30 Ideas in 30 Minutes – Kansas Tourism Conference

30 Ideas in 30 Minutes — Kansas Tourism Conference

Thanks to everyone for participating in the 30 ideas in 30 minutes session at the Kansas Tourism Conference! A lot of great ideas were shared, and a couple even won a prize! We’ve compiled them all, plus a few from the idea box. Please forgive any errors as it was quite a challenge jotting things down so quickly!

  1. Lucille, Mitchell County – In January, they visited the area schools and gave each 4th grader a copy of the Kansas Travel Guide. They also created a project page for classes to vote on their favorite “To the ________” for their class to post (in support of the To the Stars Kansas Day campaign).
  2. Holly, Lindsborg – Got a couple of grants during the pandemic, worked with the 4th graders outdoors to put a monarch garden along the trail in Lindsborg.
  3. Holly, Lindsborg – Half sheet of what the CVB is working on in the community went to all businesses to spread the word during the pandemic on how they were still promoting Lindsborg.
  4. Galena – Route 66, painted white stakes that separate the State line, then made a yellow brick road to let travelers know they were entering KS.
  5. Melissa, Hays – During shut down they designed a children’s placement/coloring activity sheet that promotes the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. 
  6. Sady, Dodge City – Boot Hill Conf Center – During the last 6 months, they marketed their conference center as “space friendly” for people to spread out.  Maps, etc.  no extra cost and booked five new pieces of business.
  7. Ally- Downtown Hays – Adding SNAP and double up food bucks to the Downtown Hays market helped attract new customers, support vendors, and serve low-income families.
  8. Susie, Concordia – Made pies on Sunday (personally) and invited people to come sit on the outdoor screened-in porch as people drove by and came to visit.
  9. Susie, Concordia – Visited cemeteries, documenting families, dates, etc. They are half done with those in their area.
  10. Christina, Great Bend – Giveaway – All grand prize winners are getting a free year subscription to KS Magazine.
  11. Alexis, Mahaffie – Only shut down for 6 weeks, so they let people write letters to the animals campaign.  Animals would write back! Over 225 letters from multiple states and they received a lot of local press coverage.
  12. Marcie, KS Sampler – Pancake flip on social media, everybody got to try. They couldn’t have the race due to the pandemic.
  13. Jill, Ark City – Festival last year didn’t happen, so they had a scarecrow contest downtown (from the light poles), “adopt a scarecrow”. Kids enjoy walking downtown seeing the scarecrows.
  14. Sara, Downtown Hays – Sweet treats for your teach! A gift card program to honor teachers and support local businesses Buy a $10 gift card and Downtown Hays matched it with popcorn and candy for FREE. Over 180 teachers were honored. Generated over $2,000 for the businesses plus buying popcorn and candy from the local businesses.
  15. Jim Z, Parsons – New chamber director works on Christmas floats and the normal parade was cancelled due to covid. Instead, they parked floats around the football field so people could drive around floats to create social distancing.
  16. Norton Chamber – Partnered with community foundation (anonymous 10,000 donation) to create a “bingo” game in the community. When you got BINGO you won $100 to spend within 30 days. Bingo campaign engaged 1,000 winners who spent 10,000 in the community within 30 days.
  17. Mahaffie- Drive live, visitors guide, website, list of events.  Encouraged people to keep coming back to the downtown area.
  18. Karen, Merriam — Created a coaster for local bars and restaurants to place on tables instead of the normal ones supplied by vendors. Coasters included the CVB website and list of summer/fall events in an attempt to encourage people to come back for those events.
  19. El Dorado – Foodie tour, helped restaurants locally. They came in for a special meal for one week; used a passport to promote the tour. 
  20. Kylie, Seneca – Partnered with the library to have a book walk. Double page spread of a children’s book to display in windows downtown. Walk through, read books through the storefront windows and end at the library. Participants were entered into a drawing for prizes.
  21. Wakeeney Travel and Tourism – Christmas city of high plains, metal trees, trees in front of historical homes that share history. This year they took eight of the trees to put in a concentrated area (1.4 mile block), and hosted a wine walk at this area serving wine at each house. The walk had  45 participants.
  22. Jessica, Visit Wichita – During pandemic they partnered with Threshold 360 to do virtual tours of attractions, restaurants and hotels for meeting planners.
  23. Lindsay, Visit Wichita – Wicked Brew tour (coffee and brewery). They also launched an attraction tour with a passport. Passports were entered to win an annual membership to each attraction and could be redeemed for a t-shirt. 
  24. Marcie, KS Sampler – Networking and bonding at the annual tourism conference (food trucks, air museum, etc.)
  25. Topeka – Attractions and restaurants donated to the Springfield community foundation to set up a fund for displayed workers in Springfield MO, so he brought the idea to Topeka  and helped create the program with the Greater Topeka Partnership.
  26. Holly, Finney County  – During December they were trying to get people to shop local in their downtown so they created Merry Monday and Wednesday specials. She would showcase Christmas items or gifts, and made videos for social media to promote it for shopping or curbside pickup.
  27. Jony, McPherson- Community building was restored right before pandemic and her job was to bring events to this facility. Due to the pandemic, not a lot of business was coming. She created a wine event which filled the center!
  28. Mandy, Liberal – Post on Facebook with restaurants, menus, delivery information.  Pinned post on the Facebook page.
  29. Melissa, Hays – Cross promotion at summer attractions: designed banners to advertise the Sternberg Museum, placed them at Hays Aquatic Park and vice versa. CVB paid for banners and both attractions benefited!
  30. Sara, Downtown Hays – 20 year anniversary celebration, hosted a “homecoming to Hays” event to admire how far our downtown has come and the tourist attraction that it is now. Included a kids fest, free cake, free concert and more!
  31. Melissa, Hays – Interactive art at seasonal art walks. Set up a sign that said “Chalk art station. Grab some chalk and have fun.” Provided tubs of sidewalk chalk for art walk attendees to get creative in public spaces.

