Chattanooga's CVB revels in winning "Best Town Ever" contest
UPDATE: "I would like to think the global spotlight is shining even brighter on our community as a result of this," says Bob Doak, the President of Chattanooga's Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Friday after the vote was tallied, Doak is grinning like a cheshire cat after the Scenic City won Outside Magazine's "Best City Ever" online contest. More than 120 thousand people voted, by clicking Chattanooga over Port Angeles, Washington. For Doak, who is charged with promoting the city as a vacation or even relocation destination, the designation is another big bullet point to his arsenal of sales pitches in promoting Chattanooga.
"Back in 2011 when we won this, we did see a bump, we saw a bump in tourism but more importantly we became top of mind for people thinking about either visiting Chattanooga, holding an event in Chattanooga, frankly even moving to Chattanooga."
Doak says it's the kind of promotion one can't buy, but is well deserved.
"We buy a lot of advertising obviously that is our job, we sell conventions," says Doak. "We sell sporting events, but to have a third party come out and say you're the best town ever is nearly priceless."
Doak says while some locals may not fully appreciate the value of tourism, the ripple effect economically is felt across the board.
"It's a one billion dollar industry through 2014, we're seeing growth already in 2015 and that number will continue to grow," says Doak. "Over 8,500 people are directly employed in the tourism industry, 20 million in local sales tax, 10 million of which goes straight into the school system, every property owner in Hamilton County saves $500 off the top because of the impact of tourism."
Doak says the CVB sent out nearly 400 thousand promotional e-mails to garner the 120,000 votes cast. And we can enjoy it while we can. As in 2011, the " Best Town Ever" winner gets a 4 year moratorium on competition.
Meaning Chattanooga cannot "defend" its title next year.
Translating into a 2019 outlook for the next time the city could be tabbed "Best Town Ever".
UPDATE: The votes are in. Chattanooga has been named Outside Magazine's Best Town of 2015. The Scenic City beats Port Angeles, WA with 52.05% of the vote.
More than 129,000 votes were counted in the poll.
PREVIOUS STORY: Will Chattanooga be named the best town ever? Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Thursday night and its a close battle between the Scenic City and Port Angeles, WA.
The Outside Magazine contest started with 64 towns but the winner will be determined in a matter of hours and announced Friday.
But allegations of the voting being hacked are flying around the web.
A website, the Peninsula Daily News, says that a Google search suggests the Outside Magazine site may have been hacked.
The site also says that a fake portrayal of a well-known Washington businessman has popped up during the final day of voting, and prompted this response from Leslie Robertson, a moderator for the Revitalize Port Angeles website and one of the leaders of the effort to secure the title for Port Angeles:
"I want to inform everyone that a former Port Angeles resident and politician has assumed fake identities on the Outside Magazine page and is posting negative comments while posing as other citizens on Outside Online. One person he is impersonating is Alan from Port Book and News. That is NOT Alan on the page making those comments. This is a hoax."
Chattanooga won out over Eau Claire, WI, with a commanding 54.1% of the vote: 30,105 to 25,547 in Outside Magazine's Best Town 2015 competition.
The latest win advances Chattanooga to the final round of voting, and facing Port Angeles, WA.
Port Angeles defeated Bar Harbor, ME to advance to the final round.
Voting will end Thursday, June 4, at 11:59pm ET, and the winner will be announced on June 5.
PREVIOUS STORY: The voting was close, but Chattanooga edged out Boone, NC to advance into the final four of Outside Magazine's Best Town's of 2015 competition. Chattanooga finished with 50.99% of the vote, bettering Boone 41,093 to 39,499 votes
Now, Chattanooga (representing the South) faces Eau Claire, WI.
The winner of that semi-final voting will face the winner in the Port Angeles, WA / Bar Harbor, ME voting.
Round 5 began on Sunday and will end on Thursday, May 28, at 11:59pm ET.
PREVIOUS STORY: It's game time, Chattanooga! The Scenic City has again advanced in Outside Magazine's Best Towns 2015 competition, soundly beating Beaufort, SC with a commanding 63.28% of the vote in the third round.
The fourth round pits Chattanooga against nearby Boone, NC.
The winner advances to the semi-finals, with the winner being announced June 5.
This round of voting is open until Saturday, May 23, at 11:59pm.
PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga again advances in the Outside Magazine Best Town 2015 voting, with 56.78% of the votes and defeating Raleigh-Durham, NC.The third round of voting pits the Scenic City against Beaufort, SC.
Currently, Chattanooga has a slight lead.
Voting on the 3rd round continues until Monday, May 8 at 11:59pm.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Scenic City defeated Roanoke, VA in the first round of voting in Outside Magazine's Best Towns 2015 competition,
The voting gave Chattanooga a sizable win, taking 59.4% of the vote, and moving on to Round 2.
Chattanooga is competing in the South region, taking on Raleigh-Durham, NC in the second round.
As things stand midday Tuesday, Chattanooga is ahead with a commanding 61.71% of the vote.
Voting closes Wednesday, May 13, at 11:59pm.
PREVIOUS STORY: If this sounds familiar to you, you were in Chattanooga in 2011.
Outside magazine is again looking for votes for the Best Town 2015 contest, and the Scenic City is among them for the Southern region.
Over 6,000 images were posted and the four Wild Card entries have been selected as Roanoke, VA; Port Angeles, WA; New York, NY; Saugatuck, MI.