The first Great Ohio Alpaca Tour was held in 2002, and was organized by Debbie and Steve Jesse (now with Bozeman Alpaca Traders, LLC), Don and Carolyn Marquette (The AlpacaRosa), and Dan and Kim Coulter (Day Star Alpacas). The first year was a terrific success with 13 participating farms. Some farms had over 500 visitors and many farms made sales directly from contacts made during the GOAT.
Each year we have expanded into other regions throughout Northern Ohio, having as many as 36 farms involved. We have had dinners featuring well known speakers and fund raising activities that have raised many thousands of dollars for Camelid research.
In 2006 we ventured into a new area we called GOATbay, which was a take off on internet auctions. Participating farms were allowed one free entry and breeders not on the GOAT Tour could purchase slots to offer their alpaca(s) at auction. We had 72 entries before closing the auction to any more alpacas. Among the alpacas offered at GOATbay were a pair of ¾ Accoyo twin huacaya girls.
We have always learned from the experiences of the previous year. We learn about the needs and expectations of the various breeders who participate, as well as the needs and expectations of the public that will be taking the Tour. The central focus must remain clear, the promotion of alpacas and the Alpaca Lifestyle.
WHAT IS AN ALPACA TOUR?
The Great Ohio Alpaca Tour was a collection of farms that agreed to have simultaneous Open Houses on the same weekend for the same hours each day. The idea was to expose the public and the small breeders to each other in order to stir up sales and awareness. Many of the participating farms never had a visitor to their farm before the GOAT, and then had several hundred in one weekend! It was important to get farms that wanted to be a part of the event. This assured us of the best overall sense of cooperation among the breeders./ Those attending the GOAT constantly commented on how wonderful it was to have this type of cooperation among "competitors", which in turn gave them a sense that they could be a part of such an industry.
Promotion of the event was handled in the following ways:
- Efforts made by the individual breeders to promote their involvement in the tour with the local media and their contact list. Our experience taught us that the local media will be VERY receptive to a GREAT (your state)Alpaca Tour of many farms coming to THEIR area. They will run to your farm to get the scoop on this GREAT alpaca event! We know all the secrets to make this happen.
- Listings on various events calendars.
- Direct Contact with local papers
- Purchased advertising in papers, internet websites, and radio, that directed people to the website.
The central focus on any promotion is to send them to the web site (www.greatalpacatour.com) which contained all information including names and addresses of participating farms; dates and times of the events; seminar schedules at the various farms; and maps that guided people from farm to farm.
We determined early on that we could be far more effective by not relying on a consensus of the participants, but to rather design the event and invite people to participate in the event "as planned". We highly recommend two farms that work good together , to plan on taking this on and making most of the decisions. As is the case for any event, there are some participants anxious to help and those less anxious. Volunteers help lighten the load and are greatly appreciated.
Participants sign a form of their intent to participate with an understanding of the costs involved and any restrictions and guidelines that may apply.
HOW WE CAN HELP WITH YOUR TOUR
Alpaca Enterprises, LLC is the owner of the GREAT OHIO ALPACA TOUR as well as the trademarked logo, and the copyrighted ads and press releases. From the beginning, we never intended on OUR alpaca tour becoming a national campaign. But because of its success, and many requests for advice and assistence on setting up an alpaca tour in other geographic regions around the US, we decided to offer a GREAT ALPACA TOUR Promotional Package that contains just about everything you need to run your own GREAT ALPACA TOUR. The package includes:
- All forms required for tour participants
- phone and email consultation as needed
- Licensed use of nationally recognized GREAT ALPACA TOUR logo
- Licensed use of www.greatalpacatour.com website with a complete section dedicated to your specific event. The more alpaca tour groups that use this website, the better known it will become and the more powerful it will work for all of us. Imagine in the future, a national Ad campaign directing the public to www.greatalpacatour.com to find a local tour near them.
- Printed ad copy
- Radio ad copy
- Press Releases
- Signage information
- "Tips and Pointers" sheet
- Seminar Proposals
- Misc. Advertising and Promotion samples
How were we able to fund ALL of this in our
Great Ohio Alapca Tour?
We collected a $500 fee from each participating tour farm. This money is pooled together to allow a nifty budget for very effective advertising, with POWER.