That was the message on March 8, 2018 from Kitty Ratcliffe, President of Explore St. Louis https://explorestlouis.com/ , Bob O’Loughlin, Chairman and CEO, LHM, Dan Harding, Chief Operating Officer, Ballpark Village and Eric Moraczewski, Executive Director, CityArchRiver Foundation.
Urban Land Institute St. Louis hosted a panel discussion among these leaders titled, “The St. Louis Experience – Hotel and Attraction Development Shaping St. Louis” at the Magnolia Hotel, 421 N. 8th Street downtown.
Kitty Ratcliffe told how, despite the unified publicity and marketing efforts of the regional Convention & Visitors Commission (the City/County regional body that promotes visiting St. Louis in Washington, D.C., Chicago and elsewhere), St. Louis cab drivers and hotel desk clerks were asking visitors, “Why would you want to visit St. Louis if you live in Washington, D.C.?”
So the CVC (Explore St. Louis) developed and delivered training to St. Louis cab drivers and hotel staff about how to welcome visitors and promote our region after discovering that our own residents were defeating our campaign messages. The St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation was started to teach St. Louisans how to become St. Louis hospitality ambassadors.
Click on this link https://explorestlouis.com/partners/training-development/ to learn about hospitality training, key messages to share with our visitors and other ways to promote our region and help visitors have a great experience so they return, benefitting us all.
We at Stakeholder Insights know that once visitors get to St. Louis, they are surprised and impressed by our cultural and economic assets. We conducted visitors’ surveys in 2017 in the Convention Center among out-of-town meeting attendees from a community organization (the National Urban League), a labor organization (AFL-CIO) and a federal government department (Department of Veterans Affairs).
Consistent with what we heard in the 2016 survey, out-of-towners rate St. Louis between a 4 and a 5 on a 5-point scale (5=Highest) for:
- Their arrival experience in St. Louis (4.6 average score)
- Hotel accommodations (4.6)
- Dining and restaurants (4.5)
- Ease of getting around (4.5)
- Safety and security (4.5)
- Visitor attractions (4.4)
- Entertainment and nightlife (4.3)
Over four out of five (85%) of the 500 St. Louis convention visitors surveyed in 2017 said they would be “extremely likely” (39%) or “likely” (46%) to recommend St. Louis as a place to visit to a colleague, friend or family member based on their experience in St. Louis on this 2017 trip.
Visitors promote St. Louis; shouldn’t we do the same?