Strategic planning has been on the minds of the city and county over the last couple of years.
Now, the Yankton Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) is diving into its own round of strategic planning as Yankton develops and the tourism industry changes.
Yankton CVB Director Kasi Haberman told the Press & Dakotan that tourism is quickly evolving and it pays to keep up.
"Over the past decade or so, the tourism industry has been rapidly developing, and it doesn’t look like there’s any slowing down," Haberman said. "We’re really just looking to take a comprehensive look at our destinations and try to determine how we can move the needle."
Additionally, Haberman said there’s a need to find out who the area’s visitors are and who could potentially be drawn to the area.
"We just need to make sure we have a solid understanding of … what type of product they’re looking for so that we can effectively invite them to Yankton and provide the biggest impact for our stakeholders," she said.
The CVB is contracting with Young Strategies of Charlotte, North Carolina. The company’s owner, Berkeley Young, is the main strategist on the planning project.
Haberman said this isn’t the CVB’s first venture into strategic planning and said the current round was partly spurred by the last plan the CVB adopted five years ago.
"When I went through our budgeting process (the year before), I brought out that document and went through the entire thing and quickly recognized we’ve basically accomplished everything that was on that list," she said. "At that point in time, I knew it was definitely time to start working on some new goals."
She said the new round was also prompted by an explosion of developments in Yankton during that timeframe.
"With Mount Marty starting to work on the fieldhouse and the NFAA starting to bring air rifle into the mix and all of the other things that we have going right now, it’s definitely time that we try to figure out exactly which basket to put our eggs in and where we’re going to get the biggest bang for our buck," she said.
Haberman said Young made his first visit to Yankton last week to do reconnaissance work, meet with stakeholders and get familiar with the community’s offerings. Next up will be a survey of interested parties and a lodging study. Once those are completed and information is compiled, a workshop will be held with all of the stakeholders with hopes of completing the strategic plan in January.
During Monday night’s meeting of the Yankton City Commission, Mayor Nathan Johnson spoke briefly on the CVB’s efforts.
"Berkeley Young seems like a very sharp guy and brings a lot of experience from around the country to Yankton, so I’m excited to see what he comes up with," Johnson said. "He’s worked in the hotel industry as well, so he has a lot of familiarity with how the hotel industry works and should be able to tell us if he thinks we need more rooms. He said he knows a developer who told him, ‘If you find a place that needs hotel rooms, let me know.’"
Haberman said the CVB will set goals based upon the results its strategist releases.
"We’re looking to determine what types of efforts the CVB can focus in on to make our destination more attractive," she said. "We’re open to anything that comes out of it. … We’re looking for this to be based on facts, and (we’re) just excited to get to work on some new goals and strategies."
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