Seafood Fest May Get Another $150k from CVB

The oil spill threat this summer took it’s toll on the opportunity for us to have a slammin’, jammin’ summer, but it wasn’t all bad.  Our image was certainly tarnished, our tourism numbers were down a bit, but on the plus side, the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau received $2 million from BP to be used for marketing the beaches of Panama City Beach.  This influx of marketing money has saved our CVB $750,000 from their regular marketing budget this year so far and has freed up some cash to use in other arenas.

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CVB to Implement Beach Flag Warning via Text Messaging Program

In a much anticipated endeavor, the Panama City Beach Convention and Vistor’s Bureau has officially implemented a program that will announce beach flag warning updates via text message.

The idea is simple, improve safety through public awareness of the Beach Flag Warning System and to create another avenue for alerting locals and visitors of changing surf conditions. Partnering with the Bay County Sheriffs Office & The City of Panama City Beach Police Department, the text messaging program will alert the registered users of surf conditions, as well as changes in surf conditions that will cause a change of beach flag color.

The text messages will originate from either the Bay County Sheriff’s Office or the City of Panama City Beach Police Department.

Depending on the current surf conditions, the text message will include similar information to the examples listed below.

· Sheriff’s Office report: GREEN flags on COUNTY beaches

· Beach Police report: GREEN flags on CITY beaches

The text messaging program will complement other elements of Panama City Beach’s beach safety public awareness campaign which includes flying aerial billboards during double-red flag conditions, conspicuously displaying signs inside each rentable lodging unit along Panama City Beach, posting signs explaining the flag colors at every public beach access points, and public service announcements on billboards and on various media including radio and television.

If you would like to register your cell phone number to begin receiving these updates, please email your First Name, Last Name, Cell Phone Number (Including Area Code)and Email Address to social@visitpanamacitybeach.com.

AGENDA: TDC/CVB to discuss the Spring Break Study

The Tourist Development Council and Convention and Visitor’s Bureau have called a special combined meeting to discuss the results of the spring break perception study. This will, no doubt create an interesting debate on one of Panama City Beach’s most polarizing topics. They also plan to set a date for a community discussion forum.

Special Called Meeting

AGENDA

COMBINED BOARD MEETING
Bay County Tourist Development Council
Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc.
Panama City Beach
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
1:00 p.m. Council Room
PCB City Hall

I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

II. ROLL CALL

A. Invocation
B. Pledge of Allegiance

III. REQUESTS TO ADDRESS THE BOARD ON AGENDA ITEMS (3 Minutes)

IV. BOARD DISCUSSION ITEMS

A. Review and Discuss the Results From the Spring Break Perception Study And Set Date For The Spring Break Community Forum, Mr. Dan Rowe, President

V. AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

VI. ADJOURNMENT

To download this agenda click here.

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.

SUNCARD Signup Friday, January 16

Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau To Host Winter Guest “SUNCARD” Sign-Up on Friday, January 16

SunCard Program Caters to Winter Residents by Providing Discounts and Offers at Participating Beach Businesses.

Panama City Beach, Fla. – The Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau will once again host its Winter Resident SunCard sign-up day on Friday, January 16th offering winter resident’s complimentary coffee and donuts while they register for the SunCard.

Hosted by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, winter residents from Canada, the Midwest, Northeast and other parts of the United States will be treated to complimentary coffee and donuts from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 16th.  The Visitor Information Center is located at the corner of Hwy 98 and Hwy 79 in Panama City Beach.  Additional complimentary coffee & donut days are scheduled for January 30th, February 13th & February 27th.

Through March 30th, Convention and Visitors Bureau personnel are on-hand to issue the official Winter Resident “SunCard” to new winter residents and repeat winter residents during regular business hours, Monday through Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Panama City Beach winter residents can use their free SunCard throughout the area for value added programs and discounts at participating restaurants, hotels, and other area attractions and events.

“The purpose of this program is to extend a warm welcome to all our winter residents and let them know how much we appreciate them here in Panama City Beach,” stated Dan Rowe, President and CEO of the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We look forward to rolling out the welcome mat on Friday to our seasonal guests.”

The annual SunCard program will run through March 30, 2009.

For more information, go to visitpanamacitybeach.com or call 850-233-5070.

TDC Narrows Pool Down to Three Website Companies

Friday, during a special workshop the TDC’s Interactive Committee, Marty McDaniel and Buddy Wilkes, whittled the 6 companies that submitted Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) down to their top three.

