BiS: - Business news for the creative coast.


OWENS: Hidden gem wants to be found

There’s a hidden gem off the coast of Savannah that’s helping protect and conserve our oceans.

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary lies just a few miles off the Georgia coast. It’s a special place, but you might not know that it is even there.

OWENS: Good intentions are not always enough

Ever have an idea that will revolutionize a process? Some of you will know what I’m talking about. You’re innovators.

In business, we need innovators and visionaries to come up with the crazy ideas that just might work. But, innovators need to understand that they can’t do this alone. You also need executers.

OWENS: How do you define tourism?

What does tourism mean to you? For some, it means a lucrative career or an entry-level job that provides transferable skills to other fields. For others, it means a vacation from work or the next trip for which they’re saving.

Guillermo Montes with Rosie Soto at Comfort Suites. (Special to the Savannah Morning News)

OWENS: Millennial shoppers want smiles, too

If you look around at the guests who are coming to Savannah, you may notice they’re changing.

Studies have found that more Millennials are traveling than ever before. In fact, there are more Millennials who travel than there are Baby Boomers who travel.

So, in tourism, we’re always asking, what are the needs of the Millennial explorer?

OWENS: This summer, be a guest in your own city

Over the last week, I’ve noticed a lot of people walking through downtown poring over their smartphones. At first, I assumed they were taking photos or using a map for directions. It turns out I was half right.

They were playing Pokemon Go, an app that overlays Pokemon into real-life locations, using their current location through Google Maps.

OWENS: Summer jobs promote good work ethic

What was your first summer job? Most people have a good story about their entryway into the workforce.

Mine was pretty typical. I worked at McDonalds, flipping burgers.

But, I also grew up in a time when summer jobs were more readily available. Today’s youth find it more difficult to find a part-time job, post-recession.

OWENS: Savannah can't live on tourism alone

In Savannah, we’re blessed with a thriving tourism community. And, for someone who spends his entire day talking about tourism, I’m going to ask a very important question:

Are we, as a community, too reliant on tourism?

OWENS: Transportation plan not luxury but necessity

In and around Savannah, we’re at a junction. One path is to keep the way we move around this city the same, closing our eyes to the growth that is happening to our area. The other is to plan for our future by investing the time and money for a transportation and mobility plan.

RTD Board of Director Chuck Sisk, talks with members of CAT during a luncheon Wednesday at the Coastal Georgia Center. (Josh Galemore/Savannah Morning News)

OWENS: We're all marketers, so do your part

This week, we had a representative from speak to the tourism community. She shared how that global company is building a landing page on their website that helps attract people. These are just a few of the many marketers pointing people to Savannah.

OWENS: Street sweep schedule needs review

It’s no surprise that the busiest nights of the week in downtown Savannah are Friday and Saturday. These nights are the most popular for everyone.

It’s on these nights that you grab a drink with co-workers downtown, have a community meeting at a restaurant and celebrate major life events while enjoying your own city—and enjoying our city often means finding parking.

Owens: Movies make magic, boost economy

There’s nothing like a movie to transport you to another world, real or imagined. There’s a reason the movie business is so big. We’ll buy a ticket to see our favorite stars or dive into a good story.

And it is magical to see how Hollywood can take us on such fantastic journeys. Movie magic happened in my office this week.

OWENS: Ability to adapt a critical skill

When it’s hot, we sweat. When it’s cold, we shiver. Humans, at even the cellular level, adapt to change. Because of our ability to change to the changing environment, we survive.

It’s no different in business. We must be fluid enough to change our products to what the customer wants.

OWENS: Create a best-case scenario

With all things springtime, it may be time to do some spring cleaning around your business.

When you own your own business, and most of us do in tourism, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day. You have payroll, inventory and paying the light bill.

So it’s easy to lose sight of the vision you originally set out to create with your business.

OWENS: Savannah tourism solutions not always easy as they seem

In tourism, we aim to provide the guests with what they want. The research overwhelmingly shows that people come here to experience our history, architecture and lifestyle. A problem that I’m often faced with is a question that comes my way regularly: “Why can’t you bring tourism to my area?”


OWENS: Tourism, history and lots of stories

Have you heard of the Waving Girl? The statue of Florence Martus gilded in bronze off River Street depicts the young woman waving her handkerchief at ships passing by on the Savannah River.

OWENS: Ripple effect of tourism spending on our economy

What comes to mind when you think about tourism? Is it restaurant to retail or attractions to accommodations? I would say all of the above and so much more.

When we think through the number of how tourism performs in Savannah, we often look at the 26,000 workers who directly work in tourism or the $2.5 billion in outside spending to the businesses that serve the guests, but we don’t often look at the ripple effect.

OWENS: Organizations working together in Savannah

In Savannah, we’re fortunate to have a host of organizations tailored to diverse causes and ideas. There’s something for everyone.

If you’re a part of tourism or want to be a part of tourism, you should be a member of the Tourism Leadership Council or TLC. If you have a business location downtown, there’s the Savannah Downtown Business Association or SDBA.

OWENS: A review of the year in tourism in Savannah

This is the time of year for reflection. What did you do in 2015? What do you have planned for 2016?

If you’re in the tourism business or if your business supports the tourism community, then you can look back at 2015 with pride.

This year, tourism in Savannah was busy.

OWENS: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport making name for itself

This holiday season, as we make plans to see family and friends, you may be making your way through the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.

Our airport stands as a dependable organization that houses the companies that get us where we need to go and safely brings thousands of people to us daily.

But maybe you haven’t thought much more about it than that.