BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For the first time ever, tourism leaders will be kicking-off a new promotion that rewards visitors for being loyal South Mississippi guests. The program is being called a win-win campaign for both tourists and local businesses.
Soon, you will see bright yellow signs popping up at businesses across south Mississippi. The signs indicate the merchant is ready to give visitors some enticing deals and discounts.
"We're one of three destinations in the nation that are initiating this product and trying to stay on the cutting edge and ahead of our competition," said Beth Carriere, Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director.
The Club Gulf Coast Card Program officially starts June fourth. On Monday, some merchants gathered at the Coast Convention Center in Biloxi to learn how set up the system. The first 50 businesses that sign up will get their activation fee waived, as well as a waiver on their monthly marketing fees for the first year.
Here's how the program works:
Only tourists who live outside the six southern Mississippi counties can register for the program online. They will receive a loyalty card in the mail. Once the card is activated online, they can swipe it at any participating business to take advantage of the special offers.
"I said, 'Wow!' We're taking the next step because our brands always build these loyalty programs to attract new customers and we have the Mississippi Gulf Coast building its own loyalty card that everyone can contribute to and it's just a win-win situation," said Kenny Glavan, General Manager of Four Points by Sheraton Biloxi Beach.
Glavan is considering some promotion possibilities for his loyal guests.
"The world's the limit on this," he said. "I think you could do stay two nights, get the next night free. We have restaurant promotions that we could offer free appetizers. We can even offer bonus points on the program to build some of the points that they could use at other attractions."
Every swipe provides merchants a wealth of information about their customers and their spending habits. For visitors, the loyalty cards give them one more reason to come play, stay, and spend money on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
"I think this will grow legs. It will be well rooted. It will grow as time goes on as we get the cards in the hands of the visitors. As our visitors grow and as our promotions of the Club Gulf Coast Card grows, then so will the participating merchants and so will the cash registers ringing," said Carriere.
The promotion is headed up by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.