Keynote Speaker Roger Brooks Revealed Findings at Tourism Workshop
Each year, Roger Brooks assesses more than 1,500 communities nationwide to help them better promote themselves and to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Specifically examining whether a community is a good place to live and raise a family, visit as a leisure tourist, and invest in or bring a business to, his ultimate goal is to help these communities become a viable, welcoming area for both residents and visitors.
In late May, Brooks “secret shopped” Marshfield, and presented on his findings at a May 26 tourism workshop at Hotel Marshfield, sponsored by Marshfield CVB and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Along with addressing the specifics of Marshfield, he also educated attendees about tourism basics, such as how people research a place prior to visiting and how they gather information once there.
Some suggestions Brooks offered included installing a 24/7 visitor center or kiosks, creating a “Best of Marshfield” brochure, and clarifying various signage throughout the city. He stressed the importance of curb appeal and beautification, citing the Kitchen Table and several downtown businesses as examples.
Brooks especially applauded Marshfield’s quality of life, encouraging better promotion of assets such as flight lessons and the trail system.
“You’re a town of 20,000- do you realize what you have here? It’s amazing!” he said, adding that Marshfield is a progressive community, something that is rare in this day and age.
Clyde and Nancy Wynia’s Jurustic Park and Wildwood Zoo were cited as prime destinations.
“I’ve been doing this 35 years and this is one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen,” said Brooks of Wynia’s creations.
Though the City boasts many positives, according to Brooks, the “Achilles Heel” of Marshfield is its downtown. He offered several tips for improvement, including encouraging businesses to stay open later hours and installing more readable blade signage.
“70% of all retail spending takes place after 6:00pm,” he said.
Brooks applauded the concept of Marshfield’s Wenzel Family Plaza, which is soon to be under construction, but encouraged some adjustments to the design.
“There is so much potential here,” he said, concluding his presentation with advice about marketing and encouraging those present to form an assessment team that can turn suggestions into action items.