Live from Tupelo CVB meeting (9/4/12)

We’re live at the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau board meeting. The board is meeting at the CVB. Meeting starts at 2 p.m.

Disclaimer: I’m typing as people are talking. There may be typos. People also have a tendency to talk at the same time, so I can’t always hear everything.

And, I’m not typing every word. Think of this more as the highlights of the meeting.

Something doesn’t make sense? Corrections? Have questions? Ask.

Financial report from Kim Hanna:

This is the last financial report for this fiscal year.

Sales tax has been really strong this year. Already $78,000 over budget and we still have a month to go.

Budget was more than adequate this year for personnel expenses.

We’ve only spent about half of the money allocated for supplies.

Not many capital expenditures this year.

One more payment of $83,000 to transfer to Coliseum Commission for debt. I’m planning that this category will go up $100K next year for aquatic center.

Had a really good sales tax month in June, even though it’s down. June sales were good but not quite what we received a year ago. Overall, we’re looking at a 9 percent increase for the entire year.

(Carlie note: I don’t have the packet in front of me. Will grab one after the meeting for specific numbers.)

Neal McCoy, chairman of board: If we aren’t using the money in supplies, we need to be using them for marketing or other things.

Film report from Pat Rasberry:

We have a lot of projects going on. Going to highlight three. Rest are in the report. I’m also going to be working on the in-market specialist tasks (new position that was created last month at board meeting).

Commission overview. We’ve been working on some Chickasaw videos. Working with filmmaker for Chickasaw film. She wanted a farmhouse. We found one in the Sherman community. It was very raw. They dressed it and now it looks great. You can watch it on Chickasaw.TV.

Manhattan Film Festival: We’re the second city in Mississippi to particpate. Will be Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at Malco. 10 short films were finalists. Audience will vote on the best films.

Community work – Tammy Rodgers and I have been working with supervisors to get the old courtroom opened in the courthouse. We’d like to use it for filming and for festivals. Supervisors approved the proposal on a case-by-case basis. Our ultimate goal is to get it brought back to its authenticy and to use it for historical viewing and to have it like a museum. It’s a 107 years old this year.

Full report in the packet (copy and paste):

Update/Pending/Completed Projects

Tupelo Film Alliance – Next TFA meeting will be held Saturday, September 22 at the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau. The presentation will be based on acting on camera vs. acting on theatre. Sam Dalton from Watkins College out of Nashville, TN will be one of the guest speakers presenting the “acting on camera” segment. On August 25th Kat Phillips from Atlanta, GA presented “Women in Film and Television in 2012 & Distributing Indie Film.” Around 32 people attended with 20 new members either renewing or joining. It was a great presentation with much interest and many questions from the audience. The TFA is seeing a growing trend that has expanded in the state as well as far away as CA.

While in town for the TFA meeting, Kat Phillips and I worked on a new film development concept for the area. In addition she also spoke about returning to Tupelo in the near future to support those who would like to have more knowledge and direction on starting a “Women in Film” organization.

Commercial Shoot – Worked with Helen Urriola, Production Manager – Tool of North America, film crew and local production assistant – crew began arriving August 23r. The project was in regards to a commercial shoot taking place in Tupelo which ended August 31st. The commercial brought in around $50,000 to the city in which lodging, dining, crew, props, gas and other supplies, etc. were incorporated into the project.

Director Matt Ogens with above commercial project is working on a documentary – while he was in Tupelo I supported him and local production assistant with location venue requests and personalities he was interested in for his upcoming film project.

Chickasaw Nation Film Project – In fall of 2011 Jeanette Elliott, Chickasaw Nation, contacted me about support with film locations needed in our area for a documentary being produced. The outcome was very successful and they have recently updated me to the many television programs the new content has been featured on in addition to being seen on Tupelo is mentioned along with local and regional locations sited in the videos. You can refer to to view all the videos listed.

Tupelo Film Festival – The10th Annual Tupelo Film Festival will be held July 15-19, 2013. Submissions are now open and extend until January 31, 2013.

I am working with Shaunagh Connaire who is with the program “Unreported World” in the UK regarding the making off a 30 minute documentary? The crew will be filming in Tupelo for 3 days in September. This is a documentary project which will require a junior local producer to assist them with in which I have secured for them.

Met with Roy Turner and Cheryl Cole- Memphis, TN (actor in Cookies Fortune – Holly Springs, MS) on a new documentary project that is in its early stages.

Met with Allyson Adams (father Nick Adams – The Rebel.) She was in town for the Elvis statue unveiling, writing a book that could possibly lead to project she would like to film in Tupelo. She attended the TFA meeting in August and joined. Her home is in CA.

