Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Fall Shoulder Season

Today I have a suggestion for marketing South Padre Island. It is really my wife Lori’s idea. What she said was that a bunch of her school worker friends were headed to the Island because the room rates went way down and there were some really great deals. Her point was maybe that the Island should market more to the Valley, especially the professionals 30 to 50 years old.

Last weekend was the top of the season and local folks are not exactly whining but business is definitely off but steady. "Steady" is what they're worried about.

Perhaps that’s maybe because the town isn’t advertised very well in the Rio Grande Valley. I won’t go into the slick media campaigns developed for “who’s your padre” and those nice video segments, but there could be reasons to cultivate some more local marketshare because of the rising cost of gasoline and travel – not to mention the recent airport security measures. I do not mean to be critical of the convention and visitors bureau and other Island organizations; it is just that marketing in other cities like Dallas, Houston, and outside Texas is fine but the Valley seems like a better candidate for the fall shoulder season.

So far, signature events in the post-high season are the bike rally and Sand Castle Days. However, the Island does not market itself well to those in the Valley who can be spontaneous or have special interests. For example, let’s talk birds: the fall migration has already started (reportedly with some arctic birds) and will continue to the winter. While the fall migration is not as spectacular as the “fall out” seen in the spring, the butterflies, hummers, and shore birds are much more prevalent, especially in October.

The waves are usually better, the water stays warm, and the fall is possibly the best time to visit the Island. The fishing is just beginning to get good. The crowds are not as hectic. I think this would be a great market strategy, emphasizing the fall shoulder season and the local Texas market.


Anonymous said...

Hey swells, seagull here, we are abck on the island. contact us at

~melissa said...

I personally think the Island needs to hire a PR person. If they have one, fire the one they have. They need to be advertising in these cities (like mine) as soon as suncountry starts its winter trips. There are so many people from the midwest that spend time down there during the winter.

You are also right about the locals. We have Duluth, MN about 2 hours north of the Twin Cities. I hardly watch TV, but always see ads for it. They want the tourists. It's a nice little get away. People need to know whats available to them nearby and far away.


Sam said...

Hey the Seagull is back, alright!

Melissa, good point. The CVB (the folks at the convention center) hired an expensive media ad company out of Austin and produced some really great video, from what I heard, although I must confess I've never seen it on a local TV station. I'm not aware of their market plan other than they spend hundreds of thousands at a shot. Anyone with some knowledge there please feel free to chime in here.

Here's an interesting one, I still get some email traffic from folks who read my ole blurb on body surfing, for Sandy Feets website. These folks have been from New Jersey, England, and South Africa of all places - and all showed an interest in coming on down to test the waters.

I though "Who's Your Padre" for spring break was really in very poor taste but I tell you, if I see a CVB advertising program called "Where's My Ho" I am going to go absolutely ballistic!

Ex-Manissean said...

The Fall shoulder season on Block Island was my favorite time. But Padre has it better since your 'Beach weather' can last till December. I havent noticed any PI commercials but then I dont give Ads a lot of attention. If I see any I'll let you know.

mleahy said...

I think Lori is on to something. Off season is when most valley residents can afford the hotel rates down there and makes for perfect weekend getaways. Here in San Antonio, I do see television ad's for SPI once or twice a week, on Travel Channel and other cable channels. If the local businesses want to see increased traffic and sales the hotels need to keep their rates in check. Over the last few years rental rate increases have far outpaced wage increases and are on par with gasoline price increases. They don't make for an economically viable vacation for most. Just my thoughts... See you in five weeks. MLeahy

Sam said...

I am truly honored to have the "Three M's" today!

Melissa, AKA Goddess on the forums, from the upper Mid-West, long time SPI gal with g-parent roots.

Ex-Man, alias unknown, an old BLock Island fiend and current Texas resident.

Mike-A-Rita, alias MLeahy, always a source of humor and insight into the local politics.

Come all at once or in stages, you're all welcome here! Just give us a little notice so Lori and I can get some food together. Yes, Fall is the best time. /s/

Anonymous said...

I have three words of advice to help generate more action on the island during the shoulder season: festivals, festivals, festivals. SPI should have, for starters, a jazz AND a blues festival, perhaps one in the spring and one in the fall. Tom

papabeare said...

Some jazz or blues or even salsa-tex-mex festivals at this time of year would be great!! Advertise San Antonio, Houston, and Monterrey. A lot of the Valley people seem to have limited income, so at least reach out to cities within 4 hours. If it is really cool-fun, they will come. ( I would Love to see a 3-5 day Jazz or Blues fest, with local crafts, sand castles, and great swimming tied in.) Oh and can we NOT have it at Isla Blanca OR Louies?? ( Just cause most everything else is.) Maybe have it on the flats....or get the county on board and have it at Andy Bowie or Beach Access 5. Bring in some extra pora pots as needed etc.

Sam said...

Well, I'll see if I can talk it up and get somebody down here, jazz or blues or whatever. I agree the Louie's gives me the pooties and and Isla isn't really even in the Town. And Porta Potties, we need four of those painted ones just like for the Sand Scupture Fest.

You all know it is tough to get somebody like down from Austin because the market is so small here, and frankly I'm not excited about thousands of folks like for Garth Brooks. If we had a fundraiser and the artists could write something off their taxes, now that would be something.

I would have to be a group effort, like see if Joe Ely or somebody could rock the house down here on the cheap. He might need a room, some meals, some help for the band, but it can be a vacation for him and fun for us. You like Asleep at the Wheel or Johnny Winters? Why fool around?

End of the season Tiki thing ... I need some help with Vern at Isla and some folks like that.