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Chamber Chat: Difference between Chamber and the Convention and Visitors Bureau

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Do you know the difference between the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau?

Chamber President Mary Coffin

Chamber President Mary Coffin

Today’s tourism culture is evolving from CVB’s to DMO’s, “Destination Marketing Organization” it is more descriptive of what we do. We MARKET GUTHRIE AS A DESTINATION AROUND THE WORLD! Our energies and the money that is given to the CVB by The City are directed toward letting people know that Guthrie is a wonderful place to visit.

The CVB’s only source of income is a four percent tax collected through the Hotel/Motel Tax which is managed by the City of Guthrie (a portion of the Hotel/Motel tax is given to the Parks Department)  who in turn contracts with the Chamber of Commerce to promote tourism for the City. There is a separate budget and checking account for the CVB and Chamber of Commerce and are both overseen by a Board of Directors. Detailed budgets and reports are given to the Mayor, City of Guthrie and City Council.

Last year I went to the American Bus Association as a DMO for Guthrie, this is a CVB function. Last week I drove to Perry and talked to and passed out information to over eight hundred people, this is a CVB function. Lucy has been answering questions and emails, working with volunteers, and doing spreadsheets for the Mumford & Sons Stopover Tour since October, these are CVB functions. People also call to find out when the museums open or where they can catch the trolley,, this is a CVB function. Anything that promotes tourism is a function of the CVB or now better known as DMO.

As an example of what The Chamber does; many of the phone calls coming into the Chamber are from people needing phone numbers for local businesses or a type of service (we only recommend member businesses) – sometimes we feel like Ma Bell- this is a Chamber function.

This week the Chamber will hold it’s Educational series hosted by Benchmark financials, it will be an important panel discussion to help you understand how the new health care laws will affect us all and this is a chamber function. This week the Chamber will unveil it’s new membership website, this is a chamber function. Last week Lucy and I walked around  downtown talking to established business that are members of the chamber and met with new businesses that might potentially join the chamber, this is a chamber function.

Wednesday’s Coffee, Business after Hours and promoting businesses via web calendars and news articles are all chamber functions. The chambers main source of income is through its business memberships and sponsorships.Most Chambers across the country have to have what is called “Non dues Revenue” in order to remain fiscally sound. This included themed festivals, golf tourneys, BBQ cook-offs, providing premium services to our members for an extra fee, etc.  Fundraisers put on by The Chamber, such as a Circus or a Triathlon will primarily benefit the community, while helping The Chamber’s bottom line.

The Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Tour will be here in twenty five days. I find it interesting that people will come in our office and or email me acting like they have been wounded because the City of Guthrie isn’t going to make any money because they didn’t sign a contract with Mumford. Then turn around in their next sentence and want to know how things work so they can make a buck.

Everyone needs to understand this tour will positively effect the majority of Guthrie businesses. Think about this for a minute, everyone will be using the restrooms right? Well how many plumbers will get called out to come fix a stopped up drain? That plumber will go to Ace Hardware to replenish  his supplies, Ace Hardware in turn has an electrical problem and has to call an electrician. That electrician has several trucks that needs their oil changed and goes to a car dealership and or a speed lube. That dealership has to eat so it supports the grocery stores… and the cycle continues and continues until everyone gets a piece of the pie. We need everyone’s participation to make this event the very best it can be because everyone is going to reap the benefits. Every marquee in town should be welcoming all of our visitors! There should be homemade signs and banners on every lawn in town.

If you own a business, let folks know that you have to offer! Make your storefront inviting! If you are downtown, welcome folks as though they were coming into your own home! I know that the thought of so many people descending on our town may seem a little bit daunting, but if you embrace it, you will have the time of your life!  Thinking positive and acting positive can be contagious!

Congratulations Amy Carothers for receiving a Best Pharmacy Practices at a National Conference!

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