To the editor:
Buoyed by a strong year-to-date, the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau has launched its newest marketing strategy, which includes enhanced cooperative advertising. I strongly encourage all travel and tourism partners to participate in the co-op program, and now is the time to make these plans.
Reservations for the co-op advertising begin at noon Oct. 28, so you have a few days remaining to look over the range of opportunities and decide how best your company or organization can benefit. I encourage you to take a look at the situational analysis in our marketing plan, which includes a wealth of information on market trends that you might find helpful as you choose which options are best for your property or attraction. Also in the plan are details about each of the print and online co-op ad options.
The VCB continues to subsidize co-op opportunities to a level that allows partners to advertise in media channels they could not afford on their own and with multiple buy-in levels to accommodate budgets of various sizes. This year we have a wider variety of advertising options, including digital, social media and OTAs, which coupled with flexible buying levels, make the co-op program more cost effective for you and your business.
In addition to our co-op program, we are excited to launch our 2011-2012 sales and marketing plan and a fresh creative campaign. Overall, our goal in 2012 is to increase Lee County bed tax collections by 2.5 percent. Specifically, we aim to increase stays in paid accommodations by 1.5 percent, including 1.75 percent for domestic tourists and 2.5 percent for in-state visitors, as well as maintain international visitation, maintain length of stay and increase average daily rates by 1 percent.
While we will continue to market The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel globally, in the coming year we will introduce new digital platforms and advanced online ad buying technology that will allow us to target our message more precisely than ever before to ensure maximum exposure for our investment. Communication through nontraditional and social media channels will allow our message and the messages of our partners to be told through our destination's worldwide online ambassadors.
We have budgeted $6.3 million to execute the marketing plan, which will utilize a creative concept designed to accentuate the region's natural beauty and visitor experiences. The campaign capitalizes on our strengths, which include value and our unrivaled and unspoiled beauty.
I would like to thank BVK for the company's help in developing our latest creative campaign, along with its 14-year partnership with the VCB. Likewise, I appreciate the team at MMG Worldwide, the VCB's new marketing partner, who worked in conjunction with our staff to develop the sales and marketing plan.
As our destination's voice, the VCB is constantly striving to do better, and our strategies for the coming year will help us do this. Now, I ask you, as our product managers, to do the same. Reinvest in your properties, sustain current partnerships, develop new ones and seize the opportunity to participate on our co-op advertising, which includes options to fit budgets of every size. On Oct. 28, please visit www.LeeVCB.com, click on "Marketing Support" and "Co-Op Advertising Program." There, you can log in and apply for the co-op advertising opportunities. Together we can build upon this year's successes, and ensure the destination is a worldwide leader in ecotourism.
Lee VCB executive director