$25 gas card for out-of-town visitors

Drive to Richmond. Stay in a hotel for two nights. Get a $25 gas card. That’s the pitch of an ad currently running in Roanoke, Washington D.C. and Hampton Roads.

The Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, which promotes the Richmond region as a tourist destination, is paying for the spots. The ads link to a new website (the RMCVB hired Richmond.com to design them), which shows potential amenities and itineraries.

“We wanted to come up with something that addressed packaging. Travelers are interested in one-stop shopping,” said Jennifer Carnam, vice president of marketing at the Visitor’s Bureau.

The gas promotion started on May 22 and runs through July 7. Tourists must book two nights at a participating hotel. Upon departure, the hotel will then give the tourist a $25 gas coupon. Only hotels that charge less than $150 a night were invited to participate.

When the Visitor’s Bureau sent out an email to see if local hotels were interested, four signed up within ten minutes, Carnam said.

A $25 gas card would cover about 40% of a round trip visit from Roanoke, provided a vehicle gets 25 miles per gallon.

“Emotionally, we think it will be appealing,” Carnam said. “It’s basically a reward for staying two nights.”

There is also a contest to win a $500 gas card. Typically the Visitors Bureau will email area hotels about a possible advertising campaign and then the businesses can choose to be part of it.

The Visitor’s Bureau is also developing a new homepage. Bethesda-based TIG Global is handling that project.

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