2016/2017 Tombstone Chamber of Commerce Abbreviated Meeting Notes - August 14, 2017
We welcomed our group to a lovely annual meeting dinner in the barn at the Tombstone Monument Ranch…We were thankful to the business professionals and non-profit group members who attended this meeting, there was a quality cross section represented: True West Magazine, Tombstone Monument Ranch, Marine Corps League, Tombstone Bordello, Lions Club, Tombstone Vigilantes, Tombstone Court House/States Parks, CNJ Bookkeeping, Larian Hotels, KOVA, Sierra Vista Herald, Arlene’s, Vantage West Credit Union, Rustic Reality, Doc Holiday’s Saloon, O.K. Corral, Tombstone Forward, Vigilettes, American Red Cross, American Legion, individual members Boothill staff and the Chamber Board. Their attendance and participation shows not only their professionalism, but love and commitment for the City of Tombstone. They recognize that it is so important know and understand what their Chamber is doing and how we do it...
As usual it’s been quite a year at the Chamber! There have some big changes… Although the Tombstone Chamber continues to manage Boothill Gift Shop, the Chamber no longer manages the Tombstone Court House, nor the Tombstone Visitor Center on 4th Street or the Visitor Desk at Boothill….
I am sad to report that 2017 ended Chamber management of the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park returning it back to the Arizona State Park System. However, I am thankful say that the State has shown interest in being more involved in our community, so moving forward, the Chamber looks forward to a strong partnership…
As you may remember, the monies from the Courthouse represented almost half of the Chambers Marketing budget. Another portion of the budget comes from Boothill Cemetery revenue, bed tax, and a small portion from Chamber membership dues. There is a misconception that the Chamber is ‘rolling in the dough’…Let me explain; The Tombstone Chamber is not like other Chambers; we ARE NOT political and we DO NOT provide anything like free lunches or happy hour…The Tombstone Chamber exists to promote Tombstone and provide support for businesses, non-profit groups there-fore assisting the community at large…Funding sources are: The Boothill Gift Shop which is a stand-alone store with the same expenses and any shop, daily sales fluctuating seasonally and with the ebb and flow of the economy. Bed tax which is defined as: A HOTEL TAX UPON TRANSIENT LODGING (Ord. 2011-12, 12-13-2011) which states: In addition to the taxes levied and shall be collected an additional tax in the amount equal to four percent (4%) of the gross income from the business activity of any hotel engaging or continuing within the city in the business of charging for lodging and/or lodging space furnished to any transient. and yearly dues are paid by Tombstone Chamber members.
In the effort to better understand and steward the marketing funds, research provided that when the City of Tombstone first started contracting with the Chamber in the late 1990’s, the bed tax was only 3% now it is 4% and in the 90’s there were a lot fewer hotels rooms…The amount of the Bed Tax contacted to the Chamber was, at the time, ½ of the average estimated monthly amount collected, which equaled $4500.00. We were hoping to off-set some the lost advertising funds from the Court House the City would allow an increase in the amount of bed tax allotment, just a small amount, to reflect the 1% increase of bed tax revenue and the increase of the amount of hotel rooms, unfortunately this request was denied.
As far as the Visitor Center, in March 2017, the City of Tombstone chose not renew to the Visitor Center’s managerial contracts. This means that the Chamber no longer keeps track of, or is aware of the number of visitors nor do we update and print the Tombstone Brochures or the Map. We do still make them available for download via the website and thru the mail when requested. If you have discrepancies with your information please contact City Hall…
So how will we be able to continue a marketing program and do more with less or at least keep up the success we have seen? It is with commitment of YOUR volunteer Chamber board, Boothill & Office staff, and our team of advertisers that I can say we have increased the marketing reach of Tombstone each year since 2011. We continue to monitor and adjust our marketing efforts to provide continual development. Each year we are able to hit the ground running with a refreshed marketing plan … we have reorganized and restructured our budget and we anticipate that we will still be able to reach out to MILLIONS of people.
Advertising: Review of the 2016-17 Marketing and Advertising campaign: 2016/2017 was busy fulfilling our contractual and promotional objectives and fully believes that by working together, we will continue to be successful in the promotion of our city and can support business and economic development.
Tombstone is a city with a strong brand, a brand we must protect… and it is one that people of older generations have a lot of associations with, and a lot of positive feelings about, but with the decline in the popularity of the Western lore, the battle to appeal to not only the older guest but to acquaint and educate the younger generations intensifies day by day. It's important to continue to invest in the process of re-acquaintance and introduction of Tombstone and its vast history and focus on keeping our name and history alive to current and future generations.
- Where: United States and Canada
- Forms of Media: Print, TV, Billboards, Email Blasts and Press releases, Tombstone Chamber, other Web Sites, Social Media, Facebook, Snap Chat (All of our websites have a Google Language Translator that will translate the site into any language needed),Partnerships, Meetings, The Chamber Office, Boothill Gift Shop
Keeping the Chamber in the loop helps Tombstone provide GREAT customer service to our Guests. Event Planning and Information (available on the Chamber website) - Whether you realize or not, for ALL events in Tombstone – the Chamber is the focal point for information and communication…Generally speaking, the public doesn’t know, nor do they care, who is sponsoring an event, they just want answers to their questions. In many cases of the Doc Holliday event – the Chamber had to hunt for information, and sadly nothing was provided by the main organizers of the event.
