Despite Nasty Weather, AVP Show Must Go On

With wind gusts of up to 30 mph and heavy downpoor expected all day, the volleyball pros still plan to play, even though there won’t be many there to watch.  I was told by someone that the last event they had attended 18 out of the 25 games they watched were in bad weather.

They play, rain or shine.  I was told the qualifiers went well yesterday; the players got wet, and had to fight the wind, but they played.  Coming from one direction, the players barely had to tap the ball to serve it over the net, but from the other way, hitting it as hard as they could, the ball sometimes wouldn’t even make it.  I guess the advantage of wearing bikinis and boardshorts while you play your pro sport is that getting wet just doesn’t matter.

I was up on the roof of Seahaven, Origin, and felt like my Blackberry was going to be blown out of my hand; my jeans were flapping in the wind, and I don’t wear baggy jeans.  My hair was even blowing, and I keep it too short for it to move.

On the ground, flags were flapping in the wind, near the brink of ripping.  I overheard one worker screaming “that’s all you got!”, then it started raining – hard.  Luckily I was under the covered area of Sharkys.  Cameras and rain don’t mix.

Play was postponed until 10 am when I was there.  Not sure if they are playing right now (its 1020).  It isn’t raining right now, but it is very windy still.  Tomorrow, however, is supposed to be nice.  We’ll see.

Volleyball Chick Faints, PCB Goes Viral

Wednesday morning, Nikki Allen, Director of Operations for the University of Southern California’s women’s volleyball program was interviewed on WMBB by Wayne Gentry and went down in YouTube fame.  As she was being interviewed by Wayne Gentry, she fainted on live tv.  WMBB was kind enough to upload it to YouTube and now, three days later the video has over 260,000 views.

Apparently Nikki flew in from California that morning, which must have been very early as the time on screen during the interview was 6:20.  I also read that this was her first time on TV and she was very nervous.  Whatever the case, I’ve been told that she’s ok now.

The faint happened behind Sharky’s Beach Club on Panama City Beach and was accompanied by Dan Rowe.  By the way, does anyone know what the question was that Dan answered Tanzania?

New VisitPanamaCityBeach Web Site Adapts to Each User

The new VisitPanamaCityBeach.com web site is almost ready for launch and is looking awesome, might I add.  The user experience will be different for everyone based on Personality Quizzes, and the overall look and feel exudes Real.Fun.Beach.

When the user first arrives at the site, they are greeted by a fun but laid back setting with warm colors that make you long for some quality beach time with the family.  Hints of “free vacation giveaways” and “what’s your ‘fun’ sign” are scattered throughout with a front-end goal of making the user experience unique, varied and well, fun.  The back-end functionality is all about collecting user information.  By answering short simple questions, we’ll be able to get a better idea as to who the people are that not only visit the site, but visit Panama City Beach.

Some of the questions could include:

My favorite beach sensation is:

  • The gulf breeze blowing through my hair
  • The warmth of the sun on my skin
  • The smell of the salt in the air
  • The feel of the sand in my toes
  • The invigoration of the water

My favorite beach souvenir would be:

  • A shell
  • A beach hat
  • A piece of jewelry
  • A tie-dye t-shirt
  • A beach umbrella

Based on the answers to these and a few more questions the web site will categorize you in one of five Fun Signs:

  • Soul Searcher – relaxed and laid back
  • Sandy Bottom Bunch – Family oriented
  • After Dark Shark – Nightlife party person
  • Wave Warrior – Outdoorsey and active
  • Eco-Seeker – Environmentally friendly

Based on what you’ve been categorized as, the web site will totally change – different background images, different accent colors, different text – the whole look and feel resembles what your Fun Sign is.

Also included in the site is a Trip Planner.  Based on your Fun Sign, recomendations will be made for activities to do on Panama City Beach, all plotted out in a neat map.

The site should be live by April 1 – I’ll have a more detailed review of it at that point.

Click here to see the demo.

Breaking News! New Double Indoor Flowrider Coming to PCB

Hot off the press – pcbdaily’s press – an indoor double Flowrider is coming to Panama City Beach.  Think surfing year-round, think surfing whether the water temperature in the Gulf is tolerable or not, think surfing whether it’s raining or lightning outside, or think surfing if you just don’t feel like paddling out.  I’m thinking surfing because I can’t surf for real.

