The Palisade Tourism Advisory Board at its meeting March 10 cut its preliminary 2015 budget by $1,000 to approximately $27,000. It was accomplished by cutting back or moving some marketing efforts, such as the $1,125 Mud Season and $1,000 Red Hot Dirt Days campaigns.

The board also voted to move the Mud Season marketing expense to the contingency fund.

At the meeting, Teri Cavanagh, Cobb & Associates chief executive officer, outlined the proposed tourism marketing strategic plan and budget for 2015.  Cavanagh said a goal is to bring the budget down from $28,000 to $27,000. Cavanagh said she will present a finalized plan and budget at the next meeting, set for April 14.

Previous shortfalls

At the TAB meeting in February, Town Administrator Rich Sales told the board, “The (town) board is asking if we can stay within our (TAB) budget.” Town Treasurer Joe Vlach at the meeting reported that the town has transferred additional funding in a number of years to TAB budgets from the town’s general fund. Vlach said, “Shortfall is fine, but budgets are tight.”  He asked about seeking additional revenue sources. The board is now funded by a lodging fee.

In other business, TAB members voted to buy the domain name, along with testing other web site addresses to see which draw visitors best.  (The website for the tourism board is:

Consultant Cavanagh presented and the board discussed her proposed 2015 budget and plans, which include offline media ads, online marketing, content creation, management and fees, and a contingency “opportunity fund.”

Consulting services

The plans include digital marketing services provided by board member Stan Stephens.  Stephens agreed earlier to provide digital consulting services as a contractor. But, at the meeting he raised concerns about potentially volunteering too many services, at a discounted rate, while at the same time Cobb & Associates Inc. Marketing is the paid consulting firm.

Town Administrator Rich Sales responded that there is nothing unethical about paying Stephens for his professional services.  Cavanagh concluded that the board should be clear on what services Stephens is paid for and those he donates.

2015 plans

In her presentation to the board, Cavanagh outlined the proposed strategic plan for 2015, specifically, to move more funds to online and digital marketing, to automate the online newsletter process, and to create fresh content. “Fresh content will enhance user experience and engagement, especially videos and still photography for the website and facebook channels,”

Cavanagh explained in a summary report to the board. Offline media budget items, to buy space and ad production, include Colorado Journeys and Colorado Vine.  Online marketing budget items include web sales platform, online display ads, Facebook strategies, Enews, and ad production. Cavanagh also outlined management and fees, including web hosting, domain renewal, and web support.  Cavanagh added that an error in the 2014 budget was corrected and a refund made to the town.  She also noted that she donates consulting hours.

During discussion of ad design, Mayor Roger Granat emphasized keeping the “all year long” wording in the town logo, “Life tastes good here all year long.”  Granat said, “We need to target the winter season.”

Shooting complex, Edesia

In updates to the board, Town Administrator Sales reported that the town board that evening would consider accepting a $2 million grant from the Department of Local Affairs toward purchase of land for a shooting complex at the Cameo town site, east of Palisade.  The complex is intended to lead to economic development in Palisade and the area. Sales also reported that ticket revenue is up for this year’s Palisade Blue Grass and Roots Festival, scheduled June 12, 13, and 14 at Riverbend Park.

Jean Tally said the Edesia benefit event for the Marillac Clinic on March 29 at the Wine Country Inn “will draw a lot of people to Palisade.”  Tally said the event will be the kick-off for the tourism season.  Next, she noted, will be the Palisade International Honeybee Festival, April 10 and 11.

Juliann Adams, Palisade Chamber of Commerce director, reported that she attended the Chamber Day event in Denver the previous week.  The event included a meeting with the governor on the State Capitol steps.

TAB Chairperson Cassidee Shull reported that the CAVE (Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology) office will be moving by the end of March to the former Palisade Tribune building.  An office warming will be scheduled in April.

At the meeting, a Channel 5 videographer recorded for a report on TAB’s marketing plans and its use of social media.

The one hour meeting was held at the Palisade Civic Center. Eight board members were present. The next TAB meeting is scheduled for Tuesday April 14, noon, at the Civic Center.  Agendas are posted on the town website and the meetings are open to the public.