12 Noon, September 2, 2015
Town of Benson Conference Center


Present:          E Brame, J Godfrey, L Daniels, K Henthorn, S Henley, K Brinson, R Andrews, M Zapp,  C McLamb  

Absent:          S Lee

Guest:            Jacqueline Lippard

Staff:             D Bailey-Taylor, A Phillips

I.          Call to Order – E Brame, Chairman

E Brame called the meeting to order at 12:10 pm and stated that a quorum was present. With no corrections, the agenda was adopted.  Brame asked for a motion to accept the August minutes that were previously sent to the board.

K Brinson motioned to accept the August minutes as presented.  M Zapp seconded.  Motion passed unanimously.

II.        Finances - August
Financials - D Bailey-Taylor

Month-to-Date Revenue for August was $120,243.93. Month-to-Date Operations were $55,615.40. Net Income for the month was $64,628.53. Year-to-Date Revenues were $200,060.94. Year-to-Date Operations were $115,712.67. Year-to-Date net income was $84,348.27. The July county revenues were $70,488.13. Smithfield’s July Revenues were $19,324.22. Selma’s July Revenues were $9,718.49. Kenly’s July Revenues were $2,650.16.  Benson’s July Revenues were $958.41. DB Taylor stated that this was the first time that monthly revenues were over $70,000. Brame stated that it was strong growth.

 III.       Special Projects - DB Taylor

At the last board meeting the board approved Capital Grants as follows:  Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site, Ava Gardner Museum, and Tobacco Farm Life Museum at 100% of their grant application.  The other remaining grants from the Archer Lodge Community Center, Clayton Parks & Recreation, Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation, Benson Parks & Recreation, and Smithfield Parks & Recreation are recommended for funding at 80% of their grant application. The approved amounts were calculated to be $70,700 and should the board need to make line-item adjustments, they will do so in June 2016.   

 IV.       Marketing Committee - S Henley

The new Google Adwords campaign will go live Thursday, September 3. The committee reviewed the new Beer, Wine, Shine and Dine brochure draft. E Dean is the process of updating CMS (Content Management Systems) for all 10 websites. S Henley stated that Lynda Carroll cancelled her presentation to the marketing committee. The committee discussed putting a TV at the I-95 North Welcome Center. This would be donated to the center and would allow for Johnston County as well as all other visitors bureaus in the state to send a video that would loop in random order. DB Taylor mentioned that the Room Saver Hotel Coupon Book may be going to all digital. The bureau will monitor and decide with feedback from hotel partners what to do with the upcoming contract renewal. DB Taylor shared that the staff was currently working with Simpleview and training on the new database.

V.        Sports Council Committee

J Godfrey stated that the Sports Council did not meet. The next meeting will be Sept 16th at 12N. DB Taylor stated that the bureau was looking into the cost of bike route signage with NCDOT Bike and Ped Division, and suggested county open space funds would be used for funding this project.

 VI.       Staff Report

DB Taylor shared that the staff had a very busy and productive month including photo shoots with Our State Magazine, My Carolina Today at Ava Gardner Museum and Broadslab Distillery, touring The Barn (new wedding venue), new blogs entitled "Meet the Makers" of Johnston County products, press releases and Facebook posts. There has been great press pick-up and social sharing on the 2014 Visitor Spending numbers up 5% news release. It appeared on the front page of The Smithfield Herald on September 2.  The staff is working with Divine Marketing to develop a Beer, Wine, Shine and Dine Tour, which will kick-off on Saturday, Oct. 3.  DB Taylor pointed out the incredible numbers of new likes on the Ava Gardner Facebook page, with 17,169 in August. 

VII.     New Business

E Brame stated that the April 8th board minutes were incomplete. When he called for the board to go into an executive session the minutes did not state the purpose of the session. He asked for a motion to clarify that the executive committee went into session to discuss personnel matters.

K Brinson motioned to amend the minutes for the April 8th board meeting to state that according to G.S. 143-318.11.6, the committee went to executive session to discuss personnel matters.  J Godfrey seconded.  Motion passed unanimously.

E Brame recognized Jacqueline Lippard from JohnstonCounty.Today. She stated that JohnstonCounty.Today wanted to partner with the bureau by doing local stories about the visitors bureau and its industry partners. She hoped to reach out and present Johnston County in the best light possible.

R Andrews mentioned the staff is updating the Hospitality Heroes program and the next class will run in October.

M Zapp brought up the Town of Benson's new campaign of recognizing great customer service, called "Caught you doing good", and they have started a "Good News Benson" newsletter to keep good news circulating about the town.

VIII.    Old Business

No old business.

J Godfrey motioned to adjourn. R Andrews seconded.  Motion passed unanimously.

Meeting adjourned at 1:15 PM.


Next Meeting
County Tourism Authority
Noon, October 7, 2015
Visitors Bureau Administrative Offices