CHARLESTON, W.Va. - With tens of thousands of people set to attend the 2013 Greenbrier Classic in two weeks, Greenbrier Valley officials again are preparing to market their area to capitalize on the event.
Kara Dense, executive director of the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said her staff and an army of volunteers will fan out during the weeklong PGA golf tournament to let attendees know the area has a lot more to offer than golf.
"That is our message: To get people out into the region by letting them know what there is and hopefully get them to spend an extra night and really make those cash registers ring throughout the county and region," Dense said.
While her organization is based in Greenbrier County, Dense said it functions more as a regional visitors bureau, promoting events not just in Greenbrier County, but also in Pocahontas, Monroe, Summers and Nicholas counties.
Up to 40,000 people attend the Greenbrier Classic on peak days, and even if many of them might come to town only for the day, officials want to make sure visitors go home knowing what they can come back and visit later in the year.
"It's always a great event and opportunity to showcase West Virginia and the Greenbrier Valley," Dense said.
To promote the region, the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau has signed on as an official tournament sponsor.
The organization will have signage and information booths along The Old White TPC golf course, as well as a full-page ad in the official tournament guide. Staff will distribute free copies of the organization's 48-page visitors guide at each of the information booths.
Tournament attendees park at the state fairgrounds in Fairlea and take shuttle buses to and from the golf course each day.
The buses will be equipped with video monitors that will play a 30-second advertisement promoting some of the local restaurants and attractions.
"We are really encouraging folks that if they don't make it into the downtown during the day to make it into downtown Lewisburg or White Sulphur Springs once golf is done," Dense said.
Dense said officials will use the social media pages to show man-on-the-street interviews with tournament visitors and conduct prize giveaways.
Staff also will be in the tournament's media center, where 60 to 80 journalists might be covering the event on a given day. Dense said it is important to have one-on-one interaction with the reporters who may be new to the area.
"It allows us to have access to media if they want to have information on different kinds of stories to cover or information on the area and the economic impact as well," she said.