The founders of AmericanaWeek.com, the website that bills itself as the “Gateway to Americana Week,” and a “guide to the shows, auctions and attractions of New York’s Americana Week,” announce plans to cover the major antiques weeks in the United States with destination websites.
Currently, websites for three of the biggest weeks of 2012 are live. They are AmericanaWeek.com (January 17-23), NashvilleAntiquesWeek.com (February 2 – 12), and PhiladelphiaAntiquesWeek.com (April 27 to May 1). More are expected in the first quarter of 2012.
“The concept of co-branding with destination sites that cover the entire scope of the week and provide information on what to see and where to stay is a new way of doing business,” states co-founder Eric Miller.
The websites will be accompanied by mobile apps that can be downloaded free, making all the information immediately accessible to visitors “on the go.”
Named weeks came to prominence in the 1990’s and 2000’s as a way for show promoters to create sales venues for multiple dealers. During the heyday of “antiquing,” they enjoyed enormous success. In recent years, business has fallen off. That is partially due to a shift in America’s taste, the retail nature of auction houses and the strength of art dealer communities.
Miller, who launched the website Urban Art & Antiques in 2007 and Calendar of Antiques.com in 2011, and Regina Kolbe, President of PR To the Trade, a public relations firm specializing in antiques and art marketing, say they conceived the idea of destination websites in the Spring of 2011, during a campaign to co-brand and broaden the reach of Asia Week with the more inclusive Asian Arts Week title.
“What we discovered,” Miller said, “is that the antiques world is really a universe of a lot of smaller worlds, each tied to a show or an event, each with its own established audience. Destination websites create a unified and larger presence. Besides, they speak to destination bound out-of-towners in a way that has not been attempted before.”
In creating the new sites, the founders were able to obtain URLs that clone the names the weeks are casually known by. For example, Philadelphia Antiques Week is simply http://www.PhiladelphiaAntiquesWeek.com. Nashville Antiques Week is http://www.NashvilleAntiquesWeek.com.
Miller and Kolbe are not ready to disclose how many of the unique URLs they have captured, other than to say they are comprehensive. Plans to roll out sites for the major events are scheduled for 2012. 2013 will see the launch of sites for smaller antiques weeks.
“We’re very excited to be leading the initiative to increase visitors to antiques weeks,” Miller said. “Show promoters and dealers, even those exhibiting at major shows, can increase their visibility by partnering with us.”
Partners receive visibility via banners and ads, content opportunities and other benefits. Museums and cultural organizations are awarded special consideration on the sites. AmericanaWeek.com has partnered with the American Folk Art Museum to increase the reach of its “Pass the Hat Campaign” and has provided visibility for the Hudson River Museum. More museums are expected to receive support on the forthcoming sites.
Among the first adopters of the concept for AmericanaWeek.com were H.L. Chalfant of West Chester, PA and The NY Ceramics Fair.