Can $150K website lure turistas?

news-tourist-websiteWill the big bucks web design be a tourist trap?

The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau has gotten some buzz about its new website–- and its eye-popping $150,000 price tag. In a report by NBC29's Henry Graff,  the visitors bureau calls the redesign a huge improvement for marketing the Charlottesville area, and its director, Kurt Burkhart, says the website was funded from the overnight bed tax on hotels.  Charlottesville contributed $571,000 this year to the tourism organization, and Albemarle, which redesigned its own website this summer for $30K, chipped in $603,000.


" My business, while completely unrelated to tourism, puts more money in the cities pockets than 15 houses on my street. You arguments about car dealerships are silly. They do not have extra local taxes on them related to the tourism dollar. " And, according to you, your business doesn't have extra taxes put on them related to the tourism dollar, either. Actually, the businesses do not pay the tourists' extra dollars - the tourist do. And we do too, every time we go out for a meal or stay in a hotel hotl. The bureau is getting over a million and you will never convince that what it does brings a million in TAXES, not the coffers of those merchants who do not, for the most part, live in the city. I will continue to work extremely hard to have that money taken away from the Bureau. The only thing it can claim it does is pay somebody to put a a website and then register some local businesses on it.
If you can not see my point about using tax money to pay the advertising bills of other local businesses, there's not much reason to talk to you. I assume you will keep promoting more welfare from local government.

Looking at the list of members, it appears the city is a member but not the primary funder. It seems the Portland bureau has over a thousand members, just like a local chamber of commerce, which should be sponsoring here.

"And for someone who might not want to troll the internet endlessly, or is not net savvy, this is important." And where exactly do they find this web page? Why not read the FREE weeklies?
"Its called advertising." And you should pay for your own. If your motorcoach business can't afford to pay for it's own advertising, maybe you ought to consider going out of business and get a job that will allow you to support your self. Most of the visitors who come here are connected to the University in some way and are quite savvy at using the internet.
BTW, motorcoaches that are at the Omni are not necessarily hauling around people who are spending the night. They may be hauling around fraternities.
"Add in the train tours, the coaches that drop off loads and go park elsewhere and we are talking 20 plus busses a week, times 45 people." You're making this up. Where would the train go?

Spend a minute a look. The top link was essentially the same thing we are doing in cville. It was the link I hit and never left. THAT is the point. I am not going to spend hours and hours shifting through sites when that link gives me all I need. And who do you think picks up the tab for that site? The locals that benefit from $$ spent in their city.

The businesses do pay their way. Through the generation of taxes. My business, while completely unrelated to tourism, puts more money in the cities pockets than 15 houses on my street. You arguments about car dealerships are silly. They do not have extra local taxes on them related to the tourism dollar.

But if you think the only tourists are on the coaches or trains your mistaken. They were just examples. Sounds like you need to run for local government office. Or do you just like to whine?

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

You just sent to me a link to a bunch of web sites that provide information about Portland Maine. With so much information available, why would the Portland tax payer have to pick up the tab? You made my case. I have had no knee-jerk reaction. I have been complaining ever since the City and the County agreed to give the Bureau and automatic percentage of their lodging taxes collected each year. That means when we have a blizzard, for example, and people have to spend several days in the area as with last winter, the bureau gets an increase in funding although it had absolutely nothing to do with bringing that business here.
Pricey, a high school can put up the website.
"They simply belched out tourists" Yeah twenty years ago. Now it's the one on Hilton Drive.
"...but its a front end fee that will only costs a small % to maintain..." How do you know how often they plan to revamp the website (the city did its twice in less than 10 years costing millions of dollars)
No, they do not have the weeklies distributed all over the east coast. That's why I always read them online.
The number people in the motor coach and the train is certainly not worth the $1M+ that the tax payers are contributing.
And BTW I assume you feel that the city and county should advertise for the local car dealerships (big money there), real estate sales (bigger money there) Walmart and Lowes.
AGAIN, LET THE BUSINESSES PAY THEIR OWN WAY and run their own business.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

What in the heck is this page for?

It seems these people are running a business mainly at taxpayer expense.

Is there anything on this page that is not all over the internet?
What a waste of time and money (taxpayer).

I wish you had.


"Welfare, as used by you, is for people that need help and do nothing to get it. Business owners are not that.

Bull. TARP. Savings and LOan scandal. Walmart tax breaks.

Corporate Welfare is the biggest welfare plan in this country.

Business owners are in business to make money for themselves. Many care about their people, but many don't, and the make money for themselves thing doesn't go away in any case.

It's about time they used some of the hotel tax to promote tourism.

Seems a bit spendy, though.

What a misguided dumping of tax money. The Convention and Visitor's Bureau should be supported totally by the millions of hotels and restaurants that are here. Why should the tax payer pay for their advertising? Futhermore, the Bureau can not document one "tourist" that it has lured here rather than allowing him to go somewhere else. The Bureau is not even performing a public service and yet it has over a $million budget? Again, another example of government not having a sense of priority. Didn't the County just got rid of some teachers? I certainly hope that Duane Snow and Rodney Thomas will take a look at this exorbitant. It's funny how the Golden Rule of government has evolved to "If you don't know what to spend the money on, don't return it, re-design your website and help pay your friends' mortgages, too."

