By Kellen Olshefski

SLN Staff

Elkhorn Area Chamber of Commerce Director Chris Clapper shared an update with the City of Elkhorn Common Council June 20 about tourism in Elkhorn and how room tax dollars have been used to promote it in 2015.

Clapper said the chamber keeps track of visitors and phone calls, noting whether it’s related to chamber members or tourism in Elkhorn. In 2015, Chamber said the visitor center had 2,941 visitors related purely to tourism and 2,661 phone calls relating to events in the Elkhorn area.

As for the chamber’s website, Clapper said has an average of 97,000 hits per month, 23,867 member pages per month and 21,000 views each month for the calendar of events pages.

Clapper said the chamber continues to take on the role of promoting the Elkhorn-area, chamber members and events – such as last weekend’s community days.

When it comes to marketing, Clapper said major marketing initiatives the chamber includes itself in is the Wisconsin Travel Guide and Fun in Wisconsin. Clapper noted this year the chamber also opted to take on a few billboards to promote Elkhorn’s Oktoberfest on highways 11, 12 and 14.

While hard to track, Clapper said through surveys of attendees and vendors, the chamber learned the initiative was valuable with a lot of people seeing the billboards.

“That is something that we are going to continue,” she said, noting she’s looking to potentially partner with the Walworth County Fairgrounds for some group purchasing opportunities to more efficiently use the chamber’s money.

The update sparked a short discussion on the city’s ordinance, which Sam Tapson said requires the chamber to show a direct link between expenditures and occupancy at local hotels and motels.

“I know it’s difficult and I’m not asking you to report on it, but I’m just asking if you’ve thought of any creative ways to kind of identify that,” he said.

Clapper said there are ways, noting “Stay and Plays,” are a bit easier to track seeing as it’s entered with a special code it uses with the Hampton Inn. Similarly, she said they have special codes they use for vendors at events like Oktoberfest and this year’s Ribfest.

However, Clapper said while you can encourage people to use the codes, if the person reserving a room or an employee entering a room reservation doesn’t use the codes, it makes it difficult for the chamber to track.

“It’s very difficult unless we use those codes and try to implement those codes and book those rooms that way,” she said.

Tapson said he thinks discussing “Stay and Play” codes and how the chamber uses them to track tourism in the city is sufficient, as it shows a clear link between how tourism dollars are spent to bring visitors into the area.



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