Visitors bureau works with others to stretch marketing budget
By Marilyn Bowden
Cooperative efforts with other counties help the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau make the most of its marketing budget.
"Where synergies exist, we take advantage of them," said Vice President of Marketing Rolando Iedo.
In one of its first cooperative campaigns, he said, the bureau partnered with Broward and Monroe counties and American Airlines a couple of years ago to mount a domestic promotion called America's Riviera.
"More recently," Mr. Iedo said, "we've worked with other counties to target tour operators internationally. In the UK, where we have an office, as do some of our competitors, we did some cooperative advertising with Broward."
South Florida counties often work together to lure major events such as the Super Bowl or national political conventions to the area, he said.
"Because of the national exposure and the rooming requirements," he said, "these are by necessity tri-county events."
Last March, Mr. Iedo said, the bureau worked closely with its Broward counterpart in a bid to bring the USS Oriskany to the county line and sink it to create an artificial reef.
"Our presentation wasn't successful this time," he said, "but we laid the groundwork for other major artificial reef programs, which would make the area more attractive for the dive community."
George Neary, the bureau's director of cultural tourism, said the whole South Florida tourism community works together during the area's major art shows, Art Basel and Art Miami.
"We partner with all the museums in the tri-county area," he said, "to showcase and highlight what we have here. In June we have a tradeshow booth in Basel where we promote all the museums in South Florida."
On the theatrical side, Mr. Neary said, the Theatre League, a tri-county institution, issues Winter Stages of the Sun, a passport to productions all over South Florida.
Culturally Florida, a promotional booklet put together by American Express and Visit Florida, the state's tourism marketing agency, showcases cultural events across the state, he said.
"Visit Florida has been a tremendous partner for us," Mr. Iedo said. "We do four to five promotions with them annually. They divide the state into regions and make funding available to each."
"All the advertising we do is available to local agencies," said Visit Florida spokesperson Tom Flanigan.
"For example, we will go to a publication and arrange for a special Florida section of maybe four pages. We will take part of it; the remainder we will throw open to any industry partners who would like to participate. Then we split the cost on a pro-rated basis among the various participants.
"That makes it possible for a multitude of programs and destinations to appear in a magazine where it would be considerably more expensive for them to appear in an a stand-alone basis."
About 90% of visitation to Florida is domestic, he said, and "we pretty much follow that percentage breakout when it comes to things like advertising."
Each November, Mr. Flanigan said, Visit Florida sponsors Florida Encounter, an annual meetings market where local convention bureaus, convention centers, hotels and other suppliers can mingle with corporate, governmental and organizational meeting planners in the US, Canada and, this past year, the UK as well.