We're live at the April board meeting of the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau board meeting.
We're inside the CVB board room. Full rooom today. Board members (minus Jonathan Waller), plus staff members, Kim Hanna (city rep), Lynn Norris (city CFO), Darrell Smith (city) and Councilwoman Nettie Davis.
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.
Chairman Neal McCoy calls the meeting to order at 2:02 p.m.
Kim Hanna, financial report:
These are the financials halfway through the year.
Fund balance: $2,631,166 -- up from last year
Interest income is down a little.
McCoy: We also made our final payment last month to Elvis Presley birthplace expansion fund.
Hannah: Made second installment toward Elvis statue in Fairpark ($75,000 total). Another big expense.
Another fantastic month. January tourism tax revenues grew 13.58 percent. Totalled $277,314. It's normally a low month but it made a big jump.
Average of 9.72% for year so far.
Davis: In the MS Municipal League, Tupelo is always listed toward the top with sales tax revenues. Makes me very proud. Also good to see what you are doing to support the Elvis Presley birthplace. Will be helpful for me to report back to the council.
McCoy: In fiscal budget, we approved $150,000 to support them.
Pat Rasberry: We got $5,000 grant from Rock River (think that's what she said. Didn't mention what this goes to, but I'm thinking film efforts).
Film update from Pat Rasberry:
• Katscratchfilms - Still working on funding for several projects.
• VH1 - had scouts here looking at sites. Would be for a performance video segment. They are touring New Orleans, Jackson (MS), Tupelo, Oxford, Clarksdale, Memphis and Helena. If we get it, VH1 will film in June.
• Picture Shack Entertainment: Looking at Tupelo for part of a segment of reality show (like American Pickers). Looking for old, abandoned buildings in our city.
• "BBQ Pitmasters" is airing Memorial Day.
• Art from California is looking at Tupelo for a music video venue.
• Willie Bearden Productions - completed Elvis film. Had crew of 12 in local hotels for 3 nights. Cast of at least 50 people.
Meeting report from Linda Elliff (copy and paste from report):
• MS Disabled American Veterans (DAV) - This group has confirmed they will meet in Tupelo June 22-24, 2012. We are working with them to provide the convention services that they have requested.
• MS Chapter of NAPUS State Convention (National Association of Postmasters of the US State Convention) – This group has confirmed that they will bring their convention of 75-100 delegates to Tupelo in June 2012. We have met with the planner to discuss the convention services that they are interested in.
• MS Junior and Senior Beta Club Conventions - The meeting planner for the MS National Beta Club Conventions has confirmed that they will bring their conventions to Tupelo thru 2015. These groups overnight in Tupelo on Sunday and Monday nights and check out on Tues. morning.
The dates are as follows:
The following conventions are scheduled for Tupelo in April. We will provide convention services according to their requests.
Bruce Charton, journalist and photographer from France visited Tupelo as part of a press visit to Tennessee and Mississippi themed around Civil War celebrations and reenactments. He has been commissioned to write for two history magazines and also intends to publish additional features about the culture and music of the two states he’s visiting.
Final vote is April 12.
Bus and visitor counts:
The Elvis Presley Birthplace reported 2,158 visitors with 48 states and 24 countries represented.
Health Works reported 2,194 visitors.
Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo reported 3,706 visitors.
Working with Lena Bilbrey on tour she is bringing in May 17. We are finalizing details.
Adventure Caravans has booked a tour for 2014. There will be 40 people on this tour. This is repeat business.
Allied Tour and Travel has booked a tour for April 21, 2012. They will be staying overnight. This is a Saturday night. There are 35 people on this tour.
Seth Gaines, sports development report (copy and paste):
• Ole Miss and Mississippi State Sport Clubs meetings have been set; I go back for follow up meetings in Oxford on April 5th, and to Starkville on April 24th to finalize everything.
• Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team for May 4-5, 2012.
• I meet with the Tupelo Veterans Council on April 3, 2012 to do a follow up on the Wounded Warrior Softball Team weekend in May.
• Neal and I visited the MHSAA to talk more with about Tupelo 2013, we talked about other possibilities opening up in the future.
• Tupelo has presented MHSAA with a bid for the 1A & 2A State Basketball Tournament for 2013. Final vote is April 12. Will decide whether events can be moved to Tupelo.
• We have hosted two soccer tournaments, one softball, and 2 Hounddogs games, and a tennis tournament.
• Lacrosse is fastest growing team sport in the country. No team in Mississippi right now. We're trying to get out in front of the movement.
Sean Johnson, marketing report (copy and paste):
• Traditional Media
We have several print ads running…a couple of note are Compass Media’s Spring Travel Planner which has already brought in almost 4,000 reader response cards. We have a similar ad running in America’s Best Vacations. While their report is not yet out, they generally do along the same volume as Compass. Considering that this is still early in the Spring, we seem to be doing well with Reader Response. Along with these ads we have print ads running in TODAY in Mississippi, AtHome, TN and DeSoto Magazine as well as some radio ads running on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
• New Media
We have a number of Spring and Festival season ads running on the Internet. These ads are in addition to the current “Treat Yourself to Tupelo” dining ads and weekend special lodging ads targeted to our proximal markets and also in addition to our Elvis themed ads that run nationally. The new campaign, which will run on a number of networks (Yahoo!, Google, AdBrite, etc.), will extend into Missouri, Georgia and Texas.
