Tourism and Economic Development

Nearly 55 years ago, we conducted the research that inspired the creation of the iconic “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan, and we’ve been supporting, regions, attractions, and destinations throughout Virginia and beyond ever since.

That’s a lot of competition, and a lot to ask of tourism and economic development resources already stretched thin. So, where do you start? How about with gaining a clearer picture of just what you’re working with — what makes you unique? What makes you you?

After all, there’s no silver bullet tagline or advertisement to make you more appealing if you don’t know your assets, your audience, your peers, and your competitors as intimately as possible. Only then can you make a great destination. Only then can you fashion a strategic and comprehensive marketing plan you know will resonate. And only then can you track your performance and measure impact over time.

As researchers, we’re built to unearth data that lets you know yourself, your assets, your audience, your peers, and your competitors as intimately as possible. As strategic placemakers and place marketers, we’re driven to build a holistic approach to tourism and place-based economic development that empowers and inspires every stakeholder to become an ambassador. And as seasoned communicators, we’re trained to craft messages that cut through the clutter and reach exactly who you want to reach.


What we do:

Our tourism and economic development work acts as a through line for our entire 55-year history, as some of our earliest visitor research informed and helped inspire the “Virginia is for Lovers” campaign, which measurably increased the state’s appeal as a destination. Today, we’re still working with the Virginia Tourism Corporation, only now it’s more than surveys and intercepts, it’s a long-range comprehensive and strategic tourism plan for all of Virginia.

We’ve worked with communities as near as Norfolk and Hampton Roads and as far as Fort Worth to better understand and maximize their tourism and economic development assets. In our hometown of Richmond, our research has helped spur regionwide efforts to attract young professionals, and we’re currently conducting research and community engagement outreach to inform Richmond’s Navy Hill development — the largest economic development initiative in the city’s history.

A few examples of our Tourism and Economic development work:

Our services include: 

  • Customer and resident satisfaction research

  • Planning support

  • New product and service development

  • Leadership communications and training

  • Reputation management

  • Key performance indicators and performance dashboards

  • Landscape assessments

  • Trends analysis and mapping

  • Communications audits

  • Customer journey mapping

  • Strategic positioning and brand planning and execution

A few past and current clients include:

• City of Charlotte, NC
• City of Norfolk, Virginia
• Capital Region Airport Commission
• Fort Monroe
• Hilton Head
• James Madison’s Montpelie
• Kingsmill Resort
• Monticello
• Richmond International Airport
• Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau
• State Fair of Virginia
• Virginia Beach
• Wintergreen Resort