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Bal Harbour

Bal Harbour looking to expand branding of itself for hotel tourists


Special to the Miami Herald

Bal Harbour is looking to rebrand itself in an effort to attract “desirable tourists,” according to the village manager, in reference to “high-value customers” and potential hotel guests.

At the Jan. 21 meeting, the council approved a resolution to enter into an agreement with the firm Partners + Napier to provide marketing and branding-related services.

Using funds from resort taxes, the village plans to spend roughly $60,000 on the project, said Village Manager Jorge Gonzalez, but the price tag could change. With the addition in recent years of luxury high-rises such as the St. Regis Bal Harbour, One Bal Harbour and others, Gonzalez said the village needed to freshen up how it identifies itself.

“Tourism in Bal Harbour is growing,” Gonzalez said in a phone interview. “We want to make sure we are marketing ourselves at best. As [the village] continues to grow, we want to make sure we position ourselves with the high-value customers and make sure we are attracting the desirable tourists.”

“We found ourselves in a different position than we have been over the last 50 years in terms of how Bal Harbour is perceived by the rest of the world," said Carolyn Travis, director of tourism for Bal Harbour.

Bal Harbour used to focus the spotlight on the Bal Harbour Shops, but now it wants to spread the message to potential tourists across the country and even overseas that the village is more than just a shopping destination.

“It used to be ‘come shop in Bal Harbour,’ ” Gonzalez said. “You didn’t have One Bal Harbour and the other hotels. It was time to revisit our strategy to make sure we are spending our efforts and dollars wisely.”

The project had been kicked off before Gonzalez was hired as manager late last year but was put on hold until he came onboard. He says background research has already been conducted, but now the village plans to reach out to residents and local businesses to acquire their input. Officials have already met with travel agencies and businesses.

A meeting has been set for Feb. 15, with a time and location to be determined soon.

“Bal habour is maturing as a tourist destination,” Gonzalez said.

He said that once the branding is finalized and approved by the council, officials will look into hiring an advertising firm.

“Before you get to the creative side, you need to first find out what kind of high-value tourists are we looking for?” he said. “Then, you develop the creative packet, which will impact advertising.”

Gonzalez said the goal was to have everything finalized by the end of six months.

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