Alliance to unveil new marketing apps

The Power of Partnerships Alliance has an expansive new marketing plan for areas surrounding Front Royal.

A coalition of businesses and organizations dedicated to enhancing tourism marketing of activities within 30 minutes of the town, the alliance is actively working toward unfurling a new digital marketing platform.

According to Ken Thurman, alliance chairman who also serves as Warren County Airport Commission chairman, is in the process of planning the upcoming Irish Spring Festival for March 7 at the Holiday Inn in Front Royal.

Thurman said the alliance would like to complete its massive database of nearly 300 organizations, tourist attractions and businesses within the area before the festival.

This database will be expressed in the form of an active fan-chart, a version of which is already being featured on http://www.frontroyalPOPA.com, which will be featured on an upcoming mobile app.

Thurman said the alliance will try to make the app available for both Android and Apple devices.

The fan-chart is basically an 18-wheeled consolidation of every type of activity that is available in the area. When the chart is complete, the wheels will have every entity related to a given activity.

Thurman said the alliance has almost all of the information required for the database.

“We just have to reformat the data … into something that is compatible with using it on the Web and on a mobile app,” Thurman said.

The next goal or step in the process, Thurman said, is to finish the database before the Irish Festival.

“We’re [also] hoping to have either the website application or the mobile app done by March 7,” Thurman said, adding that that deadline “may be a push.”

Along with having this extensive database, Thurman said the mobile app will be available for download free of charge.

“What we are going to do to maintain the apps is to charge a nominal fee to [organizations] that are embedded on the app,” Thurman said.

That fee, Thurman said, will be “something like $10” for organizations that want active links to their website and information included with the app.

Thurman estimates that charging this fee could provide around $30,000 for maintenance use.

In order to get the startup fees required to launch the digital database, Thurman said the alliance went to the town as well as the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

Thurman noted that both the town and the county have included “$5,000 to their budget that, if we provide matching funds, they will release that money to us.”

Thurman said the alliance told the county that, “if they would help us with this initial kick-off funds, then we’ll never come back to them for money again.”

The alliance will look to generate the funds necessary for this launch and more at the Irish Festival “through booth admission fees and beer sales,” Thurman said.

Altogether, Thurman said they are hoping to have a pot of $20,000 to help with additional marketing “for the town and county that is not currently being done.”

Included in this is vast marketing effort is a planned project to create new, connected wine loop trails both east and west.

Thurman said that the idea is have loops that are similar to the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop run between Front Royal and Luray.

The alliance will work with Page, Frederick, Shenandoah and Clarke counties as well as Fauquier and Rappahannock, according to Thurman.

“We set down the notion of ’30 minutes from Front Royal’ with the fan chart … and that crosses the counties surrounding us,” Thurman said.

Although Thurman said no formal conversations begun yet, he explained that the alliance has “touched base” with those counties regarding the planned wine loops.

“We figure that some time after the Irish Festival, mid-March to summer, we’ll be working on getting everyone in-sync with us,” Thurman said.

However, the Irish Festival has first priority, he said

In preparation of the event, Thurman mentioned a website, http://www.IrishSpringFest.com, that will “hopefully” be launching this week.

So far, Thurman said the alliance has over 12 organizations signed up for booths at the event, with around 60 total slots open. Cost of reserving a booth, he said, is $50.

Coupled with the costs associated with the mobile app, participation with he alliance appears to be relatively cost-effective.

Thurman said, “The idea is to make everything so ridiculously cheap that everyone says, ‘why wouldn’t I do that?”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com