Posted: January 28, 2020 by Kelly Murphy-Redd
Visit Florida has been in the news again because there are legislators wanting to eliminate it or cut funding - again. Last year the budget was cut from $76 million to $50 million and again, some ranking members of the Legislature are questioning the value of marketing Florida as a place to visit and do business. All too familiar, we have been down this road before with both VISIT Florida and Enterprise Florida.

Several legislators have said that everyone knows about Florida and they will come without marketing. As has been pointed out in several editorials, many legislators run their own businesses and know marketing is vital if they want to be successful against their competition. This is an ongoing activity and should be if they want to grow. Everyone knows about Amazon but they seem to see the need to keep on marketing.

So too, the state of Florida needs to continually market to visitors and businesses to attract both to our state in order to grow a thriving economy that benefits all. Florida has competition too – the whole world.  A little closer to home we could mention Texas, Alabama, Georgia, etc.
The legislators mentioned above think each city can advertise for themselves. Other legislators remind their colleagues when events such as Deep Water Horizon, Hurricane Michael, wild fires, etc. occur, the state needs to take the lead and counter negative perceptions. Anyway, each city cannot afford market to the whole world. If the state markets Florida as a whole, then each city can use their funds to do the best they can to market themselves within that context.

I mentioned customer service in the title of this blog. It’s just plain common sense to say answering the phone is good customer service. But, as you well know, that is getting harder and harder to come by. Make it easy on the customer for goodness sake. Don’t you hate the menus when you call a company? If we have a company interested in Florida then we should streamline how they get information and give them a central entity to call. If we have the potential to attract new visitors who enable us to have no personal state income tax and who may also become real estate buyers and business owners, then let’s keep Florida top of mind by marketing.

Tallahassee needs to remember their customers – all of us taxpayers. Providing support to VISIT Florida (and Enterprise Florida, for that matter) helps every one of us because we need the customers resulting from the activities of these organizations.