Eau Claire Wisconsin Advocacy Pen

This pen has a retractable "cheat sheet" that summarizes tourism's impact to Eau Claire.

Eau Claire, Wisconsin: Putting Power in the People’s Pockets

Statistics are a powerful tool to build support for the travel and tourism industry, but Visit Eau Claire took it one step further by placing the power of numbers directly into the hands of its supporters.

Recognizing the difficulty of committing numbers to memory, Visit Eau Claire embedded a pen with a pull-out infographic touting the positive economic impact of travel to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. This empowered their coalition to speak often and more confidently on the industry’s behalf.

Answering to One’s Existence

Visit Eau Claire has maintained as a strategic goal, informing and educating the community and elected leaders on the importance of the tourism industry and the destination organization’s role in developing the economy via tourism development. A “relevancy strategy” was established and included a local marketing component, as well as a local advocacy component.

The organization determined that it must be able to answer the question, “If Visit Eau Claire no longer existed, who would care and why?” Applying that mentaility to their everyday work spurred the organization to share report and statistics about the impact of travel and tourim, and about the role Visit Eau Claire plays, both online and off.

Empowering Supporters to Speak

While Visit Eau Claire consistently supplied information in support of travel and tourism in the area, the DMO discovered that even their own supporters found the huge amount of data to be overwhelming. Therefore, Visit Eau Claire set out to make it easy – and fun – for community leaders to talk about the impact and importance of the tourism industry. To do so, the DMO needed to accomplish two primary goals:

  1. Synthesize their information into a few key facts and talking points.
  2.  Get it into the hands of the people who were well positioned to share the organization or Eau Claire tourism story.

Enter the Advocacy Pen

For only $1.19 a pen, Visit Eau Claire began to arm their supporters with an “Advocacy Pen” that summarizes how travel and tourism contributed to the local economy in terms of taxes, spending, and wages or salaries.

It also targets the five largest segments impacted by travel and tourism, thereby giving the owner a clear list of the industry’s most signficiant stakeholders.

“We know our stakeholders and leaders want to share the impact of tourism, but they just need the ‘cheat sheet’ to help them out,” said Linda John, Executive Director of Visit Eau Claire.

The organization therefore distributes the pens at every committee meeting, community presentation, and budget meeting. Though they may seem like a small gesture, these pens have created a buzz amongst Visit Eau Claire board members and community stakeholders, because they have combined functional, educational and portable qualities into a single medium.

“Best of all,” continues John, “the important facts are easily at the fingertips of the people who need to be passing along the important message of the power of tourism in Eau Claire. It works."