The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 20, 2010

ECVB soon could operate under new management

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Enid city commissioners will consider a contract that will change the way Enid Convention and Visitors Bureau does business.

The commissioners heard a presentation on the change at their Sept. 9 meeting, but tabled the matter.

Debbie Campbell, general manager of Cherokee Strip Conference Center, said Monday the contract calls for Global Spectrum, which manages the conference center, to expand its management contract to include Enid Convention and Visitors Bureau. Global Spectrum’s Marcy Jarrett would take that job. Jarrett has managed convention and tourism organizations in Norman and Lubbock, Texas.

“Managing the conference center, we bring events in strictly to benefit the conference center. As managers of the ECVB, we will bring events in to benefit the entire community,” Campbell said.

Under management by Global Spectrum, an international company, ECVB will perform an inventory of the Enid area to determine what can draw people to town, Campbell said. The survey will include sports venues, other attractions and what local hotels need. Those needs will be inventoried so ECVB officials know what they have to sell.

From that inventory they will build the “story” of Enid and work to rebuild relationships with travel media to help tell their story.

“We will reach out to tour groups who do both day trips and overnights,” Campbell said. “We have already had one day trip where people were not happy about coming to Enid, but when it was over they wanted to come back because they didn’t realize what we have.”

The target audience will be the sports market, both boys and girls. Campbell said when one child comes to a sporting event, two or three other people usually come along. That trip will include food, gas, shopping and more sales tax and hotel room visits.

The group also plans to form a lodging and hospitality association consisting of all hotels, restaurants and attractions.

“That is a great communication tool, as the ECVB bids tours, we can communicate on the impact,” Campbell said. “That way everyone always knows what is coming to town and they can prepare for it.”

There also are economic advantages. The group can advertise and promote Enid together, which increases exposure and decreases the impact on individual budgets, she said.

If approved, the contract runs through the remainder of the five-year Global Spectrum management contract, which now is in its second year. The measure is not scheduled for consideration at tonight’s commission meeting.

“With the conference center, we are marketing on a limited basis, only for the conference center, and with the ECVB it encourages larger marketing,” Campbell said. “ECVB marketing markets the city to benefit everyone.”

The first six to 12 months will be spent with background work and preparing for the spring campaign. There also is a baseline to be set to measure success.

Global Spectrum has expanded its conference center management contract to include ECVB at no additional cost because it is a logical extension of the current marketing plan,  Campbell said.