Northfield’s Convention and Visitors Bureau invited stakeholders to share input with them as they finalize plans for 2008.
A group of a dozen or so folks, including representatives from the Historical Society, the Arts Commission, the Defeat Committee, both colleges and a number of local businesses, gathered at the Northfield Golf Club this morning to discuss local tourism initiatives.
Questions asked included: Where are the visitors coming from? What brings them to Northfield? and What community tourism marketing ideas would you like to share with the CVB Advisory Board?
The discussion touched upon the powerful draw exerted by the colleges, culture, and athletic events, the economic potential of a hockey rink and performing arts center, and the opportunities/challenges of January, February and March.
Local businessperson Norman Butler summarized it well by saying, “We’re talking about the same things, we’re going in the same direction, let’s see if we can get something done”.
4 thoughts on “CVB Gathers Stakeholder Input”
Yes, we all have the same goal: putting bodies in the restaurants and hotels and feet on the street. But the CVB needs to remember that their charge is too attract these visitors from out of town. Period. We can all be advocates for these drivers of event visitors, as mentioned above, the hockey rink/athletic center and a fine arts performing center, but they CVB still needs to be the ones that sell Northfield to the outside world.
The lowest hanging consistent fruit is visitors to/from the metro area and Rochester. People come to south for medical care, Cabela’s, and the Mall of America by the 1000’s year round, and they are looking for more genuine experiences. The CVB worked on an ad campaign “reconnect in Northfield” this fall with placements in the metro area–Twin Cities Reader and Guthrie holiday program. This is definately a step in the right direction, but we need to be in people’s minds as a town not to miss. When people realise what a great place this is to visit, they always come back and bring friends with them.
The NDDC, the downtown retailers, the hotels and the restaurants will gladly take care of them once they get here! Bring me your tired and hungry…
I don’t think we need the CVB to ask so much the question of where ARE the visitors coming from–the question should be: where are our potential customers? We have amenities and events to market by the dozen.
(Then we can partner on providing a concierge service to all the visitors to these events–a host at the hockey tournaments, the cross country meets, the christmas festival, etc., answering our guests questions and pointing them to fine places to eat and shop.)
Facilities planning, now underway at City Hall, and about to be put before the public, perhaps needs to be informed and shaped by a broad and public understanding of what simply costs money to build and will keep costing money to operate with no money coming in, and what costs money to build but has the potential to generate money for the City, local businesses, and the community as a whole.
The ideas of investing in an ice arena and an arts and culture center (attached to and part of a necessary expansion of the library downtown is one possible and exciting scenario) need to be explored in part in terms of their potential revenue generation. These two ideas have been floated, generated excitement, but not embraced fully — yet — because some say they just cost too much. Quote: “We don’t have the money.” Well, perhaps we should be encouraged to look on them as investments for the long term that will not only serve the immediate community through local participation opportunities including providing homes and facilities for local athletic and arts and cultural groups, but as providing opportunity for long term financial income through the hosting of regional, state, and even national tournaments, concerts, performances and cultural events of all sorts which can bring in tourist dollars and give further reason for people and companies to locate here. Each of these proposed facilities, well planned, can provide a focus that will make Northfield a regional center in areas in which it is already strong but in areas it lacks appropriate facilities. I think both of these facilties would benefit of the community as a whole, far beyond the local athletes, artists, sports organizatons and cultural groups.
Clearly, of course, we still need to look at our safety issues (fire and police) and consider how to upgrade their facilities. We cannot compromise the basic safety of our citizens. But we also should look at everything with as large and broad a vision as our imaginations can conceive and our best reasoning can justify.
How do we determine a community’s priorities? Where else is funding possible to find? What kind of projects will excite and stimulate foundation, state, and community funding? What will take us “down the road into the future” most viably and meaningfully?
Let’s weigh in. And to echo Norman Butler, “lets see if we can get something done.”
Good post Ross! I attened the NDDC ARC meeting right after and we talked about the same thing again! So let’s do what Norman says and let’s get something done!
Might I suggest because there is so much overlap that we get all the groups in one spot and have this converation?
I am aware that I might sound like Dave Ludescher here, but one of the main reasons “we don’t have the money” is that we don’t have a wide or deep enough tax base. We are going to have to figure out a way to spread out the tax burden before asking for big new expenditures. (which leads to the discussion about the need for land and opportunities for business develepment, and transportation)
But back to the issue of this blog, the CVB does have money for marketing in revenue that has been collected through the hotels tax. Let’s make sure this money is spent to market Northfield effectively. Meanwhile the citizens can start thinking about priorities for facilities and start saving their money
I do think it is helpful for folks to think about facilities as revenue generators, as Philip mentioned. Cost benefits vs. pretty stuff…oh, I’m sounding like David L. again!
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