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YMCTB Board Minutes Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

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YMCTB Board Minutes Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau Powered By Docstoc
					                Yosemite/Mariposa Tourism Bureau Minutes
                                  Meeting
                              January 18, 2012
               Mariposa County Board of Supervisors Chambers
                    5100 Bullion St., Mariposa, CA 95338

Meeting was called to order by Dan Jensen at 1:39 p.m.

Board Members Present:                          Excused Board Members:
Dan Jensen (DNC) - President
Donna Brownell (Arts Council)
Brian Bullis (Mariposa County Fairgrounds)
Donna Davis (The Redwoods)
Jonathan Farrington (Tenaya Lodge)
Donna Nassar (B&B’s Secretary) Secretary-Treasurer
Doug Shaw (The Yosemite Bug)
Kevin Shelton (Yosemite Resorts) Vice President
Mary Ann Huff (Chamber of Commerce)
Sara Zahn (Hotel Jeffery)

Ex-Officio Members Present:                      Absent Ex-Officio Members:
Roger Biery, EDC                                 Marilyn Lidyoff
Candy O’Donnell-Browne
Donna Sisson, YNP
Staff:                                           Visitors:
Jeffrey Hentz – Executive Director               Mark Astone - (Catalyst)
Julie Hadzega – Administrative Coordinator       Steven Dana - (McClatchy)
Julie Guyton – Administrative Assistant


Public Comments

MaryAnn Huff discussed the John Muir Geotourism Center. Huff stated that after
the Gateway Meeting occurred last week, a press release was generated. She
went on to state that two years ago, Hwy 132 was designated as the John Muir
Historic Route. Huff stated that they have become a non-profit organization. She
further stated that the Graf/Pulvino Family has donated $75,000 to the cause.
She further stated that John Shimer is very involved with the history center in the
North County, and that they have a very strong board. Huff went on to state that
there have been overwhelming phone calls and interest from geo-tourism aspect
of this. Huff stated that she wants the Tourism Board to continue its involvement
with the branding of the product. She further stated that the Pulvino’s donated
$1,000. 00 to the John Muir display at the Visitor’s Center, and another donation
to put together John Muir Tours which will be starting next year. Huff further
stated that Robert Hanna has come on board to help us. He is John Muir’s great
grandson.

ACTION MATTERS, REGULAR AGENDA

Jensen stated he wanted to move the action items to do the nomination of Sara
Zahn first, so she can participate in the voting in today’s meeting.

   1. Y.M.C.T.B. – BOARD SEAT NOMINATION – NORTH COUNTY: Jensen stated
      that there is an open board seat, and he wants to consider Sara Zahn for
      the position. Hentz stated that we have eleven seats on the board, of
      which a majority is lodging. Hentz went on to state that the Board tries to
      balance the seats between south county, west (Mariposa), and the north
      county, (Coulterville). Hentz stated that the Coulterville seat was occupied
      by Cheryl Ann Schimmelfennig. She gave up that seat with the closure of
      Hotel Jeffery. Hentz further stated that the Board is currently at nine, six of
      those are lodging and three are non-lodging.
      Jensen then asked Sara Zahn to introduce herself. Zahn stated that her
      background is in medical. She stated she joined the Air Force and trained
      as a medic and that all her experience is in cardiology. Zahn stated that
      they brought their business to the hotel to supplement their income.
      Hentz stated that he had discussions with Zahn’s partner, Forest Monk,
      about the board seat, and that it was decided that Sara was to take the
      seat. Hentz further stated that a representative from Hotel Jeffery has
      attended the Board Meetings since August, so this will be their third
      consecutive meeting.
      Jensen asked for a motion to nominate Sara Zahn to the Board. Shelton
      nominated, Brownell seconded, motion passed. The Board welcomed Sara
      Zahn.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Approval of the previous minutes. Jensen asked
   for a motion to approve the minutes. Motion was made by Bullis, seconded
   by Davis. Motion passed. Hentz brought up the fact that the copies were
   not scanned and emailed. He stated that the copier was acting up and
   therefore we had to make paper copies. Hentz stated that he is hoping by
   next meeting to have everything sent via email.
3. BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING DATE CHANGE: From Wednesday, March
   21 to Thursday, March 22. Jensen asked for a motion to approve, Davis
   made motion, seconded by Bullis, motion passed.
4. YOSEMITE.COM: Hentz introduced Mark Astone from Catalyst and Steven
   Dana from McClatchy to discuss ad pricing for Yosemite.com. Hentz stated
   that everyone has been hard at work getting ready for the transition of
   Yosemite.com coming under our management. Our goal is to launch in the
   next five weeks. Hentz stated that the goal is to get the prices right for
   everyone. Astone stated that the launch date is February 13, 2012. Astone
   further stated that the new site is warmer and more user and advertiser
   friendly. He further stated that the final step is to engage Steven Dana and
   McClatchy to start the selling and managing inventory. Dana stated that
   the old site is very outdated and not user friendly. There is a 50% bounce
   rate and this is unacceptable. Dana further stated that you want people to
   stay on the site, as the views increase so do the revenues. He stated that
   the new ads are larger and show up throughout the site.
   After a lengthy discussion about ad prices and discounts, it was decided to
   give all DVP tourism related businesses will get 20% discount on advertising
   on Yosemite.com.
   A motion was made by Shaw that all businesses in Mariposa County that
   are tourism related and eligible to be in the DVP will get a 20% discount on
   advertising on Yosemite.com. The motion was seconded by Huff. Motion
   approved.

