Springfield, MO

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WOW boosts hotel demand in Springfield market

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With national recognition and attention comes tourism, as evidenced by Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium.

The September 2017 launch of the attraction has produced a quantifiable impact on the area’s hotels, according to the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The CVB yesterday released a tourism impact report, just days after WOW topped USA Today’s reader poll of the best aquariums in the country. The Springfield museum and aquarium previously ranked as No. 1 on a USA Today poll of the best new attractions nationwide.

Room demand at Springfield hotels has increased by an average of 8.2 percent since September, according to data provided this morning to Springfield Business Journal by the CVB. Prior to WOW’s debut, room demand rose by an average of 1.5 percent. The data show average hotel room demand increased by as much as 13.2 percent in February. It did not exceed the 10 percent increase mark in the months leading up to WOW’s opening.

According to the CVB data, while Springfield’s average room demand rose, the Branson and Missouri markets fared far worse. Branson’s average dipped by 2.3 percent, while the state was down 0.3 percent since September, according to the CVB. Leading up to WOW’s opening, Branson’s room demand dropped by an average of 0.1 percent, while Missouri was up by an average 4.6 percent through August.

“Wonders of Wildlife is a game changer for Springfield,” CVB President and CEO Tracy Kimberlin said yesterday at the State of the Travel and Tourism Industry presentation, according to a news release.

Room revenue for Springfield hotels also is on the rise.

The CVB data show hotels ended 2017 with room revenue of $111.3 million, a 7 percent jump from $104 million in 2016. Room revenue is estimated to grow to $119.7 million in 2018, $125.7 million in 2019 and $134.7 million in 2020.

"We’re proud to partner with the CVB and many others to showcase the Ozarks to the world and excited to see these efforts contributing to the positive economic development of our community," Bass Pro spokesman Jack Wlezien said via email.

In the release, Kimberlin cautioned against hoteliers adding more rooms via new hotels in response to the market growth.

“Supply and demand is a delicate balancing act when it comes to the hospitality industry,” Kimberlin said, noting new hotels could lead to the city having more rooms than necessary, resulting in less profitability for owners.


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steve counts

People complain because people like Bill Gates make so much money or even Johnny Morris. When someone creates something such as Microsoft or in the case of Morris, Bass Pro and now Wonders of Wildlife that effort creates a wave of prosperity. Gates and Morris do not benefit from every business that started because of Microsoft or Bass Pro. They get nothing for that.

Now we see the hotels benefitting because of something Morris did. Will he get any money for that? No and he doesn't want any. Some people complain because others are successful and wealthy. Those same people forget that because of the entrepreneurial aspect of these creators many of the rest of us benefit. Thank you, Mr. Gates, Mr. Morris and all the other creators of wealth and opportunity.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018
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