Panama City Beach – PCB biz group: Paris Hilton, Kardashians here in spring?

PANAMA CITY BEACH — New details are emerging from a co-op of Panama City Beach businesses about how the group plans to market Spring Break in 2010 without help from the Bay County Tourist Development Council.

Panama City Beach can’ decide what it wants to be when it grows up.

A recently released e-brochure by the co-op promises participating businesses a marketing campaign that will create a “buzz” on college campuses for the 18-24 student-age demographic, including an MTV tie-in.

The marketing effort will include the use of social networking sites Twitter and Facebook, a Web site separate from the site operated by the TDC and the endorsement of cast members from the MTV reality show “The Real World.”

Criticism of TDC’s marketing partnership this year with mtvU, another MTV venture, was one reason the TDC dropped its college Spring Break funding for 2010, a move that led to the creation of the private co-op. Some Panama City Beach residents became upset this year that links between MTV and Spring Break drew the wrong type of media attention to a tourist destination struggling to remake its image.

TDC Executive Director Dan Rowe said this week he had no “trepidation” the co-op’s college Spring Break efforts would upset the council’s plans to market Panama City Beach as a year-round family destination.  Our Panama City Beach Condo at Celadon Beach Resort  www.bestpanamacitybeachcondo.com  is a year round family destination.

The co-op’s marketing effort for 2010 promises weekly celebrity appearances throughout March that will include pop personalities such as Paris Hilton and stars from the television shows “The Hills” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” among others.

Despite the co-op’s effort to remain a private endeavor, however, organizers have asked the TDC for funding help, including advertising on its new Web site.

So far, the TDC has agreed only to provide a staff member in an advisory capacity to help monitor the co-op’s site, www.visitpanamacitybeach.com, for “risque and poor taste.”

The group is asking interested Panama City Beach businesses to participate at a basic or premium level: $3,000 and $7,500 for hotels and condos; $1,250 and $5,000 for bars and night clubs; and $750 to $1,500 for retail and attractions.

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