   Hentz asked to clarify if we intend to include listings of other than hotels on
   the site. Hentz stated that we will not give any free advertising on
   Yosemite.com at this time. It was decided to wait and see how McClatchy
   does with selling ads. If there is a lot of empty spots right before the
   February 13th launch, we will look into free temporary advertising so there
   will not be blank areas on the site. Hentz also stated that the board should
   be able to view the site prior to public launch to check for any mistakes.
   Dana stated he would look into that and let everyone know as soon as
   possible.

   INFORMATION AND PRESENTATION MATTERS

5. TREASURERS REPORT: Per Jensen, no approval required. Hentz stated that
   the packets include September, October and November. Hentz further
   stated that all travel expenses are now being broken down into three areas:
   one is lodging/meals, the second is transportation (mileage, air, car and
   parking) and the third is entertainment. We are still off $700.00 which is
   logged under transportation and should be lodging and meals. The
   correction will be noted at the next meeting. Hentz stated that collections
   are up 9% as of last month. Hentz went on to state it will drop a little. We
   are $320,000 ahead in TOT, and collections are ahead by $28,000 from last
   year’s record.
6. TOWSEND PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Biery discussed the retainer with Townsend
   Public Affairs. Biery went on to say that the Tourism Bureau contributed
   $10,000.00, the County contributed $30,000 and various other
   organizations contributed money. He stated everything was slow during
   the holidays, no site visits were done. Biery stated that Dan Felton, a
   consultant, is working with us. Felton recommended we do a scoping
   effort at the site, facility, number of rooms, what market we would target.
   Then a feasibility study would be done as a way to entice developers. Biery
   stated that there is a handout in the packet that lists projects that we
   identified that we identified in the kickoff week with Townsend. Biery
   stated that in that handout is CEDS which stands for Comprehensive
   Economic Development Strategy. CEDS must be present to be eligible for
   funding from Federal Economic Development Agencies. There are other
   public sources available too but you don’t have to have a CEDS to get them,
   which is why CEDS is so important. Biery further went on to say that we are
   in the process of revamping the CEDS, to narrow down from eighteen
   projects to four. Each of the four main projects are now bigger. They are:
   Infrastructure Enhancements, specifically in this will be a conference and
   performing arts center with a hotel; destination businesses, in support of
   tourism, enhancing what we offer tourists as a destination; industry
   diversification, where all other non tourism related. Biery went on to say
   that Mariposa County has joined the Central Sierra Economic Development
   District, one of five counties. The five counties are: Mariposa, Tuolumne,
   Amador, Calaveras, and Alpine. Hentz inquired about Dan Fentin’s
   background. Biery responded that he is a consultant that works with
   developers, out of the Bay Area. Hentz stated that inquiries are coming in
   from PFK consulting groups, hotel development groups and a significant
   group out of the Midwest who is in the business of building conference
   centers and hotels. There are a couple of projects in California they are
   working on now and we have spurred their interest to look at our
   destination as the next phase in Mariposa. The site we have developed is
   the site they are looking at. The site is north of Hwy 140/Hwy 49
   intersection, ¼ mile from the stop sign. Hentz stated it is a great location
   due to topography and location. It’s a 40 acre site.
7. COUNTY CONTRACT: Hentz advised that we have received the County
   Contract. It was late this year and there were no revisions in the actual
   contract with the exception of the back. Exhibit A: The previous exhibit A,
   which is scope of services and our requirements to the county. They were
   too broad, so we have refined them into how we are able to work with Rick
   Benson and the County Supervisors, in our reporting, and the things we are
   doing. The new revision matches exactly what we do. Hentz went on to
   say that the agreement shows we meet twice a year instead of four times a
   year, and typically it will be December 1st for an end of year report and
   sometime between May 15 and June 15 for a mid season report. Hentz
   stated that the other item is an outcome of a board meeting last
   November. The County Auditor made a request asking us to show how the
   $500,000 the County gives us is spent. This was acting on a request from a
   citizen to the Auditor’s office. Hentz further stated that Benson asked it to
   be broken down knowing it was a part of the 1.7 million dollar budget the
   Tourism Bureau has. Hentz stated that in the packet is a memo dated
   December 21, 2011 to Rick Benson which he accepted and we have also
   presented to our executive committee and our finance committee. It was
   approved and the Auditor was satisfied. This will be provided to them at
   the end of the every budget year. It will show that we couldn’t operate our
   budget without them.
8. YOSEMITE SESQUICENTENNIAL: Hentz stated that we are blessed to have
   this amazing opportunity starting in 2013 and it will run through 2016.
   Hentz said he is part of the committee that is putting these organizations
   together with Cassandra Hardy. She has been hired from the Glacier
   National Park Anniversary Group. Hentz said he will be on the PR
   marketing committee and has been asked to chair it. Jensen stated he is on
   the steering committee. O’Donnell-Browne is also part of the committee.
   Hentz stated that Les Marsden will be on the special events committee.
   Sisson stated that there are banners coming up stating the anniversary of
   the Yosemite Grant, which will be June 30, 2014. The mission and rallying
   point of this is that the Yosemite Grant 150 honors our history and inspires
   generations of people to experience, connect with, and protect our natural
   resources. The focus is on community driven partnership. The
   commemoration time will be 18 months of celebration. We will be starting
   mid 2013 with the layout of the events. There are currently 72 committee
   members on six different committees, there are still more opportunities for
   people to get involved in these committees: PR Marketing, Retail,
   Commemorative and Educational. Sisson went on to state that there is a
   copy in the packet of how the website is looking. Sisson further stated that
   the next big milestone will be in April when the limited edition products will
   be available.
   Hentz stated that Cassandra will be coming into the region including
   Mariposa in the next few months to speak to local groups, such as Kiwanis,
   Rotary, etc. so we can start spreading the word. If you would like her to
   come and speak to a certain group, let her know.

