"Extraordinary Alexandria" Tourism Brand Unveiled September 19, 2013


Claire Mouledoux, CMouledoux@VisitAlexVA.com or 703-652-5367


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(Alexandria, Virginia) - Visit Alexandria unveiled its new tourism marketing brand and campaign on Wednesday night, September 18, at Alexandria's Old Town Theater. While the setting may have been historic, the "Extraordinary Alexandria" campaign is clearly focused on the future.

"Extraordinary Alexandria" represents a major departure for the tourism marketing agency, which previously relied more heavily on history themes and print advertising. A contemporary approach is reflected in the new branding as well as a new emphasis on digital advertising and social media. More than a tourism campaign, "Extraordinary Alexandria" is a lifestyle brand, expanding upon the city's historic setting to seamlessly integrate the thriving community of independent restaurants, boutiques and arts and cultural venues.

City of Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille kicked off the campaign launch noting that, "Extraordinary Alexandria reflects the vast changes occurring in our city over the past five years - new hotels, restaurants and shops; new developments in the city's neighborhoods and on the waterfront; and the addition of the free King Street Trolley." The mayor also personally thanked the woman behind the campaign, new Visit Alexandria President & CEO Patricia Washington.



Washington explained the strategy behind the campaign. "We wanted to achieve five things: 1) Clearly differentiate Alexandria from the competition; 2) Expand consumer perception beyond history to include arts, dining and shopping; 3) Work across all media platforms; 4) Engage new partners; and 5) Support future growth and product development."



Alexandria's product truths were revealed and reinforced through comprehensive market research that included over 1,000 online visitor surveys with respondents from 47 states and 23 countries; face-to-face consumer interviews in New York, Richmond, Baltimore and Washington, DC; and in-depth local stakeholder interviews. Overwhelmingly, those familiar with Alexandria expressed a passion for the city and its authentic, uncontrived feel. 98% of surveyed visitors said they would return.

Key themes from the research formed the basis of the campaign: authentic architecture and heritage; refined luxury - simple but perfectly done; a romantic escape; a rich diversity of offerings; thriving arts and culture; epicurean delights; and a location minutes from Washington, DC but a world away. "Extraordinary" was selected to describe the unparalleled combination of these features and the feelings they evoke.

"Ultimately, ‘Extraordinary' isn't just a visitor experience. In Alexandria, it's a way of life," explains Washington. "The city inspires the creative spirit of both small business owners and artists who choose Alexandria to fulfill their dreams."

Thriving neighborhoods, especially Old Town Alexandria and Del Ray, have organically evolved from historic roots, and the city receives accolades for its high quality of life.



The campaign, unveiled to an audience of over 200 civic leaders, small business owners and members of the media, showed off a younger, more dynamic Alexandria. An ad highlighting "the art of extraordinary dining" features celebrated chef Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve, photographed at The Art League. Another ad conveys the romance of Old Town Alexandria through a young couple embracing on Captain's Row, Alexandria's most famous cobblestone block which attracts hundreds of wedding and engagement photo shoots each year.



Tourism is clearly on the minds of city officials and residents. Two weeks ago, Visit Alexandria announced that visitor spending in Alexandria in 2012 increased 4 percent to $739 million. Tourism revenues have now grown 26% since 2007, twice the statewide average.

That tourism growth has also translated into an expanded tax base. Visitors last year generated a record $23.7 million in tax receipts for the City of Alexandria.



Fans of Alexandria are invited to get in on the "Extraordinary" campaign. Using the social media hashtag #ExtraordinaryALX, the public is encouraged to Tweet, Facebook and Instagram photos, videos and statements of what they find extraordinary in Alexandria. Each week, an #ExtraordinaryALX story will be selected to be featured on the VisitAlexandriaVA Facebook page.


About Visit Alexandria
Visit Alexandria is a private nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to generate tourism and conventions that increase revenues and promote the City of Alexandria, Virginia and its assets. Tourism contributes both to the economic health of the city and quality of life for its residents. VisitAlexandriaVA.com.