We had a great speaker on May 30 for our weekly Westbrook-Gorham Rotary luncheon - Vanessa Pike of Visit Portland (formerly Greater-Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau). Visit Portland is the destination marketing organization for greater Portland.  They are a non-profit organization that is funded by their members – 450 and growing. No taxpayer dollars are used. The name-change from CVB to Visit Portland was designed to simplify their name and their message, and bring people to the region.
Vanessa spoke of regional and national trends, the strengths of the Greater Portland region and specifically the applicability of the Visit Portland organization to the Westbrook and Gorham area.  Visit Portland has defined market segments to target and attract, working with the Maine Tourism Bureau. They produce a variety of guides including ones targeted to event planners and to specific market segments and they conduct e-mail marketing campaigns to leisure travelers who have signed up to receive correspondence.  They do cooperative advertising -  buy advertising in bulk to obtain a lower rate, then resell that space to members to save ad dollars. They also have staff who participate in travel and trade shows that attract planners for international travelers. The great news is that we have a high return rate of visitors to our region.
After the meeting, she signed a book for the Walker Library and met with our Westbrook WRVC Culinary Director Chef Charles Limoggio to discuss the shortage of culinary help in the tourist region.