Centre County visitors bureau unveils new name, identity aimed at tourism beyond Penn State

Wanting to take on a more “cutting edge” marketing approach to tourism, the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau has a new name and identity.

Tim Reeves, Allen & Gerritsen principal, helped create the new brand — the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau — and said it speaks to Centre County attractions and visitor experiences.

During the bureau’s annual meeting, held Tuesday at the Pegula Ice Arena, bureau President and CEO Fritz Smith, board chairman Edward Tubbs and Reeves presented the new brand to county officials, stakeholders and community members. After months of research, Smith and Reeves said they hope rebranding will help attract visitors to Centre County — beyond Penn State.

“Happy Valley is a unique asset that other regions envy,” Smith said. “It is known across the nation. It hints at the wholesome emotions of visiting here, and it pays homage to our beloved Penn State while extending beyond State College to all the wonders of Centre County.”

Reeves, along with A&G staff, helped the bureau research effective marketing strategies while touring other counties to see how they were advertising individual local attractions. Wanting to escape the “sea of sameness,” Reeves said they wanted a name that conveyed emotion and went beyond “what everybody else was doing.”

“We could have just gone, used Happy Valley and joined the club,” Reeves said, adding that the marketing team wanted to find a name and approach that set the standard for the tourism industry moving forward. “We believe we have found that name that does that job, that is actually the new trend in the destination marketing industry.”

The updated brand and logo sets Centre County apart from competitors, Reeves said.

During its annual meeting Tuesday, the visitors bureau announced its new name and marketing campaign, Happy Valley Adventure Bureau. Marley Parish

“They cannot compete with that name,” Reeves said. “They don’t have a chance.”

Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, Reeves said, is “evocative of the experience” in Centre County and conveys that the bureau serves as a “partner” for visitors.

Although tourism is a “super serious business,” Reeves and Smith said it’s also about having fun.

“The Adventure Bureau is a quasi-governmental name with a wink,” Smith said. “It hunts at the adventures that await the travelers who will choose to come our way. We want prospective travelers to experience the remarkable promise of the Happy Valley region at every moment of their travel planning experience — from the moment they first hear or see or read our marketing, to when they call for more information — and the person answering the phone says, ‘Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, how can I help you?’”

In addition to the new name, the bureau’s website will change from visitpennstate.org to happyvalley.com by early November.

Tim Reeves, Allen & Gerritsen principal, announced the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau’s new name and marketing campaign during the annual meeting at the Pegula Ice Arena on Tuesday. Marley Parish

“It’s up to all of us to be ambassadors for Happy Valley Adventure Bureau,” said former Penn State hockey coach Joe Battista, expressing his excitement over the new brand.

From State College to Penns Valley to the Bald Eagle area, Smith said the area is full of history, fun and adventure that wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for Centre County residents as a whole. Over the next few weeks, Smith said residents and visitors will begin to notice the gradual incorporation of the new brand into marketing efforts and said he is excited to see it grow.

“We have to take it upon us to go out and spread the world, get people excited, get them fired up to come and visit the place we already know and love,” Battista said.

Marley Parish reports on local government for the Centre Daily Times. She grew up in Slippery Rock and graduated from Allegheny College.