Back in May Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN) announce that it would be creating a Visitor Center at the Buffalo Niagara Airport (see story). Yesterday VBN unveiled the Visitor Center located on the secure side of the airport, giving travelers the chance to not only learn about our cultural assets and business climate, but to ask questions about the area. Thanks to a grant from First Niagara, we can now be proactive when it comes to selling our city.
Can you imagine all of the lost opportunities that we have had to showcase Buffalo in a deserving light? I can just imagine travelers asking, “Where’s the nearest hotel or restaurant?” What do you think that traveler’s experience turned out to be? A stay at a hotel with a view onto the airport. Now, a traveler will be given information that will allow him or her to make an informed decision as to where to stay and what to do during a stay. Whether it’s a video that ultimately makes the sale, or a brochure, or a live interaction with a VBN associate, we finally have some ammo when it comes to pitching our assets.
This is a crucial first contact if we are to consider who or what might have been first contact previously. We’ve all heard the stories of cabbies diverting visitors out of the city, because of lack of knowledge when it comes to progress being made towards an urban renaissance. How many cabbies are familiar with the Honu House on Elmwood? Or Beau Fleuve on Linwood? I doubt many, if any. We can now arm our visitors with the information that they will need in order to make their visit a productive one – one that they will enjoy and tell others about.
Incorporated into the Visitor Center is a Buffalo Niagara Gift Shop that features merchandise from many local businesses and artisans. It’s just another piece of the puzzle that will help to get the word out, and direct people where to go when visiting and shopping Buffalo. “This new visitor center positions Visit Buffalo Niagara to share the story of our region’s world-class attractions, dining and accommodations to the five million passengers who fly in and out of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport each year,” said Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen. “This is a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our brand, especially among the large number of Canadians who use the airport.”
*The center is open Sunday through Friday from 6 am to 7 pm and Saturdays from 6 am to 6 pm. First Niagara Bank provided a generous $100,000 donation to defray the costs of the center, the Wendt Foundation provided a grant for technology and BHNT Architects and LP Ciminelli contributed their services for the build-out.