Spartanburg business leaders market to WEG visitors

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SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Polk County isn’t the only place getting ready for next week’s World Equestrian Games at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. 

The ‘Hare and Hound’ in Landrum is prepping more than food. 

“We’ve been bringing in and training over the past several months to prepare for this,” said manager Wesley Wolfe. 

Officials say the international championship could have an economic impact of more than $400 million with 500,000 spectators over 13 days. 

“I know it’s only for two weeks but it could be a huge two weeks and it could make, you know, for a small business owner, it could make their year,” said Wolfe. “Really paying attention to the details and really dealing a lot with off-site catering and just trying to bring it all together because to be honest with you we don’t know what to expect.” 

The Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau says they’ve had this on their radar for a year, working alongside the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. 

“We had a promotion with Tryon directly – when the ticket holders receive their information, they were going to get a Spartanburg message,” said Chris Jennings, Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Vice President. “Once the announcement came out, the Tryon International Equestrian folks were tremendous. I think they brought 10-15 destination organizations up there to let them know what was going on.”

Jennings says they have ads at GSP and on online, adding the business community wanted to get involved as well.

“The chamber came together with some other partners – the city and the county – and said let’s supplement that money,” said Jennings. “Now we’re getting into social media posts, we have ads at GSP, we have some other things going on with geofencing. We’ve really taken it up a notch.”  

He added that there were more than 6,000 hotel rooms blocked in the Spartanburg area, mostly by competitors. 

“These are teams that are staying here in Spartanburg so that’s most of our business,” said Jennings. “I believe the two downtown hotels were the first two and I think we’ve got at least 10 or 12 others and now they’re starting to fill up with the spectators.” 

He said the marketing mission has been a team effort. 

“It really got serious I would say in the past three months because from our standpoint we had our businesses asking ‘What are we doing? Are we doing anything?” said Jennings. “This is all hands on deck from our standpoint but this is also not the only game in town. We’re on a budget here so we’re going through the next 8 more months after this. So we have to make sure we’re planning for those other things – we have the Spartan Race coming here in November so that’s going to be a big deal for two days for the city and the county of Spartanburg.” 

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