MOLINE — Dave Herrell, the new president and CEO of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, of course really wants people to visit the Quad Cities. You could say, so much so that he’s changing the name of the convention and visitors bureau to Visit Quad Cities.
“I think that helps simplify our message and make it clean,” Herrell said of the name change from the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau. “I want to eliminate that confusion in the market place of having maybe three to four names out there.
“I am just making this early analysis on where we need to go,” he added. “Visit Quad Cities will be our direction moving forward.”
Herrell has been on the job only about two weeks. He’s pleased with the latest news that travel-generated expenditures are up 3 percent in 2017 from 2016. Travel statistics generally are a full year behind.
Officially, in Scott and Rock Island counties, travel-generated expenditures equaled $882 million in 2017, up over the $857 million in 2016.
“Any time you are growing, that’s a positive,” Herrell said. “From my perspective, we are pleased to see that type of results in terms of year-over-year metric. We obviously are not going to slow down.”
Highlights from 2017 that were booked through Visit Quad Cities included:
- 100th Annual Iowa State USBC Bowling Tournament
- Professional Disc Golf Association Amateur & Junior Disc Golf World Championships
- Antique Automobile Club of America Central National Meet
- Hot Rod Power Tour overnighted in the Quad-Cities
- American Cue Sports Iowa State Championships
- Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Championship
Many of those events came back in 2018. As this year winds down and 2019 gets underway, Visit Quad Cities has a lot booked already.
The list includes:
- Oct. 22-28, American Cue Sports Iowa Tournament at the RiverCenter
- Oct. 28-30, Cancer Biology Training Consortium
- Feb. 10-17, 2019, National Outstanding Young Farmers Awards Congress
- March 8 and 9, 2019, NAIA Cheer & Dance Competition at St. Ambrose University
- March 14-17, 2019, Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Championship at the TaxSlayer Center.
“It says a lot about where the market is heading, and hopefully we can grow that even more next year,” Herrell said.
It’s hard to project future travel growth, Herrell said. “There’s a lot of impacts, “ he noted. “There are things that are out of your control.”
But he likes the momentum he’s seeing in the Quad Cities.
“I do think you are seeing a lot of momentum in the market,” he said. “You are seeing new hotel properties coming on line.
“I think our destination is doing a better job in terms of how we are marketing our package and experience. I am definitely bullish on the future and definitely expecting growth next year.”
In his first foray actually working in the Quad-Cities, a few areas have already caught his attention.
One is that each of the communities has its own distinct flavor and something specific to offer and for Visit Quad Cities to market.
“I think you are going to see a lot more of how we can bring that to the forefront,” he said.
The arts, culture and live music scene has also caught his eye.
“Being a Nashville guy,” he said of an area he once worked in, “and being around live music, (the Q-C area) is a great live music town.
He also cited the “French Moderns” exhibit at the Figge Art Museum.
“We’ve just got to do a better job of kind of shouting from the rooftops all the great things that are happening here,” Herrell said.