To help promote regional businesses and encourage residents to shop local, tourism advocacy group Visit Tri-Valley is getting ready to launch a free savings passport program that will function similar to a free coupon book.
Businesses can apply through April 30 to be a part of the "Tri-Valley Promise Pass" program, which will seek to support businesses in each of the Tri-Valley communities -- including the city of San Ramon, which chose to collaborate with Visit Tri-Valley after previously divorcing from the group several years ago.
"The pass is titled the Tri-Valley Promise Pass and our focus is to support local businesses by having customers take the 'promise to spend locally' by signing up for the experience," organizers said in a statement. "The pass will be available on a mobile-exclusive platform and will be a key component of marketing campaigns moving forward."
Designed to act as a virtual coupon book, businesses that sign up for the program will offer discounts, promotional events and other deals that residents who promise to support local can take advantage of.
According to organizers, the major difference between this program and traditional coupon books is that through the passport program participants will receive deals and discounts virtually through text and email.
There is no cost for businesses seeking to participate in the program; however, they are being asked to offer coupons or discounts that pass holders can use at their establishments.
"Remember, there is no cost to participate in the Tri-Valley Promise Pass. We just ask that you offer an exciting coupon or discount as an incentive for locals to visit your business and spend money with you. The pass categories include retail, dining, lodging, services and activities," organizers added for businesses interested in participating.
A former member of Visit Tri-Valley, San Ramon has decided to participate in the program despite having officially cut ties with the tourism group in 2015 -- doing so while citing a desire to focus resources more directly on San Ramon as opposed to the regional community.
City officials said that the decision to collaborate with Visit Tri-Valley for the Promise Pass does not necessarily mean that San Ramon is coming back into the fold and that the city's own tourism board will be making its own campaign in the future.
"San Ramon is happy to participate in the Promise Pass Program. We are looking for any opportunity that promotes shopping local to help our businesses recover while operating under the State COVID restrictions. The promotional campaign for the Promise Pass will run until early summer which is great timing," deputy city manager Steven Spedowfski said.
"We expect a new marketing campaign from Discover San Ramon to launch as the Promise Pass campaign winds down," he added.
Visit Tri-Valley hasn't set a date on when residents can sign up for a passport, but have said that the goal is to have the program begin in early May.