Visit Minot Grows After Hit in 2020
MINOT—The Visit Minot Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has been coming into full recovery after the 2020 year and is looking forward to an even larger recovery in 2022.
Stephanie Schoenrock, executive director, explained how Visit Minot is a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), and its purpose is to market the Minot community to people outside of the area for activities such as leisure, sports tourism, and convention meetings.
The department also helps organizations’ conferences with funds, banners, and welcome packets.
“Tourism is a fun industry, but truly we are here for one reason, and that reason is to provide economic impact to our community and increase the number of guests coming into our community from outside the area.” Stephanie Schoenrock, executive director of Visit Minot
“Tourism is a fun industry, but truly we are here for one reason, and that reason is to provide economic impact to our community and increase the number of guests coming into our community from outside the area,” said Schoenrock.
Schoenrock said there seems to be three different audiences that tour Minot. Those from out of state will usually stay long if they are visiting family or in the military. There are also those who are simply passing through and only stay for a night or two. Then, there are the regional visitors, coming from other parts of North Dakota, simply to get away for a few days.
According to Schoenrock, popular destinations for visitors are the International Peace Gardens, the Scandinavian Park, and Medora. “We get people from between 46 and 48 states,” said Schoenrock.
Visit Minot has several ways in which they monitor the statistics of visits. One way is a simple guest book at the Visitor’s Center, where they can talk to individual tourists. Another is a service that tracks cell phones, how long those cell phones stay in Minot, and from where they come. The service does not track the owners of the phones.
Visit Minot can also track what is searched on its website. “If you think about it, you’re not looking up Pittsburg CVB’s website unless you’re going there,” said Schoenrock.
“COVID certainly affected it, but the other side of that is, we had a lot of visitors that came here from metro areas.” Schoenrock
When speaking of the impact of COVID-19, Schoenrock said that while tourism was affected, it was not destroyed. “North Dakota held to their own,” she said. “COVID certainly affected it, but the other side of that is, we had a lot of visitors that came here from metro areas, from Denver, and a lot from Illinois, and Florida. We had an incredible influx of people that came here from Florida last summer, and the summer before. The East Coast. There was definitely a shift in which states visited us. They needed to spread their wings a little bit. They wanted to get out of the metro area.”
The year 2021 fared much better than 2020. “It was definitely better in ‘21 than ‘20,” said Schoenrock. Many of those reasons included people who were willing to do more, and the North Dakota State Fair being held in July 2021. “We heard a lot of people saying, ‘It’s time to get out.’”
Visit Minot is optimistic about 2022. One reason for that optimism includes the Canadian border being open. “We heard from a lot of Canadians, so there was a pent-up demand from Canadians. They’re pretty locked down,” said Schoenrock. “We historically have gotten a lot of Canadians to come down, because it’s a great little get-away for them, and they’re able to shop for things that they don’t have up there, and we have a lot of Canadian fans. There’s a pretty deep relationship with a lot of Canadians.”
Many of the “Welcome Canadian” signs were set up by businesses connected to Visit Minot, such as retail stores, restaurants, and hotels.
“Just like ‘21 was a step closer, ‘22 will be another step closer,” said Schoenrock.
Visit Minot is a 501(c)(6), with most of its funding in the form of taxes from tourists at businesses like hotels. “We’re officially nonprofit, but we definitely want to operate like a business just to ensure that we are being as efficient as we possibly can, and to understand that we are here for one reason and to accomplish those goals every day,” said Schoenrock.
More information can be found on visitminot.org, or by calling 701-857-8206.