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Members of the Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority have approved allocating $60,000 for additional Internet marketing before the peak tourist season begins.
According to TDA Executive Director Mitzi York, accommodations are down slightly over last year, and any additional advertising will only help the numbers.
The Internet marketing will include “e-mail blasts” to possible visitors and ad placement on Web sites including 24-7vacations.com and weather.com, where the TDA can advertise during good weather, York said.
“With the tax rebates coming out—some this week and then next month—hopefully with this additional Internet marketing we’re doing, we can get people thinking about vacations,” York said.
TDA member Bonnie Cox of Brunswickland Realty agreed the rewards will be worth the investment, especially with the recent economic slowdown.
“Essentially, we’re a little concerned about gas prices and the weaker economy,” Cox said.
Cox looked at the number of bookings at several Holden Beach rental companies and found that, during June and into July, “things are a little weaker than they were last year,” to the tune of about 6 percent.
Although Cox says she’s hopeful that people are following the trend of waiting until the last minute to book vacations, anything the TDA can do to increase visibility is desirable.
“The bulk of our tourism dollars come in June and July, and we want to fill those holes to the best of our ability ee We don’t want to use all the money up, but the money is there,” Cox said.
The TDA did a similar Internet marketing push in 2001, and it seemed to pay off, she said.
“It can’t do anything but help. There are so many undecided folks ought there. We’re hoping the tax incentives will give them the idea to vacation here.”
In other business last week, TDA members also heard reports that the new database management system is moving forward.
A representative from Smith Advertising said the company has begun acquiring the necessary software, and York said she has begun interviewing for the database manager job.
The new database system will allow the new employee, who is to be hired this summer, to gather information on Web site visitors’ areas of interest, noting what pages they spend the most time on, and send them information on the types of events they are most interested in.
sarah shew wilson is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.