Wednesday marks the last day of summer. And, while the summer 2021 travel season was very different from previous years, the Abilene Convention and Tourism Office still strived to fulfill its mission of serving as the city’s official marketing arm. Abilene and generate economic growth through tourism.
The CVB completed its new visitor guide just in time for the start of the summer travel season. The guide is distributed to more than 250 restaurants, hotels, and gas stations, as well as Kansas welcome centers and community travel information centers. It was sent to over 400 people requesting information about Abilene and included in welcome bags for groups. Thanks to grants from Kansas Tourism and the Community Foundation of Dickinson County, we’ve included Abilene businesses and attractions for free in the guidebook.
To kick off the summer travel season and celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, the Abilene CVB purchased âopenâ feathered red flags to draw more attention to open attractions.
While our traditional visitor center is occupied by county offices, brochures are available east of the building at the CVB office and outside at the west end of the building. CVB’s new outdoor digital kiosk is also available to serve travelers.
This summer, more than 600 people visited the temporary visitor center and / or used the outdoor digital kiosk.
CVB also continues to partner with travel editors to share photos and stories about Abilene. This year we hosted Travel with Sara, Amy the Piper, as well as One Delightful Life. The stories of these writers are all available at AbileneKansas.org/news.
While group travel remains low due to concerns over COVID-19, the Christian Motorcycle Association State Rally, Heart of America Greyhound Gathering, Model T Club and others have all hosted events in Abilene.
In 2020, the Abilene CVB assisted 28 companies with grants. In 2021, we completed all reporting documents and made a plan to use unallocated repayable grant funds to accomplish a much desired project. With the support of the Abilene City Commissioners, we added 36 new benches and 16 garbage cans to downtown Abilene in time for the return of the Central Kansas Free Fair Parade.
With outdoor recreation at the forefront, we have shifted our marketing efforts to focus on promoting events. Strong social and electronic media campaigns gave the Eisenhower Marathon, AntiqueFest, July 4th, Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo, Abilene Boutique Crawl, Chisholm Trail Days, Oktoberfest and other events.
CVB has also partnered with KSNT’s Summer Road Trip series and Good Day Kansas to highlight Abilene businesses and attractions throughout the summer travel season.
The more visitors can see, the longer they will stay and the more money they will spend. This summer, Abilene had a unique opportunity to bring back a piece of her history. The CVB ran a campaign to raise nearly $ 13,000 to return the Bulls Head Saloon Longhorns to Abilene. This room is now in Abilene and awaits its new window. Once completed, a âfirst lookâ event will be organized for its 77 donor families before it opens to the public.
A quick glance at our website AbileneKansas.org/news and you’ll see that the CVB continues to keep Abilene in mind. Notable mentions include Abilene named America’s Best Small Town by Travel Awaits, Feast Your Eyes on America’s Top Destinations for Outdoor Art by Men’s Journal, and tips on whether a tourist attraction is open in a USA Today story.
This summer, we also increased visits to the Visit Abilene Kansas Facebook page to over 15,950 subscribers and sent out Abilene Tourism Advocate e-newsletters to over 6,000 readers each week. Since May 1, the CVB website has also registered more than 33,200 new users, 41,170 sessions and 134,000 pageviews.
One photo says 1,000 words, so to help us tell the story of Abilene, CVB has again updated its photo library to share compelling images of Abilene with visitors and the media.
We’ve also named companies and individuals for the Dickinson County Community Foundation Volunteer of the Year, Kansas Department of Commerce Company of the Year, and Kansas Manufacturing’s Coolest Thing Made in Kansas contests. Council.
And we even managed to add new merchandise to our Visitor Center gift shop!
The CVB ordered new banners for the lampposts outside the Civic Center and ordered new flower pots. New benches are ordered and will be installed as soon as they arrive.
The CVB receives funding from Transient Guest Tax, an additional tax that travelers pay when staying at one of Abilene’s accommodation establishments. Comparison of August 2021 with this same period of previous years:
â¢ August 2021 – $ 131,688.76
â¢ August 2020 – $ 123,635.58
â¢ August 2019 – $ 171,717.17
â¢ August 2018 – $ 186,900.75
â¢ August 2017 – $ 177,575.52
With only one month left in the fundraising year, we need to continue to spend responsibly and maximize dollars to get the best return on investment.
As we look forward to the fall season, there are still many opportunities to bring visitors to our community.
â¢ Throw Down at Browns – PDGA disc golf tournament – Saturday September 18th
â¢ Derrik’s Ride – 120 mile poker race – Saturday September 18
â¢ Oktoberfest – annual celebration of the authentic German – Saturday September 26
â¢ Heritage Days – Dickinson County Historical Society’s annual celebration – October 1-2
â¢ Wild West Gravel Fest – gravel bike race from 5 km to 200 km – Saturday October 9
â¢ National Greyhound Association Fall Gathering – Greyhound Racing and Auction – October 11-15
â¢ Tombstone Talks – discover the colorful former residents of Abilene – Saturday October 30
As well as continuous trips with the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad, and a dynamic series of shows at the Great Plains Theater.
As the last quarter of 2021 approaches, CVB will continue to focus its efforts on event promotion, website improvement, marketing, grant applications, special campaigns, provision of services to groups and visitors. , and in pursuit of any opportunity to promote and celebrate Abilene, its businesses. , and attractions.