Members, we know you have a lot of questions. We hope that the information below answers most of them. Please feel free to reach out to Eileen Falkenberg-Hull or Mike Herzing with any further questions.
What is the Texas Off-Road Invitational?
The Texas Off-Road Invitational is content generation event. The goal of the program is to present automotive journalists and content creators the opportunity to spend significant time with each test vehicle, with the specific purpose of creating content to post, pitch, sell, and distribute in the form of stores, social media posts, videos, and photographs.
How will the event be run?
On the afternoon of May 6, attendee arrivals will begin. There are a minimal amount of attractions near the hotel but should attendees arrive early and if they want to explore the area, the Texas Prison Museum and HEARTS Veterans Museum of Texas are nearby. The Sam Houston Memorial Museum and Steamboat House are also nearby but closed on Monday. This could be an interesting stop on your way out of town. There is a pool at the hotel.
At 5:30 p.m. attendees will carpool to General Sam's Offroad Park where the Texas Tailgate will be held. This event will include a casual dinner. Some nighttime photography and videography opportunities will be available. Texas-themed attire is recommended.
Attendees will arrive at General Sam's Offroad Park in the morning Tuesday, May 7 and attend a quick driver meeting. After that, the vehicles and all trails, obstacles, camp sites, cabins, and roads open for content generation. First priority for vehicles is given to journalist members and top-tier content creators. The event will run throughout the day without a mandatory break for lunch. Lunch and dinner will be provided on-site.
The second drive day, the event will start the same and end at lunchtime.
How far is it from the hotel to the event site?
It takes 20-25 minutes to drive from the hotel to General Sam's Offroad Park. Event attendees are asked to carpool to General Sam's.
What is for breakfast?
A hot breakfast will be available both mornings at the hotel and there is a Starbucks between the hotel and the event site. A Whataburger and a Kroger are in the plaza next to the hotel should you require other breakfast opportunities.
How will the journalist attendees get their content?
General Sam's Offroad Park provides journalists and content creators the opportunity to create unique content in a number of challenging drive scenarios. There are also areas where photographs and videos can be staged, such as cabins, campsites, mud pits, a fording area, a sand pit, a rock climb, fields, trails, and a gravel road. There are also areas where journalists can sit and conduct interviews in the shade.
Ideally, journalists will be leaving the event with weeks and months worth of content about the vehicles and only thoughtfully mention the event along the way in event day coverage and social media posts.
To achieve maximum content generation value, TxMPA Is asking that each automaker have the expectation that their vehicles will not be subject to the quick turnover as achieved at other drive programs. Rather, the organization is encouraging attendees to get as much time as they require with different vehicles to create the best content. It is anticipated that this means 15-30 minutes per vehicle.
Which automaker personnel will attend?
To do achieve the level of content generation event attendees are after, TxMPA has asked automakers to not send sales professionals to the event. The Texas Off-Road Invitational is more geared toward the roles of product communications professionals, product planners, regional communications staff, and engineers as subject matter experts. Automakers have also been asked to plan on not doing the usual ride along routine that is typical with drive events but are welcome to ride and drive with the journalists. TxMPA requests that automakers gear their interactions at the event toward deeper product knowledge discussion rather than the cursory product overview typical of other organization's drive events.
Who is the event open to?
The Texas Off-Road Invitational is only open to Texas Motor Press Association members. Automakers who wish to sponsor journalist attendees may do so, but those individuals will need to be approved of as Texas Motor Press Association members at least two weeks prior to the event.
Journalists who are not able to commit to coverage of the vehicles at the event will be asked to not attend as the organization strives to have the largest return on investment for all attendees.
Driving priority will be given to automotive journalists and top-tier content creators. Other attendees will be able to tag along and team up to create their content.
Prior to the event, registered automakers will receive a list of all registered journalist attendees so they can reach out to them to pitch stories and let attendees know of their personnel attending ahead of the event so journalists arrive on-site fully prepared for all that is offered.
What should I wear?
The first night's dinner is the Texas Tailgate. Attendees are encouraged to wear Texas themed casual apparel. Jeans, shorts, t-shirts, and polo shirts are acceptable for all activities. Closed toe shoes are required for media member attendees. Attendees should anticipate that the event activities will leave them with dirt and mud on their clothing.