TDC considering increase in Spring Break marketing [The News Herald, Panama City, Fla.]
(News Herald (Panama City, FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 15--PANAMA CITY BEACH -- The Bay County Tourist Development Council (TDC) spent 1.5 percent of its $5.6 million marketing budget promoting college Spring Break last year, and some local property owners think that's too much.
Panama City Beach condo owner and Atlanta resident Darrell Sellers addressed the board at a meeting Tuesday, expressing frustration with the rowdy nature of the event and how the TDC markets it.
Last year, the agency spent $50,000 to market Spring Break through a co-op with Collegiate Marketing Group. This year, the company is requesting double that amount.
"None of it puts you guys in a positive light," Sellers said of Collegiate Marketing's Spring Break website. "It puts a black eye on Panama City Beach in general."
Sellers, who is on the condo board at Grandview East, said in the last few years the property has doubled its security budget and is thinking about barricading the parking lot in March to eliminate loitering.
"I'm tired of cleaning it up, I'm tired of hearing the complaints," Sellers said. "This will be my third Spring Break here, and it's going to get much worse."
Board member Mike Thomas highlighted the TDC's effort to tame Spring Break over the last few years, but said they ultimately can't control who shows up.
The agency made an effort to increase law enforcement presence on the beach during Spring Break this year, handing over $50,000 each to the Panama City Beach Police Department and the Bay County Sheriff's Office.
"This is not my third Spring Break, it's my 65th," Thomas said. "The last few years, it has been different down there, but at the same time during those last few years the TDC has targeted colleges ... none of those problems that you see are college students."
Despite Sellers' objections earlier in the meeting, TDC Executive Director Dan Rowe recommended the board approve the increase in funding for Collegiate Marketing during discussions on the upcoming fiscal year budget.
"My recommendation is that we continue to move forward with the Collegiate Marketing Group because it's been very strong in terms of how we've been able to get the Spring Break partners within the destination working together," Rowe said.
The TDC will discuss and vote on a $5.7 million marketing and media plan to promote the destination for the 2013-2014 fiscal year at its next meeting Oct. 8.
"Spring Break will support itself," Sellers said. "But if you're going to put money toward it, I'd rather you put it toward something other than this website."
(c)2013 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.)
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