January 2019 HACB Board Minutes

Houma Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

Regular Scheduled Meeting Minutes

January 31, 2019

Board Member Attendance

Present                                                                                                    Absent

Katherine Gilbert – Chair                                                                       Dale Norred – Secretary / Treasurer

Andrée Casey – Vice Chair

Charles Wilson, Sr.

Cheri Blanchard

Judy Smart

Brenda Babin

Mary Lynn Bisland

Julie Falgout arrived at 8:45am

Staff Member Attendance


Sondra Corbitt – Executive Director

Joey Pierce – Assistant Director

Bobbie Smith – Financial / Office Manager

Community Member Attendance


Mr. Matthew Rookard – TEDA CFO

Call to order

K. Gilbert called to order the regular meeting of the HACVB at 8:31 am on Thursday, January 31, 2019 at HACVB Administration building in the Conference Room.

Roll call

Quorum was present.

Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance:

C. Blanchard led the Invocation and K. Gilbert led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Public to be Heard

No one from the public present to be heard.

Welcome New Board Members

K. Gilbert introduced and welcomed the new board members: Brenda Babin and Judy Smart.  Everyone introduced themselves to the new members and welcomed them to the team.

Board of Directors’ Policy Binders

S. Corbitt reiterated that the By-Laws are in the binder and that a member can only miss three meetings and on the fourth absence that the member will be removed.

After a discussion it was decided to remove the term unforeseen absence and replace with there are no excused absences in the By-Laws and bring it to the board next month for approval.

Approval of December 2018 Minutes and November 2018 Financial Reports

The December 2018 minutes were approved as presented.  A motion was made by M. Bisland and seconded by C. Blanchard.  J. Smart abstained. It passed unanimously.

November 2018 Financial reports which include the following reports:

  • Balance Sheet
  • YTD Income Statement Comparison
  • Income Statement Previous Year Comparison
  • Income Statement YTD Budget vs. Actual
  • Income Statement MTD Budget Performance


These reports were provided prior to the meeting.  The Financial Reports reflect the budget-to-actual comparisons for the General Fund and were approved as provided by motion of M. Bisland and seconded by A. Casey and passed unanimously.

Approval of 2018 Amended Budget

The 2018 Amended Budget was provided prior to the meeting.  It was approved as provided by motion of C. Blanchard and seconded by M. Bisland and passed unanimously.

CPA Audit Engagement Approval

These reports were provided prior to the meeting.  It was approved as provided by motion of A. Casey and seconded by C. Wilson and passed unanimously.

AirBnB Discussion

S. Corbitt explained that LACVB wants us to capitalize on the AirBnB market so that we can start receiving Hotel-Motel Taxes in addition with the State Sales Taxes.  With the LACVB we drafted up the Voluntary Agreement and present it to the Tax Collector here in Terrebonne Parish, which is Mark.  Mark is reviewing it with attorney and will get back to Sondra once Mark signs off and then it will be sent to AirBnB Corporation so that they can begin submitting taxes.  Sondra asked that it all be finalized so that we can begin collecting taxes on March 1st.

LACVB will be working with the Legislators to change the definition of the Hotel-Motel minimum threshold for Occupancy Tax from two rooms to one room.

Young Strategies Research Presentation

Joey Pierce stated that the Research Project that we are working on is quite massive.  What this entails is that a lot of people will be involved.  Our staff will be involved, Sondra, Joey, Hal and Angela will play big roles in it because of the connection with our hotels and our tourism partners.

Young Strategies is a research company that specialized in destination research.  They have specifically already worked with Shreveport, Natchitoches, Northshore, Tangipahoa and Lake Charles.  Berkeley Young started as a Hotelier in the Sales Department and moved into becoming a CVB Director and from there began working with another research company ran by Ms. Judy Randall who was specializing in destination research around 1988.  He eventually opened his own business.  Amy Stevens will be spearheading our research project.  Amy has been working in Client Relations and Destination Marketing.  She has more experience than Berkeley in the Marketing Research side.

The first step was having the initial meeting to understand who we are and what we need.  We met with them for a day in December to find out exactly what they were looking for and they did the same.  They spent four days traveling around the parish with pointers from us about where we really wanted them to look.  They met with as many of our Hotel General Managers and Sales Directors that we could get them in touch with because the hotels are really going to be the key to getting this research nailed.

The second step is lodging analysis which is going on right now.  How many hotel rooms do you have, on average how many are sold, what is the average rate for the hotel so we can get a better handle of what are our busy seasons and slower seasons.

The third step is to take all this information and laying it into more analytics.

The fourth step is to which is the big part of it which is our Visitor Profile Research.  We will be asking our hoteliers to send out a customized link to their database of people who have stayed with them before to ask questions.  We want to find out why they were here, how did they hear about the area, what wanted to make them come to the area, what did they like about the area, what do they think about the area, what about their hotel, and will they come back to the area.

Outdoor Adventure and Food and Culture are or strengths.  So, finding out how to market or cultivate this into an experience that the visitor can have.

The business segment is another opportunity to market to as well.

This research will be conducted within the next 6 months and will be presented to the Board.

Product Development Grant – TEDA’s The Louisiana Run for the Wetlands

Matthew Rookard, CEO for TEDA.  S. Corbitt stated that this project is to bring awareness to our coast.  M. Rookard said that we knew that the first year was going to be an investment.  We have the Terrebonne Economic Development Authority as well as a non-profit tied to Terrebonne Economic Development Foundation.  We are doing this through the Foundation side which has about $20,000 in that Fund and the Board has made a resolution of commitment to support this event.

We created this concept called HD Sports to try to go proactively do somethings.  There are two components to this concept: 1.  Recruit existing events to the area and 2.  Build a signature event to draw people to a new event.  So, we came up with this run which will attract people who want to have an experience and be educational as well.

These reports were provided prior to the meeting.   The award of $2,000.00 was approved by motion of M. Bisland and seconded by A. Casey and passed unanimously with one abstention of K. Gilbert.

Executive Director’s Monthly Report

S. Corbitt reviewed her report by touching on the main points:  Occupancy Rates, AirBnB Update, and Building Repairs.  S. Corbitt also provided a copy of her schedule for January and February.

Executive Session:  Executive Director’s Evaluation

At 9:45 am J. Falgout motioned to move into Executive Session to discuss the Executive Director’s Evaluation and Salary and was seconded by C. Blanchard.

It was discussed and decided that the Executive Director’s raise will go into effect as of January 1, 2019.

Executive Session ended at 10:00 am by motion of B. Babin and seconded by A. Casey and passed unanimously.


It was motioned to adjourn the meeting at 10:01 am by A. Casey and seconded by M. Bisland and the motion carried.