21 in 2021 – 21 ways to get more involved in tourism this year!

21 in 2021 — 21 ways to get more involved in tourism this year!

graphic about 21 in 2021

Let’s just get it out of the way. 2020 was awful. Our industry (and many others) suffered one of the worst downturns most of us can recall, and the entire world was gripped by fear, loss and uncertainty. We won’t be looking back at 2020 fondly, but we certainly can take away many lessons from it. We’ll have to push forward with perseverance, grit and determination to create a better year ahead. But, Kansans are always up to the task! As an industry, let’s start with how we can resolve to better support tourism from our own backyard all the way to the White House.

Check out 21 ways to promote and engage tourism in 2021:

  1. Join or renew your membership in TIAK in 2021. Yes, it is an expense, but it’s actually more of an investment. If you can’t pay all at once, call the office to inquire about monthly or quarterly payments.
  2. While you’re renewing your own membership, invite a destination, attraction or tourism partner to try the “Taste of TIAK” and then help mentor them during their first year.
  3. Join a committee.  Membership, PAC, marketing, and more! There is a committee for everyone, and getting involved through a committee is a great way to support TIAK.
  4. Attend association events–virtually, or in person.  Annual conference, educational seminars, and Destination Statehouse are all great events to network, learn, and support TIAK.
  5. Beef up social media efforts on your MOST popular platform and commit to post at least 3 x week. Lessen the pressure to post on all outlets and focus on your top 2-3. While you’re at it, make sure you are following TIAK on Facebook.
  6. Partner with local media to share tourism in your town on a regular basis. Podcasts, short interviews or a regular column in the paper are great ways to engage the community.
  7. Reach out to CVB/DMO boards and commissions about what you’re working on. Keep them “in the know” about how you are working to bring guests to town in the future even when travel may still have limitations.
  8. Recognize those who have manned front lines, taken on extra duties or just exemplified service during the year. So many people have stepped up–recognize those stories!
  9. Reach out to postponed meetings, reunions, tours, etc. to inquire about their plans to reschedule. Offer a re-booking incentive if you can!
  10. Create a “local” campaign.  Work with your city or county to offer the locals a discount program, special offers or coupons as a way to thank them for keeping your community strong. Let them know their spending counts too and they don’t go unnoticed. Remember, our residents are always visitors first!
  11. Send an email to your local elected officials on the top five ways your organization continued pushing forward during the pandemic (virtual tours, curbside offers, free masks, marketing campaigns, testimonials from others, etc.).
  12. While we are still recovering, update your online presence (web, social, etc.) so things are up-to-date and user-friendly. Make sure your Google listing is claimed, updated and accurate. This is also a good time to clean up e-news subscriber lists.
  13. Plan ahead and get things ready for spring/summer visitors — tourism packets, guides, maps, etc. — if we’re still under travel restrictions, you can always offer those things virtually or via pick-up by appointment.
  14. Drive around your town to see what needs fixing up. Is there good, visible signage in place? Do things need sprucing up? Potholes need filling? If so, ask for help to make sure these areas are tended to for optimal visitor satisfaction.
  15. Follow 2-3 new tourism blogs, websites, social accounts. Stay on top of trends, news and updates related to the industry. Bookmark selected sites for easy daily reference.
  16. Know who your state legislators are and especially those who serve on committees related to our industry. Have their contact information handy so you can fire off a quick email to thank them, ask for their support of an upcoming bill, or invite them to join our upcoming virtual Destination Statehouse. ttps://tiak.org/events/destination-statehouse/
  17. Participate in the Kansas Tourism Huddles — these online discussions have kept us all connected and updated throughout COVID. As long as they are offered, they’re an excellent resource.
  18. Make sure you are connected to your region and utilize every single marketing initiative offered. It’s always a good idea to have friends and neighbors helping to share your message. Get started here: https://www.travelks.com/regions-cities/regions/ 
  19. Check in and be present even if not in person. Our hotels, restaurants and attractions need to know we are still here and working on their behalf. Ask them what you can do to help. A quick phone call might mean the world to a struggling merchant.
  20. Travel. When the time is right and safe, get out there and be a traveler yourself. We need to stimulate the economies of other destinations too. Use “National Plan for Vacation Day” on January 26, 2021 as your time to plan for the places you want to visit in the coming year.
  21. Be a tourism cheerleader. Our industry is stronger when we band together. Let’s start with an outpouring of Kansas Day social media posts on Friday, January 29. The Kansas Tourism team will be releasing plans for an industry-wide celebration soon, so stay tuned in the coming days for more information. To start your planning, use the hashtags #KansasDay2021 and #ToTheStarsKS and tag @TravelKS in your messaging. 

Cheers to a better 2021 with all of us working together (hopefully in person soon) as champions for tourism!

–Karen Crane, TIAK Marketing Co-Chair
Merriam Visitors Bureau