The overall “people” reach and marketing contact that the Chamber has established - it just makes good planning sense to keep the Chamber informed so that the Chamber can provide the most accurate information as possible. A good customer service rule is not to pass the potential customer off to another source for the answer. As the customer may get frustrated and just give up.
It’s easy for people to say what needs to be done or how you should do it. And it is possible to go out and start something new, but it can be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain that new thing without resources, partnership and planning…many times that new thing just dilutes resources, causes battles and ends up being less than what was hoped for….we are a small community. Why not look around and see what’s already in progress? Why try to recreate the wheel? Why not encourage others to participate instead of criticize? OK, seems like a lot to ask…But as I look around the room I see many of you who have already put in a lot of time on various committees and events, some of you still do... But you all know those who stand the hitching post and solve the world’s problems…How many have we seen try to save Tombstone from themselves by degrading those who were already in the trenches? Be looking for your opportunity to participate!
What is the real value of joining a Chamber of Commerce? A Chamber of commerce is an organization of businesses seeking to further their collective interests, while advancing their community. They are also known world-wide as the marketing arm of a community. Our goals work to promote our member’s business, encourage new business and to market Tombstone through a variety of advertising efforts and to increase visitation to Tombstone thus increasing our over-all city revenue.
Since then, we have created partnerships and opportunities to be able to help the individual business. And through our weekly informational email blasts we have provided ongoing event, social media, and tourism education.
Being a Chamber Member is an incredibly affordable marketing and business resource for your business. Looking at it dollar wise – to join the Chamber works out to approximately $11.00 a month. That is less than one trip to McDonalds! And the bang for your buck is greater.
As a Tombstone Chamber member your business is featured and receives continual exposure in online and offline formats worldwide to potential visitors, and your participation is fundamental for the continued growth and success of the Tombstone community.
As a Tombstone Chamber member your membership supports our community and the Chamber to pursue the goal to have Tombstone remain and international destination. A strong membership is vital to the continuation of our community’s growth and success.
There are: Membership rewards, Discounted Advertising Opportunities, There is Credibility Being a Chamber Member, Recommendation of Your Business, Web Based Marketing of Your Products or Services: Increase your visibility in the community
Working Together and Needing Participation - We know that you are ALL busy; however your participation is crucial! It will keep you in the “know” for industry trends and local happenings If you have noticed in the email blasts I am listing my Chamber email address – firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to hear your ideas about how we can ALL become more involved and cohesive.
It doesn’t’ have to be for hours and hours…Each of you have some gift that can be utilized. Can be something as simple and making sure you employees are dressed western or period, that raises the bar for others and that what tourist want to see.
It could be making a donation toward our Christmas season activities account. Yes, we have an account to support the weekend events that happen in December and there is one every weekend.
The Tombstone Chamber does have a discernible, functioning, marketing strategy/plan for Tombstone. There was a period of time (8+ years ago) the marketing effort for Tombstone was fragmented and in some cases non–existent; which had an economic impact for the overall community.
Most of you know that at no time in Tombstone history has much advertising been done and touched so many. Except for the December Christmas events, which we inherited with from our partnership with The Tombstone Fire Department, The Chamber does not put on events. We do partner to advertise events with whoever shares the event information with us…and we have organized a variety of positive efforts promote Tombstone, the events and its history. We also look forward to providing more assistance to the individual business.
We hope that you can see our intentions to move forward. We are willing and able to fulfill our promotional objectives and fully believe that by working together, as a Chamber and with the city, in a professional reciprocal relationship, we will be ultra-successful in the promotion of our city and can support business and economic development.
We are fulfilling our promotional objectives and believe that by local business and groups working together, and with the city support, we will be very successful in the promotion of our city, attracting new and returning visitors and can assist and support more business and the economic development in Tombstone.
Here is a recap from the key note speaker (Bob Booze Bell) major points from the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting:.
"I believe True West magazine and the town of Tombstone are in the same boat. We have to compete in the wider world for customers (in my world we call them "eyeballs"), and, as everyone knows, this wider world is a very chaotic marketplace right now. In my humble opinion, we have to adapt, or die."
"There was a time when we could merely beckon to the public with the true history of what happened in Tombstone and people would respond, some would even show up. But those days are diminishing and one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
"Last weekend's appearance of the Val Kilmer in Tombstone, underscores my point. A record crowd showed up to see him. We have had similar results when we put him on the cover of True West. We sell about 25% more magazines on the newsstand when Val, or Robert Duvall, or Hugh O'Brian, or, as in our latest issue, Powers Boothe appears on the cover. These extra sales can mean the difference between thriving and going broke. The simple fact is, we live in a celebrity culture. Now, the trick is, how do we utilize this powerful magnet without appearing to "sell out"? Well, it ain't easy. We have tried our best to provide solid history inside the magazine, but we tease that history with Val Kilmer on the cover. So far, it's working."
"My advice for Tombstone is to do more events with popular culture figures to bring in the crowds. I saw a first time event in Ridgeway, Colorado draw 10,000 people with the addition of Angie Dickenson, Kim Darby and Johnny Crawford. Imagine what Tombstone could do with a Kurt Russell next year? One warning: he ain't going to be cheap, but it sure beats dying on the vince."
Bob Boze Bell has been the co-owner and executive editor of True West magazine for the past 18 years. He lives in Cave Creek and loves Tombstone.
Thank you again,
Susan Wallace, Chamber President
Thank you for your time and being part of the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce.
Susan Wallace President,
Tombstone Chamber of Commerce