Wednesday TDC Meeting – Spring Break Marketing Update

Notes from Wednesday’s TDC meeting:

Artificial Reef
A presentation seeking financial assistance to sink a boat that is currently at the PC Marina was added to the agenda. The gentleman was seeking $40,000 to assist with the total $75,000 cost. There was some concern whether there were funds available in the current year budget; however, a motion passed 9-0 recommending that the CVB board approve the $40,000 expenditure.

Indian Summer Festival Contract
A motion made by Jack Bishop passed 8-0(with Joe Kennedy abstaining) recommending that the CVB board exercise its option to cancel the final year of the 3 year contract with Sound Associates/Ron Johnson to put on the Indiana Summer Festival. Some members felt that the CVB should not continue to fund events that have shown an inability to become self-sustaining. Some felt that the event is primarily a local event, rather than a tourist draw, and was therefore an inappropriate use of CVB funds. And finally some were of the belief that continuing the festival was important, but that Sound Associates did a poor job of putting on this years festival.

Special Events Policy
A motion passed 9-0 recommending that the CVB board reaffirm the “January
2003 Special Events Advertising Policy and Procedure” be followed for all future special event funding requests. Although this policy has never been revoked or modified, recent boards(including the current board and committee with the 2007-08 budget) have not followed it.

Update on The Klages Group Research
The committee briefly discussed the final draft of the Klages Group survey form which was included in the committee packet. Visitor inquiry data and mapping prepared by Klages was also distributed.

2008 Spring Break Co-Op
Barry Lott of Y Partnership updated the committee on the plans for Spring Break 2008. He explained that although the contract with MTV has not yet been finalized, the plan is to begin implementing the advertising elements by mid-November. Lott presented the agencies current co-op plans:

Hotel Partner Options
Premium $10,000 (only 4 available; includes featured coverage on the PCB Spring Break subsite and 1M impressions on the mtvU site, additional impressions available @ $7500 per 1M) Promotional $2500 (limited number available; includes extensive PCB Spring Break subsite coverage, but no coverage on the mtvU site) Unlimited $1000 (listing on the PCB Spring Break subsite and event calendar)

Non-Hotel Partner Options
Premium $5,000 (logo on mtvU site)
Unlimited $1000 (listing on PCB Spring Break subsite) Event $500 (listing on subsite event calendar)

Ann Henry expressed her concern that the co-op plan resulted in a disproportionate contribution from the Hotel Partners in comparison to the Non-Hotel Partners. Chairman Phillips was in the audience and responded that some changes will be made before being finalized.

Lott also advised the committee that an additional expense of $18-20,000 to design and operate the co-op web subsite will be required in addition to the $200,000 payment to MTV. The subsite will be required because Hotel logos can not appear on the mtvU site except in the form of banner advertising using the 10M impressions in the contract. Bill Spann stated that all required expenses should have been included in the budgeted amount of $200,000; however, Lott expressed his belief that the agency had previously advised the CVB that this additional expense would be required. Mr.
Phillips expressed his disappointment that the co-op now needs to reach $70,000 before reducing the CVB’s budgeted expense of $150,000.

Lott also informed the committee that MTV was currently negotiating the village location with two hotel properties. It was also announced that no non-hotel properties were being considered due to mtvU’s alcohol policy. An co-op registration meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday afternoon.

A motion was made by Bill Spann to request that the board revise the plan concerning co-op funds received in excess of $50,000. The board decided on October 9th that any co-op funds received in excess of the $50,000 budgeted amount would be used to reduce the CVB’s budgeted portion of $150,000. Mr.
Spann suggested that any excess funds could be used for additional Spring Break promotion instead. The motion was withdrawn before a vote was taken.

Jack Bishop also advised the committee that a competing co-op is being proposed to do additional marketing beyond the MTV program. Mr. Phillips expressed his opinion the industry is free to do additional marketing, but that the CVB should not get involved in any further Spring Break 2008 programs other than the current plan. Mr. Phillips also expressed his opinion that PCB has changed and that the CVB needs to get out of the Spring Break business. Russ Smith stated that he did not feel that multiple competing co-ops was a good idea.

A revised motion was made by Mr. Spann suggesting the board revise October 9th passed motion concerning the treatment of co-op funds exceeding $50,000.
The motion to suggest that the board revise the $50,000 number to $70,000 to account for the Spring Break internet subsite cost passed 7-1 with Kirk Lancaster casting the dissenting vote and Mr. Kennedy having departed early.
Prior to the vote, Mr. Smith suggested that the CVB revise its Spring Break plan to provide for $150,000 special event funding to an outside co-op which could take over the MTV program and add additional promotions. Mr. Phillips disagreed stating that the CVB needs to retain control that it would lose with an outside co-op managing the MTV program.

