As self-isolation commenced all over Alberta in response to the spread of COVID-19, business owners saw a huge drop in their revenue almost immediately. Recognizing this challenge, Medicine Hat Tourism saw an opportunity to bring the community together while staying a healthy distance apart.
“Local entrepreneurs were closing down shop, they were turning off the lights and locking their doors – and that’s terrifying,” says Jace Anderson, CEO of Medicine Hat Tourism. “With empathy, we can’t pretend that doesn’t hurt the community.”
Jace and his team wanted to give people something positive to focus on that would also drive revenue for stakeholders in Medicine Hat and increase awareness of local businesses owners who were working hard to continue to provide goods via curbside delivery. The team created an online “Social Distancing Bingo” card, featuring local stakeholders, to encourage the support of local businesses. The idea took off, seeing great participation by locals and some fun, lighthearted competition among participants via social media.
“It just so happens that bingo resonates for people. We got great feedback from the community,” says Anderson. “Bingo has a place in our hearts, whether we play it on the regular or the last time was with our grandmother.”
The response to the campaign has been resoundingly positive, and stakeholders saw an increase in sales and revenue as a result. Medicine Hat Tourism launched the second bingo card based on feedback from local partners.
“Our team is really focused on supporting stakeholders at this time,” says Anderson. “I love Medicine Hat – the area, the people, what we have here in the community. We need to sustain. We need to get through today. We’d begun marketing and celebrating those food-and-drink partners in the city pivoting to curbside pick-up and delivery. We needed to keep that up, but also broaden our focus and include more of the community. Social Distancing Bingo was a way for us to offer relevant information in our community while staying authentic.”
Check out Medicine Hat’s social distancing bingo card here.