Being a veteran snowboarder remembering the days of the early 1990’s of me and one other guy on the whole mountain learning to snowboard, getting practically run over by skiers hating on the, what they thought, new sport.  I always wanted to skate, but frankly, I sucked at it.  I read all the magazines, wore the cool clothes, listened to the music, liked riding my board, but I couldn’t do any tricks for the life of me.  Or maybe I just wasn’t dedicated.  Snowboarding was everything I wanted – a board that was attached to my feet and a padded landing (sometimes).  I rode passionately every chance I got for 10 years (growing up is Dallas offered me this opportunity twice a year at best).

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Fast forward to moving to Panama City Beach in 2001.  “Surfing is just like snowboarding,” a friend told me, “you’ll love it.”  Well, it isn’t, and I don’t.  It always seemed like too much work for not enough playtime.  I was spoiled with the sometimes seemingly endless downhill bouts riding fresh powder.  I gave it another chance when my wife, who is an avid surfer, convinced me.  Same results.  I did however find a new comprimise to my longing for the snow – wakeboarding.  Yet, I’ve only been once.  That day will always linger in my head when I got “up” after the third try and rode for hours.  Everything about the control of the board was familiar – I loved it.  Too bad that was almost three summers ago, and I haven’t gone since.

Fast forward again, to today.  A new double Flowrider is coming to Panama City Beach, and it will be indoor.  Talking to Jeremy, who’s working on the development and operational side of this new attraction, he said, “the best way I can describe it is a jet engine shooting water up a ramp so fast you can surf it.”  The title on the main page of the Flowrider website describes it as “sheetwave attractions.”  They vary in size and even in wave dynamics, but they all provide healthy doses of fun. If you’ve ever been on a Royal Caribbean’s cruise, chances are you’ve run into one.

Driving down Middle Beach Road, right across from Wal-Mart and where Tony Roma’s used to be, you’ve probably seen a video sign that says Shubee Flowrider.  That’s it.  Right there in Miracle Strip Loop will be where all the indoor surfing action can be found starting sometime early summer.  “If everything works out right, we’ll be open sometime in June,” said Jeremy.

Prices haven’t been set yet, but they are estimating the cost to be around $20 per session.  Each session could last for up to 1 hour.  Inside, there will be observation areasall around the attraction, two party rooms and a retail area including gear and apparell.

Welcome to Panama City Beach, Jeremy!

Survey Says Affordability Increasing U.S. Residents' Intent to Travel

According to the most recent results of the travelhorizons quarterly survey, the U.S. Traveler Sentiment Index rose to 90.2 in February 2009 from 78.2 in October 2008 due to an increase in the perceived “affordability of travel.” The survey, which was conducted from Feb. 7 to 13, polled a representative survey of 2,270 adults, from which the Index is calculated.

The spike in the perceived affordability appears to be a direct result of the promotional pricing and related incentives now being offered by tour suppliers who represent practically every segment of the travel industry. Many airlines, cruise lines, hotel companies, attractions and rental car companies are featuring rates and fares that are up to 50 percent off the prices being quoted just six months ago.

“We are very encouraged that more people are signaling a willingness to travel for leisure purposes,” said Peter C. Yesawich, chairman of Ypartnership, which co-authors travelhorizons with the U.S. Travel Association. “This is the first increase we have observed in the Index since January 2008, which indicates that the discounts travel providers and destinations are offering are working to attract more travelers, even in this down economy.”  Source:  National Tour Association

As I travel around the southeast promoting our destination at consumer trade shows, speaking to thousands of people, one thing is clear.  Families are still traveling for vacations and get-a-ways.  We are fortunate to be a drive destination and have the first ever international green airport under construction.  If our spring season is any indication of what the summer is going to bring, I predict a good year for visitors and businesses.

I will be traveling to Nashville, TN next week to the Southern Women’s Show.  Over 34,000 ladies will attend the four day event.  I look forward to promoting our destination, accommodations and fun things to do while staying on “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches”.  I will give an update on my trip home.

Debi Knight, President
Panama City Beach Tourism Services
http://www.travelpcb.com

AVP is getting Geared up behind Sharkys

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Amid cloudy weather and red-flag seas, the yellow AVP tents tower above the sand.  For the first time ever a professional volleyball tournament will be hosted by AVP in Panama City Beach.