Meeting notes courtesy of Bryan J Durta. Thanks Bryan, for the thorough notes.

Audubon Nature Center in WestBay and the New Airport Name

Dr. Ed Wright, former Dean for FSU-PC and fellow blogger publishes a blog specifically on WestBay, Florida.  He offers a very informed opinion and provides an excellent source for facts on the goingson in the WestBay area. 

Some of his recent posts include:

A Regional Airport?  – There was a very interesting article in Sunday’s News Herald (11/4/07) about the need for the new airport to have a regional name and identity. This is definitely something we should discuss and consider.

Friday at the Beach to Highlight Audubon Nature Center  – On November 9th, the Panama City Beaches Chamber’s Friday at the Beach breakfast will feature Linda Macbeth from Florida Audubon. Linda will discuss Audubon’s plans to build a world class nature center in West Bay.

For those that have not noticed, I have a spot in the sidebar that displays RSS feeds directly from his blog, WestBayFlorida.Blogspot.com.  Whenever you are on pcbdaily.com, you can see the latest on his blog.  To read the entire post, just click on the title and it will take you to the WestBay Florida blog.

Thanks Ed, for all the valuable information and input you publish on WestBayFlorida.Blogspot.com

Foreclosure rates continue to rise

It isn’t hard to find negative news on the current state of the real estate market. We were talking in the office yesterday about how almost daily there is a new article about the foreclosure rate climbing, lending getting more difficult, etc. The latest I read on cnnmoney.com was that the foreclusure rate (nationally) in quarter 3 was 30% higher than quarter 2 and almost doubled from quarter 3 of 2006. This is said to be affecting 1 in 196 households. Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate – 1 in 61 households – tripled from quarter 3 in 2006. California had the second highest foreclosure rate – 1 in 88 households – four times what it was in quarter 3 in 2006. Numerically California was the highest with 94,772 filings in the third quarter. Florida was the third highest – 1 in 95 households – doubling from third quarter last year with 86,465 total filings

How long is it going to take to get out of this glut? Many have said that we have to get through all the foreclosures first. How long will that take? The problem with this is that it has not and will not be a quick process. In addition, the foreclosures add to the already too-full pool of inventory on the market.

Right now consumer confidence is down. Even the savvy investors are afraid to purchase now because they are worried that their purchase may go down in the coming months from what they bought it at.

Where is the light in all this? The light is in buying right now. I know this is what all the Realtors are saying right now, and of course it has some motivation to keep the paychecks flowing, but it has a lot of truth to it. The fact is, right now property can be bought at sometimes pennies on the dollar. If an opportunity comes around to make a purchase that will cashflow, you should take it in a second. You can’t worry about whether you’ll lose $10k in value over the next year, you have to look at the 3 to 5 year upside, or even more. Real estate was never a good short term investment, and the market over the last few years influenced people to forget that. Real estate becomes a good investment when you can generate more money on a regular basis than you are paying out. If you can cashflow $50 a month, you can have as many as you want and you’ll only make more money. Now I understand that there is more involved (like having enough for emergency reserves, etc.), but this is a simple example.

Now is a great time to buy, that’s the positive. It stinks for people like me who are trying to sell their home, but it is a great time to buy.

State economists say recovery is farther away than expected

“The housing-driven economic slump that made Florida legislators cut $1.1 billion from the state budget last month isn’t getting worse, but it will last “a lot longer” than expected, state economists said Friday.

No hard dollar amounts came out of the two-hour round table by top fiscal forecasters from the Legislature and governor’s office.

But planners made some downward revisions of their July forecasts amid gloomy forecasts that consumer spending, wages, auto sales, tourism, fuel costs and other leading economic indicators will languish longer in the trough dug by the slowed housing and construction markets.

Amy Baker, coordinator of the Economic and Demographic Research Office, said at least a few factors were forecast in July to begin recovery next year. But she and Frank Williams, an economist in her office, said it will be late 2009 before the economy really revives. . .” (more)

New Director for the TDC Chosen

Daniel Rowe, the former Deputy Commissioner for Tourism for the state of Georgia, was hired to be the director of the Bay County Tourist Development Council. His resume includes almost 20 years in resort management, marketing and tourism consulting. In Georgia, he served as the Chief Executive and Managing Director of the Tourism Development Alliance of Georgia before he was the Deputy Commissioner for Tourism. He also helped found Banyan Tree Consulting Group, a public affairs and marketing company that specialized in working with tourism clients.

He is scheduled to start middle of November.