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Great Escape ride

Riders are seen on the Steamin' Demon roller coaster during opening day at Great Escape in 2013. The park will partner with Warren County for a new advertising campaign for the region later this summer.

Post-Star file photo

QUEENSBURY — Great Escape and Warren County are partnering on an advertising campaign that uses $150,000 in occupancy tax funding and an equal amount of funding from the amusement park company.

Great Escape leadership successfully lobbied for $150,000 in county tourism funding to target central New York with commercials in the spring and summer that will highlight the company’s offerings as well as the Lake George region.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors Tourism Committee endorsed the proposal last week after hearing from the park’s president and marketing manager about their plans to target the Syracuse and Utica areas in June and July to try to attract new visitors to the park and area.

The funding will come from $400,000 of occupancy tax money that was set aside last year for more promotion of the region. Occupancy tax funds stem from a 4 percent tax charged on hotel, motel and bed-and-breakfast rooms.

Great Escape President Eric Gilbert told supervisors that the company has undertaken similar public-private partnerships in other markets where it has parks, including Illinois and Texas.

Great Escape will put $150,000 of its marketing funds into the effort, with most of the money used to buy television commercial time in central New York and some used for social media marketing.

Six Flags marketing staff will produce the commercials at the company’s expense, with input from the county Tourism Department and use of video of Lake George and other attractions in the region.

Rebecca Wood, Great Escape’s marketing director, said the commercials will equally highlight the region and the amusement park.

“The Lake George region has all these amazing things, and roller coasters too,” she summarized.

The ads will run for a six- to eight-week period in June and July, and Wood said the campaign will be “metric-based and performance-based.”

“We will spend money where it makes sense,” she said.

Some supervisors had questions about the arrangement, with Glens Falls 5th Ward Supervisor Matt MacDonald and Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Ron Montesi asking to clarify some of the details.

Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino, chairman of the county board’s Tourism Committee, said the county Tourism Department will be involved in the production.

“This would be complete and separate from all of our other media buys,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert was named earlier in the day to sit on the county board’s Tourism Committee, though Merlino said that had no impact on the decision to grant funding. The marketing campaign was proposed late last year.

Warren County Tourism Director Joanne Conley said Great Escape was the first local business to make a proposal for use of the $400,000 that the Board of Supervisors set aside last year, after a coalition of business leaders called for more tourism promotion of the region.

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can also be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on



Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on

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