The Destination of the Future

Rogers Tourism Industry Plans for Recovery and Beyond

In a time of great uncertainty for our families and communities, Visit Rogers posits one truth that we believe we can all get behind:  A healthy tourism economy is vital to the City of Rogers and our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and for a prosperous future. 

Tourism Impacts Quality of Life

Consider these findings from the 2019 Travel USA Visitors Profile Study conducted for Rogers by Longwoods International in 2019.

  • 3.8 million visitors to Rogers, a 6.0% increase over the last study in 2016.
  • Visitor expenditures of $242 million, a 19% increase from 2016.

Tourism supports thousands of jobs and generates thousands of state and local tax dollars in our city, enhancing our quality of life and providing opportunities for growth for our residents.

Transformational Opportunities for Destination Success

A different study commissioned by Visit Rogers in 2019 and conducted by DestinationNEXT, titled “The Futures Study”, identified three transformational opportunities for destination organizations to embrace for future success:

  • DESTINATION STEWARDSHIP: Balancing economic development, sustainable tourism, and quality of life.
  • COMMUNITY ALIGNMENT: Building public support around a shared vision for the community.
  • DIGITAL CONVERSION: Connecting with visitors on mobile devices to drive real-time sales in-destination.

Assessing Our Destination’s Strength

One portion of the study assessed the destination strength and community alignment of Rogers and our Visit Rogers destination marketing organization.  The findings identified us as Trailblazers, an organization that realizes the benefits of our tourism vision and works to keep our community and marketplace engagement fresh and relevant.  Pretty positive ground and direction for Rogers and tourism, right? Consider if those benefits and opportunities were to suddenly disappear? Our economy, our businesses, neighbors and friends, and our quality of life would suffer, yes?  If that shared value vanished, could the destination show resiliency in bouncing back to the benefit of the local community?

The answer to the first two questions is yes.  The last one is harder and requires more thought.  The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted devastating emotional, financial, and personal losses on our hospitality industry, small businesses, friends, and families. Following a booming spring and early summer 2021 travel season, recent trends indicate a potential slowdown in travel for the near future, bringing still more lean times to the hotel, restaurant, events, and attractions communities.  The road to recovery will be long, and DMOs such as Visit Rogers play a crucial role in the success and sustainability of our partners, residents, and community.

Recent Futures Study Identifies New Transformational Opportunities for Recovery and Beyond

Building resilience into our destination’s recovery is critical to ensure future prosperity. Knowing this, a new global Futures Study was conducted and just released in July by DestinationNEXT, identifying transformational opportunities for destinations during recovery and beyond.  How do these strategies differ from those highlighted back in 2019, and what roles do destination marketing and management organizations play in the process?

These three opportunities were identified in the new study:

  • DESTINATION ALIGNMENT: Aligning the public, private and civic sectors to drive destination performance.
  • SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Destination and product development should marry people, planet, profit, and policy.
  • VALUES BASED MARKETING: Community values, goals and energy are the new competitive advantage.

Cultivating the Destination of the Future

These opportunities provide guidance to Visit Rogers, the Rogers Advertising & Promotion Commission, and local stakeholders as we plan for tourism recovery in 2022 and beyond. Principles of destination alignment, stewardship, sustainability, and value-based marketing that embraces digital conversion will be incorporated in day-to-day sales and marketing strategies, actions, and tactics, driving quality of place and quality of life to the entire Rogers community.

Journey with us, as we cultivate the destination of the future. Destination: Rogers.