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Spokane is taking off

Thu., Feb. 1, 2007, midnight

Chalk up another first for Spokane. Starting today, it’s the focus of a slick, month-long special section in the in-flight magazines of both Horizon Air and Alaska Airlines.

“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time Alaska Airlines Magazine/Horizon Air Magazine have done a special section of this nature, with a focus on business and recreation in a specific city or county,” said Michele Andrus Dill, editor of Horizon Air Magazine, associate editor of Alaska Airlines Magazine and editor of the section on Spokane. She’s been with the Seattle-based magazine company for nine years.

Though each of the airlines’ magazines has different covers and content, the 24-page Spokane section will appear in both throughout February.

“It’s bona fide copy written by bona fide writers — assigned and edited by me,” said Dill about the project, borne at Paradigm Communications Group, the magazines’ publishers.

Dill said the magazine’s editorial team sees Spokane as a rising destination.

“We’ve been impressed and excited to see the success Spokane is having in attracting and supporting businesses and we know it’s a world-class recreation destination. We wanted to recognize and celebrate that in the magazine,” Dill said in a phone interview Wednesday.

An estimated 1.8 million people fly the two airlines each month. Those thumbing through the magazine’s special section will find stories on Spokane’s business environment and recreational opportunities — as well as vivid photographs from around the area.

To pay for the section, the magazine sold advertisements to Spokane medical centers, engineering firms, hotels, Realtors, universities and to the city’s convention and visitors bureau.

That amount of advertising ordinarily would cost at least $250,000, about $10,000 a page, said Jeanna Hofmeister, vice president and director of destination marketing for the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. She came up with the concept for a three-page color ad, on which the CVB spent about $25,000.

The double-spread showcases five area CEOs in business attire, under the tagline “The Suits.”

On the page right next to that, they’re decked out by hobbies, from fly fishing, motorcycle racing, skiing, golfing and gardening, under the headline “Their Pursuits.”

On the ad’s last page, the business leaders describe why they choose to work and play in Spokane.

Hofmeister said the CVB will use two methods to sense whether the piece encourages people to visit. CVB President and CEO Harry Sladich offers in the ad to personally help folks who wish to hold a business meeting, convention or vacation in Spokane, backing it with his direct line phone number. And the CVB will track Web site traffic.


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