Retailers in seaside towns have a solid budget as strategies are adapted after Covid

Wrightsville Beach’s marketing budget makes way for payments to influencers and a targeted social media strategy. (Port City Daily / File)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH – With a budget of $ 734,000, the Wrightsville Beach marketer is poised to make money after a year of social lockdowns and restrictions. Overseen by the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau, this year’s marketing budget for the beach town is a 22.5% increase from two years ago.

Office coffers are funded by room occupancy taxes collected from temporary rentals in the three seaside towns of New Hanover County. This 6% tax is divided into two blocks; half goes to fund beach food and promote travel and tourism throughout New Hanover County, while the second half goes to projects in the specific city from which the tax was collected.

Among the planned spending, social media will be a dominant force: $ 130,000 for advertising campaigns on search engines and social media platforms; $ 20,000 to contract with influencers; $ 68,000 for advertising on audio and visual streaming platforms like Hulu and Spotify.

Kim Hufham, chairman of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority, wrote to the Port City Daily in an email that seaside towns in the county “have seen increases in the collection of room occupancy taxes for most months. of Covid, with the exception of the lockdown months ”.

“The Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau’s post-covid marketing programs are designed to increase visitor numbers by building the off-season (fall / spring / winter) and targeting first-time visitors, in addition to regular visitors,” Hufham wrote. “During Covid, our primary marketing focus was visitors from the state who had visited Wilmington and the beaches on our island in the past.”

The new budget, with the part of Wrightsville Beach approved by the beach town government last week, allocates $ 588,000 to “Advertising / Media / Services.” The “contingency” item of $ 100,000 brings the budget to a total of $ 733,810. According to Hufham, the emergency room is an accommodation for crisis communications – such as hurricanes or a Covid-19 resurgence – “and new marketing opportunities that can arise during a fiscal year and after planning” .

“The importance of repeat visitors to our destination cannot be overstated, and the Wilmington and Beaches CVB remains committed to marketing to our loyal visitors and providing a quality visitor experience,” Hufham wrote. “Increasing attention to include new visitors identified by search can help increase the number of additional visits to our destination. ”

The room occupancy tax that propels these efforts is overseen by New Hanover County. “Each operator of a business or individual providing taxable accommodation in New Hanover County, such as a hotel, motel, inn, room rental, tourist camp, or other short-term rental term, is subject to a room occupancy tax in accordance with [state law]According to the county tax website.

Wrightsville Beach’s full marketing budget can be found here starting on page 47.

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