The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
I read with interest the report that the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center (GWACC&VC) had added 95 new members in a membership drive. That's a fairly substantial increase, so the outside consulting firm they used must have earned its commission.
However, I am shocked, shocked that our little business was never contacted. It is indeed disappointing to realize that we must be unworthy of their attention. On the other hand, they might just have worried that they'd be unable to answer some questions I might pose.
The GWACC&VC gets about $60,000 per year in public funds from the room tax. For starters, I'd ask if they had any breakdown on how these room tax funds are used. I'd want to know if they're still taking 20% off the top, then charging a share of rent and utilities. I'd ask if time spent by the tourism coordinator (and other staff) is allocated between her tourism tasks and the purely "chamber" tasks she performs. I'd ask if the chamber's website is charged to tourism or is allocated to various functions. With all the high profile accounting scandals throughout the business world, I'd certainly like to be assured that I was joining a "clean" organization.
Then, I'd want to know how the GWACC&VC would directly benefit our business, which is in the travel and tourism industry. Since the internet is the prime means of dispensing travel and tourism information, they'd need to tell me how much traffic their website (a href="http://www.warrensburg.org">www.warrensburg.org) is getting, especially on the "accommodations" and visitor-related pages. They also ought to be able to tell where the website traffic is coming from.
Finally, I'd like to know what the GWACC&VC is doing to promote overall tourism. Are they ever going to get another festival to replace or rejuvenate the defunct Old Drum Days? Are they working with other organizations such as Main Street, the Fair Board or Blind Boone Park to promote existing local events? Are they distributing Warrensburg information to tourist information centers within a reasonable distance of us?
I expect that they can't answer most of these questions, so I don't expect any calls soon from the GWACC&VC.
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431 Southeast County Road Y, Warrensburg, Missouri, 64093
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