Stay Eastside, a major regional tourism campaign aimed at supporting hotels and boosting small businesses in Kirkland and Redmond, was launched on April 4.
The Eastside cities are offering $50 vouchers through partnering hotels in community currencies, such as Redmond’s Geek Out or Kirkland Ca$h. Partnering hotels include the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland, Aloft Seattle Redmond, Archer Hotel Redmond, and Motel 6 in Kirkland, among others.
“The businesses who benefit are most definitely those who were most impacted by COVID-19, and the program was born out of the idea that we need to come together as a community and support these businesses right now,” said Barry Bartlett of The Bartlett Group, a contractor of the city of Kirkland for Stay Eastside.
In total, 14 hotels and over 150 businesses are participating in the tourism campaign.
Guests staying in eligible hotels will receive $50 vouchers per night stay, which they are encouraged to spend on local dining, shopping, or other city activities. Participating businesses will then be reimbursed for voucher purchases at 100% cash value.
Redmond and Kirkland are offering $50,000 each, creating a total of $100,000 in local economic incentive. To qualify for vouchers, visitors must reserve their hotel stay through Stay Eastside.
The tourism campaign comes after local businesses have faced challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s exciting for us and we’re thankful for the support it brings our way,” said Joanna Reis, co-owner of the Box & Burgers Eatery in Kirkland. “We know the marketing behind this effort will attract new visitors to our area and we look forward to welcoming them.”
In addition to the Box & Burgers Eatery, participating businesses consist of Bella Vision in Kirkland, Palmers East in Redmond, Cow Chip Cookies in Redmond, Evergreen Blendz in Kirkland, Walla Walla Clothing Co. in Kirkland, Paint Away in Redmond, Buttera Motors in Kirkland, among others.
Dan Ullom, owner of Brick & Mortar Books in Redmond, said his employees had to adjust to COVID-19 related challenges, such as improving their curbside pickup options and selling online.
“We did not get hurt the same way that restaurants and other places did,” Ullom said. “I feel thankful that we were able to get through it as well as we did, but I know this Experience Redmond program definitely helped.”
Ullom mentioned the “You Stay, We Pay” program the city of Redmond developed in 2021, which resulted in 1,550 room night reservations over a two-month period. He said he expects similar results with the new Stay Eastside campaign.
“We’ve done it before,” said Ullom. “It brought a lot of people into Redmond that weren’t going to come and stay in Redmond, so that was pretty spectacular.”
To receive vouchers, individuals must book their hotel stays from now until June 30, or until the program’s incentives run out.
Stay Eastside was made possible through partnership with the city of Kirkland, the city of Redmond, Experience Redmond, OneRedmond, Explore Kirkland, and Shop Local Kirkland.
For more information visit https://stayeastside.com/