CPC wants to focus efforts in marketing at conventions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Convention Promotion Commission members have some ideas on the direction in which tourism marketing efforts should go.

In their Tuesday retreat, commissioners decided to focus the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s efforts on marketing more to conventions and individual visitors.

Right now, most of the bureau’s efforts go to attracting motorcoach tours whose passengers, on average, spend less than conventioneers or individual tourists.

Email newsletter signup

Commissioners said a 40-member advisory tourism &uot;superboard&uot; that is set to meet in the near future will come up with more detailed ways to target the convention and individual markets.

But in Tuesday’s meeting, they and CVB staffers did mention a few ways in which they would like to see the bureau’s marketing efforts grow.

For one thing, Commissioner Ron Riches said he would like to see the CVB and tourism-related businesses pool their advertising dollars to target such markets more effectively, getting more bang for their collective buck.

Commissioners and CVB staffers, who joined the commission for part of the retreat, also discussed the possibility of hiring an advertising professional to create a new advertising &uot;brand&uot; for Natchez.

In addition, both groups brainstormed growing niche markets the CVB should target in the future, including motorcycle enthusiasts, families and the recreation and outdoors market, as well as more heritage tourism.

But identifying and targeting such markets weren’t the day’s only focuses.

Later in the retreat, the commission directed Tourism Director Walter Tipton to compile information on what it would cost to purchase expandable, locally serviceable software to track sales leads, among other things.

Alderman Bob Pollard &045; the Board of Aldermen’s tourism liaison, who was present for most of the retreat &045; said he will present the information to aldermen at their June 4 work session.

The commission also directed Tipton to gather information about the cost of customer service training for CVB personnel, including those manning the convention center.

And the commission heard a presentation from City Attorney Walter Brown about the state’s open meetings and ethics laws.