Sherman County Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Donna Price talks with guests at Denver Travel & Adventure Show, one of six trade shows at which the bureau exhibited in 2018.
For everything there is a season. That proverb holds true for travel marketing as well as for agriculture. Winter for Sherman County Convention & Visitors Bureau means trade show season. Trade shows are one way the bureau sows seeds to reap a harvest the rest of the year.
Inviting guests to visit Sherman County
Just as an untended field will only grow weeds, drawing visitors to Sherman County is not an automatic process. The field of potential visitors must be sown, watered and sprayed. The bureau’s job is to tend that field. Potential visitors need someone to tell them about the hidden treasure called Sherman County. The staff tells those potential visitors why they should visit and stay in Sherman County.
At trade shows, bureau staff gets to tell them face to face.
Repeatedly returning to trade shows build relationships. Those who annually attend the shows look forward to seeing their friends in the booths. The potential visitors and the bureau staff are making connections that pay off for Sherman County.
The staff tells potential visitors how to enjoy an adventure in Sherman County. Whether that adventure is hunting, birding, photography, exploring along Land & Sky Scenic Byway or just relaxing, Sherman County has it.
Experiencing a new culture has become popular
The Adventure Travel Trade Association’s study says the definition of “adventure” is changing. Experiencing a new culture has become more popular than “risky adrenaline activities.”
Showcasing Rural America’s culture
Rural America is a far different culture than urban America.
Pheasant numbers are up from the early years of this decade. Therefore, urban America residents can see what they rarely get to enjoy, watching a pheasant flying out of a cornfield or a pasture.
The skies go on forever in this part of rural America. Urban America is hemmed in by buildings and light pollution. Few urban residents see the sky plastered with stars at night. Recently, a singing group from Boston performed in the area. They marveled at the beauty of the night sky, the canopy of stars invisible in Boston. They said the wide-open skies made Kansas an exceptionally beautiful state.
For those who come in August, Sherman County offers sunflowers as large as dinner plates (so long as the weather cooperates). For those looking to decompress, Sherman County has less traffic, less noise and more clean air.
Neighbors help neighbors promote Kansas
Like neighbors helping neighbors, the bureau works together with other Kansas communities who have joined tourism coalitions. The bureau does not rent trade show booths on its own. Instead, bureau Executive Director Donna Price manages trade shows for two coalitions, Northwest Kansas Travel Council and Kansas I-70 Association. That means Sherman County is always represented, but the coalitions pay the bureau’s expenses. The bureau has held the Northwest Kansas trade show management contract continually since 1988.
Bureau staff is pleased to tell show attendees about all 18 Northwest Kansas counties or all 16 I-70 association members. But the bureau staff knows Sherman County best.
A Private Guide Inc. came to a show where Kansas I-70 Association exhibited. The company recommended I-70 as a destination. And what is the first community Denver folks will see? Goodland.
Bureau staff may exhibit at six trade shows in 2019
Northwest Kansas will exhibit at shows in Denver, Omaha and Wichita this year. Those shows mainly attract people who are interested in outdoor activities. They like activities such as hunting and fishing. Sherman County will have strong representation in Denver. Mona Carver, Travel Information Centers Manager, will be working in the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism booth. Karen Weber of Mid-America Camp Inn will be working in the Northwest Kansas booth alongside Price.
The I-70 association will have a booth in Denver at a later trade show. That show is oriented toward leisure travelers. The association had a booth there in 2018. At that show, numerous people stopped at the booth and talked with association members. The exhibiting members told their visitors how to enjoy Kansas during their travelers. Those potential travelers were excited to learn about ways to enjoy their trips along I-70 in Kansas.
The I-70 association is also considering a booth at Midwest Travel Network in Medora, N.D., in June and a show in Tulsa, Okla., in August. Those shows are oriented toward travel journalist and tour operators.
Northwest Kansas meets monthly and I-70 meets bi-monthly. Like life in rural America, neighbors help neighbors get in the harvest of visitors.by