Clean Design marking director Tom Hickey has recommended the Wrightsville Beach Marketing Advisory Committee continue to expand Wrightsville Beach’s online marketing presence.
At the WBMAC’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 19, Hickey presented the committee with Clean Design’s recommendation for Wrightsville Beach’s FY 2013-14 marketing plan.
The top two travel planning sources are now the Internet and word of mouth, Hickey said, adding that 96 percent of leisure travellers begin hotel planning with a search engine query. Within digital and online marketing, mobile usage for travel planning experienced a 40-percent increase in 2012 and online video resources increased by 20 percent, Hickey said.
As for Wrightsville Beach’s target -audience, the top four states for visitors to Wrightsville Beach were North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The populations of those four states account for 13.5 percent of the United States’ total population.
Given the trends observed in the FY 2012-13 marketing plan, Hickey recommended much of the marketing plan remain the same for 2013-14. Those tactics include: Pay per click ads on search engines like Google and Bing; mobile marketing tools; and the national television advertising model, buying time during the “Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and “The Early Show.”
He suggested the elimination of all radio advertising. Radio ads have largely been used for promotional giveaways and packages for hotels but do not produce nearly enough inquiries, Hickey said. He also recommended a reduction in the number of print publications. One he recommended cutting was O, The Oprah Magazine, which cost a large portion of the print budget for a small ad that Hickey said was not producing enough inquiries. In cutting some of the niche publications like O, the WBMAC would be able to secure larger, more attractive ads in the remaining publications like Our State and Southern Living.
Where in the past more emphasis was placed on marketing during the fall, Hickey also proposed focusing on spring instead and extending the media buys from March and April to include May as well. Hickey said targeting the spring would be beneficial because it builds momentum leading into the peak summer season and he has found visitors are more responsive to ads in the spring.
The WBMAC will adjust or accept Clean Design’s recommendations before submitting the plan and budget to the town for its upcoming budget cycle.
In other business, committee member Amy Snider, former Shell Island Resort sales director, has resigned because she is no longer employed by the resort. Shell Island Resort is working to find a replacement for Snider on the WBMAC.