San Antonio Travels Forward

The Atkins Group helps San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau break tradition, become its own non-profit.

The Problem

It was time to move the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau from a city department to a private nonprofit model. This was a change which was recommended by industry leaders on a task force appointed by the city’s mayor.  Early opposition to the group's’ recommendations indicated that an advocacy effort would be necessary to win the hearts – and votes – of the City Council to move the effort forward.

The Solution

The Atkins Group worked with the city to identify all key audiences. Soon after, we supported a steady flow of contributed editorial content from key community voices to keep the story in local media channels. At the same time, an ambitious peer-to-peer communications campaign included meetings with industry partners, city council members and other influential business leaders to educate them on the merits of the new structure.

All messaging and all opinions — negative and positive — were featured in an image-driven website which became a hub of accurate information.  The site, called SA Travels Forward, was a clever play on words to indicate movement and the forward “thinking” of the visitor industry.

The Results

TAG was successful in disarming the opposition early in the campaign.  Key messages were so widely accepted that they were reflected back in comments made by council members during public hearings prior to the vote. The matter passed in City Council by a vote of eight to two.  The organization, now known as Visit San Antonio, is on its way to a more efficient, competitive destination management organization because of the SA Travels Forward campaign.

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San Antonio CVB


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