SPEAKING OUT: TDC must re-establish beach brand, go after desirable demographics

Published: Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 09:11 AM.

Such scenarios simply didn’t happen just a few years ago. Most Walton Countians don’t want to see them happen again.

But what is to be done? How do we turn the tide back to the luxury destination days?

My contact said it should start with the hiring of a new TDC director. My source knows all of the 10 finalists in some capacity. They all come with some baggage, but that there is some talent in the pool.

“What the TDC needs is a destination manager with management savvy and some marketing background. That individual’s first priority should be re-building South Walton’s brand into a luxury destination. They should place the marketing focus on highly-desirable income brackets and demographics instead of saying, ‘We’re got great beaches! Y’all come on down!’ ”

The clientele change happened over a relatively short time frame. It can be turned around almost as fast.

The marketing professional I spoke with wouldn’t use this term, but I will. We’ve got go get a bit more snobby with our branding and marketing if we want to raise the demographics of our visitors. We must start with the re-branding process, then make our marketing efforts specifically targeted.

I know. That sounds, well, snobby. But the fact is that a richer (in all aspects) visitor boosts our economy in ways a van full of 20 year olds simply can’t.

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