Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's time to fire Bill Talbert

William Talbert, President of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. (Official GMCVB photo)

In 1999 when Bill Talbert was appointed president of the the quasi-private, publicly-funded Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, (GMCVB) he told the Miami Herald, "I'm honored, and I want to take us on to the next level."

On its website the GMCVB says its mission is to "attract and encourage individuals and organizations to visit Greater Miami and the Beaches."

And how does the GMCVB attract and encourage tourists and groups to visit Miami?

Talbert and his staff oversee the production of print ads, posters, brochures and videos that show Miami at its best.

Under Talbert, the GMCVB has made attempts to identify and market to specific niche groups such as Gay and Lesbian and African American tourists.

But how do Talbert and his staff of 60+ full-time employees measure up on a day-to-day basis?

Gus Moore of gives Talbert poor marks. Moore recently documented instances of Talbert publishing "misleading employment information" for South Florida's leisure and hospitality industry.

By now you might be saying to yourself. "perhaps that's just an aberration."

Surely Talbert - who makes over $258,000 a year running the GMCVB - must be doing something right.

Well, let's look at few examples of how Talbert has taken the GMCVB to the "next level" after more than 12 years at the helm.

It appears that the GMCVB has a spotty record when it comes to social media.

There is an iPhone app available on the bureau's website that purports to give visitors "the inside scoop on Miami – the world’s favorite tropical cosmopolitan destination."

But, what about Facebook? I'm not hitting this "like" button. And neither is anyone else. The GMCVB's Facebook page has 15 likes and not much else in the way of info.

Twitter? A little better. @MiamiandBeaches has over 36,000 followers.

YouTube? Surely the GMCVB, with its $24 million annual budget hires dozens of talented videographers to shoot slick, picturesque videos which are then posted on the GMCVB's YouTube page. Right?

Yes, the GMCVB does have a YouTube page. Let's look at one of their videos.

Is that it Bill? That's what $24 million buys? One embarrassingly bad video? There are kids in junior high school that shoot better videos that that piece of crap.

Question: How hard is it to find someone to shoot a professional-looking video that shows off Miami?

Answer: Not that hard.

Here's a video shot by a couple of videographers in their spare time while they were in Miami covering the 2010 Super Bowl for ESPN. One of the filmmakers, Joel Edwards writes: "So we're in Miami this year shooting for ESPN SuperBowl coverage.. and I'm blown away by so many different colors we're capturing... and then... Roache and I get on a couple of boats for water views... long story short.. we had so much extra footage... great footage... I figured I might as well put together a scenic mix with some crazy color correction and trance music."

Now here' a question for Bill Talbert: How many young creatives do you have on your bloated, overpaid staff? People who can produce videos like that because it's second nature for them? Perhaps the reason you don't have any talented and creative people on your staff is because it would serve to highlight your own incompetence.

By the way, here's a video shot in Miami Beach a few months ago that's getting a lot of views. It's not quite as slick or professional as Joel's video, but it's definitely generating a lot of talk about "Greater Miami and the Beaches."


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