The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has a record amount of cash to spend in the next budget cycle.
Manatee County commissioners Sept. 17 approved the BACVB spending plan of $6,856,046 in a final vote on the fiscal year budget for the county, which runs Oct. 1, 2019-Sept. 30, 2020.
On Sept. 24, Elliott Falcione, executive director of the BACVB, presented the working budget of $6,369,105 for the fiscal year 2020-21 to the commissioners, bringing the two-year total to $13,225,151.
The 5% bed tax charged to Manatee County visitors for short-term vacation rentals of six months or less funds the tourism budget.
“We are excited that our marketing budget is set for the upcoming year,” Falcione wrote to The Islander Sept. 25.
“We have a very diverse marketing plan and are focused on brand awareness in our northern feeder markets, as well as focused on rebuilding our Midwest and Texas feeder markets. This diversity will help us with a steady influx of visitation on a year-round basis,” Falcione stated.
The highest expenditures in the budget are for contractual services and sports marketing.
The BACVB budgeted $1,391,381 in 2019-20 and $1,402,174 in 2020-21 for advertising, social media, website development and other outside contractors.
Sports marketing, promotions and sponsorships, including trade shows and conferences, account for $457,970 in 2019-20 and $607,970 in 2020-21.
Airline incentives also will see a spending bump in 2019-20.
Incentive payments to airlines yet to be determined at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport total $300,000 for 2019-20 and $330,000 for 2020-21.
“While we have experienced an increase in airline incentive dollars and sports marketing initiatives, our advertising budget for the leisure market has remained the same,” Falcione said.
“Similar to last year, we will invest most of our advertising dollars post-Easter through the end of each calendar year, knowing that our peak season is well established year in and year out,” Falcione said.