We live alongside tourists every day in the St. Croix Valley. We know they come to take in our beautiful river, get married, and hang out in our historic downtown.
Well, they’re also interested in our breweries, wineries and outdoor activities.
Weddings, vineyards, breweries and outdoor activity are the largest drivers of website traffic to DiscoverStillwater.com, Tiki Oswald, president of the Stillwater and Oak Park Heights Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, told the city council.
And that cyber traffic can translate into local dollars.
Destinations weddings–where no one taking part in the wedding is from here—each contribute a minimum of $24,000 to the local economy for food, lodging, and shopping at local shops and businesses, Oswald said.
The local microbreweries and wineries have also become quite a presence in the community.
Now that there are several in the area, Oswald noted, people are taking tours of multiple establishments and making it into an overnight trip.
The insights into website traffic data allow the CVB to focus their attention on what is grabbing a visitor’s eye, but driving force behind the CVB’s growth is strategic marketing, improved web content and community partnerships.
“We’ve formed a lot of great relationships with the Chamber of Commerce, the city and the IBA,” Oswald said. “We all do our own work, but now with the community symposium we’ve been able to identify where we have overlaps and where we have gaps and that’s a huge tool to learn about our weakness and our strength.”
Moving forward, Oswald said the CVB will continue to sponsor community events and have a presence at wedding shows. A redesigned website will hopefully be unveiled this spring, and the CVB is currently developing a five-year plan that includes an increased presence downtown.
The CVB will also continue to distribute news releases and publish their annual Visitors’ Guide.
“Barb Trueman, who puts out those press releases, is very creative,” Oswald said.
“She is a bright, shiny jewel.”
Remember, Barb and Don Trueman’s photo submission of the area’s Painted Ladies gained the city exposure in the national press. Check it out here.
City council members lauded the work done by the CVB.
“It’s fun to watch you grow,” Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki said.
“I like that you’re getting out there regionally and nationally,” Councilman Mike Polehna said, noting a story about visiting Stillwater he saw published in Iowa’s Cedar Rapids Gazette.
The web exposure is important, said Ted Kozlowski, the council’s new laison to the CVB.
“It’s important to maintain that one catch-all site that drives traffic to all our local businesses,” Kozlowski said. “Thank you.”