Tuesday, September 25, the Indie Film series will begin with film Age of Champions. This event will be held at The Link Centre and begins at 7 p.m. Filmmaker Christopher Rufo from Sacramento, CA will be in attendance and available for presentation and Q&A.

Working with Tammy Rodgers and the Lee County Board of Supervisors regarding the old court house court room. They were very positive about the future uses for the court room and history of this venue that could mean so much to visitors and community. They have asked us to continue our research and update them when necessary.

Meeting this week with filmmakers Peggy James and Brandi Alexander, who wrote and directed GumTree Chronicals I – the story of Tupelo told by these two incredible filmmakers and they are in the process now of the sequel – GumTree Chronicles II.

Manhattan Film Festival – scheduled for Thursday, October 4th. Tupelo is one of the only two cities in Mississippi that offers this event and was the first to be invited. It is a one night event held at the Malco Theatre where the audience chooses the best film of the night. The voting cards are calculated and sent to Director Nicholas Mason at the Manhattan Film Festival and names are calculated and winners are announced on the following Monday. Out of 520 entries received from 49 countries around the world, MANHATTAN SHORT selected ten short films as finalists. Each film is 18 minutes or under in length. Countries represented this year include Norway, The Netherlands, Russia, England, Ireland, Peru, France, Romania, Spain and the USA, in what festival organizers describe as the “United Nations of Film Festivals.”

MS High School Film Competition is now open. The closing dates are January 31, 2013 and the competition will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2013. Winners will be showcased at the 2013 10th Annual Tupelo Film Festival.

In regards to the new transitions in the office – ideas and directions for meetings are in place with the event people along with new ideas already on my radar.

Marketing report from Sean Johnson:

Elvis statue unveiling went well.

Facebook page is growing. Now have 25,000 likes. We were getting 1M impressions last month. We spend money with Facebook, but it’s so cheap per “like.”

Full report (copy and paste):

• The Tupelo Facebook page has exceeded 25,000 likes (25,736) and has begun generating impressions of more than 1.5 Million per week. Prior to Elvis week we were generating 300K per week; Elvis week was 500K and then it jumped drastically. While we’re still looking into the reasons for this, our preliminary research is pointing to 25,000 being a threshold number for the amount of fans that have our posts posted to their walls.

  • The statue was installed and revealed. It has been a big hit.
  • The WeLoveTupelo site has increased in traffic lately. Much of this is due to an increase in SEO that has resulted in more hit from search engine inquiries. We’re averaging now around 350 visits per day (up from 40/day) and have had over 16,000 unique visits to the site in total.

Current and Upcoming Promotional Efforts

  • This week we’re working on planning our fall television campaigns. We will be running at least two campaigns. The first campaign will deal our proximal markets (populations within an hour’s drive (excluding Tupelo)) and will promote Tupelo’s dining and shopping. The second campaign will run in Meridian, Jackson, Memphis, Northwest Alabama and South Central Tennessee and will promote attractions and weekend getaways. A possible third campaign is being considered for Nashville, Baton Rouge and Alabama.
  • The new sports landing pages are live, and our SEC sports ads are generating nice traffic for the website.
  • We are looking into email campaign strategy and looking for a good email service provider. We hope to have something put together by next month.

In other news…

  • We’ve added the Downtown Guitars to our app.
  • We have won awards for our work from the MTA and Southern Public Relations Federation. We’ll be picking up these awards this month and next. We also got our Telly statues in.
  • We have placed our first co-op ad with Hilton Garden Inn and will use this experience to formulate a coop advertising strategy that we can use with our other stakeholders.

Sales and meetings report from Linda Elliff (copy and paste):

• MS Banner Users Group (MBUG)–Worked with the meeting planner for this association on details and hospitality services for this convention to be held Sept. 16-18, 2012. They expect an attendance of 250-300 delegates. (This group met in Tupelo in 2011 also)

• MS Municipal League Fall Board Meeting – This group of 125 municipal leaders from throughout the state will hold their board meeting in Tupelo Sept. 27-28, 2012. The host city for this meeting is asked to assist in sponsoring a welcoming reception for the group. This year they are pleased at the prospect of hosting their reception at the Tupelo Automobile Museum.

• Tourism Summit Meeting in Jackson, MS Sales Calls – Called on meeting planners/executive directors of associations to finalize details on upcoming conventions and site visits to Tupelo. Met with planner with MS Forestry Assoc., MS Farm Bureau Federation, MS Municipal League and MS Young Farmers and Ranchers.

