The last six weeks had seen some turnover in local Tourism organizations. The Tourism Advisory Committee of the Arroyo Grande Chamber of Commerce has selected a new ad agency, selecting RG Pacific of Los Angeles as its new ad agency. This agency has no local clients at present, but hopes to use its 2015-16 promotions for Arroyo Grande Tourism as a selling point to gain other Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO’s) as clients.
In nearby Pismo Beach, Gordon Jackson has been named the successor to Suzen Brasile. Suzen, of course, just retired after many years heading the tourism promotion office for the City of Pismo Beach. Gordon is no stranger to the local tourism industry, having managed and marketed several local properties, most recently the Hilton Garden Inn off Highway 101 in Pismo Beach. Gordon has also served on the Boards of both the Pismo Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau, and Visit San Luis Obispo County.
Chuck Davison, who moved to SLO County a few years ago, was promoted in May to Executive Director of Visit San Luis Obispo County. He is certainly hitting the ground running. At his recent speech in June at “Good Morning SLO”, Chuck mentioned that Visit SLO County has already commissioned two studies – an in-market study of visitors, and an out-of market study as to who visits here – and not – and why.
These studies should yield actionable information, as SLO County expands its marketing activities further into Southern California and north into the Bay area. SLO County even intends to market into Las Vegas, which has direct flights into nearby Santa Maria. It will also market in Phoenix, which does have direct flight connections to SLO airport. Chuck also mentioned that Visit SLO County was also selecting a new ad agency for its vastly expanded marketing efforts.
Even though most lodging properties I talk to claim that business is great, Chuck has pointed out in his talk that average room nights per visit in SLO County have fallen to about 1.7, while Monterey and Santa Barbara remain in the range of 2.3 – 2.4 nights per visit. A friend also tells me that Morro Bay properties – except for the very low end -are also suffering. So here’s hoping!
<Do go to Linked In for more details about both Gordon Jackson and Chuck Davison. Both have extensive – and current – biographies.>