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

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