In recent weeks, the term “community” has taken on a whole new meaning. We are apart physically but, in many ways, closer than ever in spirit. We are more intentional in our relationships – both personal and professional – and we all hope together for better days ahead. We are stronger together as a community, and we will rebound together.

At Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism and the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission, we are focusing on research and creativity as well as listening to our community and industry partners to navigate the unknown. One way we are putting these focuses into action is through a comeback campaign for our leisure, sports and meetings audiences. The idea behind this campaign is to show we have missed our beach guests and are ready to welcome them back when the time is right. The imagery intentionally features few people to emulate social distancing, giving potential visitors a sense of safety and security.

For the meetings market, we have two messages for the comeback ad campaign with the overarching leisure sentiment – “we’re ready when you are.” The first phase of messaging is currently being deployed with the beaches closed, encouraging meeting planners to plan future events with our complimentary resources. The second phase of messaging will be featured when the beaches open to welcome planners (and groups) back with open arms. 

On the sports side, we have developed two sets of comeback ads. The first set is geared towards participants, encouraging them to “get back in the game” with sportcations along Alabama’s beaches. The second set speaks to planners and how our team is ready to help reschedule or plan a future sporting event. 

Additionally, for sports, we are working closely with local facilities and upcoming event rights holders to prioritize the health and wellness of athletes, families and fans, and in turn, the impact on our local economy. For example, the USSSA Global Sports World Series for youth baseball and softball is a huge economic driver for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, producing nearly 52,000 room nights and $61.5 million in direct visitor spending in the summer of 2019. We are working to ensure these events go on in the safest way possible with virtual coaches’ meetings and opening ceremonies as well as extra sanitation precautions at the sports complexes.

Our communications team is also launching an information landing page to match visitor expectations with the level our destination can accommodate. For instance, some restaurants or attractions may not be open or running at full capacity, but we can make sure guests get back to the beaches for family time.

We are better together. We will come back as a tourism-based community together. Together we will thrive and welcome people from all over the world to experience our coastal paradise – the sea, the seafood, the sand and the smiles.