Seems pricey, but this type of thing is well needed. I dont suppose anyone knows how many tourists are brought in my those motorcoach tours they are looking to help and/or add too? IN fall and spring there is usually 1-2 parked in the Omni, putting heads on beds and tourists in the area and buying food. Add in the train tours, the coaches that drop off loads and go park elsewhere and we are talking 20 plus busses a week, times 45 people.

As a family man, this is the first type of thing I look for when searching out a weekend trip to someplace. And for someone who might not want to troll the internet endlessly, or is not net savvy, this is important.

Cville gets a lot of tourists, and the better/simpler time we make it for them the better it is for the local economy.

Its called advertising. If it did not work then one would not know what google is...

I did not say biz pay taxes, I said they generate them. You continue to knee jerk react. Welfare, as used by you, is for people that need help and do nothing to get it. Business owners are not that. They are most often at risk for total loss of capitol and put in hours that the hourly worker only think of as nightmarish.

Sounds like you need to run for office and solve the problems. If your republican you might get my vote.

Businesses do not generate taxes except maybe the BPOL taxes, for the most part, they serve as a pass through. No, I'm neither Democrat nor Republican. Since I'm in favor of shutting down that government gravy train, I doubt very seriously that I would win and therefore it would be a waste of my time and money to run for office. Especially in this heat. Republican could not care less about money, they just want their family and friends and business partmers to get - the same as Democrats. They run for office just to make sure you give it to them. Look at the attempted take over of the county's emergency services. Look at their friends at the Bureau -they're getting over a $million ayear to sip wine and go out to dinner and walk a trail.

Some family, say, up in DC is looking for a nice weekend. Quick google search provides a one stop shop that lays out the info. It is exactly what I do when we make a weekend in St Michael's on the Eastern Shore, or Lexington, or Baltimore, or Nova Scotia, or Estes Park, or any one of many small places we have visited. OUr family goes, spend two nights, eats out 3-4 meals, wander the area and does some touring, shopping etc. We are getting ready to see Portland Maine. Sadly, they do not have a free weekly delivered in Charlottesville, BUT...a quick search finds... HOLY BATCAKES.. this: which is all the research and trolling I did. Small cities like ours, and Portland, do well to make life easy for me to come and spend my bucks. We will drop about 1.5K in our weekend.

Free weeklies? For people that are out of town. Just how far do you think they deliver the Hook? The entire east coast? The motor-coaches do pay for their own advertising. Thats not the point. The point is to drive more tourist bucks into Cville. And when the many coach tours are setting up their itineraries, this helps drive them here.

Most of the tourist that come to Cville will end up visiting UVa, but many are not the parents of students. I am not just pulling stuff out of my ear. Those touring coaches (different from the closed coaches for bands etc) in the Omni lot are 99.9% tourists. I worked at the Omni 20 years ago. They simply belched out tourists. And I see more of them every year as I drive by the Omni 6 days a week.

Oh...and by the way... this yearly train deposits 1000 people in Cville for the day each, and its just one.

The difference between me and you is that your making a knee jerk reactionary response without much information. I agree that the tag seems pricey, but its a front end fee that will only costs a small % to maintain.

And if this brings more, high end bucks to the town then the town has invested it wisely. Even with server fees, the cost spread over a decade is small change compared to what it can drive into the small businesses of the city and the trough taxes.


Cville Eye all the local Chamber of Commerce does is do things like have a National Security Advisor come in and speak.

Tells you why so many business owners can;t run a business - they aren't interested in running one. I loved it when I got a call from the a regional GOP business type to get money from me to run a half million dollar ad in the WSJ. He tried to play up how much the GOP does for small businesses.

I then asked several questions on GOP policies that had had a negative impact on small businesses, from healthcare on down the line, and then asked him why he thought any small business person would ever vote GOP?

Hendrix you need to go look at the website. I am almost 70 years old and the websites I have designed on GoDaddy for $6 a month look nicer, are easier to use and more functional.

The new website looks nice, but it does look a bit complicated to figure out. The website Mr. Brown may indeed have the better format, one that more members of the traveling public would find easier to use. I can not believe they spent $150,000 on that site and here I thought the County's new $30,000 was expensive. What is the life expectancy of the new site? maybe 5 years?

Has anyone every looked at what else they are spending money on? It would seem to me worth looking at, hint to Hook, especially with over a million dollar gift from the City and County. I also would like to know if they used any local web design firms for the development of this site? That much money pumped back into the local economy would have been nice. After all, is that not what they want to do? Obtain more money for the local economy?

I hope they hired Waldo Jacquith to do it.

Sorry I missed getting in on the 150K.....

@Caesonia, I'm so glad I'm not the only one that get's it.