The peak tourist season is almost at an end in Gulf County, but the Tourist Development Council isn’t taking it lightly.
Rather than relax during the off-season, the TDC plans to launch their fall marketing plan this week with a focus on growing visitors over the fall months.
Over the next 30 days, the TDC will utilize the social media website Pintrest.com to display locations around Gulf County. Visitors and area residents will be encouraged to decode the locations and share any relevant stories.
“It’s going to be fun and interactive,” said Marketing Manager Michelle Perrin. “We’re reaching out to our Gulf County experts.”
The goal of the campaign is to familiarize residents and potential visitors with some of the interesting and photogenic areas that Gulf County has to offer while potentially opening up some eyes to areas that locals and visitors may not have visited before.
“Everyone knows the gazebo by Frank Pate Park,” said executive director Jennifer Jenkins. “But they may not know it from a different perspective.”
While the goal is not to stump anyone, Jenkins will provide a hint if a picture proves to be too obscure.
Over the course of the month, 10 contributors will be awarded gift cards for their participation.
At the end of the month, one grand prize will be awarded that includes a week-long stay at a Barrier Dunes home courtesy of Gulf Coast Vacation Rentals, About Fun Charters will take the winners on a four-hour excursion of their choice, Dockside Seafood and Raw Bar will provide dinner for two, and travel expenses will be paid by the TDC, encouraging those from out of town to get in on the fun.
“We’re visually highlighting Gulf County,” said Jenkins. “We’re going to get some chatter going.”
The TDC will build awareness for the contest through e-blasts to their subscriber list of 24,000 people. They’ll be targeting female decision-makers, explorers and nature and pet lovers throughout Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
The campaign will also be promoted through Facebook and Google Ads to reach the widest audience possible. Jenkins’ goal is to reach 900,000 people by the beginning of October.
“People enjoy beautiful images,” said Perrin. “We wanted to explore what we could do with Pintrest in order to reach out to people.”
Jenkins reported that the bed tax collection for July was up almost 8 percent from last year and the TDC has exceeded their revenue projections for the fiscal year with reports from August and September still pending.
“The rain this summer made it iffy,” said Jenkins. “It shows that with strong marketing, messaging and what we have to offer as a destination, the weather didn’t deter our guests.”