Progress Visit Enid.jpg

A brochure advertises Enid as a place to celebrate heritage, culture and arts. (Photo provided)

ENID, Okla. — Visit Enid, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, is entering its 11th year, and director Marcy Jarrett said the three-person team has fulfilled the two directives they received when the bureau was founded.

“We were told to establish a point of visible contact for visitors and get a handle on the events calendar,” Jarrett said. “There were three or four different calendars at the time, and now we have a centralized events calendar at that is the most visited on the website.”

The location at 201 W. Garriott, just off U.S. 412, makes the office visible and accessible, even to large RVs pulling in for information. “I love our spot downtown,” Jarrett said. “I can look out the windows and see the ice rink (when it was in Enid this past December) and public art. I can see examples of what we’re proud of in Enid.”

Public art has been an emphasis recently for Visit Enid. A goal has to put Enid’s best foot forward — so to speak — and public art has been one way to show the city in a positive and beautiful light to travelers, at least some of whom may be considering relocation.

“During the pandemic year of 2020, we added 14 pieces of public art to the city,” Rob Houston, communications coordinator, said. “That includes the big Romy Owens installation ‘Under Her Wing Was the Universe.’ We have a page on the website that lists all of them, more than 60 currently.”

Public art is one of the indicators that a city has a healthy sense of civic pride, and furthering that pride is part of the Visit Enid’s mission.

“What we do is economic development with the traveling public,” Jarrett said. “The byproduct of that is community pride, which affects quality of life and our ability to recruit people to choose Enid, for travel and for relocation.”

Visit Enid isn’t creating the art, but they are the finger that points to what is beautiful about Enid, and Jarrett talks about the public art aspect as “a series of pleasant surprises.” To get the word out, though, to get people to Enid to see it, requires old-school networking and marketing using new technology and traditional methods like print. The new Travel Guide is available in both formats: pdf on the website and in print at key distribution points like hotels and travel offices.

“We’re strongly linked into social media and the website,” Houston said. “We get the occasional travel writer who wants to visit, but most of our work is done via social and the web. We like the digital approach because we can constantly update information — printed information can quickly become obsolete — and, quite frankly, it’s cheaper than print.”

The newest addition to their digital toolbox is an opt-in email program through Digital Generator in Edmond. Email blasts go out to people who have shown an interest in Enid or Enid-area attractions, like the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center, the region’s number one historic attraction. The first campaign focused on the holidays in 2021, particularly the ice rink, which was in its first year, and Houston said the results were beyond everyone’s expectations. The program can be tailored to interests like sports, outdoor activities, history, arts, etc.

For 2021, Jarrett said the team, which includes herself, Houston and Jenna Spencer, is looking forward to welcoming conferences and meetings again beginning in May

“There will be quite a few activities outside, too, and that always increases the personal comfort factor during COVID,” Jarrett said.

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Horton is a freelance writer who writes for the Enid News & Eagle.

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