Wednesday, Feb. 20 2013 5:31PM
Visitors Council role changes
By Russ Pulley
Visitors Council members wondered what they’d do during the coming year.
Every year about 100,000 people stay overnight at Lee’s Summit hotels and the Visitors Council’s purpose is to encourage more tourism, overnight stays and day trips.
But this year the council, a working group of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, had its remaining budget of $20,000 diverted to the new community branding effort.
After about 20 years, the load is now being carried by the new brand manager, James McKenna.
“We asked ourselves what we are going to do if we don’t have money,” said Joe Snook, chairman and also assistant administrator for the Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation Department.
Snook said it turns out there’s still plenty for the council to do.
Its advertising budget was supported by money funneled through the Chamber of Commerce from the city’s Business and Industry Fund Tax, or so-called “bed tax.” It also holds a fundraiser at Paradise Park called Family Fun Days. The council will continue that and might plan a second fundraiser, Snook said.
Snook said a priority is raising the profile of the council’s Community Calendar, a resource to help residents learn about the many events and help organizers avoid conflicting dates. Or they could choose compatible dates if the events would work well together and do cross marketing.
“There are so many races and bike rides, musical events, it’s about overwhelming,” Snook said.
The annual Kite Fest at MCC-Longview brings thousands to visit. The Tour de Lakes bicycle ride, sponsored by the parks department, usually has about 800 riders, with 40 to 50 percent not being residents.
Snook said the impetus for the calendar was last year when the annual Night Flight run race collided with two other events also being held at Lee’s Summit High School. The calendar is found on the tourism website, lstourism.com, but the council wants to make it better known. The website itself will get an overhaul, said Gina Seibel, director of communications for the chamber.
The update, of course, will use the Yours Truly brand adopted by the city.
Seibel said several functions, such as the community guide would also migrate to the branding effort.
The visitors guide is delivered to 75,000 copies through the Lee’s Summit Journal and The Kansas City Star.
The Visitors Council also was responsible for the new “Shop Lee’s Summit” promotion, Snook said. That promotion gave $1,000 grand prize to a resident for shopping in town, with residents entering using receipts to enter. It plans to continue that promotion, he said.
Snook said the council is working on day trips, such a Girls Weekend Out, Family Days Out and Guys Day Out, to promote the diverse recreation available.
They wouldn’t be specific organized events, but a suggested itinerary visitors or residents could follow when they’re looking for entertainment.
It could be used by travelers or the visitors to use who’ve come to one of the many sports tournaments held at venues in Lee’s Summit.
Or fishing, boating, swimming, golf, Summit Waves water park, disc golf or restaurants and shopping.
“It’s to remind the people of Lee’s Summit of the great things we have right here,” Snook said. “If you ask one hundred people, you’ll get one hundred answers. Lee’s Summit is diverse, we have lakes, we have a great downtown.”