August 23, 2008
Tres Hombres talk up Houston

ZZ Top says "Come visit Houston, y'all."

The trio, who grew up in Houston and calls themselves the "little ole band from Texas," was recruited by the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau to promote the virtues of visiting the city.

With their 1983 hit song Sharp Dressed Man playing in the background, the three classic rockers extol "H-town's" restaurants, universities and golf courses in the 60-second video, which was unveiled Thursday at the bureau's annual meeting.

As ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons put it: "It always seems to come back to music and Mexican food."

The video is part of the bureau's "My Houston" campaign, which features print and broadcast ads featuring other local celebrities talking about their favorite Bayou City haunts. The list includes Grey's Anatomy star Chandra Wilson and Dan Workman, president of the recording studio SugarHill Studios, where Chantilly Lace and other hits were recorded.

The video is not on the GHCVB's video gallery page yet, but you can see the transcript here, and more such testimonials here.

The bureau is planning to show 10 spots on network and cable television in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Beaumont as well as on Fox Sports in Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, said Lindsey Brown, director of marketing for the bureau.

The spots are aimed at encouraging visitors to come to Houston, Brown said. The bureau plans to spend about $200,000 to buy time this fall and at least that much next spring.

The bureau, which is Houston's sales and marketing arm, reported it has booked 579,995 hotel room nights for future conventions and meetings. That represents a 2.8 percent gain compared with a year ago when it booked 564,000 future room nights.

That's nice, and certainly better than the alternative. I don't know that these ads have anything to do with it - I doubt event planners watch these things and say "Houston! That's where we'll have our next convention!" - but I suppose they can't hurt.

And here's an update on the CityPass tickets that went on sale in May:

In May, bureau officials said they hoped to sell 30,000 passes a year, aiming them at Latin American tourists who visit to shop and go to appointments at the Texas Medical Center as well as to regional visitors and even locals looking to save money.

Brown said reaction has been stronger than expected. In June, the first full month of sales, Houston sold 2,594 CityPasses, putting it ahead of CityPass sales in Hollywood, Calif., Philadelphia and Boston, she said.

At that rate, they will indeed exceed 30,000 sold in a year. Nicely done.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 23, 2008 to Elsewhere in Houston

That's awesome to hear about the CityPass, definitely a very good thing for Houston tourism.

Posted by: on June 8, 2009 4:54 PM
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