Okaloosa tourism promotion to tout deals in shoulder season

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Special to the Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013 at 11:55 AM.

Spring break is here and the summer tourist season is coming soon.

But a new promotion scheduled to start later this month is designed to bring new visitors to Okaloosa County during the slower shoulder season between the end of spring break and the start of summer.

The promotion is the first one developed since Dan O’Byrne was hired as the county’s new tourist development director in September and Peter Mayer Advertising, the county’s new marketing firm, was hired in December. Marketing efforts have been minimal since previous director Mark Bellinger’s fraud scheme was discovered last May.

“We can immediately be back in the market, up and running with something that’s every bit as good and every bit as competitive as firms that have been working with their destinations for years and years,” O’Byrne said. “It gave us a real opportunity to compete in a forum because we have a great destination …and then you can combine that with some great visuals. I’m really confident that this is going to drive some business.”

The all-digital promotion creates banner advertisements on travel sites such as Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com and others that will trumpet special lodging rates for people who book trips between March 21 and May 7.

“This is highly specific in trying to get people to book in a narrow window to take advantage of a deal,” O’Byrne said.

County commissioners recently approved the new campaign, which has a budget not to exceed $249,500.

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