   Hentz further stated that Cassandra is very dynamic and she will be a
   tremendous "boon" for our destination. Hentz stated that Mary Ann Huff will
   get involved to represent Coulterville and adding John Muir to the
   celebration.
9. STAFFING UPDATE: Hentz wanted to make sure everyone had met Julie
   Hadzega. She officially joined the staff on November 22, 2011. She has
   been an ideal team member. The response since her hire date has been
   phenomenal, especially from the lodging industry. The amount of work
   being accomplished, the communication and a number of other items have
   greatly improved. Hentz further stated that Hadzega went with him to the
   LA Experience. She has experience working and coordinating trade shows
   with Home Depot. She did a fantastic job. Hentz stated that he has started
   interviewing for the marketing position. He is planning to elevate that
   position to a director’s position. He further stated he didn’t want to force
   that into the January meeting. He wants to finish writing the position and
   tie it into the salary structure. Hentz said an evaluation is being conducted
   over the next sixty days on our current employee in San Francisco, in terms
   of where we go with this position. Hentz stated that Gloria was going to
   come to the meeting, but had other travel commitments with upcoming
   FAM events. Hentz wants to give Gloria a full year and then re-evaluate.
   He wants to get more production out of that area than we have seen.
   Hentz stated that he wants to go with in-house market development, which
   is what other tourism bureaus are utilizing. It is much more cost effective.
10. MARKETING UPDATES & DISCUSSION: Hentz stated that a month ago he
   made a power point presentation to the County Board of Supervisors. He
   then presented that power point to the board. He stated that the TOT
   fiscal year 2010-2011 showed an increase of 4%. For the first four months
   of 2011-2012 fiscal year, TOT is up 7.5%. Peak season months have
   expanded to 6 month (May-October). This is a 6 month, one million TOT,
   our goal was to have 7 months, and he said he believes April will be the 7th
   month. Hentz then showed the occupancy percentages from different
   parts of California. For Central CA/Merced it shows 68.8% and this is where
   our destination fits in. This dilutes the numbers because we were 108%.
   We have to share this area with Turlock, Merced, Atwater and Los Banos
   really brings down those occupancy numbers. Hentz further stated we
   could pay $20,000 to get a report that just shows our area, but not sure
   that would be a necessary expense right now. Hentz then showed how
   Yosemite’s visitation compares to the other National Parks. Our numbers
   are excellent and we are gaining on the other parks. Grand Canyon still has
   the highest number of visitors. Hentz showed Yosemite Gate arrival
   numbers. For Nov 2011, Arch Rock: 983,413; South 41: 1,138,371; Big Oak:
   1,168,894; Tioga: 570,423.
   Hentz went on to show key marketing and outreach activities. The fall
   marketing campaign from Sept 25 through Nov 1st went extremely well. He
   stated that we went online with our TV partners, Facebook and delivered
   over 8 million total impressions. This generated over 10,000 new leads,
   where people requested the vacation planner. Copies of some of the ads
   where then shown. We were in 12 newspapers in the Bay Area. The next
   ad we placed with Budget Travel which we had the lead spot. Hentz then
   discussed the AAA – Via publication in Sept/Oct. This didn’t generate as
   many leads as Hentz had hoped for, so it will wind down over the next year.
   Hentz then discussed the Winter TV/Online Campaign. Hentz stated we
   launched a TV campaign part was a co-op with DNC. That kicked off for one
   week last December and started again January 9th. The campaign was built
   around Badger Pass and winter fun. Hentz stated that since we haven’t had
