Does Rhode Island need a recognizable marketing tagline or slogan to help boost statewide tourism?

THIS SUMMER, many short-term rental owners in Rhode Island are seeing a dip in booking rates for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. /PBN FILE PHOTO/K. CURTIS

In March, Anika Kimble-Huntley, the state’s chief tourism marketer, told Providence Business News that R.I. Commerce Corp. was close to coming out with a new statewide tourism campaign and tagline “that everybody can rally behind.”

Five months later, with the summer season in full swing, it’s still unclear if an overarching statewide campaign to help connect the various regional promotions is coming.

Commerce spokesman Matthew Touchette told PBN in an emailed statement on Aug. 2 that the state is preparing a different type of campaign than what it has done in the past, touting “all the state has to offer.”

But he did not say how it would be different or offer any other details.

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Local tourism leaders and related businesses have told PBN the summer tourism season thus far has been a bit subdued. Some blame the inconsistent weather, while others cite a post-pandemic spike in international travel, particularly to Europe.

Among the signs the summer season is off to a slow start: Realtors says short-term vacation rentals have been lackluster, with listings staying open longer and renting at lower rates.

Does Rhode Island need a recognizable marketing tagline or slogan to help boost statewide tourism?

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  1. We had a slogan “Cooler and Warmer” under Gina that never went anywhere. The challenge is that while the state can develop a slogan its’ not prepared to spend the money needed to promote it regionally.

  2. When I tell a client that I am located in Rhode Island they say “Long Island”? I also get “Are you an Island”? We have to think about the fact that we hare missing out on the biggest and Easiest Opportunity in the world to Brand our State. Does it matter ? YES…. Does it hurt business that we are invisible? YES. We are not a pass through between Boston and NY. We are the best little resource in New England. With all the fabulous and Clever brains out there Why can’t we think of one thing? Only when Cianci started the “Romance City” with the sister city of Florence did anyone outside of NE even know what or where RI was!!!! Now we are back to a footnote which is one step above the embarrassing “Warmer and Cooler” debacle.

    It matters to Business , It matters to the Arts, It matters to the alumns who I hope stick around after they graduate. Why can’t we be the Cool Kid?????

  3. It’s not slogans we need, but original thinking. Making a big deal about the Cooler and Warmer slogan is a perfect example of parroting and dwelling on the past. When you are a small state like RI, your best recourse is to differentiate yourself on quality. Becoming the Quality Corner of America is something more than an advertising gimmick, but requires a more holistic view of tourism that requires both public investment and the enticing of private investment. Better parks with more amenities, the building of an outdoor amphitheater, encouraging more and more diverse music and theater festivals, incentivizing the construction of major resorts, etc. Also better roads and transportation modes would help. This all takes time to build, but when a population is focused solely on today and quick actions like advertising programs, a more comprehensive approach never gets started.