Benton County Tourism and Recreation Corporation (BCTR)

Benton County Tourism and Recreation is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to increase visitation and awareness of the Benton County Area. Our goal is to harness the county’s great tourism potential and transform it into an engine for growth and development that contributes to the goal of a prosperous economic future.

By utilizing the transient guest tax combined with corporate support for this continued economic growth, we will develop an Annual County Tourism Plan. The Plan will focus on highlighting our natural assets as well as our heritage in order to provide a rewarding and memorable experience to all visitors.

BENTON COUNTY TOTAL EXPENDITURES IN 17 TOURISM-RELATED SIC CODES

  • FY18……………………………………. $17,944,722
  • FY17……………………………………. $16,726,973
  • FY16……………………………………. $16,445,767
  • FY15……………………………………. $15,667,307
  • FY14……………………………………. $14,538,217
  • FY13……………………………………. $13,965,436
  • FY12……………………………………. $14,590,267
  • FY11……………………………………. $13,998,457
  • FY10……………………………………. $13,789,041

TOURISM-RELATED EMPLOYMENT

  • 420
  • 406
  • 417
  • 402
  • 381
  • 385
  • 383
  • 377
  • 355

There was a 30% growth from 2010 to 2018 in tourism-related employment. Tourism spending is up 18% since 2010. (“Missouri Division of Tourism”)

Benton County Tourism Guest Tax History

(Gross receipts as received from Benton County Collector)

Annual
  • 2018…………………………………….$56,414*
  • 2017…………………………………….$54,370
  • 2016…………………………………….$49,646
  • 2015…………………………………….$49,399
  • 2014…………………………………….$43,555

*The 2018 annual income for guest tax does not include approximately $5,264 in income that was not received from non-paying lodges. However, we are working to collect it in 2019 but will update this number once funds are collected.

​There was a 30% growth in annual guest tax collection from 2014-2018. (“Benton County Tourism and Recreation”)

The UM Extension Social and Economic Profile for our County estimates by the year 2020, we are expected to grow by 5.8% and by 2030, a growth of 7.3% is estimated.

Tourism Development is the key to our economic future for the reasons listed above.​

We work in conjunction with the cities of Cole Camp, Lincoln and Warsaw, as well as the three Chambers of Commerce for each town to promote attractions, shopping, events and dining to tourists and future residents within our county. We know that tourism plays a large role in the economic development of our county.

BCTR is able to continue to increase our marketing efforts due to the support of organizations, corporate contributions and individuals who believe in the promotion of tourism and economic development in Benton County. We believe our marketing plan for 2019 is both comprehensive and effective and will reach a larger group of potential tourists and have increased our marketing budget by 14% since 2018.​

You will find our Marketing Plan for 2019 showing our efforts.​

BCTR Lodging Tax Annual Budget – 2019

The following income and expense dollars reflected for the Fiscal Year 2019 (Jan 1, 2019-Dec 31, 2019) annual BCTR budget is submitted by the Executive Director of Tourism and approved by the BCTR Board of Directors (compromising of 12 directors – see attached list).

Benton County Tourism & Recreation has five sources of revenue. Foremost, is the transient guest tax of 3% that lodging facilities collect from their guests and remit to the Benton County Collector of Revenue. The Collector’s office retains 2% of the amounts remitted as a collection fee.

We work with Benton County and the Cities within as tourism marketing partners and receive funding from Cole Camp ($2/pp) and Lincoln ($1.50/pp) based on the population with Lincoln contributing to the Hwy 65 billboard. Warsaw and the County contribute a specific percentage of budgeted marketing efforts.​

The other sources of income are corporate sponsors, including local banks, Wal-mart, hospitals and other yearly contributors.

BENTON COUNTY TOURISM FISCAL YEAR 2019 BUDGETED INCOME (estimated)
  • Transient Lodging Tax…………………………………………….$60,000
  • Cities and County Partners……………………………………..$33,360
  • Corporate Contributions………………………………..……….$15,248
  • State of Missouri Marketing Grants…………………………$5,999
  • Event Income (before expenses)……………………………..$6,800
  • TOTAL FISCAL YEAR 2019 BUDGETED INCOME………..$121,907

The Fiscal 2019 BCTR Annual Budget expenditures are divided into five major categories. The budget is established annually by the BCTR Board of Directors, which is proposed by the Executive Director.

The major expenditures in marketing include major Missouri magazines, website and online presence, special events and festivals, new interactive website and marketing strategy including search engine optimization, exhibiting at sports and travel shows, billboards, BCTR local grant program, collateral and booth backdrop, group travel promotion and attending networking exchanges, mailings to Missouri Welcome Centers, press/media tour, marketing videos, county-wide event cards and memberships in tourism-related organizations for networking and promotional purposes. The administration is the everyday responsibilities of insurance, contractor salary and D&O insurance, as well as phones, internet, mileage, checks and tax preparation. The Executive Director is a contractor who pays her own insurance and taxes and does not receive paid vacation or sick days.

