Do you know there’s #MuchInHutch? TRUE Statement.
About a third of the work we do at the Chamber is Tourism related. Now we could debate the nuances of how the chamber work relates to tourism, tourism relates to business, the circle which encloses both sides, as well as the community aspect of our work…. WHICH IS SO TRUE… but that may be another blog post. I’ll add it to my list.
Tourism dollars come from a city ordinance which collects Lodging Tax from lodging properties, including camp grounds. This money is used specifically to promote Hutchinson as a destination.
How do we know if that is working? How do you measure such a thing?
Each year, more money is collected through this tax, which means more people are staying at our lodging facilities.
Jesse Bjur, AmericInn General Manager, shared this “We have seen a strong demand for weekend lodging accommodations the past 3 years due to Hutchinson’s great wedding venues as well as major events such as Orange Spectacular, Arts & Crafts Festival, and various sports tournaments.” Jesse also noted that 2016 looks to continue the same trend.
When asked about the Chamber/Tourism impact, Mary McRaith, Shamrock Inn Owner/Manager said the Hutchinson Chamber’s time and financial Tourism efforts have greatly impacted the Shamrock Inn, as well as other area businesses. “The monetary investment has helped shine a spotlight on the many community events and attractions Hutchinson has to offer. And as we say in this business, more “Heads and Beds” has a positive trickle-down effect for everyone!”
But what is it we do to promote Hutchinson as a destination?
- We started renting billboard space three years ago. This will be our second year of ExploreHutchinson.com with #MuchInHutch. The simplicity of the boards have made a significant impact on traffic on our website- which leads directly to our member businesses’ pages and “Visiting Hutchinson” information.
- When we began the ExploreHutchinson.com/ #MuchInHutch campaign, we began working with McKimm Trucking to place large vinyls on their trucks. THEN, we were approached by B&B Sports to add stickers onto their trailers, campers and fish houses. You’d be surprised how many vehicle passengers send us photos from the road when they see McKimm trucks. Thank you to those passengers for driving safely on our roads, and not letting drivers take the photos.
- Each year we lay out the Tourism Marketing plan, which includes national publications as well as state and regional publications. You’ll see ExploreHutchinson.com listed on websites, as well as advertising in prominent state tourism books, magazines and periodicals. Explore Minnesota allows businesses to add listings at no cost… are YOU utilizing this free service???
- With the opening of the paved Luce Line Trail, the Chamber/Tourism Board has made a significant commitment for the next two years for marketing the trail. The trail has already proofed to be a destination and overflow business for our local businesses. Interestingly enough, with Chamber location on the corner of Happy, Sunny and Always Smiling, we’ve seen groups of bikers coming downtown to eat, shop and explore. Yes, they shop too!
- Three years ago we began the Tourism Marketing Grant. This grant helps pay for marketing of a Hutchinson located event. These events bring people to Hutchinson, and helping pay for some of their marketing, helps Hutchinson… Genius, even if we do say so ourselves! If your organization or business has an event which you market outside of a 30 mile radius of Hutchinson, contact Mary for a grant application.
- Because Tourism and the livelihood of so many of our businesses are interwoven, we created a new Task Force/Committee: Destination Hutchinson. Any business in the hospitality industry is welcome to attend our quarterly meetings- the next one is April 12 at 8:30am here at the Chamber. Retail, restaurant, lodging, destination, entertainment businesses all come together to discuss collaboration, programs and projects. YOU are welcome to join us! This group came up with the idea for the BINGO game during Stop Shop Drop.
So there’s a snapshot of what happens on our end for Tourism…. We are devoted to continuous development of our work efforts, sharing the crazy cool aspects of Hutchinson, and marketing all things #MuchInHutch.