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Front Page » Top Stories » Grove Group Launches Radio Blitz To Attract Visitors From Out Of Town

Grove Group Launches Radio Blitz To Attract Visitors From Out Of Town

Written by on June 7, 2007

By Risa Polansky
Coconut Grove long has been a hotspot for Greater Miami residents to dine, shop and unwind. This summer, a $300,000 advertising campaign aims to persuade out-of-towners to do the same.

"For the past two years, we advertised for people to take a vacation in their own backyard," said Marshall Steingold, owner of MiamiMaps coordinating the promotion on behalf of the Coconut Grove Business Improvement Committee, local hotels and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Grove business owners are asking people "north and west of here within a two-hour drive" to "come here and relax," Mr. Steingold said. "Coconut Grove is laid-back — sailboats, shopping, dining and of course, hotel rooms starting at $109 a night."

Beginning this week, nine radio stations in Boca Raton, Palm Beach, Naples, Fort Myers and Marco Island are to run for four months a 60-second commercial directing listeners to to learn more about the community and book their stay in a local hotel.

In addition to the radio spot, which is to run more than 2,000 times, the stations are to conduct call-in contests to give away 43 two-night stays in Grove hotels and up to 80 $100 gift certificates to local restaurants and shops.

Coupon books with more than $1,000 worth of savings will be available at the hotels.

Frank Couzo, director of sales and marketing for the Sonesta Hotel and Suites, 2889 McFarlane Rd., said the campaign is a wise move.

"As a hotel, obviously what I want to do is sell a guest room, but I’m really not going to sell a guest room to somebody who lives in Miami," he said. "The investment has a lot more value to us if we’re targeting people who have a greater propensity to rent a hotel room."

A restaurant official also supported the campaign. "I think it’s a great idea," said Jackie Osorio, director of marketing and events for Cielo Garden & Supperclub, 3390 Mary St., which has been open for seven months. "The area is very local — the tourists don’t know about it." Advertising outside of Greater Miami "opens up Coconut Grove itself to other places and people. It exposes us a lot more."

Three hotels — the Sonesta; Ritz-Carlton, 3300 SW 27th Ave.; and Grand Bay Hotel, 2669 S. Bayshore Dr. — contributed $70,000 to the campaign, said David Collins, executive director of the committee. The visitors bureau contributed $90,000 and the business improvement committee $140,000.

Restaurants and stores redeemed 10 to 200 coupons each from the promotional book last summer, Mr. Steingold said, and local advertising "did contribute a fair amount of (hotel) rooms, but it’s difficult to quantify how many."

The Sonesta has set up a reservation system accessible only through the Web site to track the effectiveness of the campaign, Mr. Couzo said. If it’s clear more visitors come from one market than another, a campaign could focus more on that area next summer. A lack of bookings may mean a future campaign should focus elsewhere.

"When you have this kind of an expenditure, obviously you need to justify it," he said. "We want to make sure there’s a return on the investment." Advertisement