Fighting the World’s Misperceptions About McAllen

            While there are myriad positive, upbeat things happening locally, it sometimes feels as if McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley are under siege by the national media.

            Combatting the misperception that McAllen is a dangerous city is part of the job of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce's Convention and Visitors' Bureau, which is charged with marketing the City. So what exactly is being done?

            Naturally, most of what a Convention and Visitors' Bureau does is not seen here in town, since our job is to motivate people outside of the area to visit. Advertising (except to encourage shoppers from Monterrey) is not something within our budget so we concentrate on working with journalists, usually travel writers. If we can persuade writers to cover the positive aspects of McAllen, then potentially millions of readers will be exposed not only to McAllen's attributes, but also will receive the tacit message that people continue to visit the area and are perfectly safe doing so.

            The CVB staff spends much time working with journalists from all over the country and the world. We typically host between ten and twenty travel writers a year, and have averaged over $1,150,000 annually in positive editorial coverage value. That's more than a $62 to $1 return on investment!

Most of the writers who come to McAllen are interested in either McAllen as a Winter Texan destination or in the area's birding and nature opportunities. Fortunately, these are terrific strengths for McAllen and the Valley.

            We now have the ability to reach even more people directly by working with online writers and through our own efforts in social media.

            It's a changing world in so many ways. The McAllen Chamber's communication program continues to adapt to meet the newest challenges head-on and with a positive message about our wonderful City.

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