The Park County Travel Council has asked the State of Wyoming for $887,000 in funding from the latest federal stimulus program.

At their June meeting members voted to ask for the maximum amount the entity is eligible for, with plans to spend much of it on developing new marketing materials about the region.

“It’s a great way to build assets of outdoor shots for the future,” member Ruffin Prevost said. “We’re dumb if we don’t do that.”

They would have to put it all together quickly, as all money would have to be spent by the end of the year, with any unspent funds returned to the state.

While earlier funds were earmarked more specifically for marketing campaigns addressing COVID-19 – Park County focused on its wide-open spaces – these are more flexible.

“We don’t have to show Covid, we’re recovering, moving on,” board member and Xanterra sales and marketing director Rick Hoeninghausen said. “We’re moving on to the next stage.”

Prevost recommended trying to stay local with marketing, such as using local videographers.

“We can try to spend production work locally,” he said.

And while Blair’s Hotel owner and board member Ted Blair said the town needed more tourists this summer like “they need a hole in the head” due to the staffing shortages, member John Wetzel saw it more as a fall campaign and a head start on next year.

(3) comments

Tom Conners

Smell greed?

Dewey Vanderhoff

Count me among the skeptics who believe from 35 years of observation that money given to the Park County Travel Council to promote tourism cannot be shown to move the economic needle or increase tourism spending hereabouts . But how would we know ? It's all theoretical on paper coming and going.

My theory could only be proved one way : don't spend any public lodging tax money on tourism promotion for an entire calendar year, and see what the net result is.

My hypothesis is that Cody's immediate proximity to Yellowstone National Park is in and of itself enough of an attractant to travellers to draw crowds. Yellowstone adveretises itself. Always has. By reputation and academia. There is no real need to wine and dine and accomodate a few journalists or travel writers , or sponsor Fam Tours , to boost numbers. Assessing the results from six figures of advertising spent annually in media buys is an exercise in conjecture ( Show me the surveys and followups ).

Anecdotally , Cody seemed to do as well for summer occupancy and tourism business before we had the lodging tax cabal beginning about 1986 than after. If you dissect that annual report the PCTC sends out on their activity for the preceding year, the revenue and spending , you realize it is mostly a fluff piece. It's the Travel Council doing a PR spin to justify itself with a palpable display to assure job security.

I feel the tourists would come to Cody regardless of any promotion by PCTC. The Travel Council and its stepdaughter Chamber of Commerce serve us better by serving the travelling public better once they are here...the brochures and rack cards and funky magazines are quite fine , actually. Verbal information given expertly over the counter is worthy , but these days a YouTube video is either your best friend or your worst enemy. Does PCTC have a line item for viral videos ?

PCTC has been collecting and disbursing nearly $ 2 million annually. Forgive for saying that is mostly dust in the wind.

To the point of this article: if the Park County Travel Council asks for and receives a lump sum of $ 800,000 gratis out of the blue not from heads on beds taxation , to my mind it is like giving your teenage son the car keys and a jug of whiskey. More whiskey than he already got...

Jim Guelde

Must be difficult filling those $300 (plus sky-high lodging tax) a night motel rooms in Cody.

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