Nearly 30 people attended a Tourism Workshop at Moberly’s historic 4th Street Theatre on Thursday, May 10.
Hosted by the Moberly Area Chamber of Commerce, the workshop featured a presentation by Steve Powell, founder of Destination Services, a firm based in St. Charles, MO. Powell and his firm have over 25 years of experience in marketing, tourism product development, and destination branding and management. Powell provided preliminary results from interviews with area businesses and community leaders, along with a survey sent to selected visitors and residents of Randolph County.
The survey data concluded that Moberly needs more overnight hotel guests and a larger variety of restaurants and shopping experiences. Powell said that Moberly would greatly benefit from having a primary reason for visiting, also called an attractor. According to survey respondents, parks and community events are what they enjoy the most about Moberly. Powell’s study did reveal some unusual findings. The majority of overnight guests in Moberly are staying with family or friends and not in the hotels.
Additionally, day-trippers are spending double the amount of overnight guests. The workshop allowed participants to provide feedback on the results and ask questions. Over the next 30 days, Destination Services will complete a review of the survey data and create a strategic plan on how to increase visitors to the area. Once delivered, the Chamber of Commerce, along with community partners, will implement the plan.
According to Powell, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a sustainable destination,” however the process will not happen overnight.“Depending on the amount of public and private investment and the degree of marketing, I believe that within five years Moberly will become a place that people seek out for authentic, local, cultural and culinary experiences. A true destination will only be achieved once Moberly has sufficient lodging, fun things for people to do and a visitor services delivery platform,” he said.
Megan Schmitt, Executive Director of the Moberly Area Chamber of Commerce thanked those in attendance for engaging in the development of the tourism plan.
“Moberly has great potential,” Schmitt said. “We have an authentic historic district downtown. We have plenty of blank canvases to paint a vision of a successful, vibrant community where people intentionally stop and visit. The Chamber looks forward to presenting Destination Services’ Action Plan on Tourism in June. We are hopeful that through combined efforts and unified focus we will begin to see measurable success as we implement the action plan.”
Powell’s role in developing Moberly as a destination was made possible by a contract with the City of Moberly.
“It’s encouraging to see the City’s continued investment in the growth of our community,” said Chamber President Scott McGarvey. “We all choose the Moberly area for personal reasons. This plan will be the roadmap to help us share what we love with new and returning visitors.”
A final presentation of the Tourism Plan will be presented to the public later this summer.