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08-May-2015

Your community, your message

PHOTO COURTESY ADAMS COUNTY CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU

Every visitor is valuable. They come into our community, stay at our hotels, eat at our restaurants and shop in our stores. When they leave, they have a sense of satisfaction and our local businesses have had the opportunity to make a profit. The math is pretty simple. The more visitors we have, the more money they leave in our community. This money spent at our businesses, along with the sales, occupation and lodging taxes, allows us to continually make improvements in our community.

Annually, travelers spend almost $4 billion in Nebraska. In central Nebraska, we see all spectrums of the industry. Our hotels are frequently full with ‘birders’ watching the spring migration, softball families frequenting the Smith Softball Complex and the always present agribusiness professionals.

So, how do we get people to visit us? There are a lot of traditional marketing techniques that help draw attention to our community: billboards, advertisements and radio appearances help to remind visitors why Hastings is a great place to visit.

The recent "Life Wide Open" campaign made a major statewide push to highlight our community and to communicate all of the reasons our lives in Hastings are wide open with possibilities.

While these strategies are all valuable to a visitor marketing campaign, I believe the most effective and important aspect is word-of-mouth. It’s all about giving visitors a great experience. When they have a great experience, they want to return to our community, and tell all of their friends, family, neighbors, and maybe even some strangers, about their visit. This underscores the importance of creating great experiences in our community, and why it is a top priority to those working in the tourism and hospitality industries.

However, this can be a difficult task because experiences cannot be controlled just by the people working in the tourism industry. It can be influenced by everyone. So help your community; be friendly and courteous, provide exceptional customer service, pay attention to the major events in town and appreciate how our visitors effect the community. Take the time to experience our attractions for yourself or learn a little community history. Be an advocate.

When your own bags are packed and you are ready to hit the road for a little time away, your entire trip is compiled of the experiences you have— whether you are headed overseas or down the highway. Our goal, in Hastings, is to make those experiences great.

Be proud of your community... where we help visitors experience "Life Wide Open."

About the Author

Sheana Smith
Executive Director, Adams County CVB
Sheana is the executive director at the Adams County CVB. ...



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