We're live at the June board meeting of the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau. We're inside the board room.
The meeting is slated to get started 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.
Chairman Neal McCoy calls the meeting to order at 2:06 p.m.
Financial report from City Clerk Kim Hanna:
Financials are good for the cumulative month of May - 8th month of the fiscal year.
Increase in revenue over expenditures for May: $357,983
Total fund balance: $2,840,479
No doubt we will meet our target budget for revenues. We won't meet our interest revenues. Those are down to a trickle.
Tourism tax revenues were up 12.11 percent in March. Total of $339,748. Up 12.05 percent for the year.
We've been up for the past five months. Anything over $300,000 is real good. You're setting a new bar for yourself.
Member Bruce Patel: We need to start spending some money.
McCoy: Yeah, you're right. We're going to talk more about that in our July board meeting. Talk about six month emergency fund. Also want to look about how we can maintain the growth.
Patel: I just don't want to get accused of hoarding the money.
McCoy: You are right. We need to spend it to keep bringing visitors here.
Convention and meetings report from Linda Elliff (copy and paste from report):
• MotorTrails Dutch Motorcycle Group – Tour company from the Netherlands brought a group of 10 visitors through Tupelo as part of a music themed itinerary where they start in New Orleans and they visited Lafayette, Shreveport, several cities in the MS Delta, Memphis, Muscle Shoals and Tupelo. I spoke to the tour operator about possibly including Tupelo as an overnight on one of their tours in the future.
• MS Veteran of Foreign Wars Convention – Met with Mr. Danny Williams, State Adjutant of the Mississippi VFW who confirmed that he will bring the state convention back to Tupelo for the next three years. The dates are as follows: June 14-16, 2013; June 13-15, 2014; June 12-14, 2015. They expect an attendance of 250-300 delegates.
• Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation - Conducted a site visit for the meeting planner and conference committee to visit Tupelo to coordinaten details for their upcoming board meeting August 13-14, 2012. They expect an attendance of 60 attendees. They are looking for ladies' programs for things to let them have a special experience (food, shopping, attractions tour, fashion show).
• MS Association of Supervisors Fall Workshop – Working with local supervisors on details for activities and services for this conference which has been confirmed for Tupelo October 8-12, 2012. They expect an attendance of 350 people.
• MSAE Mid-Year Conference – Attended the MS Society of Association Executives
Mid-Year Conference held in Tunica, MS April 29-May 1, 2012. Participated in the tradeshow where I met one on one with 20 executive directors and meeting planners with state associations to discuss the possibilities of Tupelo hosting future conventions.
• Christian Methodist Episcopal Mississippi Annual Conference – Working with meeting planner on details for CVB services for this Annual Conference to be held July 9-11, 2012. They expect an attendance of approximately 700 delegates from all over the state.
Motorcoach report from Sharon McKissick via Linda Elliff (copy and paste from report):
- May visitors -
The Elvis Presley Birthplace reported 2,118 visitors with 44 states, 23 countries and 2 continents.
Health Works reported 2,285 visitors.
Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo reported 2, 140 visitors.
• Restaurants reported 207 visitors from tour groups.
• Working with Allen Kenny with Great Day Tours out of Ohio on a FAM tour.
• Working with Catherine Ross with a Bank Group Group out of TN who is planning on bringing a tour in Decenber. Will lunch here and will take group to the Community Theatre to see Miracle on 34th Street.
• We have picked up another International group that is spending the night in our hotels. They are bringing 16 tours this year.
• We did a tour for The Rotary Club group that brought the 6 students form Sweden. They visited the Elvis Presley Birthplace, The Automobile Museum, Hardware store and came in to our office and saw the front porch video.
• We hosted Bilbrey Tours in our office with a catered meal and entertainment.
Marketing report from Sean Johnson (copy and paste from report):
• The WeLoveTupelo site is up and running with 4100 visits since its launch on April 18th.
• The Tupelo Facebook page passed the 20,000 mark this month and we’re on track to have more people liking us on Facebook than live here in Tupelo by the end of the fiscal year.
• Construction of the plaza surrounding the Elvis statue (to be unveiled August 9th) will begin Wednesday.