To these ads we’ve also added a couple of other ads: One, targeted to Mississippi and Alabama that promotes Tupelo as a meetings destination. This ad has received 146,000 impressions in the last month and 139 clicks…this gives it a .09 CTR which is not great, but it’s not terrible either. While click-through is important, with this ad I’m looking at the exposure generated by impressions. “The message that Tupelo is a great place for meetings” needs to be said over and over to people in the region and I think that this is a very cost-effective way of reinforcing that notion. Our dining-targeted ads and festival ads remain well trafficked and each have CTRs of over .2.
Last week we built a similar to the meetings ad to promote Tupelo online as a sports destination. No numbers are back on that ad yet, but I think that it will do well.
We're trying to figure out how to market sports and meetings online better.
• Our Facebook “Like” Page, our App, and our Booking Engine and our Text Campaign…
We now have over 18,000 likes on our Tupelo Facebook page (2,000 more than last report). Some good news is that the number of people making direct inquires about travel to Tupelo is increasing. Where it was just only every once in a while that someone would inquire it is now multiple times per week.
Part of what’s generating this growth is the creation of two new pages: “Festival Season in Tupelo” and the “New Elvis Statue in Tupelo” pages have eclipsed 1000 likes in just a two days’ time and have people inquiring about the statue and various festivals.
Our “Let’s go to Tupelo” is still growing. Amazingly there are a number of people from Europe and South American who have it and use it. For what, I don’t know. We’ve got 1244 active users now and are averaging around 140 uses of the app daily. I’m building some more, larger displays to have at the registrations and ticket locations for the festival season. As well, we’ll know how the current displays have added to the frequency of downloads next month. Current data only goes through the 12th.
Our hotel booking on the Tupelo.net has declined a bit in terms of searches and referrals. Last month we had 926 searches and 234 referrals. This month the number is 754 to 160.
Out text campaign received 23 new subscribers in March.
The new website: www.elvisintupelo.net should be live and running next week. We’ve just had to make a couple of adjustments to the back end.
Website and partnership report from Stephanie Moody-Coomer (copy and paste):
Visitation to the mobile site has increased 205% over this same time period last year.
Visitation to the regular site has increased 2.5% over this same time period last year.
Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area
• The cross-promotion with Chickasaw.TV is live with rotating Hills area banners on their website. The Chickasaw nation is fixing to launch a national advertising campaign to increase traffic to their website and the Hills website should benefit from that increase in views.
• Anne Palmer from Palmtree Productions is shooting video across the heritage area to edit into a comprehensive video for the heritage area. Part of the project is to create individual videos with “donut” endings for each of the paying partners. Edited video should be available by the end of April.
• MDOT has the Hills National Heritage Area sign design assigned to their team to develop appropriate signage for the designated area in Tupelo. This is pilot program for Tupelo between the heritage area and MDOT.
• Also working with the Natchez Trace Parkway to indicate the beginning of the MS Hills National Heritage Area along the Parkway.
The Natchez Trace Compact
The MS Final Stands Civil War Interpretive Center has set their annual calendar:
• Tuesday, April 11: Tourism Leadership Program’s final meeting with Dr. Joe Trahan – a public relations specialist
• Wednesday, April 18: Mississippi Tourism Association Day at the Capitol
• Monday, May 7, 2012: Berkeley Young will present final results and recommendations from year-long research study to the board. We will email you once the time has been set.
• Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 11am-1pm: National Tourism Day luncheon and graduation of the first class from the Tourism Leadership Program – BancorpSouth Arena
Other Items of Interest
• Working with the EPE team to design the Bijou Theater on the Graceland Plaza as a Tupelo venue
• Working with the EPE team on bringing the “Roots of Elvis” to the CVB lobby
• The car show sponsored by EPE has moved its event to coincide with the Elvis Presley Festival in Tupelo. There will be a cruise-in.
• Tupelo Attractions Association held their 2nd meeting in March where the Daily Journal made a presentation about getting publicity for their events and attractions.
• We are working with the MS Division of Tourism to coordinate a media fam tour about Mississippi’s music heritage. The music itinerary has the group overnighting in Tupelo.
• I’ve been assisting Amanda Black from Group Tour Magazine on an article she is doing about Tupelo, the extended Elvis product and our fuel incentive program.
• We are conducting intercept surveys on the grounds of all the festivals involved in our grant program. Those research results are shared with the event organizers and we make recommendations to the organizers of added activities to align their goals with those of the CVB.
Movers and Shakers - Tupelo 1975. My niece has signed a contract to do that film. Another film maker is Tina Maper (not sure on spelling). She was featured by Crisis magazine (published by the NAACP) as one of the top five black filmmakers in the country.
McCoy adjourns meeting at 2:42 p.m.