   any snow, there is now a part B to this campaign. Hentz further stated that
   we postponed part of it, to start in two weeks. Facebook and Expedia are
   on hold until the snow comes. The latest report is Badger Pass will be
   opening January 26th.
   Hentz then discussed direct mailers that went out which showed several
   hotel offers. This went out to over 7,000 people who had responded that
   they wanted information for the fall.
   Hentz then discussed social media. Hentz stated that Facebook has 42,000
   fans and growing. Twitter has 3,500 followers.
   Hentz went on to talk about public relations outreach. Hentz stated that
   right after our October meeting, we brought in our Australian office in.
   Allison is the account representative from Gate 7 in Sydney. She along with
   four journalists from Sydney, New Zealand and Brisbane were up for 3 ½
   days writing stories about our destination. Hentz stated in November, we
   had a visit from China Media with Disney, United Airlines and CTTC. Hentz
   further stated that our goal is to have an office in China soon. We are part
   of the official US California Package, includes Disney, United, Yosemite and
   San Francisco. In China, everyone follows what package is out there.
11. RFP – VISITOR’S CENTER UPDATE: Hentz stated he submitted a bid for the
   visitor’s center for $135,000 and the chamber bid $125,000. The County
   awarded the visitor center to the chamber of commerce. Hentz further
   stated that we will go for the visitor’s center next August. He said we will
   begin working on a new RFP in the next 60 days. Biery asked if there was a
   way to do that not using the RFP process. He said it would be better to
   have the County give us $650,000 and include the visitor’s center in the
   tourism budget. Hentz agreed and said another option is to find a new site
   location, which he has already found, near China Station. Hentz said it is
   1600 sq feet, with more parking. Hentz said we can approach Benson with
   the idea of combining both the visitor’s center and the tourism bureau with
   more money from the County. Biery agreed to look into the matter.
   Brownell added that the Chamber is subsidizing the visitor’s center so we
   need to make sure we get the appropriate funding to cover the costs of
   running the visitor’s center. Jensen asked how we will manage this without
   draining Jeff’s workload. Hentz replied that he is making the new position
   to cover this part of the job. Hentz stated that the issue of the TOT increase
   has not gone away. Hentz further stated he wants to schedule a meeting in
   the next two months to discuss the possibility that the TOT might go up one
   or two points. Hentz said that a general discussion has been done and our
   position is known on this. Hentz stated that we do not want an increase of
   the TOT budget; but that the new 2013 budget is being prepared and he
   said that Benson’s plan is to ask for an increase of one to two points. Hentz
   said he just spoke to Benson and said Benson plans to put this on the
   November ballot.
   Hentz stated that one thing he wants to push this summer is selling fall,
   winter and spring in the months of May, June, July and August to the
   visitors coming in and letting them know we want them to come back. We
   need to get the right deals and the messaging into the hands of those
   tourists. Hentz went on to say that if we market this right, we may increase
   our winter business without all the additional tools, such as sports complex
   and conference center.
12. AMGEN RACE 2012 UPDATE: Hentz stated that the National Park Service
   decided at the last minute not to approve AMGEN going through Yosemite.
   This year’s AMGEN race is starting in Sonora and is coming through
   Mariposa, but just passing through. Hentz further stated that next year,
   AEG Sports wants Mariposa to be a starting position, possibly from
   Mariposa to Visalia. This will be an overnight event for Mariposa.