• Our festival season ads have been effective; with all of the festivals we’ve promoted having had banner years.
• Our advertising POW for the festival season has included the following:
- Date-specific ads run with AL.com for the Blue Suede Cruise, Tupelo Film Festival and Elvis Festival. Stats for these ads (I don’t have ElvisFest stats yet) were: BSC – 394,000 views/2,421 clicks and TFF – 456,000 views/3,856 clicks. If we achieve similar results with the Elvis campaign we will have generated approximately 10,000 clicks. The campaign cost $10,000, yielding $1/click which is in line with online advertising costs.
- An intensive television campaign for the Tupelo Film Festival running on COMCAST, WCBI and WTVA.
- Various regional print ads
- Online campaign on the AdReady Network that has generated 1.26 Million views, 2,776 clicks at a cost of $3,360, or $1.31 per click.
- We also will have a statewide remote from Mississippi Talk Radio here in Tupelo for the days just preceding the Elvis Festival…this will include live mentions and interviews going on each day throughout the week.
In other news…
• We’ve built a display for the statue that includes QR codes for visitors to access the Driving Tour Map via the “Let’s Go to Tupelo” App, actual footage from the concert that took place in 1956, and our movie TUPELOVE.
• In June we’ll be starting a new online campaign with a company called Quantcast that will track users on our website, identify their market segmentation and then automatically place ads on sites frequently used by others who fit the same profile. It will be a trial campaign and if it goes well we should see a pointed increase in web and actual visitor traffic.
• We ran three reader insert programs in some Spring Travel Guides. Compass Media yielded 7,374 leads, Go Mississippi yielded 154 leads, and Collinson Media yielded 414 leads for a total of 7,942 leads for Spring/Summer travel. These leads have sent brochures and have been added to our email lists. This number is roughly 24% higher than last year’s Spring number and we are still due a batch or two from Collinson.
Sports report from Seth Gaines:
Ole Miss Club Sports Fest is set for October 20, 2012.
Sports to possibly include:
Mississippi State Club Sports Fest is set for September 29, 2012.
Sports to possibly include
• @TupeloSports has launched new signs around town. Has a QR code on it that will direct people to the #tupelosports hashtag on Twitter. Don't have to have Twitter to look at it.
• 5,450 participants played in some type of sport in Tupelo in May.
• Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team played May 4-5, 2012.
• Softball 360 TV Show was in town doing a feature on Tupelo during the weekend.
• Yahoo! web series “Second Act” was also in town following Todd Reed, it aired on Yahoo! during Memorial Day weekend.
• I am in the process of submitting a bid for the Southeastern Conference Rugby Championships to be held October 12-14, 2012. This would include all 14 Conference Schools.
• We are still pursuing an adventure style race, I have met with the Tupelo Buffalo Park about being the host and I am scheduled to go back out there next week to meet again. Once we determine if they are willing to host, I will set up meetings with the Tupelo Furniture Market and Josh Abramson at the airport.
Partnership report from Stephanie Moody-Coomer (copy and paste from report):
• Have some Elvis jumpsuits in the lobby. Really popular over the weekend. Memphis will install "Roots of Elvis" exhibit this summer. Looking for more upscale exhibits like this.
• Website report for May
Mobile – 3,178 – a 16% increase over April
Regular – 22,105 – a 21% increase over April
• Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area
Just got $100K from the state for Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area. Will use this to leverage for more grant money.
Mobile Site for MS Hills complete - will roll out at the June 19 Board Meeting (able to do better analytics with QR codes tied to mobile site - includes links to all member sites, area attractions and events calendar)
New Mississippi Hills Video - will roll out at June 19 Board Meeting (9:53 second overview video of entire area - customized member endings to be complete in July. Customized endings are being done so they can be stand alone commercials usable on websites and television ads) Large screen monitor being installed at Exhibit Center to show continual loop of this video.
Presentation of findings from Phil Walker's research for the MS Hills Management Plan at June 19 meeting.
New Rack Cards/Brochures being developed now.
New ad campaign with QR code (for mobile) for board approval June 19.
