College Station is finishing its third year of a stand alone tourism office. That is after the city council decided to break away from a joint operation with Bryan and Brazos County.
During the council’s May 15th meeting, members gave multiple suggestions to the director of the tourism office. That was after director Jeremiah Cook made a 15 minute presentation.
Councilman Bob Yancy, who in a prior life worked at the city of College Station’s marketing office, called for the tourism office to “pound the phones, work the phones, make those cold calls. Cold calls lead to appointments, appointments lead to proposals, (and) proposals lead to business.”
Councilwoman Elizabeth Cunha asked about the city’s ability to access Texas A&M facilities through a preferred access agreement that was signed ten years ago. A&M agreed to discount rental rates in exchange of A&M receiving a projected $14 million dollars in hotel occupancy tax revenue over a 30 year period to help pay for expanding Kyle Field. When Cunha asked Cook if he “has seen an increased improvement in the preferred access access”, Cook said “it’s something that we are definitely in conversation about”. Cook also said the city “is working with A&M to see what events are best for you all (A&M)”, adding that partnership is “ten times more valuable than us (the city) just saying we need space, we need space, we need space.”
Councilwoman Linda Harvell pointed out her 30 year professional career in tourism, which included leadership positions with convention and tourism bureaus in Lubbock, Corpus Christi, Denver, and Palm Springs California. She said College Station is missing out on attracting leisure travelers who can fill hotel rooms on Sunday nights through Thursday nights.
Councilman Dennis Maloney wanted more activities and more promotion of the Northgate district.
Councilman William Wright wanted marketing materials to promote the city, pointing out that 75 percent of images used in marketing materials by the tourism office promote A&M.
Mayor John Nichols finished the discussion by telling Cook he “certainly stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest, and I think you did get some good feedback.” Nichols also said “I think everybody (on the council) could agree that when you start a new organization, you gotta set priorities. You can’t be everybody to everything.”