Imagine a Motif No. 1 replica as the downtown information booth, adorned with colorful buoys hand-painted by Rockport High School students.
Imagine arrows on the pavement outside the commuter train showing visitors the way to the downtown.
These are just a few of the ideas presented by Rockport High Marketing II students with Power Point presentations at a recent panel presentation about improvements to the Rockport tourism industry. In the classroom listening sat a variety of community members, including representatives of the town's Economic Development Committee, the Rotary Club and local business people.
Ann Marie Hamel and Katie Aparo talked about how to better direct tourists and improve directional aids for tourists. Their presentation included the creation of a "mini Motif No. 3" as an enhancement to the downtown information booth.
The team of Tucker Meredith and Kyle Edmonds pointed out the need to use more social media to spread the word about all that the town has to offer, from it sweeping seascapes and beaches to its shops and quaint architecture.
"It's the future and so many people are using it, and people want to be updated constantly," said Edmonds, a junior. "Rockport is this island at the end of the map so we need to get the word out there."
Meredith said their target market is Boston.
"There is a lot of opportunity to market the town to Boston, and we can grow the town and create more revenue to the town," said Meredith, also a junior. Options for marketing include more advertising on the commuter train and at the major commuter stops such as North and South stations, as well as Logan Airport and even Fenway Park, if there were the resources.
Lana Razdan, chairwoman of the Economic Development Committee, said the students had some promising ideas.
"We would like to work with students in our overall promotional plan for the town of Rockport," she said.
David Cutler, who sat on the panel, commended the students on their creativity and enthusiasm in their proposals, all which had Power Point presentations.
Scott Larsen, the high school's marketing teacher, said these presentations are a great way for the students to do something "real" using what they learned in class over the past few years.
"They were able to look at their community a bit differently and see some aspects of tourism that they may have never seen or ignored," he said. "For the town, it gives them a chance to see that the students are ready and willing to be partners in the development of business in their community. This is a first step towards getting the RHS marketing program more engaged and helpful with the community."
The team of Jeffrey Piraino, George Weinstein and Cam Brousseau talked about the need to improve the downtown visitors center, making it more like the one on Upper Main Street. They even suggested a cooking competition involving local restaurants as a means of encouraging tourists to visit Rockport, as well as the use of Rockport students as tour guides.
The team of Zoe O'Leary, Amanda Chalmers, Marabah Akers and Rachel McKechnie talked about making it easier for visitors to find the downtown a and learn more about Rockport. They proposed having a "Remember Rockport" goody bag, using a reusable bag and filling it with coupons and possibly a Rockport car magnet.
Miranda Gale and Marissa Foote talked about improved transportation options in town, perhaps with extended trolley stops, extending from Halibut Point to Long Beach, in addition to having more information inside the trolley. The overall idea was to give visitors "the full Rockport experience" instead of just the downtown.
Alexis Cruz and Monica Napolitano talked about Internet advertising because "it's easily accessible and a creative way to reach a wider audience."
Eva Weinstein and Isobel MacCrate talked about the need to improve signs and suggested incorporating a free blog into advertising campaigns for the town, with both tourists and community members contributing to the blog.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.