Convention and Visitor's Bureau looking to prove its worth

    The President and CEO of the Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau says the bureau is keeping track of events in the area and their economic impact on the county.

    Jayne DeLuce was a guest on Wednesday on the WDWS NewsTalk 1400-AM morning Show with Dave Gentry and Elizabeth Hess.

    As part of an ongoing dispute regarding funding levels, the Urbana city council again delayed a decision Monday night to partially fund the CVB because council members want the Bureau to prove its value to the city.

    DeLuce says people don't realize that a lot of the work is being done behind the scenes.

Hear from Jayne DeLuce.

    DeLuce says the CVB also assists leisure travelers who are coming through the community on bus tours with the different lodging options and places to eat and shop.
    She says the bureau is the source of information for people from other states that may be looking to come to Champaign County.

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mankind wrote on October 05, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Should be easy enough. Just produce correspondence showing that CVB is involved in directing out-of-towners to local businesses and attractions. Nobody expects the CVB to prove every tourist dollar it takes credit for, but something more than lip service would suffice. Thank you notes from businesses, email exchanges during the planning of successful events, attendance figures for events organized by CVB, etc. No taking credit for football or basketball fans, or parents during move-in day. And no, a budget alone does not prove that your efforts are paying off. Nor can you blindly take credit for every motorist who stops in town for gas. If your efforts are paying off, there should be some indication somewhere. I'm actually surprised that there hasn't been an accounting method set up before now, seeing as the CVB has been receiving tax dollars.

Lostinspace wrote on October 05, 2011 at 5:10 pm

The way to prove their worth is to work hard at promoting efforts to provide what tourists might travel (and return) to visit: pleasant downtowns with interesting local merchants (boutique and traditional) and restaurants, plenty of free parking; architecture codes that will diminish the ugliness of access arteries to the cities; clear signage; ATM machines that accept foreign bank cards (I'm thinking of international participants in university and business events); attractions that will interest children, etc.
Before they can sell a product, there has to be a product.

read the DI wrote on October 05, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Just because a relative handful of out-of-towners don't have the Internet doesn't seem to justify local taxpayers/businesses spending tens of thousands of dollars on the CVB.

Face the music, Jayne. It's time to work for your living.

pattsi wrote on October 05, 2011 at 10:10 pm

The following is all part of the public record of the county board meeting. When the county board approved $15,000 for the CVB, I became curious as to whether it is possible to ascertain the effectiveness of such an entity wherever located. (Besides the approval of $15,000 out of a total of $22,000 county motel tax, a CB member want such a payment to be permanent. This was not approved.)
I started doing research to find out about effectiveness. First, I did a search through the academic journals. Actually, I found very few articles and most of these were done by researchers in the UK and Canada. I began to suppose that I was not using the correct search terms. So I posted an inquiry on the academic urban planning listserv and the Illinois American Planning Association discussion forum asking for help to find information about the effectiveness of CVB. Colleagues at Cornell U., an institution with a well known program in tourism, gave me some sources and also pointed out that it is very difficult to separate the variables to analyze effectiveness. Next I turned to faculty here at UIUC for information. One comment was that CVB's are useful. That said without one very large monetary grant it is impossible to prove effectiveness. The individual discussed the difficulty to do so in C-U. How does a researcher separate the fact that UIUC offers many sporting events, cultural events, lectures on campus, visiting academics, conferences, etc., all of which draw people to the community. This has nothing to do with a CVB. What about conferences held in the community not associated with the university? How does one measure the increase in gasoline purchases on a football weekend if the visiting team comes from an area west of C-U or east of C-U. Mind you the researcher pointed out that it is not impossible to set up such a research design. But to implement such a design is so expensive that it is not done thus the reason I found so few research articles in the journals. Maybe the essential question becomes are there much better ways to increase local revenues via tourism that can indeed be measured. I think of this in the same manner as everyone jumping on the band wagon that TIF districts are the greatest economic development incentive since white sliced bread when research shows that is not the case for TIF, Enterprise zones, tax abatements, etc. This community learned this lesson when Delta pulled out when the clock ticked two years and left entities in the community having to pay huge penalties. We have an excellent research library in this town do some research yourself and find out the answer.
The last question to be asked is why are the cities supporting CVB if this is so good for the businesses. Why are not the businesses--restaurants, hotels, shops, gas stations, etc. paying dues to support the CVB? Maybe it is time for a new model?

Yatiri wrote on October 06, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Ty for your post informative post Pattsi. I agree: If the CVB is so valuable, why does it need a taxpayer subsidy?

jennywatson128 wrote on December 18, 2012 at 6:12 am
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 Jayne DeLuce is my favorite thanks for sharing the informative post.


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