The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is setting its marketing priorities for the next couple of years with the Manatee Tourist Development Council’s blessing.
Members unanimously approved the CVB’s marketing plan and budget for the next two fiscal years at their monthly meeting on Monday. Their budget for fiscal year 2018 is $5.9 million and $5.8 million in fiscal year 2019. Jiten Patel, owner and general manager of the Holiday Inn Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, was the only council member not present.
The CVB continues to move more money and marketing to digitally based platforms. Still, Kelly Clark, the bureau’s communications director, explained why print advertising is still essential in certain markets.
“It really comes down to it caters to the demographic that we’re going after in that market,” Clark said during her presentation about international marketing priorities in fiscal year 2018. “The glossy women’s magazines are the audience that we’re really trying to target and get in front of. They also have long shelf life, so they sit in salons, doctor’s offices and waiting rooms.”
In particular, the CVB is shifting public relations and social media promotion in the United Kingdom to better target the Scotland and northern England markets. And more emphasis will be placed on the German, Austrian and Swiss markets.
0.2 percent growth in visitors year-over-year for second quarter of fiscal year 2017
“We are focusing this year a little more on Scandinavia,” Clark said. “That area is a growing market of opportunity for us, and we are gaining a new access point for them with the new Icelandair flight nonstop into Tampa International Airport that is opening in September.”
Domestically, the CVB picks which potential visitor to target depending on the time of year. During the “pre-summer” and summer seasons, young couples and families are the goal. In the fall, marketing campaigns target older visitors, said Dave DiMaggio, president and CEO of destination marketing firm Aqua Marketing and Communications.
DiMaggio explained the importance of considering a bevy of factors, including age, sex, household income, interests and distance from destination, when choosing target markets. Visitors from certain cities, such as Chicago, Toronto, New York City and Pittsburgh, remain constant targets for the CVB during the entire year.
We’re not trying to get the most visitors, but we’re trying to get the right visitor to visit at the right time at the lowest cost of acquisition
Dave DiMaggio, Aqua Marketing and Communications president and CEO
“We’re not trying to get the most visitors, but we’re trying to get the right visitor to visit at the right time at the lowest cost of acquisition,” he said.
Carol Whitmore, TDC chairwoman, Manatee County commissioner and Anna Maria Island resident of almost 49 years, also emphasized the need to cast the right net for the right visitor. After Whitmore took a trip to St. Petersburg this weekend and couldn’t get into two restaurants because they had no parking left, she felt like it was a “reality check.”
“All I kept thinking is I can never let our Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key ever turn into what I experienced,” Whitmore said. “My daughter said it reminded her of South Beach; not wild, it was all a lot of families, but it was packed and it was all high-rises. You couldn’t even see the beach.”