Press release from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority:
Media strategy to support and sustain the expanded air service recently announced by Asheville Regional Airport is in the works by executives at Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau in partnership with airport officials, along with plans to bolster spring and summer advertising campaigns aimed at continuing to attract visitors whose spending will enhance the economic vitality of the region.
These enhancements to Explore Asheville’s advertising plans were presented today by 360i, the agency of record for Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, at the BCTDA’s monthly meeting. The requests for a $1 million investment for the supplemental campaign and $150,000 to support the nonstop flight service were approved. One hundred percent of the funding will come from the occupancy tax paid by people who visit Buncombe County and stay overnight in commercial lodging facilities.
Presenters reminded the board that the goal of this marketing is to attract people to Asheville and Buncombe County where their spending will infuse cash into the local economy. Current figures show that visitors spend $2 billion a year at local businesses – the majority of revenue captured by food and beverage, retail, attractions and entertainment – supporting 27,000 jobs and generating tax revenue that provides for core services and community investments. The total economic impact of visitor spending is $3.1 billion annually.
Enhancing the ad campaign is a proactive response to a number of realities, said Cindy Stein and Nick Smart of 360i, including:
Election year: During an election year, the marketplace is more cluttered because of political campaigns, which drive up the cost of advertising. Experts predict election spending this year will hit record levels and marketers must adjust their plans to respond and remain effective.
Room supply: The number of hotel rooms and other commercial lodging options are expected to increase by more than 800 this year. This compares to an increase of just over 400 in 2018 and 460 in 2017.
Besides the factors presented by 360i, there are other sound reasons to increase promotion to the area, said Explore Asheville President and CEO Stephanie Brown. “Every sector of our economy benefits from the influx of revenue that is created through tourism. Generating awareness of the area among visitors supports economic development efforts to recruit new businesses and jobs in other industry clusters, such as advanced manufacturing, science and technology, entrepreneurship, and healthcare.”
In addition, said Brown, “There are more than 1,300 local, tourism-related businesses in Buncombe County. These folks are counting on the promotion we do to help their businesses survive and thrive.”