some ways Stillwater residents can support local businesses?

Keeping the health and safety of our community at the forefront, we encourage residents to order meals from our local restaurants. Several have come up with some great ideas for pick up and drive-thru. Many of our local shops have online shopping options. And, it is always a good time to purchase gift cards for personal use later, or gifts for family and friends. Monitor our website and social media platforms for information and updates.

5. Will this have a long-lasting impact on your efforts to promote Stillwater?

The impact to every industry will most likely be long-lasting. The travel and tourism industry has proven to be very resilient in the past. We have an experienced and knowledgeable team with a plan in place to assist our local business partners and event planners through their rescheduling processes as we navigate through these unprecedented times.

– Submitted

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