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Visit Baltimore urges visitors to "find your happy place"

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Visit Baltimore launched its new campaign intended to help draw tourists and conventions to Baltimore. The "Find Your Happy Place in Baltimore" campaign kicked off with a Guinness World Record that saw 261 proud citizens forming the world's largest human smiley face.

The Find Your Happy Place in Baltimore concept is derived from extensive research that shows people, more than ever, are looking to do things that make them happy after the long economic downturn, says Visit Baltimore. According to the study, people are going back to the basics and embracing the simpler things in life that make them smile and laugh – spending quality time with family and friends and traveling, among others. Visit Baltimore is capitalizing on the national mood and trend with a comprehensive program that promotes those places and things in Baltimore that are certain to make visitors happy.

The campaign is a citywide partnership that kicks off Memorial Day Weekend with an integrated marketing platform that includes advertising on television and radio, in print, and online in key target markets such as Pittsburgh, central Pennsylvania, metropolitan Philadelphia, Richmond and Washington, D.C. Partnerships with the Maryland Science Center, National Aquarium and Baltimore Orioles, among others, are allowing Visit Baltimore to extend the campaign's advertising reach and promotional schedule to ultimately influence more potential visitors with a singular marketing message. Find Your Happy Place will run through December 2010, coinciding with an exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum, "What Makes Us Smile," opening in October.

"Partnerships with our tourism community have become the cornerstone of our marketing efforts in recent years," says Tom Noonan, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore. "We work very closely with our hotels, attractions, museums and restaurants to gain their support and input so we can create the best sales and marketing promotions for Baltimore. We are in this together and that team spirit has never been more prevalent."

Baltimore's entire tourism community has been encouraged to participate in the Find Your Happy Place in Baltimore campaign by designating happy places at their locations and offering their own packages, special events and discounted offers that are sure to make people happy. A special microsite, www.BmoreHappy.com, will direct visitors to happy stays hotel packages; give them the ability to build custom itineraries based on what makes them happy; and provide details on how to enter a "Sweet-stakes" to win great prizes including a cruise from Baltimore on Royal Caribbean, a trip to Sarasota, Florida for Orioles spring training and a variety of other prizes.

Similar to what was done for the Waterfront Invasion in the summer of 2009, there will be Happy Place décor around the harbor that will reinforce the Happy Place in Baltimore message. People can even pick up a "Happy Detector" at the Baltimore Visitor Center to uncover hidden codes around the city that will provide them with entries in the Sweet-stakes.

According to Visit Baltimore, the campaign, which costs $500,000 for advertising, was funded by hotel taxes.

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Source: Visit Baltimore Writer: Walaika Haskins
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