Marketing Clearwater + Its Island Beaches

Case Study - Florida's Best Beach - Clearwater Beach
Creative Marketing, Visitor Guides, PR, eNewsletters, Website Design Services

The Greater Clearwater Chamber of Commerce solicited member bids for its revenue-generating quarterly publication, Around Town. Unlike the visitor guide, an outbound piece, the new publication was to be distributed locally to visitors at the beach welcome center and the chamber office. Advertising was to be sold by a chamber staff member with publication sales expertise.

Editorial content would feature spotlight articles, listings of attractions, restaurants, golf courses, outdoor recreation activities, park and recreation facilities, a calendar of events and a map with legend. Advertisers, who could not afford the more expensive ad rates for large volume distribution of the visitor guide, were hoped would find the Around Town rates more affordable.


Upon being awarded the bid, Flying Compass proposed ad rates and a production schedule based on the desired revenue. The chamber accepted these recommendations and sales began. The final product was a 72-page 4” x 9” brochure.

The Around Town piece proved that publications were a viable revenue source for the chamber. That same year, the visitor guide, which had been previously outsourced making the chamber a small profit, was brought in-house giving the chamber more control over content, design and layout and most importantly, more significant net revenue. Additionally, the chamber retained copyrights to the publication.


Flying Compass specializes in creative marketing and design services for the hospitality, travel and leisure industries. Our clients are involved in all aspects of the hospitality industry, and therefore, we understand the inner workings of each sector and how they interact with one another. This knowledge is extremely valuable in developing destination collateral materials.

Having previously served as the Greater Clearwater Chamber of Commerce’s tourism and convention director, Principal Lynn Fuhler knows firsthand how profit centers like the visitor guide help the chamber’s bottom line. She has worked within non-profit and government budget constraints, is familiar with tourism membership-based businesses, and knows what motivates tourists to travel and the information visitors desire. Throughout his career, Principal Steve Frazier has been involved in and overseen his team’s involvement in production – from content to design to delivery (print, flip books and digital downloads). He has parlayed these skills into website design and development. These talents are a perfect complement to Fuhler’s expertise.

Having worked with chambers of commerce, tourism boards and CVBs, Flying Compass, as detailed in this case study, brings a unique perspective to a destination’s brand experience. We know how to showcase community tourism assets and the proper distribution channels to reach visitors.


The chamber’s goal in bringing the visitor guide in-house was to increase its net revenue and to help defray the shipping costs of a significant portion of its 125,000-copy visitor guide.

Additionally the chamber and its hospitality industry leaders and members sought to:

  • Promote the destination through advertising;
  • Stay in regular contact with potential visitors;
  • Utilize publicity to generate free exposure; and
  • Share hotel and attraction development and infrastructure projects in progress.

The Greater Clearwater Chamber of Commerce applied for the city tourism promotion grant. The city recognized the chamber’s longstanding role in promoting economic development, especially tourism. The chamber was selected as the grant recipient and was tasked to serve as its tourism promotion agency and drive visitor inquiries and visitation.

Flying Compass proposed and created an annual production schedule for the visitor guide. It required substantial lead time to update listings, secure or take quality photos, draft and edit copy, design, review proofs, seek approval from management, print and receive delivery. Organizing the workflow allowed the guide to be received before the high season began.

As part of this project, data collection was standardized so it could also be utilized on the chamber’s visitor-friendly website with minimal touch time.

For nearly 20 years, Flying Compass produced the visitor guide for the chamber. The publication was completely re-designed each year and featured a new, strong, dynamic cover image. We also brought the first digital visitor guide online when Flying Compass created the chamber’s first professional chamber/visitor website more than 25+ years ago. 


With tourism promotion dollars from the city, the Clearwater chamber contracted with a local public relations firm to tout “Clearwater + Its Island Beaches.”

To provide regular access to news releases and destination images, Flying Compass submitted a bid and was contracted to develop a media website. This was the first time Clearwater, as a tourism destination, established an online media presence. The website also provided the media with open access to the latest news on Clearwater and Clearwater Beach, as well as an image library.

To support the chamber/city co-op advertising campaigns, Flying Compass prepared and distributed a quarterly e-newsletter, “Footprints,” using materials provided by the PR firm. These were distributed to the leads (email list) captured due to the co-op ad program.

With minimal support staff, the chamber’s tourism director sought to reduce or eliminate touch time in handling administrative functions. Efficiencies were created by automating the media site, including the PR firm updating content.

By consistently distributing emails to those interested in Clearwater, the chamber could share the latest news – hotel development projects, expanded airline service, upcoming events, outdoor recreation activities, new attraction features, hotel packages, awards, etc. The emails remind visitors to return or visit for the first time.


With Flying Compass’ unique background in tourism, we understand the leisure, corporate, group and convention travelers and how each interacts with the others. Additionally, because of our marketing expertise, ranging from design and publications to public relations and websites, we were able to meet the diverse needs of the chamber. We see the big picture and the details – transferring information from one medium to another, minimizing touch time.

Our top-notch photo retouching staff’s talent allows for subtle changes, creating that “something looks different, but I can’t quite put my finger on it” response. We enjoy transforming an OK image into a destination’s signature image.

As highlighted in this case study, our goal at Flying Compass is to help our clients achieve their goals. The chamber’s original objectives for bringing the visitor guide in-house were met. They were also designated as the publication copyright owner and controlled content, design and layout.

Flying Compass involvement allowed the chamber to achieve the desired outcomes of the city’s grant, too. We are pleased to have helped the chamber meet its goals, detailed below while earning numerous “best” and “top” awards and honors for Clearwater Beach.

  1. Increase awareness of the destination
  2. Generate interest and leads from potential visitors
  3. Capture email addresses
  4. Support the CVB advertising program by purchasing co-op ads
  5. Provide a more economical way for their members to participate in ad opportunities
Clearwater Beach has continued to be an award-winning beach over the years as evidenced by recent honors:  TripAdvisor’s Reader’s Choice award being given to the destination in 2018 and 2019, Clearwater Beach #1 Best Beach in America in 2019, and it being named The Best of the Best of St. Pete/Clearwater 2020! by the Visit St. Pete Clearwater, the areas convention and visitors bureau.
To learn more about this and other case studies, contact Flying Compass today.

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