Tourism Commission meeting
October 1, 2009, 8:30 a.m.
Chateau on the Lake, Branson
Members in attendance: Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, chairman; Senator Jack Goodman; Rep. Gina Walsh; Rep. Maynard Wallace; Marci Bennett; Sharon Garrett; Scott Hovis, Eric Rhone, and Kelly Swanson. Senator Ryan McKenna, absent.
Others in attendance: Bob Smith, Bob Hain, Suzy Schneider, Dee Ann McKinney, Sarah Luebbert, Becky Heeren, Missouri Division of Tourism; Rich Aubuchon, Lt. Governor’s Office; Katie Steele Danner, Dept. of Economic Development; Mark Schaeffer, Leah Chandler, Rimante Ivoskaite, Tyler Martin, Michelle Loehr and Kari Kuper, Hoffman/Lewis; Chuck Martin, Cape Girardeau CVB; Ramona Mormann, Mo. Hotel & Lodging Association; Jim Divincen and Rebecca Green, Tri-County Lodging Association; Tim Jacobsen, Lake of the Ozarks CVB; Beth Carmichael, St. Joseph CVB; Clayton Reid and Bob Frohoff, MMG Worldwide; Gary Figgins, Show-Me Missouri Magazine; Amy Supple, Chillicothe Tourism; Andy Thiem, Ste. Genevieve; Ronda Thiem, Madden Media; Pat Amick, Missouri Travel Council; Donna Gray, Legacy Dimensions; Danene Beedle, Missouri Wine & Grape Board; David Rosenwasser, Greg Maxon, St. Charles CVB; Wylie Barnes, Table Rock Lake Chamber; Stephanie Roush, Independence Tourism; Raeanne Presley, mayor of Branson; Ross Summers, Branson CVB; Tracy Kimberlin, Laura Whisler, Lynn Berry, Springfield CVB; Jim Grebing, Hermann Tourism; Josh Sumner, The Ozark Sentinal; Chad Livingood, Springfield News-Leader; Suzy Latare, Greater Warrensburg Chamber.
The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m. Chairman Kinder called for a review of the minutes from the April 29 and July 10 meetings.
Motion: Walsh (Approve the minutes of April 29, 2009 and July 10, 2009 meetings).
Marci Bennett reported that the Budget Committee had met and approved a budget to bring before the Commission. Since that time, we’ve experienced additional funding reductions due to the state’s dire financial condition. She and Rep. Wallace met with DED Interim Director Katie Steele Danner recently to discuss the budget; it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. One of the concerns from the recent Budget Committee meeting is whether Tourism should go to a cash accounting basis versus the accrual accounting basis that the division is currently using. Advertising is placed in April-May-June, the fiscal year ends in June, and those bills arrive in the new fiscal year starting July 1. Funds carried over from FY09 pay bills in FY10. Those funds carried over were swept this year; if we continue on the accrual accounting basis, any carryover funds will likely be swept each year.
Motion: Bennett (Go to a cash accounting basis).
Vote: Eight votes yes; Rep. Wallace voting no.
Marci Bennett indicated that in using the cash accounting basis, the Budget Committee recommends the FY10 budget of $20,601,684, which represents a 13% budget reduction.
Motion: Hovis (Approve the FY10 budget of $20,601,684).
Discussion: Sharon Garrett asked about the $1.5 million for the bike race. Mr. Smith indicated that had already been paid. Kelly Swanson asked about the $4.1 million swept from our budget, what those funds were for. Bob Smith indicated that approximately $2 million was for Cooperative Marketing reimbursements; the remainder was for advertising placed April-June. Rep. Walsh asked about the increase in funding for international marketing. Bob Smith indicated there are some significant events taking place in the European market and he moved some funding from the Canadian market and put it in the European market. Rep. Walsh asked about tracking our visitors from Europe. Mr. Smith indicated that our research shows we’re making steady progress over the last 15 years. Senator Goodman requested a comparison of the ROI on our international marketing versus domestic marketing. Sharon Garrett asked about additional budget cuts. Marci Bennett indicated that when she and Rep. Wallace met with Katie Steele Danner, they couldn’t guarantee anything. DED did encourage us to keep the lines of communication open and to take a fresh look at the budget.
Vote: Eight votes yes; Rep. Walsh voting no.
Chairman’s Report: Lt. Governor Kinder indicated that while he has very much enjoyed his tenure as Chairman, the commission should hold an election of officers. Lt. Governor proposed appointing a nominating committee of commission members to come before us at a meeting to be agreed upon in December for the purpose of electing officers. No objections from Commission members.
