CVB adds social media specialist

6/26/2014

By SCOTT AUST

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

The Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau decided Wednesday to add a new full time social media/event specialist position to the CVB staff who will handle the organization's social media presence and also provide needed assistance with other aspects of the operation.

Kim Inderlied, CVB executive director, said an additional staff person was needed to handle the increased activity CVB has seen, especially given how busy the existing staff is with the upcoming Garden City Charity Classic golf tournament.

"We're fast getting to the point where we need assistance," she said. "We have three social media platforms we have to keep up with in addition to everything else. Sometimes, it's just a body there to answer the phone."

Last month, the board asked Inderlied to create a job description for the position. The job description calls the position an entry level job with primary responsibility to support the CVB, including event planning and follow up, advertising and marketing, and creating content for printed materials and social media. A college degree is preferred, and some experience is required in event planning, creating marketing materials and/or working with social media. Inderlied said salary would be around $24,000 to $25,000 per year.

Initially, Inderlied proposed eliminating a part-time receptionist position and having the new position take over those responsibilities as well. But board members felt both positions are necessary.

"Based on seeing how things have progressed from previous years to present time, I could sure see the justification of keeping your part-time person ... because I think your part-time is the meeter and greeter and the phone person," Board member Angie Clark said. "It would be beneficial for having (the new position) be out and about helping with events and not so much tied up at the office."

Inderlied informed the board she has submitted the CVB's 2015 budget to the county commission. The overall CVB budget is $1,110,850 for 2015, a decrease of $81,150 from this year's $1,192,000. Revenues, collected from the 6 percent transient guest tax charged on overnight hotel stays, are projected at $800,000 next year, the same as 2014. The CVB projects a $310,850 cash carryover for 2015, less than the $392,000 cash carryover projected in the 2014 budget.

General and administrative expenses were budgeted at $380,850 in 2015, a roughly $840 increase over this year. Advertising and marketing expenditures are set to increase to $280,000 next year from $200,000 in 2014; money budgeted for grants will be reduced to $200,000 in 2015, down $50,000; and the money budgeted for recruiting events will stay the same at $250,000.

Inderlied also provided the county with a quarterly report of CVB activities and will present the same report to the city commission next week.

"We're going great guns, and I don't see us slowing down any time soon," she said.

The report details marketing efforts in digital, television and radio and print. In digital marketing, CVB sends email blasts to between 50,000 and 100,000 recipients each month in surrounding states and communities; is collaborating on projects with Lin Media and Try Southwest Kansas coalition on search engine marketing projects in which ads target specific users in other states who are searching for travel opportunities. Clicking on an ad directs users to the CVB or other attractions in Finney County.

Ongoing television and radio marketing includes statewide ads featuring local events; a Shop Garden City campaign running in 22 counties that urges people to come shop here; community calendar and ads in local radio; a collaboration with Try Southwest Kansas coalition on media buys in Texas and Kansas.

In print marketing, CVB has placed ads in PGA/Masters events promoting local golf; ads in game programs for professional sports teams in Dallas and Denver and college programs including Oklahoma State, Kansas, and Kansas State; advertised in Kansas Magazine; and is collaborating with the Chamber of Commerce to create a Garden City magazine.

Recruiting efforts include the American Junior Golf Association event; the Garden City Charity Classic - Symetra Golf tour event; signing an additional Babe Ruth baseball tournament; and joining the National Association of Sports Commissions and securing a state tournament corn toss event for 2015.

Inderlied said the county has approved a change in CVB bylaws that affects the way board officers serve. The board previously elected a chair, vice chair and treasurer each year. With the change, the current chair will step down each year, the vice chair will become the chair, the treasurer will become the vice chair and the board will elect a new treasurer. All will serve for one-year terms.

The past chair will act as an advisor to the officers for the year and then must wait an additional year before becoming eligible to serve as treasurer.

In addition, the bylaws now cover annual evaluations of the CVB director and staff.

The director will evaluate staff members annually and can request a merit increase in salary for those employees based on the outcome of the evaluation. Also once per year each board member will complete an evaluation of the director, scoring each section of the evaluation. The board has the option to grant a merit pay increase depending on the average score of the evaluation.

Roxanne Morgan, assistant director, told the board 133 people booked rooms in local hotels using the Jackrabbit booking system on the CVB website between June 1 - 20.The number of hits to that page are averaging seven per day, up from four per day the previous month.

Visits to the CVB website itself are up to 90 per day, Morgan said, an increase from 30 per day previously. Of those, 62 percent of website visits come from people using tablets or mobile devices.

Larry Johnson, events coordinator, reported that a new grant period is open for people to submit applications for event funding. The office has created a new packet for applicants that includes information about the program, the application, guidelines, an event worksheet, and post-event analysis sheet.

Inderlied said the packet also provides a guide to creating an event plan, rather than just a laundry list of steps through the grant process.

"It turned out we actually wrote a user guide for how you do this, not only how you do it, but why it's important," Inderlied said. "I think the folks who do receive grant funds are going to do a better job with their events because they'll have some things in place that they otherwise wouldn't have had."

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