Tourism insights: The adventure begins for Happy Valley’s tourism promotion agency

On Oct. 15, the Central Pennsylvania Convention & Visitors Bureau officially became The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (HVAB). Months of research, stakeholder input and hard work culminated in an announcement that is ushering in a fresh, inspired new direction for tourism promotion in Centre County.

We are encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response to the new name and logo. The HVAB’s mission is to increase visitation in the entire county. It goes without saying that we want Centre County residents to be as excited as we are about the possibilities of this new, creative identity for the organization.

We want every community in Centre County to embrace the name of the destination as well, and to be enthusiastic ambassadors for the brand in their businesses, at home, with family and friends, and most importantly, when interacting with visitors.

From Penns Valley to Nittany Valley to Bald Eagle Valley to Moshannon Valley, we really are one Happy Valley. It would be hard to think of the county any other way. The name itself already has tremendous brand equity. It is known across the nation. As Tim Reeves, Principal of Allen & Gerritsen, the creative agency hired to lead the re-branding effort, has often jokingly said, it would be akin to marketing malpractice to suggest another identity for the area and dismiss that built-in name recognition.

Our focus moving forward is to convey how Happy Valley works for all, and to present an outbound view of Centre County that effectively and authentically conveys all of the tremendous assets that Happy Valley offers as a tourism destination.

Happy Valley is downtown State College, which bustles with university town energy and a robust mix of arts, culture and entertainment options. Happy Valley is our historic towns of Bellefonte and Boalsburg, that beckon with boutique shops and craft beverage establishments amid beautiful Victorian and Colonial architecture and tree-lined streets. Happy Valley are the many scenic drives through the heart of our agricultural corridors. Happy Valley is the quaint towns of Aaronsburg and Millheim, where tradition mixes with a modern, artsy vibe. Happy Valley is Philipsburg, where historic roots are giving way to reinvention, and where shops are filled with unique finds and where everyone feels like an old friend. And Happy Valley is of course, home to Penn State University and Nittany Lion pride.

Whatever one’s definition of adventure is, we believe it can be found here.

Over the coming few months, the HVAB will focus on the next big step in the re-branding process — the “go-to-market” promotional campaign, which will be rolled out after the first of the year. Like the HVAB name and logo suggest, the creative approach will help Happy Valley stand out in the crowded and competitive leisure, group tour, corporate meeting and youth sports travel markets. The campaign won’t be ordinary, and we are sure potential visitors will take notice. Stay tuned.

Behind the scenes, the re-branding “to do” list continues to grow. There are plenty of meetings and presentations to make; new business cards and stationary to print; signage to change and website/social media platforms to update.

So, let the adventure begin!

Fritz Smith is president and CEO of The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau.