CALLING IT A “GROUP” KEEPS THE SHADES DOWN….
Dear Readers – After listening to the new Asst. TO the Town Manager Pat Himelberger on Dec. 13th at the Regular Commission meeting present Consent Agenda item 11a. to the Commission and the Commission voting 3 (Clottey/Vincent/Minnet) -2 (Sasser/Dodd ) I posted my objections and concerns… Fortunately the Feb. 23rd Caribbean themed event was scratched a day later and I posted that as well as posting what I found on the Fl. Atty. General’s Sunshine laws online concerning who falls under the laws and who does not … The Vice Mayor also inquired about the “group” being subject to Sunshine Law and another resident sent in a public record request to the Town asking for the name of the members and whose liquor license would be used at the event as stated by TM Hoffmann… I then sent in a public record request received by the Town on Mon. for the minutes of all these meetings after I was informed the Town Manager stated that the Town Attorney informed her the “group” was not subject to Sunshine … The Town Manager decided to distribute the public record requests response information to the Commission …Too little ..too late for this writer… I have posted it below… Here’s what is still disconcerting after seeing the email sent by the Town Manager (below)..”I did receive a question as to whether these meetings are subject to the Sunshine Law. I have operated under the understanding they are not, but confirmed that with the Town Attorney this week. She has provided me with guidelines so that we can make sure we stay in compliance with state statutes. I do not think it is practical to set up an advisory board for these matters as the Sunshine Law could greatly hinder businesses from working together to do promotions, hold events, etc.” … This is counter to what I as a taxpayer and as someone who sat through years of Town Managers (Baldwin and Colon) making decisions with a few behind the scenes want from a Town Manager in LBTS wants to hear … I do not want to hear she is staying “in compliance with state statutes” in order to avoid being under Sunshine Law in my opinion……I certainly do not buy her reasoning of …”I do not think it is practical to set up an advisory board for these matters as the Sunshine Law could greatly hinder businesses from working together to do promotions, hold events, etc.”…especially after reading the minutes she supplied (see below) … We the taxpayers will be footing the bill for some businesses to perhaps profit big time as a result and the way the “group” is operating now allows for that business to be out of the sunshine while being a strong proponent of putting on the event making it a benefit to themselves which is not allowing for us taxpayers to know about or possibly object to that outcome taking place … As far as hindering them from working together that doesn’t pass the smell test either as they could work together when the meeting are made known and posted … Some of the names of those who are listed in the Marketing “group” are unknown to many …I have a problem with a description of a member being “Town resident with a marketing background” with no further specifics attached as well as seeing meetings where decisions are made that involve only one or two business people and the Town Manager and her Asst. TO…. hardly a “group” … I also see from the minutes that the need for hiring yet another consultant for the west side retail specialist came from the Town Manager…Why is it at times we have enough staff for things like the Caribbean event or these “groups”…but at other times we do not ?….Let’s call this Marketing “group” what it really is…an “advisory committee” and let’s put it under the Sunshine Laws before the next meeting and the next vote to spend taxpayer monies on events etc… based on meetings we and the Commission is in the dark about… VM Dodd brought up another important point having to do with the new ethic rules and the status quo of the “group” being an unknown leaving Commissioner vulnerable ….
One last point to make once again… I have a real problem with many on this Commission who are reenacting the bad actions of their predecessors under Town Managers Baldwin and Colon by either skirting their research to go with whatever Town Manager Hoffmann puts forth such as this item as well as many on this Commission making decisions on new code due based on who the Town Manager is now rather than to the Town Manager position itself …An example of this is new codes being looked at right now that give the Town Manager the unilateral right to approve something for a business such as outdoor cafes with only the Commission’s input if the applicant decides to appeal that decision….. I don’t want to hear members of the Commission saying they trust “Connie” yada..yada..yada…so no problem… Because as everyone knows nothing lasts forever …especially in the “Merry-Go-Round” world of municipal managers (see prev. posts) ….It’s a waste of time and taxpayer dollars and a big disservice to constituents if she leaves and we find ourselves once again with another Town Manager that is not so trustworthy but the Commissions hands are tied due to the code they approved based on Hoffmann… Remember the Town Manager and the Commission are equal on the Town “pyramid’ and both are below the people they both serve …the taxpayers…
‘From: Connie Hoffmann [mailto:ConnieH@lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 4:22 PM
To: Birute Ann Clottey; Chris Vincent; Roseann Minnet; Scot Sasser; stuart dodd; Stuart Dodd
Subject: FW: Ad Hoc Marketing Group Participants and Meeting Minutes
We have been getting inquiries on who has attended the meetings of the Ad Hoc Marketing Group. Listed below are the names and business affiliation of those individuals who have attended one or more meetings or participated in the subgroup that is looking at ways to market the Town as a dive destination:
John Boutin, Windjammer Resort
Danny Carter, Dance Moves Ballroom
Brian Gagas, Gold Coast Scuba
Steve Gagas, Gold Coast Scuba
Dave Gadsby, Village Grille and Beachside Village Resort
Dorothy Hacker, Away Inn
Ben Howard, Town resident with a marketing background
Jennifer Kovacs, Opt 2-Web
Corey Mahoney, Alley Oop
Louis Marchelos, Athena Restaurant
Spiro Marchelos, Anglin’s Fishing Pier and Beach Cafe
Robert Milionies, Country Ham n’ Eggs
Peggy Mohler, Aruba Beach Café
Paul Novak, High Noon Resort
Pam Rossi, P.J. Rossi Jewelers
Lenore Nolan-Ryan, Lenore Nolan-Ryan Cooking School & Catering
Mark Silver, Argenti Jewelers
Jason Wilson, Alley Oop
Ellen Zavell, Driftwood Inn
All businesses are located in LBTS and, as you know, several of the business owners/reps are also Town residents.
