CAPC allocates $50,000 for additional marketing through 2020

Thursday, October 1, 2020

By Samantha Jones

Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com

The Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission is expanding its marketing through the end of 2020.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the commission heard from Crescent and Basin Park Hotel general manager Jack Moyer about a proposal for marketing from October to March. Earlier in the meeting, finance director Rick Bright reported that tax collections are up $30,000 in August from the revised budget. Altogether, Moyer said, the commission has $209,699 more than expected based upon its revised budget.

"We've probably had 1 million visitors to Eureka Springs and 43 cases [of COVID-19] in Eureka Springs," Moyer said. "One of the primary reasons for that is how seriously this town has taken safety protocols."

Moyer said he was speaking on behalf of Randy Wolfinbarger, general manager of Best Western Inn of the Ozarks, saying he and Wolfinbarger worked together to come up with a proposal to present to the commission. The proposal, Moyer said, is to request that the commission reallocate $100,000 to contingency media, challenging its marketing director to create a strategy to exhaust the funds in support of travel from October through March 31.

"The real key element is that our communication to the outside world continues via Paradise, but Paradise's communication, their last placement happens in mid-November," Moyer said. "So effective post mid-November, you have zero allocated to continue that communication."

Moyer acknowledged that the commission plans to move $104,500 from reserves in January to pay for Paradise's marketing services but said the commission could possibly get up to $250,000 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Moyer suggested that the commission use part of the $100,000 to purchase placement on www.Arkansas.com, which is offering an 80 percent discount on placement for the rest of the year.

"That's an opportunity. You're buying where people are going," Moyer said.

Interim director Gina Rambo said she liked the idea of advertising through that time and commissioner Susan Harman agreed.

"I'm glad you're saying we should look at October through March, because we really, honestly Gina, you know the advertising that was done it just wasn't happening and it hasn't happened for years during that period of time," Harman said.

If the commission decided to spend the $100,000 on additional marketing, Bright said, that would mean taking the $104,500 out of reserves to pay Paradise. Commissioner James DeVito said the commission should hear from Paradise on the issue and Paradise representative Rudy Webb said advertising works.

"If we can target the right people, we can impact their decision on where to travel," Webb said. "We can put together a program utilizing the budget if it is approved by you all to target people during those months."

Harman said the $100,000 would be split between 2020 and 2021.

"We're not really looking at $100,000 in entirety through 2020," Harman said.

"I agree that a portion could be used now and the remainder could come out in 2021 budget," Webb said.

DeVito suggested discussing the topic more in-depth at the commission's next workshop and commissioner Jeff Carter said the commission could have a special meeting then to approve the additional spending. Harman moved to "at least allocate $50,000 to this process tonight, only because Paradise is going to want to have a number to work with."

"There will be no expenditure before the workshop?" DeVito asked.

"Correct," chairwoman Carol Wright said.

The commission then voted unanimously to allocate $50,000 to marketing and media through 2020.

Also at the meeting, the commission voted unanimously to allocate $711,000 to Paradise Marketing in the 2021 budget.

The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, at The Auditorium.

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