15 Years In Travel Ends

Price/McNabb in Charlotte, N.C., has relinquished its 15-year grip on the Buncombe County (N.C.) Tourism business. In doing so, the agency shuttered its small office in Asheville, N.C.
“We were their first and only agency, and we’ve worked through a lot of different boards [of directors],” said Tom Eppes, Price/McNabb’s president. “We just felt it was time to let another agency have a shot at it.”
Eppes added that the resignation gives his shop a chance to pursue other travel and tourism opportunities.
The closing of the Asheville office is the last step in the agency’s decision several years ago to consolidate all operations in Charlotte. At one time, Price/McNabb had a network of offices throughout the Carolinas.
Eppes said the outpost had a small staff and included an office for agency chairman and chief executive officer Charles Price, who spends three days a week at the shop’s headquarters.
The split means the client will begin a review for its account, estimated to be worth around $1.5 million, said Lisa Smith, executive director of the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Asheville is located in Buncombe County.
She said that tourism officials will be open to look for an agency beyond its immediate borders, a break from a longstanding informal policy of only using shops located in Buncombe. A request for proposal is currently being drafted.
The current marketing slogan is “Altitude affects attitude.” The overall marketing budget is $2.5 million, though not all of those funds go through the agency. Most of the money is spent on print ads in publications like Condƒ Nast Traveler, Southern Living, Reader’s Digest and Martha Stewart Living.