Many more people than those listed above have been invited to participate and we held the meetings on different days of the week, and at different times of the day to try and get participation. Throughout the two months we’ve been meeting, we have expanded our distribution list both for notification of the meeting times and to send out the minutes so that those who cannot or choose not to attend can know what has been discussed. We have recently gathered emails from more businesses so that they, too, can be invited to participate.
I did receive a question as to whether these meetings are subject to the Sunshine Law. I have operated under the understanding they are not, but confirmed that with the Town Attorney this week. She has provided me with guidelines so that we can make sure we stay in compliance with state statutes. I do not think it is practical to set up an advisory board for these matters as the Sunshine Law could greatly hinder businesses from working together to do promotions, hold events, etc.
‘Marketing Brainstorming Session October 13, 2011 Jarvis Hall
Present: Peggy Mohler, Aruba’s; Pamela Rossi, PJ Rossi Jewelers; Lenore Nolan Ryan, Lenore Nolan Ryan Cooking School & Catering; John Boutin, Windjammer Resort; Jason Wilson, Alley Oop; David Gadsby, Village Grill; Ellen Zavell, Driftwood Beach Club; Connie Hoffmann, Town Manager; Pat Himelberger, Assistant to the Town Manager; Steve d’Oliveira, Public Information Officer
The meeting was held to receive input from the Town businesses, hotels and restaurants as to the direction they would like to see the Town invest its marketing dollars.
The following ideas were prioritized and grouped according to the preference of those in attendance.
1. Stop issuing non-stop parking tickets.
2. Market Town as a package (hotels, restaurants and stores) more.
3. Poor hotels, restaurants and shops affect our reputation – clean up before we market big time.
4. Offer cooperative packages between Town businesses, e.g. grocery deliveries, cooking classes.
5. Move the Chamber’s Welcome Center to a more central location or maybe add a tourist kiosk(s) around Town.
1. Analyze common positives and negatives: what is the LBTS experience?
2. Use marketing funds to do something Ft. Lauderdale doesn’t do, e.g. a shuttle service from the airport.
3. Make the Pelican Hopper more of a tourist service, maybe wrap & use as LBTS advertisement.
1. What are we – We’re an Oasis
a. The Town Center is alive
b. Lots of beach access points
2. We need a common message – define brand
3. Improve signage
a. More flexible sign regulations needed to market West Commercial Blvd. businesses.
b. Need Way Finding Signs
4. Need to provide customer service training at all venues. We are a tourist town, we need to be nice to our visitors as well as being able to provide information about our Town.
5. Develop a cute LBTS map which locates our businesses.
6. Utilize El Prado Park as a back ground for more events.
7. Advertise out of Town.
8. Develop a Hotel and Restaurant Association.
It was agreed that the ideas captured would be reported and shared with both those in attendance and those who couldn’t make it. Another meeting will be scheduled in a couple of weeks to further define the marketing direction of the Town.
Marketing Brainstorming Session November 7, 2011 Jarvis Hall, 5:30 pm
Present: Pamela Rossi, PJ Rossi Jewelers; John Boutin, Windjammer Resort; Jason Wilson & Corey Mahoney, Alley Oop; Paul Novak, High Noon Resort; Brian Gagas, Gold Coast Scuba; Spiro Marchelos, Anglins Beach Café; Mark Silver, Argenti Designer Jewelers; Robert Minlionica, Country Ham N Eggs; Connie Hoffmann, Town Manager; Pat Himelberger, Assistant to the Town Manager; Steve d’Oliveira, Public Information Officer
The meeting was held to :
a. discuss marketing opportunities for the upcoming world record scuba attempt by Allan Sherod and
b. further defining marketing priorities
John Boutin of the Windjammer asked for support to market the record breaking attempt by the diver in order to bring the Town itself publicity. After much discussion about various marketing ideas for the event, the group asked that the Town utilize $3000 of the marketing funds set aside this year to create posters, radio spots, etc. The Town Manager said she would take the request to the Commission meeting scheduled for the following night.
The following priorities for promoting the Town were identified by those present for at least one of the last two meetings:
• Stop issuing non-stop parking tickets.
• Market Town as a package (hotels, restaurants and stores) more.
• Poor hotels, restaurants and shops affect our reputation – clean up before we market big time.
• Offer cooperative packages between Town businesses, e.g. grocery deliveries, cooking classes.
• Move the Chamber’s Welcome Center to a more central location or maybe add a tourist kiosk(s) around Town.
• Advertise in the strongest markets – Northern States, Canada and Europe
• Create a place in Town for families with children – kids need something to do, e.g. interactive fountain
• Work with the CVB (sunny.org) to promote the Town’s businesses and events
• Advertise in Great Locations – LBTS section
• Distribute Visitor’s Guide in locales outside of LBTS (airport, cruise lines, local tourist spots)
• Advertise LBTS on a billboard at 1-95 and Commercial Blvd.
• Create a place for businesses on the Town website
• Fund a marketing staff position at the Town- to coordinate marketing efforts & advertising, represent the Town at the CVB and trade events; work with the businesses on promotions, assure consistency in our messages, etc. Possibly have a marketing staff person work via the Chamber of Commerce.
It was decided to schedule these meetings at different times and days to allow the attendance of various people depending on their own schedule. The next meeting will be at 2:30 pm at Jarvis Hall on November 15th.
Marketing Ad Hoc Group Minutes November 15, 2011
Present: John Boutin, Windjammer Resort; Connie Hoffmann, Town Manager; Pat Himelberger, Assistant to the Town Manager; Steve D’Oliveira, Public Information Officer
The meeting focused on identifying possible events that could fill hotel rooms and help cement LBTS’s identity as a seaside destination that was attractive to families.
John Boutin had passed on information to Town staff about a Fort Lauderdale based festival that was being planned for April that would focus on scuba diving and outdoor sports opportunities. PIO Steve D’Oliveira reported he had done a bit of research and found the festival was planned for April 2013, not 2012, and that the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) was involved and would be hosting an exhibition at the Convention Center. All agreed the Town should try to tie into this opportunity. John Boutin indicated he would talk to a contact at the CVB to learn more about this event.
Pat Himelberger suggested another opportunity to fill LBTS hotel rooms – and thereby benefit LBTS restaurants and retailers – was the return of the Fort Lauderdale air show in the spring of 2012. She will follow up on the dates of the Air Show and discuss with the Chamber communicating this opportunity to the hotels.
Steve D’Oliveira suggested the Town should market itself to divers throughout Florida who simply may not be aware of the shore diving opportunities here.
There was also discussion about the opportunity to take advantage of the tent the Chamber rents & erects for the annual Taste of the Beach event. Connie Hoffmann thought it made a lot of sense to hold another event in the day or days following the Taste of the Beach, since the Chamber had already absorbed the cost of the tent. She had discussed this with several Chamber volunteers at last year’s event and was told the volunteers would be too tired to do a two night event, but the Town could sponsor something if they wanted to use the tent. The group discussed the fact that this event occurs during high season, so the purpose would be to give tourists already in Town something additional to do and remember so that they returned to LBTS. It was agreed this opportunity should be discussed with a larger group. Connie will, in the meantime, talk to the Chamber Executive Director about the possible use of the tent for another event.
Pat Himelberger asked whether anyone had ever given consideration to holding a “Trop Rock” weekend for “Parrotheads”. Parrothead clubs have formed across the country, are 501c3 organizations who share a love of Jimmy Buffet type music and also give back to the community. This may be a perfect fit for the sort of casual beach environment LBTS has. Trop Rock is music similar to the likes of Jimmy Buffet, the Beach Boys, etc. She indicated these weekends are successful elsewhere, attract out-of-towners. Those present agreed this was something we should present for consideration to the larger group.
Discussion then centered on the possibility of creating a multi-day event in the shoulder season, oriented to drawing families and that would focus on our seaside environment. Those present developed the ideas on the following page to present to a larger group at the next Marketing Ad Hoc group.
