Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 07/22/2015  

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 TW CVB  follows this Executive Summary comparing budget to actual expenditures through May 2015 made by TWCVB on behalf of The Woodlands Township.
 
A presentation will be made by the President of TWCVB during the July 22, 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, April through June 2015:
           
Communication Outreach
  • 29,500+ unique website visits
  • Average of 83% of website visits are new visitors
  • 9,145+ Visitor Guides distributed (English and Spanish)
  • 8,900+ Spring/Summer Discovery Guide & Savings Books distributed
Visitor, Media, and Public Relations Activity
  • Recordation of over 59,000 visitors through Visitor Services at Market Street and The Woodlands Mall
    • Visitors from over 300 different zip codes, 85 countries and 45 states
  • 92 responses to media inquiries about The Woodlands as a destination
  • 194 articles about The Woodlands as a destination
Destination Marketing
  • Print Ads
  • See Texas First Insert (2nd quarter generated 4,962 leads)
  • Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine
  • Southern Living Magazine (2nd quarter generated 413 leads)
  • Texas Events Calendar
  • Texas Highways Magazine (2nd quarter generated 82 leads)
  • Texas Journey Magazine
  • The Woodlands CVB was able to secure last minute ad buys at a deep discount with national publications such as:
    • Conde Nast Traveler (targeting Austin/San Antonio Subscribers)
    • Golf Digest (targeting Austin/San Antonio Subscribers)
    • Bride’s Magazine (targeting Texas subscribers)
    •  United Airlines Business Class Magazine, Rhapsody (targeting 2 million readers nationally a month)
  • 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
    • 8,414 likes (as of June 30, 2015)
    • The Woodlands CVB saw a spike in engagement during Ironman Texas Weekend, Travel and Tourism Week as well as Memorial Day Weekend.
  • Twitter Page – www.Twitter.com/TheWoodlandsCVB
    • 2,557 followers (as of June 30, 2015)
  • YouTube Page – www.YouTube.com/TheWoodlandsCVB
    • 44,439 views (as of June 30, 2015)
  • Instagram Page – www.Instagram.com/VisitTheWoodlandsTX
    • 280 followers (as of June 30, 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 specifically 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.
  • Cable TV
    • :30 second spots to showcase The Woodlands with an emphasis on heads in beds strategy and flighted to drive summer occupancy within the Houston markets.
  • Cooperative Advertising
    • Cooperative advertising efforts through a Wall Street Journal magazine style insert in the Austin, Corpus, Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, Houston and Beaumont/Port Author markets. 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
  • Sales Travel
    • Plan Your Meetings – Austin
      • Speed networking event with 40 meeting planners from the Austin area.
      • The Woodlands CVB was a title sponsor of the event.
        • Showed short video about The Woodlands and received special recognition in conference program.
    • Collaborate Marketplace – Orlando
      • Conference attended by 350 corporate meeting planners.
      • One-on-one appointments with 26 meeting planners.
        • Meeting planners are excited to hear about the growth of The Woodlands.
        • Already booked a piece of business from the conference.
      • The Woodlands CVB participated in Team Texas sponsorship of a professional headshot lounge for added exposure at Collaborate Marketplace.
  • Hotel Meetings
    • Group Sales Specialist holds hotel meeting every other month with hoteliers in The Woodlands.
    • May meeting was held at Hyatt Market Street.
      • Guest speaker Gil Staley from The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership shared news from his office.
      • Hyatt Market Street announced that they will be changing their name later this year to join the new Hyatt Centric brand.
  • 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.
    • ½ page ad in Association Leadership
    • ½ page ad in Texas Meetings and Events
    • E-blast sent to 30,000 meeting planners and business travelers
    • Maintain Meeting Planner website, www.MeetingsInTheWoodlands.com
  • Convention Servicing
    • Worked with Texas Pharmacy Association to plan group activities for their conference attendees in The Woodlands.
    • Working with the Texas Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus to assist with planning of conference at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott in August.
    • Provided welcome bags with visitor information and welcome letters to various groups meeting in The Woodlands.
Event Update
  • Live at Night – Spring Series
    • Saturdays April 18th-May 9th
    • Featured live music at Waterway Square each week from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
      • 7,600+ estimated attendees
      • Survey results included (Survey Size = 121):
        • 48% of attendees were from outside The Woodlands
        • 2% of attendees were staying in a hotel while in The Woodlands
  • Memorial Day Weekend Event
    • Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24, 2015at Town Green Park, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Featured fireworks, live music, strolling entertainers, activities and more
    • 8,000+ estimated attendees
    • Survey results included (Survey Size = 293):
      • 52% of attendees were from outside of The Woodlands with 14% from Houston, 9% from Spring, 5% from Conroe and 24% from areas other than the ones listed
      • 115 non-residents said this event brought them to The Woodlands
      • 11% of Memorial Day Weekend attendees stayed in a hotel
  • Waterway Nights
    • Saturdays in June 2015
    • Featured fireworks, live music and strolling entertainers each night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
    • 12,000+ estimated series attendees
    • Survey results included (Survey Size = 74):
      • 51.4% of attendees were from outside The Woodlands with 9% from Houston, 5% from Spring and 37.8% from areas other than the ones listed
      • 40% of attendees were brought to The Woodlands by this event
      • 9% of attendees were staying in a hotel while in The Woodlands
  • 18th Annual Red, Hot & Blue Festival and Fireworks Extravaganza
    • Saturday, July 4, 2015 at Town Green Park and along The Woodlands Waterway
    • 2 stages of live music, kids’ H-E-B hot dog eating contests, children’s activities, over 50 vendors and more
    • The Fireworks Extravaganza was launched from Town Green Park and Lake Woodlands while simulcast on Sunny 99.1
    • Survey results included (Survey Size = 76):
      • 61.1% of attendees were from outside of The Woodlands
      • 72.37% said the event brought them to The Woodlands
      • 2.63% of attendees were staying the night in a hotel
      • 98.68% said they would attend the festival again next year
 
Business Development
More than 73 sponsor visits have been made, with more than 1,020 outbound/inbound communications with current and potential sponsors. Currently, $249,250 of the $325,000 goal is contracted or 77% of goal.
 
 
Waterway Cruiser Update
 
  1. 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:
 
  1. Ridership
From January to June 2015, a total of 17,024 passengers boarded the Cruisers which is a 3% decrease from 2014. The Woodlands CVB Team believes this is due to weather as 63% of Waterway Cruiser ride days experienced rain and/or thunderstorms in The Woodlands during the 2nd quarter. Please see attached graphic. The Woodlands CVB’s contribution was $48,800 during the first 5 months of the year.
 
RECOMMENDATION:
Attachments
Waterway Cruiser Ridership as of June 2015


    

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