Thursday, July 29, 2010

Talking about tourism

In the first BizBlast blog I told you about the free marketing Visit Florida is offering to tourism businesses. Now I want to tell you about some plans the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is working on to help local businesses with their overall marketing strategies.

In today's business section, you'll see the bureau hosted another tourism industry meeting on Wednesday. While those meetings have mainly addressed oil spill issues, interim director Elliott Falcione indicated he'd like future meetings to be educational workshops for tourism businesses.

Falcione said future meetings will aim to bring in local experts on online marketing, social media networking and other marketing strategies to help tourism businesses  reach their clients more effectively. In addition, Falcione said the meetings should be an opportunity for business owners to share what's helping or hurting their sales.

The next tourism industry meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. Aug. 11 at Holmes Beach City Hall. That meeting will give you an opportunity to meet the bureau's new Executive Manager Debbie Meihls, who will oversee sales and marketing for the bureau and maybe learn a tip or two for your business.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Visit Florida offers free marketing help

If you have a tourism-related business, listen up. Visit Florida wants to give your company free marketing.

The state's official tourism marketing organization is offering all Florida tourism businesses a free listing on its website, The website is where tourists go to research their vacation destinations and scout hotels, restaurants and shopping venues.

Due to the BP oil spill, Visit Florida initiated the free listings program to help the state's tourism industry.

If your business feeds off tourism here's what you need to do:

Go to and click the "Register Me Online" icon toward the bottom of the page. Once approved, your business listing will be posted on Visit Florida and will include a business description, one photo and a link to your website. Free business listings will remain on until June 30, 2011.

The cost for these Visit Florida listings typically range from $95 a year to $1,500 a year so take advantage of the opportunity now. Last month, the website attracted 719,070 visitors.

That's quite a market to reach for free.