Lt. Governor provided the report on the Economic and Media Impact for the 2009 Tour of Missouri. This year’s study was conducted by IFM Sports. Starting in St. Louis, the tour visited Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau, Farmington, Rolla, St. James, Jefferson City, Sedalia, Chillicothe, St. Joseph and finished in Kansas City. Estimated attendance -- 500,000 spectators watched the race at one of the host cities or somewhere along the 600-mile route. The total economic impact by spectators was $38.1 million, up over $8 million from last year. The average out-of-state visitor spent over $220 per day during their visit and they stayed in the state over four days. In planning their trip, 83% of non-Missourians said the Tour of Missouri was the reason they came to spend time in Missouri. The Tour of Missouri also showcases Missouri to a worldwide audience via the internet and on TV. The Tour’s official Website received hits from visitors in 168 countries and territories. An estimated audience of 5.6 million people watched highlight shows on the Versus network and an estimated 1.4 million people watched on Fox Sports Midwest and Fox Sports Kansas City. Lt. Governor Kinder read comments from spectators of the race; Commission members will receive a copy of the comments to see just how far our $1.5 million investment went. Lt. Governor Kinder indicated that he is a huge supporter and believer in this event. The race also faced some political opposition this year. Lt. Governor Kinder indicated that Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have joined him in support of the race. Lt. Governor asked for comments from other cities along the Tour of Missouri route. Marci Bennett indicated that while it was a fun event for the community, from a tourism standpoint, the only hotel rooms used were those paid for by the CVB, and it was people traveling with the group. From her perspective, all that time and effort could have gone into something else. Lt. Governor asked Amy Supple from Chillicothe and Chuck Martin from Cape Girardeau for their input, as they were new host cities this year. Amy Supple indicated that it was a wonderful event for Chillicothe and filled up hotel rooms in the area. Chuck Martin reported that it was very positive for the community. Lt. Governor Kinder that there is no shortage of cities wanting the race, with 22-23 cities responding to the RFP hoping to be selected as one of the 11 host cities. Marci Bennett asked for perspective from a larger community and called on Tracy Kimberlin of the Springfield CVB. Tracy Kimberlin indicated that it’s a great community event, but they could not track significant overnight visitors. Springfield hosts other amateur sporting events, such as a soccer tournament and a homeschool basketball tournament, that have great return on investment for the city of Springfield. The community loved the event; they just didn’t see the return on investment. Lt. Governor Kinder indicated that the amateur sporting events would not garner the national or international attention as the Tour of Missouri did. Tracy Kimberlin agreed that they did not get that kind of exposure, but he thought the international exposure might be overstated. Lt. Governor Kinder indicated that he was a strong advocate for our tourism budget and will keep fighting for our budget. Rep. Walsh indicated that it was her impression that at some point the Tour of Missouri would stand on its own. Right now revenues are coming in lower than last year, and we can’t justify budgeting another $1.5 million for the race, with just eight weeks to decide on the race for next year. Senator Goodman indicated that while Commission members actively advocate protecting funds in the Tourism budget, specific line items should be part of a separate discussion; Tourism is too important to become partisan. Sharon Garrett inquired about the disproportionate cut Tourism received. Marci Bennett reported that in the meeting with DED, they didn’t see it as a disproportionate cut. Lt. Governor Kinder reported that DED had an $11 million cut, with $7 million of that coming from Tourism. The burden of proof rests with those who made that cut as to why it is not disproportionate. Rep. Wallace indicated that DED made no commitment that we’d get any funding back.
Lt. Governor Kinder called for a short break at 9:30 a.m. The meeting resumed at 9:45 a.m.
Bob Smith indicated that Welcome Center construction is under way at Hayti and the south side of New Madrid. He has requested five FTEs for staffing at Conway and New Madrid. Construction is scheduled to begin at Rock Port early next year. Murals will be unveiled at Eagleville and Joplin in the coming months.
The contract for the Travel Guide has been awarded to Madden Media. It’s a one-year contract with three renewals. The advertising agency contract will go out next year and he would appreciate Commission input.
Working with staff and industry on Search Engine Optimization, using keyword search to be beneficial to both groups. There will be a meeting later today with CVBs and our Co-op partners regarding advertising, to maximize our advertising efforts, not competing with our partners.
Hoffman/Lewis will be starting on our 2011 campaign. We will use the ads for two years and will come forward with new creative. Marci Bennett requested an update/presentation from H/L on what markets are being targeted. Mr. Smith indicated that the presentation would be made at the next meeting.
Lt. Governor Kinder indicated that the next meeting doesn’t need to be in December; it can be held in November as well.
Rep. Walsh inquired about the staffing for the Welcome Centers. Mr. Smith explained that in order for MoDOT to receive federal funding to build the new facilities, they have to be called Welcome Centers. The funding is for construction, not for staffing. Staffing at Conway is being done on a volunteer basis, with no permanent staff assigned, which is leading to inconsistencies in service. We’ve requested additional FTEs through DED in an effort to provide expert service at these new facilities.
Marci Bennett proposed the Commission hold a retreat sometime after the next legislative session to do some strategic planning. Former Commission members could be invited to call on their expertise. This could provide a fresh approach to our planning efforts.
Rep. Walsh inquired about the nominating committee for the election of officers. Lt. Governor Kinder indicated he would survey each member of the commission.
Lt. Governor Kinder called for any new business. None indicated.
Motion: Goodman (Adjourn the October 1, 2009 Commission meeting).
Meeting adjourned at 10:10 a.m.
Executive Assistant to the Tourism Commission