A meeting will be scheduled to specifically discuss these ideas and get input from the larger group.
POSSIBLE EARLY SUMMER MULTI-DAY EVENT
Goals: To fill hotel rooms.
To help establish the reputation of LBTS as a seaside tourist destination for families.
Right after school is out; 3rd or 4th week in June??
5 days of events; give a family
Possible aspects of the event:
1. Diving & watersport equipment rentals at a central location (priority given to LBTS businesses)
2. Several Kids’ sea camp type activities with goal of developing a true Sea Camp experience in 2013. Possible activities:
a. Kid’s fishing lessons
b. Kid’s fishing tournament on the Pier
c. Treasure hunt for the kids
d. Sea Turtle nesting education
e. Skim boarding lessons presented by Alley Oop
f. Some event with parent/child participation
g. Kids art & craft activities using sea themes or material
3. Reef-oriented activities
a. Guided snorkeling tours of the reef and bio-reef project presented by LBTS dive shops
b. Glass bottom kayak rentals
c. Presentation on Bio-reef project progress
d. Reef cleanup for divers
4. Adult volleyball on the beach
5. Yoga Class on the beach
6. En plein air painting class for beginners
7. Paddle boarding lessons
8. Night time movies with a sea orientation (Pirates of the Caribbean, Old Man & the Sea, etc.) shown at El Prado Park on 2 nights preceded by a sea storyteller. Local restaurants can set up food booths.
9. Talks by renowned scientists (??) at Jarvis Hall
10. Lenore Nolan Ryan – seafood cooking lessons discounted to hotel guests
11. Beach music concert at El Prado Park
12. Kayak races
13. Discount coupons provided to hotel guests for local retailers
14. Hotel special packages for the event including discounted drinks or meal coupons at local restaurants and discount coupons for local retail stores provided to hotel guests
Start the event this year, then build on it each year. Can’t do all of the ideas above in the first year. Need to select what can be done in the time we have available to plan & market.
Will need a planning/implementation committee.
Market the event outside of Broward County.
Rentals and programs with an entry fee are significantly discounted to visitors staying in a LBTS hotel
Ad Hoc Marketing Group Minutes November 21, 2011
Present: Mark Silver, Argenti Designer Jewelers; Jennifer Kovacs, Opt2web, Inc.; Connie Hoffmann, Town Manager; Pat Himelberger, Assistant to the Town Manager
The group discussed the merits of the Town putting on the following events:
• An event in February on the day(s) after Taste of the Beach to take advantage of the availability of the tent
• A multi-day event in June designed to draw family hotel stays
• A Parrothead Trop Rock Weekend
For an event in February, utilizing the Taste of the Beach tent on subsequent day(s) a variety of suggestions were discussed (a country hoe down complete with costumes and hay rides; a 1950s theme event; a dance event , outdoor movie). It was suggested that in order to tie into a Taste of the Beach, it may be more appropriate to have a seaside theme and those present agreed. There was consensus that a Caribbean /Carnivale Nights theme would be fun, interesting to tourists and residents, and could be pulled off in the short time available. There was talk of steel drums , reggae and calypso music, a limbo contest, Bahamian Junkanoo dancers, beach drinks, a salsa exhibition or lessons and perhaps a salsa contest. It was suggested getting Danny Carter from the Dance Studio in LBTS involved with the event. LBTS-based businesses appropriate for the event might sell jewelry, sarongs , other carnival or beach type accessories at the event. Jennifer Kovacs said it wouldn’t be a difficult event to market and suggested keeping it simple with posters in hotels and business’ windows and using social media to create a buzz.
Connie reported that Chamber Executive Director had advised the Chamber would want the Town to pick up half the cost of the tent and pay for any additional days it was needed. The Taste of the Beach is scheduled for Wednesday, February 22nd and Mark subsequently advised that date was fixed. The new event would preferably be held on a Friday or Saturday night.
With that in mind, the group moved on to the second idea, a multi-day event in June designed specifically for family hotel stays. Mark and Jennifer reviewed the list of possible activities developed at the last meeting and agreed many of the ideas were good ones. They suggested the Treasure Hunt be changed to a scavenger hunt which would introduce parents and their children to various LBTS businesses. Jennifer suggested that we ask the hotels if they’re interested in creating package deals which could include the cost of various activities e.g. skim boarding lessons, cooking classes, snorkeling tours, kayak rentals, yoga classes on the beach, kids art & craft activities, sea turtle nesting education, etc. Jennifer & Mark liked the idea of an outdoor movie shown in El Prado park with local restaurants offered the chance to sell food & snacks, feeling it would provide families with an enjoyable activity. The overall package might include hotel rooms with restaurant , retailer and activity coupons. The end goal of this event is to develop a three to five day LBTS package deal to market to families during the down time in the summer. Connie said a marketing/advertising firm could assist us in targeting the right markets for the event.
