AP NEWS

Chamber Corner: Bringing Dollars Into Douglas County with a Welcoming Smile

April 22, 2018 GMT

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a tourism destination marketing organization? It’s a little more than greeting guests at the visitor center door. Although, we do that, too. By the way, the Roseburg Visitor Center is now open on Saturdays and next month, we’ll be welcoming visitors seven days a week.

But, most people see the visitor information signs and buildings and think that’s the extent of what it takes to attract and serve visitors to Roseburg and Douglas County. It is so much more. What people don’t realize is the data collection and analysis is forefront to developing an effective platform for tourism promotion. Once we understand the data, we can implement a successful marketing campaign to attract visitors.

The Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce is recognized by state and regional professional visitor organizations as Douglas County’s lead destination marketing organization. We first must thank all of our hospitality industry partners. Let’s start with the hotels that collect the lodging tax from visitors to our area. This tax makes possible the promotion of our wonderful Land of Umpqua. And, of course, our many visitor attractions — from the Wildlife Safari to our world-class wineries, Seven Feathers Casino Resort to the magnificent North Umpqua River and Trail. The chamber also recognizes our long-time, 25-plus-year partnership with the city of Roseburg, dedicated to elevating our area as a visitor destination.

Last, but certainly not least, all those entities that stepped up in a significant way nearly 20 years ago and supported building our beautiful Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center. At the top of that list is Douglas County, the city of Roseburg, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, The Ford Family Foundation and so, so many local businesses.

The Roseburg Area Chamber takes seriously its responsibility as steward of these lodging tax dollars and, therefore, dedicates the necessary resources to ensure return on investment. Here are a few of the highlights from the work we’ve done the past couple of years.

Grew the hotel/motel tax collected by nearly 30 percent in the last four years, due to increased visitors.Increased the amount of money visitors spend in our community; you cannot grow the hotel/motel tax dollars without visitors spending money at local businesses.Since launching a new website in 2015, the number of potential tourists visiting our website has increased by 220 percent.Adding online digital brochures for download has increased 395 percent since 2015, which means more information about our area in the hands of visitors, on-demand.Visitor e-newsletter subscriber base increased 75 percent last year alone.Provide over 200 brochures in the Visitor Center, available to visitors and residents.

As a visitor destination, Douglas County is not one thing. Thankfully, it is literally hundreds of things. It is why we all live here, isn’t it? Which is why, in addition to distributing brochures and running print, digital and broadcast televisions ads with beautiful photos of our home, we also must be able to answer more than a few questions. What fishing season is it? Can I get to Crater Lake today? Can I mountain bike on BLM property? Can I use U.S. Forest Service trail number? How many wineries do you have? Please tell me what wines each of your 28 wineries pour? Will the animals be out today at the safari? Seriously, these questions and so many more are asked every day. We’re happy to assist. It’s what we do.

The Roseburg Area Chamber will market Roseburg — together with countywide attractions, amenities and visitor events — as the premier visitor wonderland we all know it to be. While making sure we serve all of Douglas County, our campaign will promote Roseburg, as the heart of the Land of Umpqua.