It won’t be too long before it’s Spring and that means tourist towns like Lincoln City will have to begin waving their flags in the media where most of their visitors come from.
Visitors and Convention Bureau Marketing Manager Scott Humpert told the city council Monday evening that according hotel, motel and VRD room records, over half of the tourists that visit Lincoln City are from Portland and the Willamette Valley. Third place goes to the Seattle area.
Humpert said tourism advertising in the Seattle area is just way too expensive, so he said his upcoming advertising plan for council review and approval will emphasize Portland and the valley. But he hinted that a lot of that advertising will be primarily aimed at Portland outlets because the north end of the Willamette Valley pretty much reads and watches Portland media. He said the VCB can then buy some space or air time in the Eugene area if it pencils out.
As for what should go into those ads Humpert says he’s got some more surveying to do to learn why people come to Lincoln City and what they like the most about it. From what he’s learned so far is it’s beaches, being able to relax, and the many ways to interact with the beautiful scenery.
Humpert said some surveys his department conducted on visitors indicates they’d like a more walkable city center, a boardwalk along the beach, places to rent bikes – especially those with big fat tires for gliding along the beach, a good steakhouse, a Fred Meyer type grocery store and outdoor dining. And for the millennials, heavy on the hiking and biking opportunities.
Humpert told the council that too many visitors coming over from the valley make just a day of it. They don’t spend the night, contributing to the situation where the town’s full of cars but no one’s staying overnight and spending money. He said promotions must convince visitors that there are so many things to see and experience that one day is not enough, triggering at least a one night stay.
Humpert said he will gather more visitor data with what he already has and then present an overall advertising plan for the council’s review.
More VRD Fireworks courtesy Jim Hoover –
At the end of the meeting outspoken citizen Jim Hoover again confronted the council, as he did last meeting, with the question about vacation rental dwellings (VRD). He boomed into the microphone “What is the limit of room nights a VRD owner can rent when it’s for a new VRD application or it’s a renewal on a license that has no limit on room nights. Several councilors tried to talk with him about it, but he simply talked over the top of them when he obviously didn’t think they were answering his question. After finally a little back-and-forth, Hoover was told that no one should worry about applying for a new license or getting a renewal on a VRD license that had no limits on a current license. The council said don’t worry about booking your property. Go ahead and book it. But they also reminded Hoover that the city is launching another round of citizen town hall meetings on the VRD issue and will again try to adopt a set of regulations that will set well with the voters. The voters struck down the last set of revisions reverting the whole VRD situation back to square one.
City Councilor Susan Wahlke reminded the room that many VRDs have been placed in residential areas, yet their owners refer to them as their “business.” She didn’t elaborate – not that she needed to.
The council hopes to find a way out of the seemingly never-ending VRD morass after holding more town hall meetings on VRDs over the next few months.