Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 04/16/2015  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon a quarterly update from The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau;
FISCAL IMPACT:
BACKGROUND:
Each quarter, The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau (TWCVB) updates The Woodlands Township with a written financial report as well as a visual presentation concerning the services provided by TWCVB to The Woodlands Township. TWCVB on behalf of The Woodlands Township markets and promotes shopping, dining, lodging and entertainment in The Woodlands to stimulate sales tax and hotel occupancy tax collections.
 
An updated financial report from TWCVB  follows this Executive Summary comparing budget to actual expenditures through February 2015 made by TWCVB on behalf of The Woodlands Township.
 
A presentation will be made by the President of TWCVB during the April 16, 2015 meeting of The Woodlands Township Board of Directors with an update on services, including visitor activity, special event attendance and related results of the destination marketing efforts.
 
TWCVB’s Mission is to position The Woodlands as a regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized tourist destination by developing quality marketing programs and events to attract visitors and stimulate economic development and growth.
 
TWCVB directs its marketing efforts locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to group and meeting planners, travel agents, tour operators, travel journalists, and the general public who directly influence visitors’ choices in shopping, dining and residential living in The Woodlands.
 
TWCVB Board of Directors currently are Gordy Bunch, Chairman; Fred Domenick, Vice Chairman; Ed Robb, Treasurer/Secretary; Peggy Hausman, Director; Karen Hoylman, Director; Don Norrell, Director; Greg Parsons, Director and Nick Wolda as President.

Below are key stats of TWCVB efforts, January through March 2015:
           
Communication Outreach
  • 18,507 unique website visits in March 2015 alone
  • 85% of website visits are new visitors
  • 12,120+ Visitor Guides distributed (English and Spanish)
  • 3,200+ Spring/Summer Discovery Guide & Savings Books distributed
 
Visitor, Media, and Public Relations Activity 
  • Recordation and interviews of nearly 27,000 visitors through Visitor Services at Market Street and The Woodlands Mall
    • Visitors from over 300 different zip codes, 75 countries and 43 states
  • 84 responses to media inquiries about The Woodlands as a destination
  • 404 articles about The Woodlands as a destination
 
Destination Marketing
  • Print Ads – Houston Visitor Guide (Spring)
  • Online
    • Monthly e-newsletters distributed to a database of over 33,000
      • Averaging 4,000+ click-through rate per newsletter
    • Facebook Page – www.Facebook.com/VisitTheWoodlands
      • 7,911 likes (as of March 31, 2015)
    • Twitter Page – www.Twitter.com/TheWoodlandsCVB
      • 2,362 followers (as of March 31, 2015)
    • YouTube Page – www.YouTube.com/TheWoodlandsCVB
      • 43,096 views (as of March 31, 2015)
    • Launched Instagram Page – www.Instagram.com/VisitTheWoodlandsTX
      • 131 followers (as of March 31, 2015)
    • Search Engine Marketing – involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages through optimization and advertising. This initiative targets Texas specificially to maximize reach.
    • TourTexas.com – a premiere source for Texas Travel Information generated 454 leads to send marketing collateral to potential visitors.
    • TripAdvisor.com – An American travel website providing reviews of travel related content. It also includes interactive travel forums for social engagement. As of March 31, 2015, over 8,900 reviews and opinions have been shared on The Woodlands profile.
    • Video Globetrotter – is ranked in the top 4 on Google’s search for travel destination videos. The Woodlands is featured on a portion of the site that specifically targets travelers. The profile was launched on March 26, 2015.
  • Upcoming Destination Marketing efforts:
    • See Texas First Spring Edition– Newspaper Insert: Circulation 1,025,755 in 24 newspapers in Texas and contiguous states.
    • Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine: circulation of 450,000 and targets the flying affluent. The magazine blends energetic travel reporting with diverse, trend-charting topics from the various industries.
    • Southern Living (Southwest Edition) – circulation 650,000 and composed of a comprehensive editorial package highlighting foods, travel, homes and gardens in the South.
    • Cable TV: :30 second spots to showcase The Woodlands with an emphasis on heads in beds strategy and flighted to drive summer occupancy.
    • Cooperative advertising efforts through a Wall Street Journal magazine style insert as well as a USAToday.com online initiative partnering with: Market Street, The Woodlands Development Company, The Woodlands Mall, Hyatt Market Street, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center

