Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Poking at beehives

Common sense would tell you to let sleeping dogs lie or not go stirring up trouble. But sometimes it's fun to poke at beehives even if you know you might get stung.

We've been working on making some modifications to our city welcome signs on I-135. While researching the "Signs" file I came across some great correspondence from when the city adopted its new logo in 1998. Apparently, it was not popular with several people and many wrote lengthy diatribes to the editor of the Sentinel. The logo was called an "exploding ice cream cone" and the lettering we affectionately call "the confetti logo."
In my naivete, one of the first things I did as CVB director was ask a graphic designer to come up with a new logo for the CVB to use. Talk about wading into a pool of alligators. He did come up with a cool line art logo using the courthouse, Gen. McPherson Statue and the trolley. As an afterthought we added a one-color version of the confetti logo. Maybe not everyone's choice of iconic figures but they worked well for the CVB's purpose. We put it on t-shirts, visitor bags, our letterhead. Most city agencies still use the 1998 logo which is great. I don't use it much, especially when printing because it's a four-color artwork. Our new CVB artwork is one-color and cheaper to print. I haven't heard much feedback on the CVB logo because we've sort of quietly put it out there. We didn't put it to a public vote or have a large committee help shape it. I probably stepped on some toes, but no disrespect was meant.
Trying to find a logo that makes every entity in town is impossible. Should it be Scottish? Should it be industrial? Feature historic buildings like the Opera House? We don't have an iconic symbol like the dala horse so it's doubtful we'll find one unifying logo.
I did come up with an "it" for the Kansas Sampler last year. It's about the closest thing we'll probably ever have to an icon.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Forecasting for 2011

I recently received a charm bracelet as a gift for my birthday and among the many funny charms my friend had picked out there was a crystal ball. Knowing her sense of humor I was a little hesitant to ask what it symbolized.
“You know how you have to predict the future when you’re putting together budgets and stuff,” she said.
I wish I had a gift for divination to figure out what the coming year will hold for tourism in McPherson. We really don’t fit the mold when it comes to attracting visitors. Hotels are busier during the week than the weekend and many visitors stay for a week or longer. It’s that strong industrial base we have again.
If I had to make a prediction for 2011 it would be that most leisure travelers are still taking smaller, more modest vacations. They roll in a weekend activity like their kid’s soccer tournament with a short family getaway. They plan their fun on the way to or from a family event. I’ve been to Disneyland once since my daughter was born 11 years ago. I’ve seen every zoo, botanical park, children’s museum, semi-pro sports team, water park, drive-in theater and outdoor festival in central and eastern Kansas several times though.
People still like to have fun even if their resources are limited. If you have family that’s planning to visit in 2011, why not point out some of the fun activities going on in McPherson next year – the water park, Opera House, All Schools Day, trolley rides, museum, Scottish Festival and golf course come to mind.
The group tour industry has a term I find interesting – a hub-and-spoke tour. Pick a central location and take day trips out from there to all the interesting sites. From Mac you can do day trips to Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, Little Sweden, the Kansas Motorcycle Museum, Cosmosphere, Underground Salt Mines, Kansas State Fair or drive a scenic byway to the lake or wetlands.
Keeping an eye on business traveler trends is a little tougher. Most association leaders I spoke to at a recent convention are starting to weigh their loyalty to a certain meeting place against more economical alternatives like McPherson. Hopefully we’ll see an increase in this type of traveler to town too.
There’s my slightly rosy outlook for 2011. I hope you have a great year.
Please contact Pam or myself at the CVB for all of your tourism questions – (620) 241-3340