BY TOM BUSSELBERG
FARMINGTON - How should Davis County promote itself to the world? That's the intent behind a tourism marketing study being conducted by Penna Powers Brian Haynes of Salt Lake City.
County officials are hoping that results of that study can be completed within two months. That information can then be used to determine how the county should be promoted as a tourism/convention destination.
"They are going to evaluate what our focus should be and the best way to promote tourism," said County Commissioner John Petroff.
The plug was pulled on the Davis Area Convention & Visitors Bureau as of Dec. 31, 2013.
In the interim, Brandon Barrett, who worked as sales manager for the DACVB for about nine years, has been retained on a month-by-month basis. He will provide support for already booked conventions and groups and also seek to recruit more meetings.
County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings said hiring Barrett is meant as "…an interim step, for a minimum of three months."
"We want to make sure we fulfill any obligations made with the DACVB. He'll continue until we figure out what this new organization should look like," said Kent Sulser, County Community & Economic Development Director.
"It could be a department of the county or could be combined with another department," he said, adding that it likely will not be linked with any specific hotel. Rather, it would be operated independently, to benefit all hotels and other businesses.
Some CVBs are operated by counties, some are independent, and in Park City it's part of the chamber of commerce.
"We want to look at who we are. Who is Davis County? What are our strengths? What should we be marketing?" Sulser said.
A family focus for the county was mentioned by Petroff and Sulser. They noted such county attractions as Lagoon, Cherry Hill, Boondock's, golf courses, Antelope Island, South Davis Recreation Center and more
"Hopefully we will zero in on the county's competitive edge," Sulser said. "In the past, there's been a shotgun approach to marketing., We want to change that and become more rifle-marketing oriented and digitally driven to capitalize on that market."
"We're trying to, in an expedited manner, go through the process, trying to be as thorough as we can," said Marlin Eldred, of the economic development department.
"We feel we'll be able to put together a really great organization," he said, adding, "That's not to diminish the Davis CVB. They did a great job."
County commissioners decided to dismantle the DACVB in October. That followed release of a study that looked at the return-on-investment primarily in terms of conferences and events booked at the Davis Conference Center and Legacy Events Center.
It did not look at the portion of the CVB's business that dealt with drawing tourism to the county. "General tourism comprises approximately half of the DACVB's contract with Davis County," it was noted in a letter from Wilson, Smith, Racker & Prescott, who performed the study.