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Visit Garland Recognized with Six First Place Awards at State Conference

The Visit Garland team has been busy engaging visitors with multiple campaigns throughout the past year. Garland's many hidden gems, and the team's collaborations with multiple partners; proved to be a winning formula.

Visit Garland entered several campaign efforts into the Texas Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus' (TACVB) newly evolved Destination Excellence Awards, formerly known as Idea Fair. The Destination Excellence Awards recognize outstanding contributions to destination management in Texas.

Each award contains four budget categories to allow participation from all TACVB members ($250,000 and under; $251,000 - $500,000; $501,000 - $1 million; and $1 million-plus). An impartial panel of industry experts selected winners and runners-up in each award category and budget category. Texas destination organizations also had the opportunity to cast a peer recognition vote for first place and runners-up in each submission category regardless of budget size.

Members entered their campaigns in the following categories: Website Design & Effectiveness; Public Relations; Video, Storytelling, and Podcast Series; Leisure/Tourism Marketing Campaign; Community/Local Engagement Promotion; Meetings & Conventions Promotion; and DMO of the Year.

Garland competed in the $501,000 - $1 million budget category and won awards for the following:

Community/Local Engagement Promotion
Parking on the Square
Judges 1st Place Award and Peer Recognition 1st Place Award

As the Downtown Square renovations continued, downtown merchants were also concerned that patrons would avoid the area, assuming there would not be parking available during construction. To remind patrons that there is plenty of parking around the Square, even during progress, our team reached out to our Public Media Relations videographer to create an informative video.

The team's concept was creative and addressed the elephant in the room, or on the Square, with humor. Construction is ongoing, but the video highlighted various parking options that are always available.

Leisure/Tourism Marketing Campaign
Band Together on the Square
Judges 1st Place Award

While the Downtown Square is undergoing renovations, merchants raised concerns that construction would deter patrons. During a legacy improvement project, a new concert series was created to encourage and direct foot traffic to downtown businesses. The concerts focused on local bands and singer-songwriters, setting the stage for music lovers to recognize Garland as a music destination where they can catch on-the-rise artists. Band Together on the Square features Downtown Garland as a diverse musical experience perfect for a carefree summer vibe and lots of local love. Concerts began in May and continue every Friday night through the end of September.

Meetings & Conventions Promotion
Let’s Meet: Garland Meeting Planner Guide
Judges 1st Place Award

The sales team refreshed Garland’s meeting planner guide to re-familiarize planners with Garland’s amenities. The redesign updated information and highlighted new attractions, prominent meeting venues, and hotel space. The Let’s Meet Planner Guide provided succinct information regarding not only city-owned facilities but also additional facilities in the community that are distinct. It organizes the expansive options and displays the amenities available in our community.

The printed guide was mainly presented during trade shows or when planners inquired about meeting space. However, a QR code on the guide directs planners to a digital version. The digital version of the planner is a dedicated section on, where all the guide information lives along with contact information and is available for download. The individual venue pages within the online guide also serve as a profile handout for each facility. A flyer and accompanying blog were also created to share with city employees, encouraging them to rally their associations and groups to host their meetings in Garland.

Public Relations
Garland Pho Real Trail
Judges 1st Place Award

Every city in Texas seems to have a taco or margarita trail, but Garland chose to focus on pho. With the rise of foodies seeking authentic dishes, Garland's authentic Asian cuisine is prime for tasting in our state. Our diverse city translates to a diverse food scene serving delicious, flavorful dishes that tell a multicultural story. Garland boasts the 14th largest Vietnamese population in the US, right between New York at 13 and Seattle at 15. YouTuber Mikey Chen of Strictly Dumpling paid a visit to Hủ tiếu Mỹ Tho, one of Garland's many delicious, pho real Vietnamese restaurants. There are 20+ authentic Vietnamese restaurants ready to be discovered, so we thought we would help accentuate them by honing in on one favorite dish, pho. We sought out a listing of all the Vietnamese restaurants in Garland that serve pho and created a dedicated page with a listing of those restaurants. The Pho Trail was added to Visit Garland's app to lead visitors to the restaurants to try the food. The app also allows patrons to check in at locations, becoming a challenge where patrons can win prizes such as stickers and t-shirts for visiting pho restaurants.

Video, Storytelling, and Podcast Series
Veronica on the Go
Judges 1st Place Award

Visit Garland team member, Veronica Maldonado, highlights Garland’s most notable and easy-to-access locations through this video series. The series guides visitors with VIP access to some of Garland's prominent attractions. Each episode includes an itinerary that visitors can use to plan their trip to Garland. The introduction was uniquely created with animation to represent many of Garland’s notable locations and included an avatar of Veronica. The ongoing series, including animation, is produced through the City of Garland’s Public Media Relations department.

The awards were presented during TACVB's Annual Conference in South Padre, TX, on September 1, 2022.

After receiving recognition at the TACVB Annual Conference from their peers and industry professions, the Visit Garland team is rejuvenated with the energy to continue their mission - promoting Garland to potential visitors in the drive market and all over the world.

Follow how the team markets to potential visitors at or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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