A Conversation with Visit Greater St. Cloud

Every staff member at Visit Greater St. Cloud has had the following conversation many times…

“So where do you work?”

“I work for Visit Greater St. Cloud which is a DMO”

“Oh… so what is that?”

Even though the DMO is a vital component of promoting the local economy, most people unfortunately don’t know what we do every day. Luckily, I’m here to explain! Let’s start with a little background about Destination Management organizations…

The first DMO in the US was created in 1896 in Detroit to promote the city as a convention destination and to represent the city and its hotels. Since then, many cities have duplicated the concept across the country, some as independent organizations and some – like ours – as a division of the area’s Chamber of Commerce. Today, nearly every major city in the US has a DMO. The goal of DMOs are to help make visitors’ or conference attendees’ trips to the area more enjoyable. They are the hubs of information on restaurants, lodging, attractions, events, arts, history, recreation and more in their cities. Most DMOs have local offices with maps, brochures, travel information, souvenirs and more available for visitors. The Visit Greater St. Cloud was founded in the early 70’s and our current office is located at 1411 W. Saint Germain St., St. Cloud, MN 56301.

It never fails that the next question follows…

“Oh, that’s interesting, so… what do you do, exactly?”

The roles of the staff members  vary, but our central goal is to promote and manage the St. Cloud Area as a destination where conventions and tourists can come to meet, play, and stay. We have a sales team that is dedicated to bringing certain types of industry events to the area. Craig and Nikki help to bring in sporting or special events, associations – there’s an association for everything – and recruits medical and educational, governmental, agricultural, social, and corporate types of events. We also have support staff that assists both convention clients and leisure visitors to the St. Cloud area. And Emily focuses on the social media and marketing for both conventions and for leisure travel. We are all guided by our fearless leader Rachel, the Executive Director of Visit Greater St. Cloud.

The next question we get usually revolves around three myths that are floating around about the St. Cloud Area CVB, which I’m here now to bust…

Myth #1: Visit Greater St. Cloud = the convention center.

Truth: The staff  works very closely with the fine folks at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center, but actually we are not one in the same. To get all technical on you, Visit Greater St. Cloud is a division of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. We coordinate with the convention center regularly for conferences, events, meetings and more. It is one of many area venues we promote. We work with the convention center to accommodate groups both large and small, and to fit the needs of gatherings of all kinds.

Myth #2: Working with Visit Greater St. Cloud will cost you money.

Truth: Working with the staff at the St. Cloud DMO is free! Our services are paid for by lodging taxes in the St. Cloud and surrounding area so that we can put time and effort into both helping visitors and promoting local businesses. While yes, there are certain hard costs that sometimes occur (i.e. printing, promotional material, physically advertising your event or business, etc.), our services are free of charge to both visitors and Greater St. Cloud Area businesses.

Myth #3: Visit Greater St. Cloud is only for St. Cloud.

Truth: We work with and promote the St. Cloud Area. This means that all hospitality and  leisure businesses, attractions and events in Greater St. Cloud – that’s out to Melrose, up to Little Falls, over to Princeton and down to Annandale – can be promoted by Visit Greater St. Cloud. So if you’re ever unsure if an event, business or attraction qualifies for promotion by the area DMO, all you have to do is ask; the answer is most likely yes!

“Okay, that’s all great… but what does it mean for me?”

Ah yes, this is the fun part. Depending on your role inside or outside of the community, it could mean several things.

For the local business owner with a leisure or hospitality-focused company: It means we want to be your partner. We want to work with you to promote your business to travelers, and to come together to represent the St. Cloud area in the best light possible. We are easy to work with, and we want nothing more than to see you succeed and grow.

For the traveler from outside the St. Cloud area: it means we are your go-to source for any and all information relating to traveling around here. We can help you find tickets to that unique event you’ve been wanting to attend, or guide you to the ideal outdoor recreation area that you’ve been looking for. We can make sure you eat and drink exactly what you’ve been craving (or didn’t even know you’ve been craving), and we can send you home with unique shopping finds you didn’t know we had. Let us help make it easy for you to enjoy the St. Cloud area.

For the community member who loves the St. Cloud area: it means we need your help to be advocates for our great region. Help us capture all of the things that make the St. Cloud area great. Send us pictures, share your ideas, invite us to your events – anything to connect us with the local community. You are the real champions here – help us connect with you to show our pride in this area.

“WOW I HAVE ALL THE KNOWLEDGE NOW except when/how to reach you, how do I do that?”

As with most things, that would depend on your needs. So here’s the rundown:

  1. If you’re looking to host a conference, meeting, sporting tournament etc. in the St. Cloud area, contact Nikki or Craig.
  2. If you would like Visit Greater St. Cloud to help you promote your local business, event, organization etc., contact Rachel or Emily.
  3. If you’re visiting or planning to visit the St. Cloud area or if you have questions on any of the leisure/hospitality things here, call us!
  4. If all else fails, stop in to our office! You can also check out our retail selection of shirts, water bottles, notebooks and more so you can represent St. Cloud and look good doin’ it. We are located at 1411 W. Saint Germain St., St. Cloud, MN 56301.

“Great, can’t wait to visit St. Cloud soon!”

And we can’t wait to see you! Visit Greater St. Cloud hopes to make it easy for you to #VisitStCloud, and is here to make sure you enjoy every part of your stay. Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. Follow @visitstcloud on Instagram, and visit Greater St. Cloud on Facebook. Use #VisitStCloud in your social posts for a chance to have your great content re-shared, and feel free to send any photos or videos of your adventures to emily@visitstcloud.com – we would love to see them!