Sunday, February 28, 2010

Putting Winter in Perspective: Sanibel Angle on Meaning of Weather

Three times today, alone, I was struck with the whole idea of what "winter" means. Of course, the comparison sprang from considering what has been a long, cold, snowy winter here in New Jersey. And it's not over yet!

First, watching the morning news on TV about the memorial for the Sea World trainer who was killed by a performing whale, I was absorbed on several levels. I feel deeply for the deceased trainer and for her family. Losing a loved one at that age and in that manner is no doubt difficult to accept. I also feel a sense of frustration and anger that these wild, beautiful whales are taken from their natural environments to live out their lives in nothing much larger than a bathtub (relative to the size of the Orcas) purely to entertain people and enrich the industry that has caught and captured them.

Less intense in feeling, but still palpable, I watched as reporters in Orlando covered the story. They were dressed in light jackets, and they were surrounded by green....palms, grass, all lush. And the sun was shining. The view out my window was far less appealing. The snow out there in the woods is white and deep, but the trees are bereft of leaves and the panorama, to me, is austere and uninviting.

Later today, watching the evening news, I caught a commercial about Keywest on the tube. I have seen it before, and was then and now smitten with the images: a sail boat in the sunset, the aqua waters, the colorful buildings and verdant landscapes. I only wish those marketing mavens who are in charge of promoting Sanibel would see the value of such a beautiful promotion for my own island.

And just checking my website now, I see that the weather on Sanibel reached 60 degrees and was sunny all day. Of course, that is a disappointment I am certain for those who are on the Island seeking a beach scene or a dip in the Gulf. But look at the comparison. It did not get over 30 degrees here today, and though the sun peeked out for about an hour, the day was largely gray and dull.
So I am left as night approaches, not necessarily cursing the dark, but wishing it would not get quite so dark quite so quick. And that the winters in the tri state area would not start quite so soon or last so long. It would also be helpful to have warmer weather longer and green all year around.

But most of all, when I read/hear complaints about the chill in Florida, I can only smile. Those registering disappointment, are like the palm tree shown here, missing an important part of the picture. The complete picture is one that considers all the alternatives!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Taking A Count: Census Offers Opportunity for Perfect Job on Sanibel!

People are accustomed to counting things on Sanibel Island.

We count seashells, even when our names are not Sally.

We count birds by number and variety.

We count the number of miles we walk, the number of miles we bike, the number of miles we run.

Counting is a way of life on the Island.
But we don't usually get paid for what we least that was the case until recently when the US Census announced that it needs Census takers on Sanibel Island.

I couldn't think of a nicer way to spend some time working!

OK, I admit the pay is not fabulous. At $12 to $15 an hour, no one is going to get rich doing this. But look at the perks. You get to walk around one of the prettiest Islands in America, get to see the insides of charming and often quite awesome homes, meet nice people, engage in a few interesting conversations and do the government a favor.

Being a census taker on Sanibel is a cushy gig comparing it to the task of census taking most other places in America. There's no snow, no ice, no bad dogs roaming the streets. There are no apartment buildings at all for long term living and few people who live year round in the condo complexes that cater to vacationers. So you don't climb many stairs to get to the apartments where you do the census and there is no danger of getting stuck in an elevator with a hostile or dangerous passenger.

The sun shines most days of the year, even on cooler days you don't have to wear a heavy coat, hats, mittens or boots and there is nothing like an urban traffic jam if you do end up having to drive from point to point.

Other than being on vacation on Sanibel, or living there year round, being a census taker is one of the best deals around!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How Will The Super Bowl Homeaway Ad Effect Sanibel's Vacation Rental Market?

Super Bowl 2010 has come and gone, but not without a few surprises.
Though the Saints were a sentimental favorite among many East Coast Super Bowl fans, no one thought they would win so profoundly, if indeed they held high hopes for a win at all.

And there were probably many people in the stands and glued to their tv's who were surprised that a vacation rental website would invest the money to advertise on one of the most expensive venues available. But while New Orleans and Saints fans everywhere are taking to the streets and celebrating, the question remains how, if at all, the Homeaway ad will impact the vacation rental market place.

Though I can't help but feel that the ad will give a needed and good exposure to vacation rentals, I can't say that the ad will drive people to either Homeaway or other traditional vacation rental sites to book their lodging. For me, and the people I have spoken with, the ad just did not bring home effectively the advantages of a vacation rental over a hotel. Those being, specifically, more space, better pricing for a family, more privacy for a couple and, in most instances, more comfort and convenience for everyone.

In fact, I would risk an opinion that the ROI for Homeaway will be negligible, and I am certainly not anticipating a flood of inquiries for my own two vacation rentals on Sanibel as a result of the ad...or to any particular rentals on the Island.

As someone with decades of marketing experience, I truly feel that for all the money spent, the message was muddled. I think the Homeaway people might have better utilized the funds to simply drive traffic to a more focused video on youtube.

This little video produced by Second Porch and featured on youtube, probably has a more pointed message about the mission of this Facebook application than does the much more complex and significantly more costly Homeaway ad explain the VR advantage:

As they say, "out of the mouths of babes".......