Media Coverage

Hosted freelance travel writer Jackie Finch on a press visit to Tupelo during the Elvis Fan Appreciation Days in order to generate coverage on the various events that were taking place in Tupelo that week. She is commissioned by an Indiana newspaper to write an article for Elvis’ birthday in January 2013 and so far we’ve had three stories to run on, all of them illustrated with up to 10 photos each:

  • Tupelo Hardware Store is where Elvis got his first guitar
  • Elvis Birthplace preserves humble beginnings in Tupelo
  • Church where Elvis sang as a child was found and restored

Other coverage:

Press release titled “Elvis Presley’s Mississippi Hometown of Tupelo honors him with statue” and a picture of the unveiling was published in Group Tour Magazine and Southeast Tourism Society’s Travel and Tourism Talk Newsletter.

Sports development report with Seth Gaines:

Numbers have been down for King of the Hill triathlon. Working with them to find a date to get numbers back up. Also adding Xterra trail.

Running banner ads on to encourage Auburn fans coming to MSU game to stay in Tupelo.

Tupelo Park & Rec will break ground on aquatic center Sept. 25. Completion day is Oct 2013. Move-in date is November 2013. Once we open the doors to the facility, we are at least 3 years away to host for national aquatic events. We have to host local and state events until then.

Partnership report from Stephanie Moody-Coomer:

We were at candlelight vigil last week.

Traffic to our mobile site is up 77 percent compared to this time last year.

Philadelphia Inquirer put out top 10 Elvis sites to see. Tupelo got three of them – Tupelo Hardware, Johnny’s Drive In and the birthplace.

Full report (copy & paste):

Website Report

August 2012

Regular – 18,209 – a 9% increase over August, 2011

Mobile – 4,090 – a 77% increase over August, 2011

The Auburn fan site showed up as our #6 referrer to our mobile website and as #10 referrer on our regularwebsite with about 500 visits generated by the Fan Site Campaign launched August 10. Auburn has a smaller fan base than some of the other schools that we will be marketing to so we are really excited by this good response.


Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area

1. New rack cards, brochures, MS Hills Video, Tupelo Customing ending (that can also serve as a 1:30 commercial) will be distributed at the Sept. 11 meeting, along with a CD of royalty free images.

2. Management Plan workshop led by Phil Walker along with his initial findings report will be help Sept. 11/13. This is one of the final processes prior to putting together the first draft of the federally mandated mangement plan.

3. Chickasaw Nation display now in Exhibit Center. The Chickasaw Nation ad agency Ackerman McQueen will be coming to Tupelo the second week of October to interview several local Tupelo Chickasaw enthusiasts for one of their upcoming videos to be featured on the Chickasaw.TV website.

4. The grant money from MS was received by MS Hills last week.

The Natchez Trace Compact

1. Compact is in the final stages of editing a visitor video that will be available for us to populate the content on our social sites.

2. The new image magazine is close to completion and will be printing in the next couple of weeks.

3. We have an active facebook “free gas” promotion currently running.

4. We have scheduled a free social media class with MOJOLOCO which does the social media for the Compact for Tupelo.

The Civil War Center Board

1. The center will have a new video featuring the black soldier’s role in the civil war and the Battles of Brice’s Crossroads and Tupelo by the beginning of 2013. Funding is provided in part by the Mississippi Humanities Council.

2. We are pursuing funding for a 20 minute video featuring the Battle of Tupelo.

3. Several large groups of history tours are booked in September.

Other Items of Interest

Elvis Week in Memphis was really good for Tupelo. We had a booth at the Ultimate Elvis competition for 3 sessions and attended the candlelight vigil. Conversation with attendees showed that many were including Tupelo in their trip to Elvis or had future plans to include Tupelo. We distributed 1,000 brochures and helped several people make their travel plans.

We continue to get traffic and a lot of social media buzz off of our new statue.

Governor’s Conference on Tourism is September 23-25 in Tunica.

Tourism Leadership Program is set to be announced this week with a deadline of October 1st.

Tupelo’s social media workshop has been moved to October 9th because of a conflict with the Mississippi Hills workshop series happening September 11-13.

Event promotion match grant program guidelines for 2013 will go out this week. Events will be required to turn in applications by October 1.

FY2013 budget from Neal McCoy:

We need to vote on next year’s budget. Need to discuss personnel issues. Board votes to go into executive session at 2:30 p.m.

Board returns from exec session at 2:36 p.m.

McCoy: All board members here (Jeff Snyder not here) voted to approve the reorganized CVB staff.

(Passed out flowchart)

McCoy: We also need to vote on the new budget. Nothing has changed since the board retreat.

Members vote to approve budget.

Meeting adjourned at 2:40. Questions?

I have a CVB packet with more info to go through. Read tomorrow’s Journal for more info.

Click video to hear audio