Pat explained the idea behind a Parrothead Trop Rock weekend event which could draw Parrotheads from across the state to the beach for Jimmy Buffet type music, thus filling the hotels and restaurants as well as bringing business to the retailers.
Although all events had merit, limited resources required the group selecting one or two events to initiate this year. It was agreed that a Caribbean/ Carnivale Night and the multi-day family event were the best events to begin with. With the first event, a Caribbean Carnivale only a couple of months away, the group agreed that more people were needed to provide manpower to put it all together. Additionally, we would need to begin planning for the multi-family event so as to be able to timely market it.
The group also discussed ways to get people to come to the businesses on Commercial, west of Ocean Drive. Jennifer said that the Pompano Beach CRA has monthly events whereby a band is arranged, retailers stay open, invite people to visit by providing wine, and people get a card stamped as they visit various businesses. The police assist visitors to cross Atlantic Boulevard. Something similar may be possible, however funding for police would be an issue. Connie asked whether scheduling food trucks as a draw initially would be easier -perhaps on the south side of Commercial one month and the north side another month. How the restaurants would react to that idea is an issue. While these are great ideas, it was decided that we needed to focus on the two events discussed earlier and how to include the retailers in them.
So, with two events on the horizon, we’re looking for people to volunteer to assist with making them a success. If you know of someone who you think might be interested in serving on an event committee for either of these events, please forward these marketing minutes. If you know of someone who might be interested in the marketing group, forward them the minutes. The more involvement, the better ideas and the more easily we can implement them. They can always email Path@lbts-fl.gov or call her at 954-640-4205 to be added to list.
The next meeting will be Wednesday, November 30th at 5:15 PM at Jarvis Hall. Pass the word, we need your help!
To be discussed:
1. LBTS Caribbean Carnivale
a. Date, time
b. Music- Calypso, Steel Drums, Reggae, Junkanoo
c. Food – following the Taste, will any restaurants want to participate? They can charge for the food – not a freebie.
d. Beach Drinks – need a restaurant with a catering liquor license
e. Vendors – which LBTS businesses would be interested in selling beach themed items?
g. Dance activities – limbo, salsa, etc.
2. Multi day family event
b. Committee members
c. Contact list – need to begin with hotels to gauge interest and suggestions
Ad Hoc Marketing Minutes November 30, 2011
Present: Dorothy Hacker, Away Inn; John Boutin, Windjammer; Jennifer Kovacs, Opt2web.com; Jason Wilson, Alley Oop; Ben Howard, Town resident w/ marketing background; Connie Hoffmann, Steve d’Oliveira & Pat Himelberger, LBTS staff.
Connie advised the group that Town staff had followed through on many of their suggestions and the Town’s website now had a stronger tourism emphasis than in the past. Steve advised he the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau “defrost your swimsuit” commercial and added a Tourism icon on the front page which links directly to the LBTS Chamber site. He also added a prominent Town Events link. Steve & Connie said we can have a section for videos of events in Town on the website too.
With regard to the suggestion to make the Pelican Hopper more visible & less institutional looking, Steve has gotten two quotes to have the Pelican Hopper painted or wrapped with a design which will make the bus easily recognizable. Connie said she would like some input from the group on the art design when we’re ready to move forward.
The concept for a Caribbean Carnival Night to occur on the night after the Taste of the Beach event in February was discussed to ascertain whether there was support for it and who would be willing to work on it. As Connie explained, the idea was to split the cost of the tent used for the Taste with the Chamber and create an event which would keep the beach theme and provide tourists with something else to do during peak season without leaving the Town. Jason Wilson of Alley Oop relayed that the following Saturday would be Alley Oop’s Second Annual Skim Boarding and Dance Contest which would provide another event to market. The group supported marketing a four day event filled calendar outlined as follows:
February 23rd – Taste of the Beach
February 24th – LBTS Caribbean Carnival from dusk til 11 pm
February 25th – Village Grill’s /101Ocean – Jazz on the Square in the evening
February 26th – Alley Oop’s Skim Boarding Competition during the day (beach location)
Alley Oop’s Dance Contest (an evening event in front of their store)
Athena’s Saturday night Music & Dance on Commercial
Jennifer Kovacs said we need to begin marketing the event asap and agreed to take the lead. Jason Wilson said he would assist her and Ben Howard said he’d be happy to help. She also said she has contacts with the type of bands we need and said that it might be better if we were to get a band which already has a following. It was agreed that the time might be from 5-5:30 pm to 11 pm with dance and musical entertainment. Connie said this event would be taken to the Commission for approval as a Town sponsored event.