Today’s schedule is to include a collegiate tournament, however with wind kicking at up to 15 knots some of the onsite players are skeptical whether it will happen.  The professionals are out practicing right now.

On Friday, there will be a series of games where locals and other aspiring pro-volleyball players can enter the qualifier tournament to compete with the pros on Saturday and Sunday.  When talking to Nick Lucena at the recent press conference, he was telling me that some players can play up to 8 games in one day, depending on their win-to-lose ratio.  He was telling me that the pros usually train for up to four hours each day to prepare for such grueling endurance playing.

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Here is the schedule:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Men’s and Women’s Qualifier Competition
Gates open at 7:00 am
Start time 8:00 AM. End Time (Approx) 6:30 PM.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Men’s and Women’s Main Draw Competition
Gates open at 7:00 am
Start time 8:00 AM. End Time (Approx) 6:30 PM.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Men’s and Women’s Main Draw Competition
Gates open at 7:00 am
Start time 8:00 AM. End Time (Approx) 5:30 PM.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-03-24

  • Ahhh, bed finally. Look out for the newsletter in the morning. It talks about lifeguards. #
  • still working. . . sleepy. #
  • working on the newsletter – almost done! then I need to finish off a web site for a client, then bed, hopefully. #
  • @drew You’re a genius! *waiting for my site traffic to go up. #
  • Unbeatble prices. Spring break at walmart. We’re almost done, hang in there! – Photo: http://bkite.com/05NT9 #
  • At church for some much needed spiritual refreshment. #
  • Betsy ann riverboat murder mystery cruise tonight. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05Luu #
  • @MikeStokes they should be small, I send them from my phone. And they are jpgs. Practically universal. #
  • I’m at Betsy Ann Riverboat – http://bkite.com/05L6c #
  • Writing an article about making mobile social updates on a site that I contribute to. Can’t tell you yet. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05KMZ #
  • Carousel is almost done. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05Kt5 #
  • We couldn’t ask for a more perfect day. I’m playing with the kids now, but I’ll be working later. #
  • http://twitpic.com/2b83h – Twitpic #
  • @GoodCourage yes, it will be permanent #
  • The carousel crew said they’ll be hanging the horses tonight and it should be assembled tomorrow. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05Jqz #
  • The carousel crew said they’ll be hanging the horses tonight and it should be assembled tomorrow. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05IRO #
  • The new carousel in pier park – Photo: http://bkite.com/05IP0 #
  • Off to discuss the future of pcbdaily and other things we’re working on. Time will tell all. #
  • with @karensbeach helping her get all mobile and what not with twitter! #
  • Hey, who broke twitter? Got the fail whale! #
  • Have I told you how much @FooFighters rock? Nirvana radio on pandora radio is my best friend, daily. #
  • writing all about the flo rida concert yesterday, be sure to check the blog for pictures! http://tinyurl.com/cbw2r6 #
  • Good show, way less chaotic this time. I’m leaving, gotta go home and get some work done. #
  • Back on the roof again at boardwalk beach resort. Flo rida is coming on. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05EDg #
  • Just had a sit down with the commissioner of the rock paper scissors guy. #
  • Wow, NERD is rockin the house #
  • At the flo rida show. Not as many people as lil wayne, but still hopin – Photo: http://bkite.com/05Ewk #
  • NERD is playing right now, and they actually rock. Really rock. I love it. #
  • Ok, well I was talked into covering another crazy concert at the boardwalk. if you’re following me, watch for updates – flo rida #
  • Shooting went great! awesome weather. @lou1492 is doing the editing/film work. we’ll launch the show in 4 weeks – to be weekly. #
  • getting ready for the shoot of my new internet tv show! it’s all about real estate, so get ready! #
  • @Ryanyessman office day. what was going on today? another concert? I know, I’m out of touch. in reply to Ryanyessman #
  • Taking a bummed out son to five guys for some feel good burgers. #
  • Wow, the weather was crappy and overcast just 1 hour ago, but look at it now! – Photo: http://bkite.com/05BWw #
  • Panama City Beach on Daytime TV http://tinyurl.com/cxevyg #