Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce administrator Terri Kinder, right, makes a call in search of accommodations for the Schull party of six, who arrived from Germany without accommodations. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
An ad campaign in Europe by the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has worked so well that the six-member Schull family from Germany decided, at the last minute, to come to Anna Maria Island in April for a week’s stay.
The BACVB is promoting European visitors for October through December, and an April arrival is still within the high season. So the Schulls were unable to find a suitable resort to keep the three couples in the same location until they sought help at the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce.
Terri Kinder of the chamber spent about an hour on the phone looking for a rental that could hold three couples for a week. She found a location at Queens Gate Resort in Bradenton Beach, and at the White Sands Resort, 6505 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.
After a difficult explanation — the Schull’s speak little English — and help from another office visitor who spoke German, the party eventually took the White Sands offer.
Kinder said that’s how the chamber often works with its members, particularly during the winter and summer seasons.
“When someone can’t help, we ask if they know of a member who can. If not, we go to the next member on the list who has informed us of vacancies,” chamber vice president Deb Wing said.
“It’s not as easy as it sounds because of the number in the party, the accommodation they want, if they plan to cook, how long they’re staying and if they want to be on the Gulf of Mexico or not,” she said.
The Schull family said they were grateful for the chamber help. They also said they didn’t realize the island would be nearly full of visitors in late April.