Group Sales Efforts
  • Site Tours & FAM Trips
    • Texas Pharmacy Association
  • The Inter-American Conference of the Red Cross
    • Assembled at The Woodlands Resort March 27-30
    • The 3-day conference hosted about 350 attendees mainly from the Americas region as well as from other parts of the world to The Woodlands to discuss ways to support the goals of the International Federation of the Red Cross.
    • First time conference has been held in the United States
    • The TWCVB provided conference attendees with welcome bags filled with local information, Visitor Guides, Discovery Guides and a special gift of Texas Chili Mix.
    • Visitor Services staffed a booth at the Resort to answer any questions about The Woodlands and give information about the restaurants and shopping available.
  • TWCVB Partnership with The Woodlands Resort
    • Texas Tourism sales trip to Brazil
    • Julie Charros-Betancor on behalf of TWCVB visited four cities in Brazil and presented to 400 travel and tour operators and members of the media to promote The Woodlands as a destination.
  • Marketing efforts
    • Ad Network ads – these networks are targeted specifically to a demographic and allows the advertiser to target a specific customer by the way the customer uses the internet.
    • Maintain Meeting Planner website, www.MeetingsInTheWoodlands.com
    • Continue to develop e-blast for groups coming to The Woodlands that provides things to do, where to eat, where to shop, and more.
 
Event Update
  • Taste of the Town
    • Thursday, January 29, 2015 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center
    • 6,500 estimated attendees
    • Survey results concluded:
      • 65% rated the event as excellent
      • 59% of guests were first time attendees
      • The top three ways attendees heard about the event were
        1. 46% - “other” which included Facebook, other community events, other online websites, merchants, hotels and more
        2. 35% - word of mouth
        3. 14% - newspaper articles
  • Live at Night presented by Wells Fargo
    • Spring series: Saturdays, April 18 – May 9, 2015
    • Featuring live music at Waterway Square each week from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    • 10,000+ anticipated attendance for entire series
  • The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival
    • Friday, April 10 - Sunday, April 12, 2015 at Town Green Park and along The Woodlands Waterway®
    • To celebrate 10 years, “First Look Friday” will give attendees and opportunity to enjoy the festival on Friday.
    • 16,000+ anticipated attendees
  • Memorial Day Weekend in The Woodlands presented by Wells Fargo
    • Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24, 2015
    • Featuring fireworks, live music, activities and more at Town Green Park from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night

Business Development
More than 65 sponsor visits have been made, with more than 500 outbound/inbound communications with current and potential sponsors. Currently, $138,500 of the $325,000 goal is contracted or 43% of goal. 
 
Waterway Cruiser Update

Kiosks
At the January 13, 2015 TWCVB Board of Directors planning session, it was voted to continue with the fee structure for the Waterway Cruisers and begin discussions of a Kiosk payment system onsite at various stops along the Waterway. Over the next few months the TWCVB will work with the Transit Planner on an RFP process to determine the best system for the Cruisers needs. The RFP is planned to be distributed after Township & TWCVB Board approval.
 
Advertising
TWCVB is continuing to promote the Cruisers as an exciting and fun outing for visitors as well as residents of The Woodlands. The marketing plan includes, but not limited to:
  • Online
  • Print
    • Offer “Buy One Get One Free” Coupon in The Woodlands Discovery Guide & Savings Book, Current Newsletter, and Event Flyers/Programs
    • Distribute rack brochures highlighting the cruiser schedule and a route map with list of stops along with catering information
Ridership
From January to February 2015, a total of 4,357 passengers boarded the Cruisers which is a 9.1% increase from the same time period in 2014.  Please see attached graphic.

 
RECOMMENDATION:
There is no Board Action necessary at this time.
Attachments
Waterway Cruiser Yearly Report Through Feb. 2015


    

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