By Sue Tiffin
A love for winter in the Highlands was broadcast last week on KX96 from Oshawa when the stations’ DJs went snowmobiling with Haliburton County Snowmobiling Association and Harper Powersports before cross country-skiing and staying at the Pinestone and Energy 99.7 from Peterborough when the stations’ morning hosts went downhill skiing at Sir Sam’s and snowmobiling at Haliburton Forest before dining and staying at Sir Sam’s Inn.
The promotion through Ontario Travel showcased Winter in Haliburton offering a prize pack to a station listener that included a two-night stay at the Pinestone or Sir Sam’s Inn a half-day dogsledding with Winterdance Dogsled Tours snowmobiling at Haliburton Forest and lift tickets and rentals to Sir Sam’s.
“One of the things that drew us to Haliburton 20 years ago was how much this small community offers and we feel strongly that makes the area incredibly unique and attractive to winter visitors” Tanya McCready of Winterdance Dogsled Tours told the Echo . “Within about a 15-kilometre radius you have incredible snowmobile and Nordic ski trails downhill skiing ice climbing snowshoeing ice fishing and dog sledding all set against a wilderness backdrop. Only a handful of destinations in the world can offer that.”
McCready and Hank Debruin through Winterdance Dogsled Tours have had a relationship with Ontario Travel a government agency that helps support the showcasing of travel in the province for more than a decade. A discussion in the fall with Claude Aumont led to the idea of a large promotion involving several of the Highlands’ top partners for accommodation dining and activities working together with Ontario Highlands Tourism Organization and Ontario Travel to showcase the opportunity offered here in the winter.
“We suggested both the partners we already had a great relationship with but also the places/activities that could welcome the most guests to the area for the biggest economic spinoff” said McCready.
Ontario Travel's Kevin Forget helped find radio stations that were a good fit for the regions and demographics McCready said they hoped to target covering the expense to bring the radio shows to the Highlands for live broadcasts while OHTO’s Julie Mulligan helped write the proposal coordinate the project and and be a liaison for the media teams while in the county.
“The partners’ commitment was to host feed and entertain the media teams once they arrived in Haliburton – covering all the expenses of the teams visit” said McCready. “Also to provide an exciting winter prize package at no cost so that the shows could create a contest to drive more excitement and engagement around the Winter in Haliburton campaign.”
And while even some locals might have been cursing the snowfall or the way their backs felt after some time spent shovelling because of last week’s February storm McCready noted it came at just the right time.
“Wasn’t that perfect?” she said. “Couldn’t have timed it any better. The morning show hosts and other DJs on their station were joking about them being snowed in during the visit to Haliburton. It got the area having tons of snow even more publicity.”
A second component of the campaign brings an influencer to the area during the week of March 7 enjoying five winter outdoor adventures in the area and staying at Heather Lodge to make videos and create content to be used by Ontario Travel OHTO MyHaliburtonHighlands and the participating partners.