The restaurants need to be contacted to see if there’s interest in providing food for sale at the event. If not, we’ll need to get vendors, perhaps food trucks. We’ll also need a restaurant with a catering liquor license. LBTS vendors need to be contacted to see who might be interested in selling beach themed items. Danny Carter of Dance Moves will be contacted to see if he’s interested in providing dance lessons or related dance activities. We have a short time frame to put this event together, so we’ll have to move quickly.
Ben Howard joined the group, bringing both marketing expertise and his experience of living in LBTS for a number of years. He and John Boutin spoke about capitalizing on LBTS’s spectacular shore diving by marketing LBTS as a diving destination. Connie asked that a separate group meet to explore marketing year round diving, including the dive shops in that discussion.
In response to comments made at earlier meetings that the Town needed more things for tourists to do and to market the Town as a family destination, the group then discussed how to implement the Multi-Day Family event in June concept that had been developed at the last meeting. The purpose of the event would be to fill hotel rooms in the shoulder season by providing families with an event-filled vacation opportunity. The idea is to have several daily events to choose from such as skim boarding lessons, cooking lessons, arts and craft activities, snorkeling tours, retail scavenger hunt, movies in El Prado Park, kayak rentals, yoga classes on the beach, and sea turtle nesting education. Dorothy and John both agreed that June is a really slow month and it would be a great idea to create an event to bring families to LBTS. It was discussed that hoteliers could create packages which would include a choice of activities within the price and concerns about the logistics of how do the retailers/restaurants get paid, etc. It would seem that would be something that could be worked out.
This event will take a lot of organization and commitment from the hoteliers, retailers and restaurants. The first step would be to gauge the interest and commitment from the hoteliers, as this would primarily be for their benefit. John Boutin and Dorothy Hacker agreed to contact hotels including but not limited to: Driftwood, Beachside Inn, Native Sun, High Noon, Florida’s Best Resort, Sea Lord, Tropic Best, Casa del Sol and Coral Key. They’ll report back at the next meeting which will be held on Thursday, December 8th at 9:00 AM at Jarvis Hall.
To be discussed:
LBTS Caribbean Carnival – Event Name?
Firm up the hours
Food – Restaurant Interest
Summer Multi-Day Family Event
Committee Member Commitment
Ad Hoc Marketing Minutes December 8, 2011
Present: Dorothy Hacker, Away Inn; John Boutin, Windjammer; Jennifer Kovacs, Opt2web.com; Ben Howard, Town resident w marketing background; Michael Lajoie, Driftwood Beach Club; Steve d’Oliveira & Pat Himelberger, LBTS staff.
The interest about marketing the Town as a dive destination was briefly discussed and Steve offered to arrange for a separate group to meet and come back with ideas. He’ll include John, Ben, dive shops, etc. Steve relayed that the Town is exploring have a 3 minute video made of the reef and shipwreck to assist promoting us as the Shore Diving Capital of South Florida.
Pat reported that the Commission would be asked on the following Tuesday for approval of the Town to sponsor the Caribbean Carnival Night and promote four nights of entertainment. We’ve asked the Commission to approve a budget of up to $6000.
The group discussed an overall name for the 4 days of events and it was agreed to call it “Festival By The Sea.” The four days are comprised of:
February 22nd – Taste of the Beach
February 23rd – Caribbean Carnival from 4:30 pm til 11 pm
February 24th – Jazz on the Square – Village Grille /101 Ocean
February 25th – Alley Oop’s Skim Boarding Competition during the day (beach location)
Alley Oop’s Dance Contest (an evening event in front of their store)
Music by the Sea – Athena
Pending Commission approval, Jennifer will create a web banner for all websites to start advertising “Festival by the Sea.”
We talked about the entertainment with a tentative schedule agreed, depending upon costs and also getting confirmation from Danny Carter about a dance exhibition, contest or lessons.
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm – Steel Drum
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – DJ
8:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Dance Exhibition, Contest, etc.
9:30 – 10:30/11:00 pm – Main Band
Mark Silver of Argenti Jewelers relayed that he has received a tiara which he would be willing to donate to have a contest for Carnival Queen or Miss LBTS. It was also discussed having a Carnival Queen or Princess for best costume or for best dancer & just making it a simple addition to the event. Jennifer said she would contact a radio station to see what kind of publicity we could get to generate interest if we made it a contest. We put the idea to the side until the next meeting.
