Lincoln City City Council seeking more “bang” for their “buck” in tourist and special event advertising
Saying they want to stretch the city’s tourism advertising dollars farther to hopefully boost visitor counts, Lincoln City city councilors voted Monday night to begin formulating a plan that would see the city’s hotel-motel room taxes supplement the advertising done by for-profit operations like Chinook Winds and Tanger Outlet Mall. These and other major businesses already sponsor special events throughout the year.
It’s part of an evolving policy that the council has been advancing lately that weans city support away from some events that some call “lackluster,” in favor of applying advertising dollars toward other events that produce more “heads in beds” for local hotels, motels and vacation rental dwellings.
Mayor Dick Anderson said he would like to see the city’s Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB) partner with proven successful for-profit entities to help them bring even more visitors to the city. He and VCB Director Sandy Pfaff went over a hypothetical example. “Tanger approaches the VCB and asks for assistance in putting on an event that has the potential to bring a substantial number of visitors to Lincoln City. The success of that event, both for Tanger and for the city as a whole, is heavily dependent upon effective marketing, including advertising and other promotional activities. The VCB, either through staff or a formal request to the Visitors and Convention Committee (VCC), or another group, agrees to spend money with Tanger on specific marketing efforts agreed to in advance such as appearing at a sporting event in Portland to promote the event or placing $5,000 in ads in The Oregonian. The ads or other promotional materials would include certain features that strengthen the general marketing campaign done on behalf of Lincoln City as a whole. The features might include the look of the ad and/or a highlighted activity within the ad and/or taglines and print font styles that remind the reader that this IS Lincoln City, as well as Tanger and “Hoop It Up.” We are, in this case, sending potential visitors a joint message.”
Since the use of city room tax funds for advertising special events has, in the past, been aimed mainly at non-profit groups and their events, the council indicated that they want clear requirements to accompany any city partnering with the private sector; how will the city’s money be leveraged and to what extent, promoting the city’s branding or logo presence in the advertising and whether an event has the potential to attract substantial numbers of tourists to Lincoln City and methods to verify whether it did its job.
Although the VCB will continue to support major (emphasis on “major”) tourist events, Mayor Anderson said the bureau must operate in a way that very substantially attracts more visitors without dishing out a lot more money. Mayor Anderson and the council asked Pfaff to come back to the council in July with a plan to launch such a public-private marketing partnership while not ignoring the major events the VCB is already sponsoring while also keeping an ear to the ground for emerging special events created by non-profits.