Further development of partnership with Chickasaw.TV - they are sending a large display to go into the Exhibit Center. They continue to promote MS Hills on their website and have agreed to distribute MS Hills brochures and rack cards in the Chickasaw Heritage Center in Oklahoma.
• The Natchez Trace Compact
The Visitors Guide is going thru another round of changes before going to print in order to incorporate itineraries.
We just joined the new travel "pinterest" called Wanderfly.
The next FB promo will kick off in the next few days to win gas money (contest details still developing).
Working with Mary Stratton on the international sales video.
OVer 5,000 likes now at 5,220 and lots of conversation between fans.
• The Civil War Center Board
The MS Final Stands Civil War Interpretive Center has set their annual calendar:
- Friday and Saturday, June 8-9, 2012, Children’s Discovery Day and Living History Event, Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield and Tupelo-Harrisburg Battlefield
- Saturday, July 14 at 5 p.m, Program and Living History Encampment at Old Town Creek
Staff is working on grant through the Mississippi Humanities Council
• Upcoming Events
Tupelo will be participating in a sales mission to the Chicago Blues Festival starting June 7.
North Mississippi Heritage Hills Alliance board meeting is on June 19 in Tupelo.
Natchez Trace Compact will hold a planning retreat on July 9 and their annual meeting on July 10 in Tupelo.
August 9 – Down on Main concert and statue unveiling
• We’ve seen our first look at the Bijou Theater design and are making revisions now for a final schematic to be approved by EPE
• We’ve added two jumpsuits to the lobby exhibit and will open up the Roots of Elvis for the August events. Both exhibits on display through the birthday.
• 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.
• We helped arrange a “cruise-in” from the EPE Car Show to the Tupelo Elvis Festival
• Hosted a travel writer fam tour with the MDA Division of Tourism
• I’ve been elected to the MTA Board of Directors
• I’ve been elected to fill the vacancy as VP of the Natchez Trace Compact
• Tupelo staff is working on the MTA Governor’s Conference silent auction
Film report from Pat Rasberry (copy and paste from reports):
• Working with HGTV for an "Extreme Homes" episode. UK – Pioneer Productions will be coming into the area in about 3 weeks and have contacted me about unique homes. I have located a home a few miles up the road that is a possible candidate. I am working with the production company now getting everything set-up. If selected this home will be part of the HGTV documentary series. House was built in an old AT&T building.
• Blue Sky Film Works, Inc., - Neal and I are working with Steve Young on a project called “Our Mississippi Family/Our Family Project.” Will be meeting with Steve soon on the status of this project along with members from CDF, location scout Bob Franks and others on how we can assist. – Synopsis – This project is a five-part documentary series, produced in association with Mississippi Public Broadcasting. The series will feature five everyday families’ stories from the first half of the 20th century, told first by the family members who grew up in that time. The program will provide a grass-roots glimpse into our collective past with lessons for today. The goal of the project is to inspire viewers to document their own family stories before the voices are gone. The stories will share our American experience in a distinctively different way – through the perspective of family structure.
• Bar-B-Q Pit Masters – segment filmed in Tupelo – aired on Memorial Day, May 30th and Sunday, June 3rd.
• A segment of the “History Detectives” was filmed in the area and is scheduled to air in August. The farm house, located in Itawamba County, is owned by Tupelo’s Barbara and Alfredo Giacometti (Wine’s, Etc). Two of the producers came in on Friday, May 4th and a crew of 18 followed (who flew into Tupelo) – they came from New York and Philadelphia. They departed on Thursday, May 10th. They enjoyed the Tupelo and Fulton areas.
Director's report from Neal McCoy:
Have not finished doing a strategies from Berkeley's research. Plan to bring those to you in July. Will have board retreat and budget setting in August.
Guy with feasibility study for downtown is in town today and tomorrow. Will be working with him to get him information he needs.
After 8 years, Kara Penny has resigned. Will be full-time stay-at-home mom.
Great crowds at Elvis Fest. I would anticipate it was record crowds. I would hope that translates into record sales. We'll know soon. We had people on the ground doing surveys.
Meeting adjourned at 2:36 p.m.