Convention and Visitors Bureau markets Greater Des Moines
The Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Des Moines, with its Web site at www.seedesmoines.com, provides tourism information on Greater Des Moines. The Business Record spoke with Greg Edwards, president of the CVB, about his organization and Des Moines’ most popular attractions.
Q: Tell us a little about your organization.
A: We began in 1908. The main purpose of the Convention and Visitors Bureau is to sell and market Greater Des Moines and to attract more visitors and convention business.
Q: What do people come to see most in Des Moines?
A: According to our most recent survey (conducted in the summer of 2002), the top attractions were Adventureland, the Iowa State Fair, the state Capitol, Living History Farms, Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Blank Park Zoo, the Science Center of Iowa and the Des Moines Art Center.
Q: What sites do your staff members recommend?
A: The staff makes recommendations based on what the visitors’ interests are. If their interest is fine art, we have a great Art Center, and professional shows at the Civic Center, for example. If their interest is history, we might recommend the state Capitol or Living History Farms. Des Moines is a great sports community, with teams like the Iowa Cubs and the Des Moines Buccaneers.
Q: How do you sell a site to visitors?
A: We sell sites two main ways — to convention groups and to individuals. We have a sales staff of seven people constantly on the phone soliciting conventions groups in different sectors, such as the agriculture market, religious market, etc. For individuals, we have a lot of advertising in a 250-mile radius. We promote Des Moines as a destination for short weekend getaways and family trips. Our city is safe, clean, there’s a lot to do and it’s affordable.
Q: What kind of feedback do you receive?
A: Our last survey asked visitors to rate their overall stay, and 94 percent said their stay was excellent to good.
Q: Where are most Des Moines visitors from?
A: Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin are the top 5 states our visitors come from. The trend across America is that people still want to travel, but they want to stay closer to home and travel by car. This puts Des Moines in a pretty good position. We’re centrally located and have big-city amenities without big-city congestion problems.