New tourism website, videos shine light on Fairfield
FAIRFIELD — Town officials will shine the spotlight on Fairfield with a series of new promotional videos and a tourism website.
“The videos are really oriented toward newcomers and visitors to the area,” Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart said.
The town is working with CGI Communications to make up to 10 short promotional videos, each focusing on different aspects, such as economic development, real estate, recreation and leisure, education, shopping and dining, arts and culture, history and attractions and senior living
There have been some questions raised on social media regarding the selection of an out-of-state firm, as well as the cost for the videos.
“There is no cost to the town,” Barnhart said. “The company attempts to sell advertising space around the perimeter of the videos to defray costs, but it is at their risk.” He said it may be advantageous to local businesses to advertise through the videos, but added, “We leave that decision to the individual businesses.” The videos will be posted on the town’s website, www.fairfieldct.org.
Barnhart said CGI has worked with communities across the country, and has been endorsed by the United States Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities, which is how they first came to the town’s attention. “We don’t really have much of a marketing budget, so as they say, the price was right,” he said.
“We obviously try to work with local companies wherever possible, but to my knowledge, there really isn’t a comparable local option that provides this type of turn-key solution at no cost,” Barnhart said. Each video will be roughly 1 to 2 minutes in duration.
The town worked with CGI in 2010 on a similar project.
“We are very excited to be working with CGI again on telling prospective residents and business alike on what makes Fairfield such a special place,” First Selectman Tetreau said. “We are also pleased to provide an opportunity to partner with local businesses to increase their online presence and provide greater exposure.”
Community groups and local businesses will have the chance to take part in this program with their own video, which will highlight their particular business or group or simply to sponsor the video, according to the first selectman’s office.
Representatives of CGI Communications, who will be clearly identified with a letter of introduction, will call on Fairfield businesses to give them the opportunity to participate in this project.
CGI Communications, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., has produced over 20,000 videos for municipalities, chambers of commerce and county governments nationwide, and Barnhart said the firm approached the town about doing new videos.
The new tourism website, ExperienceFairfieldCT.org, is meant to complement a new town map and guide being distributed at more than 280 locations in the New York metro area this summer. The website provides information on upcoming events, local attractions, things to do, and places to stay, eat and shop.
“Fairfield is the quintessential New England town with a rich, 375-year history, picturesque coastline and a vibrant and walkable downtown,” Barnhart said. “There’s so much to see and do, all within minutes of each other, making Fairfield a great place to visit, relax and unwind.” said
The website also provides added visibility to local restaurants and retailers, with Fairfield-based restaurants and retail merchants able to request a complimentary listing that includes their business name, address, phone number, hyperlink and thumbnail image.
“We know that all businesses are continually looking for ways to reach their consumers, yet we recognize that many of our small businesses lack the resources to adequately do so.” Barnhart said. “This website will help, creating a platform to connect visitors with local businesses.” The website allows users to filter content based on a specific neighborhood and the type of accommodation, business or cuisine being sought.
The town partnered with the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce on the new website.
“We were very excited to be part of this new venture,” Beverly Balaz, chamber president, said. “We are always looking for opportunities to work with the town to promote our wonderful community and our many small businesses.”
“The Fairfield Museum is delighted to partner with the town on this important tourism initiative that will help promote our extraordinary business and nonprofit community to new visitors,” said Michael Jehle, the museum’s executive director.
Joe Rog, director of development for FTC agreed. “Fairfield is an exceptional destination for arts and entertainment, and this website will be a great resource for people interested in visiting the area,” Rog said. “We are excited to be a part of it.”
A Fairfield-based marketing firm, Six7Marketing, developed the new website for $3,000. “Six7 did an outstanding job, and was extremely responsive to our needs,” Barnhart said. “We gave them an overall design concept, and they were able to execute that plan and help us realize our vision in a very short period of time.”
Barnhart said while they have a commitment with CGI to host the promotional videos on the town’s website, he said they can also put those videos on the tourism website.
For questions about the video program or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, contact the Office of Community & Economic Development at 203-256-3120.