Village Merchants consider group marketing options
by Dave Schwab
Apr 26, 2013 | 1029 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) heard pitches about partnering on Internet ticket sales and text-message marketing, as well as about Goodwill Industries coming to town with a new resale shop at the business improvement district’s April meeting in its new visitor’s center.

Alan Suchodolski of aRes Travel (Advanced Reservation Systems, Inc.), a San Diego-based travel planning service featuring Internet-based reservations and ticket technology, gave a presentation to the group. He addressed the marketing advantages offered by his company’s hotel booking and business-networking website.

“La Jolla merchants have opened this visitor’s center and we want to provide visitors to their destination offering them the ability and convenience of selling various attractions throughout Southern California via a web-based program,” said Suchodolski, who has 18 years’ experience promoting San Diego tourism and travel. The LJVMA, partnering with aRes, could, for example, sell a visitor a San Diego Zoo ticket and share in the revenue from that sale, he said.

LJVMA’s board indicated it was favorably disposed toward the proposal with one board member saying they needed more time to study it.

La Jollan Dave Ish also spoke briefly to the BID board about Club Lemeno, a text message-marketing program.

“What I’m promoting is a way for small- and medium-size businesses, which can’t afford a full-on marketing campaign, to reach out to their clientele using coded text messaging,” said Ish. “This could be a special deal promotion, like 10 percent off, to drive traffic into your store. Once you’ve developed some databases, you can start sending out text messages on a regular basis enticing customers to come in.”

Club Lemeno’s discounted text-messaging service would be $20 a month for 250 messages for LJVMA members. The LJVMA will vote on his proposal at its May 8 meeting.

Addressing both promotional pitches, LJVMA president Phil Coller said marketing is essential to the group’s financial health.

“We are spending more money every year than we are receiving as income every year from the BID,” he said. “The only people who pay into the BID account are those people paying the La Jolla business tax.”

Board member Egon Kafka pointed out LJVMA is being shortchanged by “businesses who do not register as La Jolla businesses,” suggesting something ought to be done to hold them accountable.

“I’m invoicing everybody for everything I can think of,” said executive director Sheila Fortune. “If you owe any business taxes — I’m coming after you.”

The April 10 meeting was held in the conference room of the La Jolla Visitor Information Center at 1162 Prospect St. next to We Olive. The brand new facility remains a work in progress said Fortune, who noted, “We still don’t have some doors and windows.” Fortune said foot traffic into the facility is improving along with promotion aided by the La Jolla Historical Society. She said the center also benefited from raffle-ticket proceeds at the recent Concours d’Elegance.

In other action:

• Board member Claudette Berwin, who headed up this year’s Concours d'Elegance classic car show proclaimed the event to be extraordinarily successful.

• La Jolla Town Council trustee Mary Soriano said Goodwill Industries is going through La Jolla PDO Committee to acquire the necessary permitting to convert a retail space at 7631 Girard Ave., formerly La Maisonette, into a resale shop. A couple of LJVMA board members questioned the appropriateness of a resale shop relocating into a boutique area, citing the possibility of property values being adversely affected.

LJVMA will next meet Wednesday, May 8. For more information, visit www.lajollabythesea.com.
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