The Destin Chamber of Commerce hosted a Breakfast on the Bay event on Friday morning at LuLu’s in Destin.
During the event, the director of the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Department, Jennifer Adams, walked the group through what progress the TDD has made in the past year as well as what projects are in the works for the upcoming year.
Adams said the TDD did not have a mission statement last year, so they created one to better align with their goals.
Their new missions statement is: “To proactively manager tourism within the destination, to nurture and foster the beach’s natural resources, and to develop and implement socially conscious initiatives that mindfully balance the quality of life for locals and vacationers alike.”
“We have lost our story,” Adams said. “We need to get back to the place where people come back because they had such a great experience.”
The TDD’s goals for the next year are to increase tax revenues from tourists during prime season (May to September), increase visitor spending, increase occupancy at the Emerald Coast Convention Center and to increase social media engagement.
To achieve these goals they’ve taken a different approach to media this year. Instead of using dozens of different media outlets, the TDD has partnered with ABC, Meredith Time Inc. and Garden and Gun to reach the widest possible audience. An advertisement for the Destin area will be seen at the Super Bowl and more promotions will be done in key areas such as Chicago and Raleigh due to new flights coming in from those areas.
They will also be bringing in an up and coming country music artist that will film in the area before attending the CMA Awards. They then hope to have them perform during the end of summer concert series.
“We have to get back on the music scene people,” Adams said. “I think we’ve lost that a little bit, but we’ve got to get it back.”
More advertisements will also appear in publications such as Real Simple, Better Home and Gardens and Garden and Gun.
“I feel like we’ve aligned ourselves with the right digital partners rather than having 100 to 150 different media outlets all trying to get the same message out,” Adams said.
Photography is another big area that is getting a makeover. Adams said the previous photos for the tourism website and guide are too manicured and unrealistic, so they are focusing on getting real, authentic photos.
“We’re capturing people, we’re capturing the fleet,” she said. “We want photos that are authentic and emotional and show something.”
Perhaps one of the most noticeable changes will be to the TDD’s logo. Adams said they will be starting research for rebranding next week.
“This is not our brand, by the way,” Adams said as she pointed to the Emerald Coast logo on her name tag. “This is a terrible mark that has been conjured together to say nothing, so we will be finding our right brand and our right logo.”