In order to move along, Jennifer will come back with entertainment quotes, John will check out the cost of the dance floor and Dorothy will check with the chamber and Guy Contrada from Aruba about decoration costs. It was suggested that we get a quote about purchasing a tent that we could use for other events – Ben said he would check on that. Pat will check with Connie about the cost of sharing the tent with the Chamber. Pat will contact restaurants about participation for food and alcohol sales. We talked about marketing, the Chamber budgets for 10,000 cards and posters for the Taste – we need to work with them to market the “Festival by the Sea.”
We moved on to the Summer Multi-Day Family Event and discussed a possible name for it – John threw out Family Frenzy Week which was accepted as a beginning. The group agreed to think about it until the next meeting – there was discussion about including in the name something which could relate to the types of activities we would be offering, e.g. a beachy or eco theme which might interest families who like to plan vacations with outdoor activities. Dorothy suggested that Lauderdale by the Sea be attached to all events in some way to get our name out.
Dorothy reported that the hotels were leery of including retail offerings in the price with the hotels not having done so before. The concern was that if a guest wasn’t happy with the experience, it would reflect on the hotel, not the retailer. So, it was agreed that the retailers would be asked if they would provide a special rate (up to 50%) off for something specific for one particular week in June for guests who booked at a hotel for “family frenzy week.” Only those guests who were staying in the participating hotels would be eligible for the discount. Jennifer agreed to work up a “mock” week of activities for John and Dorothy to take to the hotels to get a commitment to participate. The hotels would be asked to discount their prices up to 30-40% too. Pat said the Town will contact the retailers for interest. Thus, vacationing families might receive multiple incentives to book in Lauderdale by the Sea for one week in June. There was some discussion about tying the family frenzy week in with the 4th of July, but after much debate due to rooms already being booked around the 4th, it was decided to have the event from June 23rd – 30th. The logistics of presenting the activity discounts was left for future meetings.
John said there seemed to be misconceptions about the direction of the ad hoc group. By definition, ad hoc means coming together for a specific purpose. This group’s purpose has been two fold: to help define the marketing priorities of the Town and to create events which will give tourists already here something to do as well as create events to bring people to Town to stay, eat and shop in LBTS during shoulder times. Town staff is working on the implementation of many items which have come forth as a result of the committee.
It was agreed that the next meeting would be held next Thursday, December 15th at 9:00 AM, Jarvis Hall. To be discussed:
I. Festival by the Sea
c. Dance Floor
f. Food, restaurant participation, catering liquor license
II. “Family Frenzy Week, aka ???”
a. Hotel Commitment
b. Retail Commitment
c. Restaurant Commitment
Dive Subcommittee Marketing Meeting
Tuesday, Dec. 13th 4 – 6PM / Jarvis Hall
Attending: Andrew Cohen & Steve and Brian Gagas from Gold Coast Scuba; John Boutin from the Windjammer; Town resident Ben Howard & myself (LBTS PIO Steve d’Oliveira).
The committee met to brainstorm ideas about how to better market the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea to scuba divers in Florida and nationwide. Here were the ideas suggested. The following is from my notes and notes John Boutin took and sent to me earlier today (12-14-11).
- Sponsor a booth at a DEMA’s national convention to promote LBTS. DEMA is the Diving Equipment Manufacturers Association, a worldwide diving trade group (equipment and travel) that promotes all things diving. Its annual conventions are held every November.
- Look at Dive Training Magazine and ScubaBoard as possible ad venues to place ads promoting Town diving events. Dive Training is available free at dive shops and through subscriptions.
- Support the efforts of Andrew Cohen, a Gold Coast scuba instructor who – inspired by Allen Sherrod – wants to set a world record at the end of the month for the longest scuba dive (70 miles) from Key Largo to LBTS. Cohen, who grew up in LBTS, and another diver plan to attempt this together. The previous unofficial record is 66 miles. They plan to swim with the Gulfstream and come ashore at the Datura Avenue portal.
- Use Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Under-The-Sea (first suggested at the UM charrette in May) as a possible marketing or advertising slogan.
- Plan an event to attract divers who normally flock to the Keys for lobster mini-season (held in late July on a Wednesday and a Thursday). Divers can catch twice as many lobster off Broward County’s shores. “Twice the lobsters at half the price” (slogan idea)
- Plan a Reef Sweep event in LBTS where divers can pick up trash and debris, followed by a party and awards/recognition ceremony that night. Promote it to divers locally and around the state to encourage them to stay in our hotels. Involve Project Aware, PADI’s non-profit environmental group. In its heyday, the non-profit Ocean Watch’s Reef Sweep event attracted 600 divers. This event could also be promoted through area dive clubs.
