The marketing strategy for the IDSDC falls into three categories:
Similar to comparable institutions, the IDSDC will develop both printed and online marketing-related materials to promote the facility and the special programs that are offered. Additionally, focused marketing will be used to establish relationships with area educational organizations to encourage student visits. Widespread publicity, which is essentially free marketing, can be obtained when the attention of news media is captured. A few examples are a special astronomical event that can be broadcast in the Inspiration Theater, a new music and laser light show in the Hyperspace Planetarium, or a lecture by a distinguished guest. Opportunities to rent the IDSDC for private parties and small corporate events will also be promoted. To maintain continued interest for all visitors, a concerted effort will be made to frequently change the programming with new shows, new exhibits, and new activities.
One of the important factors in choosing the specific location for the IDSDC is its proximity to surrounding entities with which it can create a synergistic relationship. The adjacent entities are the River of Time Museum that focuses on the history of the Lower Verde Valley, the Community Garden that is the finest in the entire Southwest, the Fountain Hills Library, a first-class sculpture garden, and the Fountain Hills Community Center. Part of the promotional effort will be to integrate the marketing of these entities. By doing so, potential visitors are more likely to travel to Fountain Hills for the opportunity to experience all these facilities that are in the same location. Marketed appropriately, the IDSDC and surrounding entities together will be a significant attraction in the Phoenix area.
The IDSDC, in a designated International Dark Sky Community, has a perfect opportunity to help serve the world-wide growth in astrotourism. As stated recently in the New York Times: “Resorts, parks and attractions in the United States, Canada, Mexico and beyond are expanding the galaxy of what has become known as astrotourism.”
Many from around the world who have an interest in astronomy already travel to Arizona to visit Kitt Peak near Tucson, the Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona, and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. The IDSDC can be an additional stop for these travelers flying into Sky Harbor airport.
Catering to astrotourism are a growing number of hotels around the world that have telescopes available for guests. Some restaurants offer astro-themed food, such as a starry night margarita or a dessert in the shape of a galaxy.
In Fountain Hills, the Adero Scottsdale Resort has developed a customized night-sky and presentation program for their guests. The program uses the expertise of what they are calling “Star Dudes,” who happen to be IDSDC Board members.
Laser tours of the night sky have become popular, and these are offered at the annual Dark Sky Festival in Fountain Hills. Combining a laser tour with a viewing through the large observatory telescope will certainly attract visitors from throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area.