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

FY19…………………………………….$18,246,504
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 spending is up 22% since 2010.

TOURISM-RELATED EMPLOYMENT

2019 – 432
2018 – 420
2017 – 406
2016 – 417
2015 – 402
2014 – 381
2013 – 385
2012 – 383
2011 – 377
2010 – 355

There was a 32% growth in tourism-related employment from 2010 to 2019.

Benton County Tourism Guest Tax History

(Gross receipts as received from Benton County Collector)

Annual

2019……………………………………$58,743*
2018…………………………………….$56,414
2017…………………………………….$54,370
2016…………………………………….$49,646
2015…………………………………….$49,399
2014…………………………………….$43,555

*The 2019 annual income for guest tax does not include an estimated $3,470 in revenue that was not received from non-paying lodges in 2019.  One account was settled for a lesser amount.

There was a 4% growth in annual guest tax collection from 2018-2019 and a 35% growth from 2014-2019. (“Benton County Tourism and Recreation”)

The UM Extension Social and Economic Profile for our County estimated by the year 2020, we were 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 2020 is both comprehensive and effective and will reach a larger group of potential tourists by using different media types.  Our estimated marketing budget has increased by 35% since 2019.​

You will find our Marketing Plan for 2020 showing our efforts.  Warsaw’s sales tax was up 6%, the county sales tax was up 5%, the city of Lincoln’s sales tax is up 7% and the City of Cole Camp’s sales tax was up approximately 7% in 2019.  Even with the loss of revenue due to Truman Lake and surrounding areas flooding for 2-3 months, this show that marketing for our area is a contributor in the economic growth.

BCTR Lodging Tax Annual Budget – 2020

The following income and expense dollars reflected for the Fiscal Year 2020 (Jan 1, 2020-Dec 31, 2020) annual BCTR budget is submitted by the Executive Director of Tourism and approved by the BCTR Board of Directors (compromising of 11 directors).

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 gross revenue as their 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 ($2/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 2020 BUDGETED INCOME (estimated)

Transient Lodging Tax…………………………………….$60,000
Cities and County Partners……………………………. $43,776
Corporate Contributions…………………………………$11,402* bank sponsorship is down
State of Missouri Marketing Grants………………..$13,700
Event Income (before expenses)……………………..$10,300
TOTAL FISCAL YEAR 2020 BUDGETED INCOME $139,178

The Fiscal 2020 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 and print publications, website and online presence, special events and festivals, marketing strategy including search engine optimization, exhibiting at sports and travel shows, billboards, BCTR local grant program, collateral for sports shows, mailings to Missouri Welcome Centers, press/media tour, marketing videos and photography, county-wide event cards and memberships in tourism-related organizations for networking and promotional purposes.  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 2020 BUDGET EXPENSES (estimated)

Advertising/Events/Mktg…………………………………..$68,112
Administration…………………………………………………..$54,862
Professional Memberships/Services………………………$900
BCTR Grant…………………………………………………………..$5,000
General Reserve…………………………………………………$10,304
TOTAL FISCAL YEAR 2020 BUDGETED EXPENSES $128,874

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

BCTR Annual Budget – 2019
BCTR FISCAL YEAR 2019 INCOME
  • 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
BCTR FISCAL YEAR 2019 EXPENSES

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

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

Benton County Tourism & Recreation Marketing Plan – 2020

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 2020 marketing efforts:

  • Billboard on Hwy 65 to promote the Warsaw merchants
  • Billboard on Hwy 65 to promote Lincoln events
  • Billboard in Clinton area to promote Warsaw
  • New 2020 BCTR brochure
  • Increased social media marketing through Facebook Ads ($100/month)
  • Mailings to all Missouri Welcome Centers of Cole Camp, Warsaw and BCTR Brochures (March)
  • Group travel promotion including attending the Missouri Group Travel Exchange (May)
  • Booths at the following travel/sports shows promoting County-wide destinations and events/festivals: Collinsville IL Sports Show (Jan) and Omaha Sports Show (Feb)
  • Booth at the Missouri State Fair (August)
  • Advertising in the following publications: Missouri Travel Guide 2020 enhanced listing thru the Missouri Division of Tourism and FY21 half page, Missouri Life Adventure Guide (Jan/Feb), Missouri Life Biking/Trails Guide (Jan), Missouri Life (Sept), Rural Missouri Magazine (Spring & Fall issues), Show Me Missouri (May and Fall issues), Outdoor Guide Magazine (Jan & Sept)
    • Missouri Life Magazine has 35,000 paid subscriptions and online version
    • Rural Missouri Magazine had 350,000 free subscriptions
    • Show Me Missouri has 250,000 readers/3,000 group travel
    • Outdoor Guide Magazine has 1,000 paid subscriptions and includes newstands
    • Missouri Division of Tourism’s Travel Guide has 350,000 printed and distributed to potential tourists
  • BCTR sponsored events: Benton County Art Walk (April), Ozark Cigar Box Guitar Music Festival (August), Smokin’ in the Harbor KCBS Sanctioned BBQ Comp (August) and Pub and Poker in Warsaw (March), Meet the Tourism Board (May), ‘Tiques, Treats & Tastings Promotion
  • Google AdWords Campaign with Madden Media
  • Website and SEM increase thru 2A Marketing (Jan)
  • Press/Media Tour to invite outdoor writers, bloggers and major magazines to write about Benton County (September)
  • Radio advertising on two prominent stations (95.3 KDKD and 93.5 Rocks)
  • New and hip marketing video in 2020 (Spring)
  • Marketing collateral to distribute at sports shows and other events (bags, koozies, pens, sports bottles, cell phone wallets)
  • BCTR Local Promotional Grant Program offering grants to local non-profits for the promotion of visitors to attend tourism events and activities ($5,000 awarded)
  • County-wide event rack cards
  • Search engine marketing campaign to ensure website is healthy and visible to potential tourists
  • 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 visitmo.com, Rural Missouri Magazine, Missouri Life, Trip Advisor and others
  • Promotion of agritourism
  • Promotion of barn quilt tours
  • Promotion of Butterfield Stagecoach experience and the Butterfield 60 race
  • Wings Over Whiteman promotional sponsor with the three chambers (June)
  • Governor’s Conference on Tourism
  • Monthly Newsletters to prospective tourists and monthly social media posts promoting events and other attractions/activities county-wide