The six companies that submitted RFQ’s are as follows:

  • Simple View Inc.
  • Jennifer Barbee Inc.
  • Miles Media
  • Cyber Sytes
  • The 543 Group
  • Ypartnership

Susan Estler, VP of Marketing for the CVB recommended Simple View, Jennifer Barbee, and Miles Media as the top three that had the capability and capacity to handle the interactive needs of Panama City Beach.

According to Ms. Estler, Simple View had excellent references.  All of their existing clients were extremely satisfied with their performance, and to date, Simple View has yet to lose a client.  Their client list spans from Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Scottsdale, Park City, and tons more.  One of the more important issues discussed was the database that will be amassed with this new interactive initiative, and Simple View assured us that the database that is created using our initiatives will, indeed, be ours (well, the CVB’s).  This is a huge issue with our current agency, Miles Media, which we’ll discuss in a moment.

Second on Ms. Estler’s recommendation list was Jennifer Barbee, Inc.  Jennifer Barbee is a newly formed interactive marketing agency that comes from very well developed roots.  Jennifer’s position was secured in this list because of her background with USDM, who is considered somewhat the industry standard in interactive marketing.  The database issue is not existent as the data amassed will belong to the CVB.  As an added bonus, Barbee uses the same database system as the CVB, further easing the movement of data from the agency to the CVB. Her experience and work portfolio is in line with what the CVB is looking for, in fact, so much so, that the only reason she is in second is because of her company being in its infancy.

The third on the list was Miles Media.  Miles Media is the current interactive agency holding the reigns of the CVB web site, VisitPanamaCityBeach.com, and there are several issues with this relationship, with the major issue being who controls the database.  Marty McDaniel and Buddy Wilkes both agreed that in the past, Miles Media has been very uncooperative in sharing the database that the Panama City Beach CVB marketing efforts has generated.  That is to say, they will not let us have the database that, essentially, we paid for through our marketing efforts that they deployed.  Miles Media’s excuse is that all of the user data that all of their campaigns generates is shared with the Visit Florida database and that once it enters that database, it belongs to that “domain”, and can’t be given out to individual clients.  I would agree, that the Panama City Beach CVB should not be given access to a database that includes data from campaigns or efforts that are other than their own, however (and this is a big however), there is no reason why Miles Media can’t distinguish the difference between “our” data and the data of someone else’s marketing efforts.  Further more, if they are submitting the data to some “master” database, then there is no reason that they can’t duplicate “our” data so as to keep it segregated.  If they can’t, I would submit that that is their problem, not ours, and they just need to figure it out.  As the contact database administrator of over 750,000 contacts, I can assure you that if I told the principles of my company that I can’t distinguish the difference between different databases within the database, I would have been fired a long time ago.

There are nifty things called computers and programs that allow people to do cool things like organize data however you want, need, or desire to based on whatever you want.

As indicated by the committee members, the database issue in the past with Miles Media has been unsolvable.  The committee felt that moving forward, Miles Media would continue to be unwilling to change their approach on this issue.  The committee members decided that it would be prudent to ask the question up front whether Miles Media would be willing to share with the Panama City Beach CVB the database their marketing efforts generate, and if the answer was still no, they would be moved to position 4, and have virtually no chance on continuing to be the interactive agency of record.  At this point, Cyber Sytes would replace Miles Media in position and move to position three.

You don’t have to be told that it was decided that Cyber Sytes would be in position four.  It was agreed upon by all present that Cyber Sytes has a very talented team and in the last two years, they have made very positive movement by way of bringing on talented graphics arts staff and have grown professionally and artistically.  They have become virtually THE web design firm in Bay County, and have been recognized for this.  However, the committee agreed, they just didn’t think Cyber Sytes was “ready” for the CVB.

The process moving forward will include a special meeting to be called sometime in between next Wednesday’s meeting (agenda forthcoming) and the next scheduled meeting to hear presentations from the top two agency picks, Simple View, Inc., and Jennifer Barbee, Inc.

I will, of course, be covering these meetings, so stay tuned.

TDC ditches their brains, gets bested by competition

Perhaps this post isn’t necesary, but I feel it prudent to underscore Bryan’s comments and insight into the current actions of the TDC.

An interesting point is brought up, and that point is: why are we just now discussing the budget?

We had all summer with little or almost no activity regarding public TDC meetings.  It seems that there was ample time to discuss these issues and more.  Is there a reason the TDC meetings come virtually to a halt during the summer months?  This is the time we need to be discussing everything and making changes on the fly as needed.

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