Finance director named interim director of CAPC

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission is still looking for someone to replace retiring director Mike Maloney.

At the commission's regular meeting Wednesday, April 10, finance director Rick Bright was named interim director while the commission searches for Maloney's replacement. Chairwoman Carol Wright said Bright is the best person for the job, saying he'll be in the position for around two months. So far, Wright said, the commission has received more than 100 applications from those interested in being the full-time director.

"I think maybe 20 or so are from people who have the experience we're going to require," Wright said. "I'm hopeful we'll have some good people in to interview. I see us doing that probably during May, so we can bring them in while the festival of the arts is going on to show off what we do really well."

Also at the meeting, the commission heard from Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce interim director Damon Henke about a marketing opportunity. Henke said the chamber wants to partner with the CAPC and local stakeholders to produce a boost for summertime traffic.

"It's going to be designed as a cooperative advertising campaign," Henke said. "It's designed to bolster the planned vacation market. It's not just family travel. What we're trying to get in people's minds is Eureka Springs is an actual destination you need to plan some time for, and you need to plan your summer trip around that."

Henke said the campaign would be completely digital, featuring a landing page that highlights the attractions Eureka Springs has to offer. The landing page will have a video, Henke said, to compel people to come to town. He said the video includes all aspects of the planned vacation market, including mountain biking, attractions, dining and outdoor adventures.

To participate, Henke said, stakeholders will provide their email leads to be shared with a third party organizing the campaign. There will be giveaways, Henke said, to further entice people to visit Eureka Springs. The chamber is putting $5,000 into the project, Henke said, and he'd like the CAPC to spend $10,000 on it.

Wright asked Henke what kind of results he hopes to get from the campaign, and Henke said he wants to see more people planning their summer vacation in Eureka Springs.

"The overall results are the outside base envisions Eureka Springs more as a planned vacation destination," Henke said. "We want to see more people make plans to stay in Eureka Springs longer."

Commissioner Terry McClung said he wished to see more attractions featured in the campaign than those listed in Henke's proposal. That's certainly possible, Henke said.

"This is kind of a rough draft to see how the chamber can create a co-op program that works will with the CAPC to boost summertime travel," Henke said.

The online campaign, Henke said, would last between four to six weeks.

"You want to get it out by when?" McClung asked.

"By early May," Henke said.

"That's aggressive," McClung said.

"Well, it's digital," Henke said. "The video already exists. You're just really linking the email addresses to it."

Alderwoman Susan Harman asked if the giveaways would prevent the commission from being involved. That's been a problem in the past, Bright said.

"It's got to be worded carefully, because in Arkansas, a lot of giveaways are considered a lottery," Bright said. "It's not that we can't do it. It's just got to be worded properly to get around the lottery law."

Commissioner James DeVito said he considers the campaign similar to a special event.

"This is like an ask like a special event where we are going to drive the advertising and everything has to be approved by the A&P," DeVito said. "This is all new to us tonight. I hope you aren't asking us for an answer tonight."

Harman suggested discussing the campaign at the commission's next workshop, and Wright said the commission could have a special meeting after the workshop to vote on it. The commission voted unanimously to have a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, at The Auditorium.

The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, at The Auditorium.

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