Destination Marketing Successes #1

Redondo Beach launches new marketing initiative drawing visitors to hotels 

From the Los Angeles Daily News
By DAVID ROSENFELD | | The Daily Breeze
PUBLISHED: July 30, 2019 at 5:36 pm | UPDATED: July 30, 2019 at 6:03 pm

Out of all the places that need a sales pitch, Redondo Beach typically isn’t one of them. The city pretty much sells itself.

But that’s not to say it doesn’t still need a great marketing campaign, according to the city’s 15 hotels, which earlier this year formed the nonprofit group Redondo Beach Tourism to market the city. That group earlier this month launched a digital media blitz worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to showcase the best the city has to offer.

“Redondo Beach is one of the most quintessential California coastal towns,” said Daniel Martin, senior partner at Paolucci Salling & Martin Communication Arts, which was hired to lead the group’s marketing efforts. “It’s retained so much of its charm in how it’s grown up over the years.”

Martin boiled the campaign down to a single phrase: Classic California — Instant Local.

The “instant local” refers to how friendly people are, Martin said.

“Anyone who arrives in Redondo Beach feels this sense of having arms wrapped around them,” said Martin, who grew up in Palos Verdes. “You can get to know the bartender. Different boat owners talk to you. There is this very real sense of local community that’s positive to an outsider.”

Redondo Beach Tourism will receive funding via a 1% transient occupancy tax, also known as the bed tax, paid by hotel guests; the funding is guaranteed through 2023. This year, the tourism group is estimated to receive roughly $785,000 from that tax. That 1% tax was added to hotel bills in September 2018, bringing the total tax on a hotel room in Redondo Beach to 13.2%. Total bed-tax revenue is expected to reach about $8.8 million this year.

The new tourism group has replaced the former Redondo Beach Visitor’s Bureau. That group also received money from a 1% bed tax, which grew to more than $700,000.

But the City Council decided in June 2017 to take that money away from the Visitor’s Bureau — the revenue now goes to the city’s general fund — and instead allot $150,000 to help the hotels for their own marketing group.

The one year in which the city went without either the Visitor’s Bureau or Redondo Beach Tourism, the hotels felt the impact, said Rebecca Elder, the chairwoman for the latter group, who also manages revenue at The Portofino Hotel.

“We want people to understand that Redondo is a beautiful destination,” Elder said, “and for them to see the wonderful accommodations that are available to them.”

While the group’s goal is singular — bringing visitors to the hotels — the economic impacts will benefit the entire area, both Elder and Martin stressed.

“Is every dollar staying here? Probably not,” Martin said about people spending money outside Redondo Beach. “But we have a great central location. The more tools you have to compete to keep that dollar in your town the better.”

The focus is on playing up the best parts of the city, Martin said.
While the former Visitor’s Bureau was focused on multiple interests and promoting various activities, the new group will stick strictly to the hotels — and getting people to stay there.

To accomplish that, White said, they have launched a full-fledged digital marketing effort, with original content on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. The nonprofit group doesn’t have a staff, so roughly 93% of its revenue goes toward advertising, Elder said.

The target audience, gleaned from a comprehensive survey of guests and reviews, are two groups: business and leisure travelers.

And the nonprofit will also aim to bring in people from two geographic areas: Those roughly within two hours driving time — or those within a two-hour flight, Martin said.

“It’s not a national campaign, per se, right now,” Martin said.

All of the efforts drive viewers to one place,

“We have something special,” White said. “Classic California, instant local. No other town could own that, but Redondo Beach does.”

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