Three major events will take place in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties during a nine-day period starting in mid-May. The Mother Lode Roundup Parade and Rodeo will take place on May 12 and 13, followed by the starting of a stage of the Amgen Tour of California on May 16, and the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee from May 17 to 20.
The key for businesses to make the most of the busy month will be cooperation, according to Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau marketing consultant Bruce Tepper.
He said local shops, restaurants and hotels should join forces to provide package deals to customers from out of town.
Tepper said the most popular deals will likely be those that guarantee space for customers who will be forced to compete with large crowds for limited transportation, dining and entertainment opportunities.
For example, hotels could offer dinner reservations with room rentals so people would be assured a table during the hubbub of the Amgen Tour. Package deals could also include tickets to local shows, Railtown 1897 State Park or outdoor activities for people to visit once the main events are over.
He said the package deals should enhance the experience for consumers, without having to offer discounts.
“I don’t think you’ll be seeing anybody cutting prices when you have such a huge crowd in town,” Tepper said.
Tepper said most businesses should consider offering passes on Sonora’s trolley system, because parking will be very limited as the population in Tuolumne County balloons during the event season.
Events like the Amgen bicycling tour typically bring in 30,000 to 40,000 people, he said. As many as 10,000 people attend the Mother Lode Roundup and 43,000 visitors came to last year’s Jumping Frog Jubilee.
Tepper said many people who visit Tuolumne County for the Amgen Tour will be seeing the area for the first time and businesses should make a special effort to get customers to return.
He suggested that hotels and restaurants offer coupons and discount promotions for future visits in much the same way that cruise lines offers coupons to people at the end of a tour.
“We’re likely to have an enormous number of first-time visitors, it’s a great enticement to get them to come back,” he said.