North Channel Marine Tourism Council rep. says new marketing initiatives are ‘exciting’

In photo is Karen Bittner of Blind River and Laura McRae from St. Joseph Island, who presented two new marketing ideas, a passport program and travelling anchor promotions at the annual meeting of the North Channel Marine Tourism Council.

GORE BAY—The representative for the Town of Gore Bay is very enthusiastic about two marketing initiatives developed and presented to members of the North Channel Marine Tourism Council (NCMTC) at the group’s  31st annual conference, held in Spanish last week.

“I think the new marketing initiatives are really exciting,” Marg Hague told the Recorder this past Sunday. “A passport program and the travelling anchor promotions have been announced. They are free and fun.”

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Ms. Hague explained, “a passport has been designed and printed for boaters to get stamped at 10 marinas or member businesses. Each member will receive a personalized stamp, passports, a stand to hold a poster and passports and a large poster. The captain of a boat will get the passport stamped as they dock in different marinas and when the passport has 10 stamps it is sent to the NCMTC office and a certificate is sent to the participant. It is not time sensitive so it does not have to be done in one year; it can be done over three years.”

She noted as well, “boaters are asked to take pictures and post them along with the hashtag #NCDiscover. Passports will also be given out at the Toronto Boat Show with a sticker to show where it started. It is free and fun. Each member will receive a box with maps, rack to hold the poster and passports, marketing folder and self-inking stamp. The pump-out cards are also in the box.”

“The second part of the marketing initiative is the Travelling Anchor,” said Ms. Hague. “Although it is  not an anchor, but a life preserver, it will be given to a lucky captain who will sign it, take a picture, post the picture along with the hashtag #NCDiscover and then hand it off to another captain.”

“The plan is to keep it going and where it gets to, by following the posts,” said Ms. Hague. She pointed out, “there was a draw held at the annual general meeting from the marinas represented, to see where the anchor would be launched. Spider Bay Marina in Little Current won the draw.” The date of the launch  has not been posted yet, she said. NCMTC will have a youth intern who will train the students at the various member marinas and encourage them to communicate with the boaters.

“Another one of the exciting things that came out of the meeting is that  on Friday morning, Rick Layzell, the new CEO of Boating Ontario and Ashleigh Andrews, membership and communications coordinator for Boating Ontario were introduced and the outlined the strategic plan for Boating Ontario, as well as the new marketing initiatives,” said Ms. Hague, who has indicated she retired from the board as of the annual general meeting.

“After (the NCMTC) dinner (Thursday evening), Roy Eaton presented a shortened version of his Toronto Boat Show presentation and provided the statistics from the Cruisers Net 2017 summer. He distributes the very popular promotional boat totes at both,” said Ms. Hague.

She noted, “this year, distribution is 300 to Roy Eaton for the Cruisers Net program, 25 to each of the sponsors (325), 200 for the Toronto Boat Show 2019 and some for a rendezvous in Killarney. Some members requested extras to purchase for their own use, above the 25 they get for being a sponsor, so there are approximately 100-150 for sale to members at a cost of $5.96. it is very inexpensive advertising for $200 to get your marina’s name and website circulated throughout the boating community at no cost to the participant for distribution.”

“I would like to thank the mayor and council of Gore Bay for giving me the opportunity to serve on this committee,” said Ms. Hague. “It has always been positive, productive, progressive and congenial- a real joy to be a part of. Thanks to the office staff for their help and support and to Lee (Hayden-Gore Bay Marina manager) for always being there to answer my questions and keep me informed.”