Spring Break 2009 on Panama City Beach will be more family friendly with regards to outgoing marketing efforts than it has been in several years, if ever. This year, there is a greater emphasis on attracting families to our destination and activities planned reflect trying to cater to this market.
Each year tens of thousands of spring breakers descend on our beaches to enjoy great weather, shopping and tons of activities that our area’s businesses put on for this highly consumptive crowd. This business is essential to the primary industry in our area, tourism. Local businesses depend on this to jump start their revenue for the year. It has been argued in the past that families have greater spending potential than college kids, therefore have a greater capability in pumping money into our local economy. I totally agree with this, but I don’t agree that we can just shut down college spring break and expect the families to just show up.
This process must be gradual and will take time, but the effects will be lasting. Starting this year, the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau is spending money on marketing to the family demographic. In the next three years, we’ll see this category trend in the same direction that will ultimately lead to a family friendly destination where parents will feel safe bring their kids to the beach again. Now, that’s not to say that we won’t see college kids doing keg stands on the beach any more, but the level of occurrence will be less.
With the growth and fertilization of Pier Park, finally families actually have something to do here in Panama City Beach. In addition, activities are springing up left and right, with the help and creativity of the CVB’s staff. I frequently receive emails from Susan Estler, Director of Marketing for the Panama City Beach’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau of great ides that they are coming up with to help tell the nation about our area. They are moving in the right direction with momentum picking up each week.
Two weeks ago, Daytime, a show geared towards daily lifestyles and entertainment content was in Panama City Beach for a long weekend experiencing everything from para-sailing to shopping and dining in our area. With cameras in tow they braved the chilly weather with one of their main hosts, Cyndi Edwards. Aired on their network will be five 3-5 minute segments that will serve as an expose of what makes Panama City Beach a great place to vacation.
Also new this year is an expansive campaign with Southern Living including an online sweepstakes driving families to our shores, weekly radio “Beach Report” on stations throughout the southeast and a series of family Focus Concerts at Aaron Bessant Park (tentative right now, but should have more details soon).Print Story