EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a monthly column provided by the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau that discusses tourism events on the horizon.
One of our busiest summers in recent years is coming to a close.
The month of July was one of our best, and August tallies are still coming in, but it looks like another strong month. It’s too early to say, but I believe we may have broken some records and gotten back on track with tourism since the great recession of which we appear to be climbing out.
I had the privilege of attending a U.S. Travel Association conference this past month in Louisville, Ky., where we learned a lot about the current trends in tourism and the business climate. What we heard over and over again is that the meeting market is back to where it had been. The trends for face-to-face meetings are still very needed and popular with today’s businesses. And we are seeing this trend in real time throughout our destination this summer.
We also learned about consumers’ attitudes toward the economy and travel in today’s world. In 2014, there is less anxiety about the economy and consumers feel that they have a foothold on the economy and their financial outlook. But the past several years have changed the behaviors of the traveling public. Deals are still quite important, as is travel experience. But consumer behaviors have shifted. During the recession, frugality was key and choices for travel were about getting the most for less. Now, people are looking for deals but really desire simpler, lighter and lower-key travel. They are still seeking lavish experiences but in a very focused and simplistic manner. Consumers see less as allowing them to have more down time and fun. So, as we build our marketing strategies for 2015, you can rest assured that the CVB will focus on some of these messages as we tell travelers how to build the best getaway experience all around Alton and the Meeting of the Great Rivers.
As we exit the excellent summer tourism season, the fall campaigns are also up and running in a big way. The new fall guides are out and the ad campaigns are making the phones ring. With the busiest festival month ahead of us, don’t forget to check out all of the happenings at www.VisitAlton.com. We continue to build new features and opportunities for travelers. Be sure you log on today!
Stawar is president and CEO of the CVB, which works for the vested interests of hospitality partners in northwestern Madison County and all of Jersey and Calhoun counties.