- Hold beach certification diving clinics. Gold Coast mentioned (and will double check for us) that Fort Lauderdale certifies more scuba divers than anywhere else in the country.
- Identify LBTS hotels on the beach and along El Mar that would be dive-friendly.
- Make an effort to put together a service so that divers would not need a car once they got to the Town. Air tanks could be picked up at night, refilled and dropped off in the morning. Brian said he thought this would not be difficult to implement.
- Raise awareness of ours reefs and Biorock via the Internet. Have a specific site for info
on the reef; possible BiorockUSA.com. Put info, pictures, links, upcoming events,etc.
- Explore current efforts by the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative, which is supposedly in the process of trying to create a marine preserve off Broward County.
- Find out what the CVB-DEMA event in April 2013 is in Fort Lauderdale and how LBTS businesses can participate.
- Get a promotional video for us as a diving destination. Put video on web sites.
- Get famous divers to get involved. Might have easier time going Biorock route.
- Work with Nova University’s marine biology department.
- Design a tee shirt specifically for LBTS diving and the Biorock reef.
- Get restaurants to agree to let divers bring in their lobster catch (the restaurant would cook them).
The committee agreed to meet again sometime in January.
Ad Hoc Marketing Minutes December 15, 2011
Present: Dorothy Hacker, Away Inn; Jennifer Kovacs, Opt2web.com; Louis Marchelos, Athena & The Pier; Jason Wilson, Alley Oop; Danny Carter, Dance Moves; Connie Hoffmann, Steve d’Oliveira & Pat Himelberger, LBTS staff.
The meeting opened with discussion about the Commission support for the Festival by the Sea marketing and the proposed new event, Caribbean Carnival. The Town Commission approved the funding of up to $6,000 for a Thursday night event following Taste of the Beach and marketing of the fours days of events in the Festival by the Sea. However, there was not agreement about the theme of the event and there was concern about the ability of the group to put together a successful event in such a short time. Therefore, the marketing group agreed that it might be better to postpone a Thursday night event in Festival by the Sea and focus on the June Family Frenzy Week while conceiving another type of event for the Festival by the Sea for 2013.
There was discussion about how to market Festival by the Sea which included creating a web landing page which could house all LBTS events. Jennifer said she would begin by looking into domain names which would be both suitable and recognizable for LBTS events. She was asked to present a creative event marketing package for Festival by the Sea to the Town for review. There was also discussion about utilizing facebook, social media and email blasts as reminders of not only advertising the upcoming events in the near future, but continuing by promoting those events which are further away.
Jennifer agreed to put together a mock schedule of available events for the Family Frenzy Week to enable the hoteliers to visualize what the week might look like to invite participation by them. We agreed we need to get the retailers involved in order to make the week a success. Lenore Nolan Ryan offered to support the week by offering discounted cooking demonstrations/lessons for kids and families; Danny offered to provide dancing lessons. Jason will provide discounted skim boarding lessons. The purpose of this week is to draw people to LBTS, showcase what there is to do here and gain repeat visitors who go back home and invite their neighbors to visit us.
This discussion led into one concerning the lack of foot traffic west of Ocean Drive which hurts those retailers. Jason suggested a monthly “Hospitality Walk” whereby all the retailers stayed open late once a month, offered wine and food bites to entice people to their stores. Danny suggested using spot lights just east of the bridge to draw people to the area. Danny emphasized the importance of Town business owners supporting one another. Dorothy said hoteliers such as herself could offer 2 day stays as a door prize for those who visit all the shops. We talked about what day of the week to hold it, and there was a lot of discussion about not competing with successful events in the downtown but possibly looking at a Wednesday night as a monthly event. Afterwards Connie said we need to contract with a retail specialist to assist the Town in its efforts with the retailers.
Jason said that Aruba’s had contacted him about Alley Oop participating in a Memorial Day event to include beach lacrosse and skim boarding.
Steve said the diving sub committee came up with two events which could be done this summer on the shoulder season to bring people to Town. They’re also working on ad placement ideas to attract divers year round.
a. June – Reef Clean Up- with a party afterwards. Steve said divers from around the area and statewide would be invited to assist us with a reef clean up. Louis suggested that the Pier parking lot might be a great place to put up a tent for a party. Hoteliers could also offer special rates to attract the divers.
b. Mini lobster season – Last Wed. & Thurs. of July – promote beach diving for lobsters, if you come to LBTS, the daily limit is 12 lobsters per person vs. 6 lobsters in the Keys. Once again, the hoteliers could put together packages which would entice divers to try LBTS.
The next meeting will be after January 1st and everyone will be notified.’
more to come….