The Longleaf Trace unveiled a new look Wednesday after months of strategic designing and planning. The updated brand portfolio was made possible by a $10,000 grant provided by VisitHATTIESBURG.
The Longleaf Trace is south Mississippi’s premier running, biking, hiking and equestrian trail. The Trace is a 44-mile Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Project that begins in downtown Hattiesburg, continues through Sumrall, Bassfield, and Carson, and ends in Prentiss.
VisitHBURG provided design and marketing services to create and oversee updated branding of the Trace. A new logo, mobile-friendly website, map, brochure, as well as wayfinding and spur directional signage were part of the project. Additionally, window decals and new merchandise for enthusiasts will soon be available for purchase from the Hattiesburg Gateway at Southern Miss.
“Nature and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages enjoy a biking adventure,” Marlo Dorsey, executive director of VisitHBURG, said.
“We partnered with the Longleaf Trace to create new marketing materials to showcase this jewel in the region. As a global industry, bicycle tourism is growing rapidly, and I am confident that, together, we can thrive as many other cycling communities are doing.”
Following a recent national conference, VisitHBURG learned that the most frequented and most successful bicycling destinations shared common themes: strong hotel participation, regular cycling events, on-and-off-road biking options, bike rentals, and effective marketing and branding.
According to bicycle tourism organization CycleHQ, the global bicycle tourism market is worth $100 billion annually. Additionally, bicycle tourism in the U.S. has an estimated 550% increase in growth potential. The audiences in this market include both on-and-off-road riding, gravel grinding, electronic bikes, and numerous cycling events that cater to beginners and the most seasoned cyclists.
The next phase of bicycle tourism in Hattiesburg will include growing events for cyclists and developing a long-range plan for attracting group tours. This includes promoting existing bike racks and rentals with spur access to the Longleaf Trace, while encouraging more local business participation.
After serving as the Trace’s office manager since 2011, the Longleaf Trace board recently appointed Mary Scruggs as its executive director. Working alongside VisitHBURG throughout the planning process, Scruggs begins her new leadership role with an updated brand.
“The Trace is an asset to our communities, and we strive to make it the best it can be for our users. With the assistance of the counties and cities it runs through, and countless other local supporters, the Longleaf Trace is recognized as one of the nation’s finest Rails-to-Trails conversions,” said Scruggs. “With this new branding and signage, we can tell that story better than ever before.”
Those interested in more information about the Longleaf Trace can visit the new website at LongleafTrace.org or pick up the brochure from local hotels, community centers, the Hattiesburg Gateway, the Hattiesburg Visitors Center, and Mississippi Welcome Centers. The Trace is open dawn until dusk and follows state regulations for etiquette and conduct.
The Hattiesburg Tourism Commission, doing business as VisitHATTIESBURG, is the official Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for the City of Hattiesburg. Created to promote the Greater Hattiesburg Area and its tourism industry to potential visitors, the mission of VisitHATTIESBURG is to increase overnight bookings for both leisure and corporate travel with the ultimate goal of growing the economic impact of these visitors on the local economy. By marketing Hattiesburg’s local hotel, dining, attraction, and shopping options, VisitHBURG has successfully tripled the city’s tourism industry since being established in 1990, making greater HBURG the third most visited city in Mississippi. The tourism industry in Hattiesburg supports more than 4,300 jobs and grew by 5.2% last year to a record $292 million in visitor spending.