Fairfax County tourism officials recently unveiled the county's biggest campaign to attract visitors, using the slogan "FXVA: FX Marks the Spot." Staff writer C. Woodrow Irvin asked C. Arnie Quirion, president and chief executive of Fairfax County Convention and Visitors Corp., questions about the initiative.
QWho came up with the FXVA brand, and what are you hoping to convey with it?
ABill Replogle of Sparky's Garage, a standout in the stable of the region's most creative people, was the man behind the creation of the brand. . . . Our logo is designed in tones of orange and silver and recasts the county as "FXVA," letting potential visitors know that "FX Marks the Spot." We believe our new brand reflects all the excitement our county has to offer, from the best shopping on the East Coast at Tysons Corner to the Udvar-Hazy Center, Wolf Trap, Mount Vernon and more.
How will you measure the success of Visit Fairfax's new campaign? Is there a reliable way to determine the number of tourists that visit the county?
Just as we are newly launching our marketing campaign, we are also newly implementing the devices to gauge our success. Fortunately, our primary marketing and sales tool will be our Web site, www.fxva.com, where all sales activity can be easily tracked in detail. As we build history and our own database, we expect to become more savvy in mining the value of that data while using the Web site to establish and maintain a personal relationship with our existing and potential visitors. Our hotel partners are also instrumental in helping us determine the number of tourists who are visiting the county.
How will Fairfax County be marketed as a destination to those travelers?
We characterize our marketing efforts as an "inside out" approach, which is to say we are beginning by working with those closest to us in harvesting what we describe as low-hanging fruit.
Our research shows that 56 percent of our visitors are here to visit family and friends, and we have the good fortune of accomplishing our initial marketing objective by doing what we like to do best -- enrolling the support of our friends, neighbors and fellow FXVAers to influence that market.
We are concurrently advertising in major publications to a broader East Coast market. As we proceed, we will expand our reach to eventually encompass all areas within a 500-mile radius of Fairfax County, which is where 75 percent of our business comes from.
Finally, we feel that the international market is a huge opportunity for us. We are investing in creating a state-of-the-art Web site, which will be an effective tool in reaching these potential visitors.
People visiting the District have the convenience of Metro. How will visitors who prefer to travel without cars be able to take advantage of Fairfax County?
In the short term, we know that our current leisure visitors overwhelmingly arrive by car, and we're creating a series of driving tours of Fairfax County and the region that we feel strongly will appeal to them. Of course, we do have access to Metro via the Orange, Blue and Yellow lines and are excited about the extension to Dulles.