Local businesses can help grow small-group travel in Boyle County

Published 4:31 pm Wednesday, November 6, 2019


Guest columnist

As we wind down a busy fall season and head into a time to reflect on gratefulness, there are many blessings to count and people to thank. We are appreciative of our local governments, police force, public works employees, nonprofit organizations and countless volunteers that all came together to generate social and economic victories for our community.

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Among our treasures this fall were a bountiful Kentucky State BBQ Festival with a lively crowd, a global draw and plenty of delicious food. We enjoyed county-wide “Bold” preservation events highlighting important properties with VIP tours.

And early in October, the dry weather may have had most of us in a funk but that didn’t hold Main Street Perryville back from hosting their annual commemoration events. They pushed on and welcomed folks to recall this pivotal moment in Civil War history and the bloodiest battle fought.

Our friends in Forkland, year after year, create a wonderful festival celebrating their rich heritage and welcome everyone to join in the fun. And this year was no exception. I ran the Fox and Hound Trail Run and found the beauty to be awe-inspiring and the pancakes were delicious!

Also deserving of recognition was the 85th Anniversary Stuart Powell Fly-in, highlighting our community’s connection to aviation and the promise it brings for the future. We welcomed thousands of runners to both Danville and Perryville for the Bourbon Chase and rolled out the red carpet. Danville was once again victorious in taking the sought-after title of the “Most Spirited Community.” Heart of Danville and our local merchants hit a home run.   

Also, worth noting specifically for this year is that this fall also included an active small-group travel market. For many years, we have tried different strategies to recruit small to mid-size conferences and leisure travel groups. We have placed print ads, ran digital marketing campaigns, attended trade shows, hosted tour operators and made many phone calls.

But this year, we tried something a little different. We didn’t spend any money advertising; instead, we came to you! Our marketing was to encourage our residents to reach out to their employers or professional organizations and encourage them to offer to host their next conference or group gathering.

Together, we brought a variety of professional organization meetings to Boyle County. In late November, we will assist Angie Muncey, Boyle County Solid Waste Director, to host the Solid Waste Coordinators Conference, a group of about 50. Historical walking tours, dining options, bourbon, modern hotels and a well-equipped meeting space are some of the experiences attendees will enjoy.

Your Convention and Visitors Bureau is here to provide the support you need to plan for a successful event. We can help hosts better understand what resources are available, such as dining, venues, tour options, discounts, maps and useful welcome bags guests can receive upon check in.

In some cases, we provide small sponsorships, in-kind donations and as much sweat equity as you need us to! Each group has different needs, but our job is to consistently find ways to put Boyle County’s best foot forward so travelers stay longer, come back more often and support our local businesses. 

During the month of October each week, Tuesday through Friday, we welcomed four different Corvette Clubs to Danville. Because we are centrally located and a beautiful small town, we were “home base.” We worked closely with the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green to arrange dinners, parking on Main Street, provide information and act as a liaison for planning purposes. It was a great success and plans for upcoming years are in the works.

Our travel economy in Boyle County is roughly 80% business and 20% leisure. Knowing our strengths and our audience is the first step in the plan. Therefore, following the data and trends, we know that small-group business travel is an appropriate target.

We accommodate groups under 100 well. This year, we also assisted in planning with the School Board Association, tourism directors, company retreats, and we have plans with the public library to collaborate in welcoming the Kentucky Heritage & Quilt Society in 2020 and the Kentucky History & Genealogy Conference in 2022.

We are here to help! Does your organization issue an RFP to be a host city? We will fill it out for you. Let us help you help our local economy. Together, we can show off our fantastic small town and reap the additional benefits of host cities such as recognition, increased visibility and boosting our image to new people and businesses to capture.

Typically, the host also helps to shape the agenda, networking events and community highlights, so there are professional benefits as well for your contributions. These events benefit the here and now and also sow seeds for a prosperous future. 


Jennifer Kirchner is executive director of the Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau.