By Andrea Dwyer, Member Relations Coordinator, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Let’s take a look at a tourists’ motives and needs. If a person is going to spend some time in a city they are not familiar with, there are a few things this person needs. First, we have physiological needs, this would include places to eat and drink. Next is safety and security, which would include shelter or someplace to call “home ground”. Third would be social needs, such as events, activities, gatherings, or the social life of the town. As a tourist in an unknown city or a local looking to find services in their town, having a hub of information like the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center is very important. Studies have shown that visitor centers make an important contribution to the economic, social and recreational well-being of communities. This is done by encouraging tourists and locals to experience local events, attractions, and recreation options. This also financially supports the community’s retail, housing, accommodations and eating venues.
As a member of the Alexandria Chamber we have incorporated our visitor center into a complementary benefit of Chamber membership, each member receives one spot in the visitor center. As we work to promote our Chamber members, we see the value of having something tangible to hand out. First, we ensure that our members’ materials are being seen, by offering a clean, organized, and clearly labeled visitor center. Then, when someone comes in looking for a specific type of business, we know exactly where to look and are able to hand out marketing pieces for our Chamber members. When we start to run low on materials, we reach out to our members to request more.
The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce sees around 15,000 walk-ins each year. As a staff of four, we go to training each year to learn about the similarities and differences between other Minnesota Chambers. Through these trainings, we have learned that we are one of the few Chambers in Minnesota to still have a visitor center alive and active in the same building. The purpose of keeping our visitor center alive and active is to provide information to tourists planning trips to Alexandria and to area residents in need of local services. By making sure we have all of our members’ marketing items visible in our visitor center, we have the resources to provide the proper needs that fit the physiological needs, safety and security needs and social needs, not only our tourists, but to our community residents as well.
If you are a member with the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, contact us today to ensure we have your items in the visitor center!