While BP continues its efforts to try to stop the catastrophic oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, promoting the Gulf beaches during the spill is a crisis on land for the Gulf Coast tourism industry. I recently spoke to National Public Radio (NPR) on how the Gulf region should market itself to prepare for the oil spill. The interview aired on Friday’s (May 14) edition of “All Things Considered.” An additional insight I discussed with the reporter was the suggestion to look at the real consumer draws to the area. That is, why do consumers actually go to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast in the first place? Research shows that the number one attraction in the region is casino gambling and that a large majority of gamblers have no interest in visiting the beach at all.
Combine this with our first rule of Building Brand Value – All About Them – and it becomes clear that there are very compelling reasons for Biloxi’s audience to visit regardless of the beachfront situation. And because all eyes are on the region, now might be a particularly effective time to advertise as consumers are interested in knowing what’s happening in the area.
None of this should suggest that the oil spill will not affect Mississippi’s coast but that there are effective, productive and forward thinking things the region can do now to maintain and increase its business.