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City honored for marketing effort
State tourism group recognizes excellence in Kansas tourism marketing
Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Christina Hayes.jpg
Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Christina Hayes displays the CVB’s 2021 Marketing Award trophy it earned at a state tourism conference in October in Liberal.

TOPEKA – At the Travel Association of Kansas 2021 Kansas Tourism Conference that took place in Liberal in October, it was announced that Great Bend was a recipient of one of the Marketing Awards.

In the small-budget category, the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau tied for first place with the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce for an online campaign prize. The GBCVB won for its Wetlands Wildlife Virtual Festival and the CCC for its Chisholm Trail Fest video.

“Usually we have birders from all over come right to Great Bend to do our birding festival that we do every other year,” GBCVB Director Christina Hayes told the City Council Monday night. They didn’t want to cancel it this year because of COVID so they took it virtual. 

“We ended up having some 265 birders from all over the United States who attended that,” she said. The Kansas Tourism Conference judges remarked they were impressed and liked the switch, noting “you pivoted Well.”

In addition, they appreciated the collaboration with the various organizations involved. 

The judges also liked the website and social media engagement and the campaign made them want to register, she said. They said the event transitioned to online well and was successful.

“Overall, there were lots of partners in this,” Hayes said. In addition to the CVB. there were the Kansas wetlands Education Center, the Nature Conservancy, the Kansas Wildlife and Parks and the staff at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area. 

The TIAK Marketing Awards are chosen annually to recognize excellence in destination marketing initiatives across the state. They are divided into six categories and broken out by the organization’s marketing budget: Large (over $100,000); medium (20,000 – $100,000); and small ($19,999 and under).

“That was the third marketing award that we won in the last two years and we’re really proud of that,” she said. They only started entering two years ago.

“The best part about that is the critiques that we get back,” she said. “We learn how to make our stuff better and continue to put Great Bend’s best foot forward for all of our marketing campaigns.”  

TIAK is a statewide membership organization whose mission is to supsport the travel and tourism industry in Kansas by supporting all components of the travel development field. Its goals are to influence government decisions, provide a forum for interaction among all industry sectors, and develop programs that positively reflect the impact of tourism on the state and local economies.