BCTR FISCAL YEAR 2019 BUDGET EXPENSES (estimated)

Advertising/Events..…………………………………………………$47,876
Administration………………………………………………………..$49,432
Professional Memberships/Services……………………….$650
BCTR Grant……………………………………………………………..$6,240
General Reserve……………………………………………………..$17,709
TOTAL FISCAL YEAR 2019 BUDGETED EXPENSES…….$121,907

Benton County Tourism & Recreation

PO Box 1245
Warsaw MO 65355
www.visitbentoncomo.com
Phone: (660) 438-2090
Email: lstokes@visitbentoncomo.com

BCTR Annual Budget – 2018
BCTR FISCAL YEAR 2018 INCOME

Transient Lodging Tax……………………………………………$55,308
Cities and County Partners…………………………………….$27,200
Corporate Contributions………………………………..………$15,019
State of Missouri Marketing Grants………………………..$1009
Event Income (before expenses)…………………………….$8,337
TOTAL FISCAL YEAR 2018 BUDGETED INCOME……….$106,873

BCTR FISCAL YEAR 2018 EXPENSES

Advertising/Events..…………………………………………………$46,942
Administration…………………………………………………………$40,426
Professional Memberships/Services…………………….….$522
BCTR Grant………………………………………………………………$3,760
General Reserve……………………………………………………….$15,223
TOTAL FISCAL YEAR 2018 BUDGETED EXPENSES………$106,873

Note:
Advertising/Events includes print, fairs/shows, internet advertising, billboards, conferences/meetings/travel, marketing firm fees
Administration includes contractor fees, phones, internet, postage, supplies, printing, insurance, tax preparation

Benton County Tourism & Recreation Marketing Plan – 2019

Benton County Tourism and Recreation is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to increase visitation and awareness of the Benton County Area. Our goal is to harness the county’s great tourism potential and transform it into an engine for growth and development that contributes to the goal of a prosperous economic future.

By utilizing the transient guest tax combined with corporate support for this continued economic growth, we will develop an Annual County Tourism Plan. The Plan will focus on highlighting our natural assets as well as our heritage in order to provide a rewarding and memorable experience to all visitors.

We are excited to support continuing efforts to bring tourism to Benton County and share our 2019 marketing efforts:

  • Billboard on Hwy 7 to promote the Warsaw Downtown merchants
  • Billboard on Hwy 65 to promote Lincoln events
  • Billboard on Hwy 65 to promote Cole Camp (partial year)
  • Increased social media marketing through Facebook Ads
  • Mailings to all Missouri Welcome Centers of Cole Camp, Warsaw and BCTR Brochures (March)
  • Group travel and bank travel tours promotion, including attending the Missouri Travel Bank Exchange in May sending a two-page profile sheet to the Missouri Sports Exchange in March. Group tour promotion increased through website and Missouri Tour Guide in October with a 30,000 distribution print and online and at 30 plus tradeshows beginning in November by MO Division of Tourism.
  • Booths at the following travel/sports shows promoting County-wide destinations and events/festivals: Missouri Travel Council State Fair booth, Kansas City Sports Show and St Louis Boat Show
  • Advertising in the following publications: Missouri Life Magazine Scenic Rides & Drives Issue (March), Missouri Life Vacation Guide (May), Missouri Life Magazine (July/August), Missouri Tourism & Recreation Guide (May), Rural Missouri Magazine (May and July), Show-Me Missouri (May and August), Midwest Living Magazine (July/August)
  • Missouri Life Magazine has 35,000 paid subscriptions and online version
  • Rural Missouri Magazine had 350,000 free subscriptions through coop
  • Midwest Living Magazine has 3 million readerships, including bonus leads sent
  • BCTR sponsored events: Ozark Cigar Box Guitar Music Festival (August), Taste of the Ozarks KCBS Sanctioned Backyard BBQ Comp (August) and Pub and Poker in Warsaw (March / September)
  • In-depth marketing strategy (March)
  • Press/Media Tour to invite outdoor writers, bloggers and major magazines to write about Benton County (August)
  • Two marketing videos in 2019 and photography/videography/drone shoots (Spring/Fall)
  • A newly designed website with an interactive map for a user-friendly experience
  • Advertisement in Destination Crappie publication promoting Truman Lake (online)
  • Bags and koozies to distribute at sports shows and other events
  • BCTR Local Promotional Grant Program offering grants to local non-profits for the promotion of visitors to attend tourism events and activities ($6,300 awarded)
  • County-wide event rack cards
  • Memberships with the Missouri Assn of Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the Missouri Travel Council, including networking opportunities
  • Promotion of events and destinations through multiple website partners, including www.visitmo.com, Rural Missouri Magazine, Missouri Life, Trip Advisor and others
  • Marketing workshops for businesses, which include Google Listings, branding, customer service, social media and more!
  • Promotion of county-wide route linking Rock Island/Katy Trail to Benton County
  • Building Local Prosperity Program (Nov-2019)
  • Wings Over Whiteman promotional sponsor with the three chambers (June)
  • Monthly Newsletters to prospective tourists