   Hentz showed the new State of California Visitor Guide. Yosemite
   maintains a front position. Hentz then showed the new insert. He stated
   that there are thousands of copies of the insert if anyone wants copies.
   Hentz said the big issue is that we are spending $25,000 on the insert;
   about 25-30% of the investment of the inserts which is $90,000-$100,000
   comes from us. Hentz further stated that he has already communicated to
   Sunset that we have to change the rules of this piece by next year. The
   rules are, that if we are generating $25,000 plus on this insert and our
   counterparts in Oakhurst and Tuolumne are only spending $2000-$3000
   and yet they get a full gateway to themselves, Hentz believes enough is
   enough. Hentz said he told Sunset that he will take our $25,000 and put
   $8000 in the North County to help Coulterville, $8000 in the West and
   $8000 will go to the South because half of that gateway is ours. Then it is
   balanced, and we can get fair coverage for our vacation homes, Tenaya
   Lodge in the south gateway, we are already getting the west gateway and
     finally getting our fair share of the north gateway. We are spending ten
     times more than others. Huff stated that Hwy 132 corridor between Hotel
     Jeffery to Hwy 120 has been renamed the John Muir Historic Route and we
     have done it in partnership with Tuolumne County. She also stated that
     part of their area is on Hwy 120 in Buck Meadows, and Buck Meadows
     considers themselves part of Groveland, when in reality they are part of
     Mariposa County, and we have lodging there as well. Huff further stated
     the ultimate goal is the John Muir Highway from Modesto all the way up,
     but we also have Lake McClure. We are a strong feeder, and as a reminder,
     when Hwy 120 sunk and Hwy 140 had the rock slide, Hwy 132 was the main
     pathway to Yosemite.
     Farrington stated he doesn’t want to get into any conflicts. Hentz said we
     need to be aware of this and can discuss it at a later meeting.



   Jensen asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. A motion was made by
Davis, seconded by Shelton. Meeting adjourned at 5:07 p.m. Next meeting will
be on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. (Location to be determined)

				
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