The annual report reflects what the City is currently doing to encourage tourism, and perhaps most important, the current research that can help guide the efforts into the future. The full reports can be viewed here:
For example, current research shows that the model of the classic family week-long vacation isn’t necessarily the norm anymore. Day travel, and stretching a day off into a three-day weekend, is on the grow. Travel is much more spontaneous, without a lot of long-term planning.
"One thing we should know is that people want to go where there is water. Even if they don’t go in the water, this is what they picture in a getaway. We’re really blessed to have the lake resource, and anything we can do for the water quality, beaches and parks is really vital to our tourism," the council was told in a communications department presentation.
"Research also shows what we have known – that people want to not just see, but do. Recreation tourism and eco tourism is projected to be the fastest growing segment in the travel business. As we look ahead to spoil site development, trails and so on, those things to do are going to be highly marketable."
Tourism in Storm Lake has its challenges to face – particularly some large new waterparks being developed around the state that will compete with King's Pointe for travel attention.
However, the City's strength is that it has multiple attractions to offer, while many in its size class rely on only one. The City's advertising efforts are highlighting all of those things.
"The industry may need to redefine how we think of tourism," the council was told in the presentation. "It’s not just attracting people from three hours away. A lot of it is generated right in our backyard. Every time someone invites their family and friends to town for a gathering at the shelter house on a Saturday evening, or a wedding at King’s Pointe, or an anniversary party at the golf course clubhouse, that’s great tourism. You’ll see that we will be marketing locally as well as regionally and statewide.
"Every time someone comes through on a business trip, or to visit their student at the college, and decides to come back to spend a weekend, that’s great tourism."
The community members of Storm Lake can help in building a strong appeal and identity.
"Giving great service in our businesses matters. Saying hello to people you pass on your walk matters. Stopping to help someone with directions matters. Just talking up your community as a great place matters," according to the presentation.
City Council members shared additional thoughts on efforts moving forward, including distributing information sheets to hotels on local activities for children and families.