Last updated: June 01. 2013 8:43AM - 404 Views
Dylan Lightfoot
Staff Writer

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The West Jefferson Tourism Development Authority (TDA) approved a revised budget for fiscal year 2013-14, and heard a presentation from High Country Host on co-op ad campaigns at their April meeting at Town Hall Thursday.

The TDA has budgeted for a $19,300 tourism promotion campaign through a variety of media, said West Jefferson Town Manager Brantley Price.

A $3,600 WBTV.com advertising package was agreed upon, with WBTV breaking the cost into monthly installments over the year, Price said. The price had been discounted 20 percent due to the TDA’s nonprofit status.

A $3,200 billboard campaign will be run, he said, beginning with one billboard on U.S. 321 south of Blowing Rock, with another going up between Boone and Blowing Rock when billboard space becomes available. This cost is would also be paid on installments over four months, he said.

Another $2,500 was allocated for rack cards promoting the Gallery Crawl and Backstreet concert, he said.

The budget included $5,000 for advertising through High Country Host (HCH), a cooperative marketing group promoting the High Country region through pooled capital invested by members. A $5,000 balance was left in the budget for miscellaneous promotions.

The TDA voted to join HCH in February. Marketing Director Candice Cook attended the April meeting to discuss promotional strategies available to the town through advertising co-ops with other towns in the region.

Price explained that the budget had been amended for a second time this year. In February, changes were made to reflect $10,051 in unanticipated revenue from Hampton Inn, which was court-ordered to pay back occupancy taxes to the county in January.

Towns and businesses in the region have gotten exposure in publications like Southern Living by combining their advertising dollars to buy full page ads and dividing the ad space among them, Cook said.

In the same way, HCH has helped put together full-page “vacation planner” magazine ads featuring a number of attractions and amenities to sell tourist on the idea of “destination versus driving market,” she said.

Through HCH co-ops, the TDA can combine their funds with other advertiser’s, buying a share of almost $400,000 in pooled ad dollars, she said.

The budget had been again revised, he said, this time to reflect taxes not paid by Hampton Inn. The West Jefferson Board of Alderman had given direction to collect delinquent occupancy taxes from the motel, but, he said “I have no idea how long it will be.”

The TDA’s next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 23.

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