South Haven/Van Buren County Convention and Visitors Bureau

After moving to South Haven with my family in December of 2015 from a suburb of Chicago, I was delighted to become the Director of Marketing and Member Services for the Visitors Bureau in April of 2016.

In May of 2017, I transitioned to a consultant role, and also continued to oversee the social media engagement channels of the Bureau. In summer of 2018, I launched the new online-content “Only in South Haven” blog. These articles, which have received tens of thousands of views, are now an integral part of promoting and telling the story of what is special about South Haven, its natural splendors, and its welcoming people.

In 2019, I continued working with South Haven through the Beachtowns group until my consultancy ended.

Here is an overview of some of my project work while at the Bureau:

One of the most fun and fulfilling projects I contributed to at the South Haven Visitors Bureau was a first-ever TV ad for South Haven. VIEW VIDEO. We worked with Stevens Advertising and Chop and Hue out of Grand Rapids to write the script, select the talent, and provide input on original music to accompany the ad.

We also worked with Behind the Mitten’s John Gonzales and Amy Sherman on a radio show promoting Paw Paw and Van Buren County: its wineries, the annual Wine and Harvest Festival, and of course our wonderful Paw Paw lodging members.

Producing the annual Visitors Guide was integral in helping people plan their trip to South Haven. More than 50K of these guides are distributed each year. I assisted in the photo selection and copy edit, and also in the distribution plans and geographies. Shout out for an amazing cover photo by South Haven’s Dylan Nelson.

One of the first items I was tasked with was building South Haven’s photo assets. Over a two year period, we worked with Traverse City photographer Andy Wakeman on multiple photo shoots. These were designed to get just the right focus on South Haven scenery and real, local people enjoying the natural splendors of our area. This is the Henderson family of South Haven, photo by Andy Wakeman.

Keeping our Visitors Bureau lodging members in the loop on our efforts was and is very important. At the end of each year, I helped write and publish a Year In Review recap for our lodging members.

South Haven has a very large and very active social media following. For two years, I managed the Bureau’s social media strategy, including growing its following on Instagram by more than 200%.
Walk-in visitors to the Bureau office love this calendar of events. I wrote it and provided creative direction.
Our Lighthouse photo contest generated more than 500 entries, 100K views, and lots of engagement, fun, and goodwill from our fans.

Determining media spend, target audiences, and geographies is always a puzzle. I assisted with creating a media plan that was a balance of billboard, radio, print advertising, digital advertising, and direct marketing.