I’ve heard grumblings before about the Claremore Expo, how it just sits empty and there are so many more things that we need for the city. I would like to clear that up for those who may be uninformed: the Claremore Expo hosted more than 360 events in the past year. Add in RSU Hillcat basketball (now NCAA!), the Bluegrass & Chili Festival, and the Rogers County Fair, and that accounts for 170,000 guests at the facility. Read that again: 170 THOUSAND. That’s a lot of folks, and plenty of them come from out of town. That means they visit Claremore, eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores, stay in our hotels, and spend their money in town. That’s a great thing, because Visit Claremore benefits from the lodging tax: learn all about that HERE.
In addition to the Expo, Claremore is also lucky to have event venues like Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs and the new Claremore Conference Center. CCC had 175 events with 20,000 guests during its first year of operation. Not too shabby for “small-town America.” Oh, and Will Rogers Downs is about to get a multi-million dollar renovation, so that’s pretty awesome.
Speaking of events, Claremore hosted plenty of new ones over the course of the past year. Oklahoma Freewheel came through town this summer, and Claremore was voted Best Host Town by that group. The Claremore Regional Air Show was held at the airport and had a huge turnout of spectators. Rotary’s Boots & BBQ Festival was moved to the Claremore Expo, and the Outdoor Sporting Expo came back, too. Hosting more than 346,000 visitors, our guests grew by 100,000 since last year. The three new hotels, new conference center and new events brought in to the city all had a positive economic impact on Claremore. The estimated visitor spending last fiscal year is more than $28 million dollars; an increase of 50% from 2015. This includes hotel stays, RV Park stays, meals, shopping and visiting our attractions.
The Claremore Expo & Tourism Development merged as one department in July of 2015, and its relevance to the city’s economic fabric is stronger together. With the merge of the Claremore Expo and Visit Claremore, the budgets became one, there is one director instead of two, and it increased the size of the team. In the first year, revenues were above projections by more than $37,000, and their expenses were below what was anticipated by more than $119,000. To summarize, it costs the city $103,743 to operate a department who assists in generating more than $28 million dollars in visitor spending.
The Expo is moving forward with more new events in 2017, such as a team roping series and the American Cowboys Rodeo Association’s (ACRA) Finals Rodeo coming November 4-6. The staff continues to promote Claremore as a destination through advertising in travel publications, an extensive and active digital/social media campaign, and the printing of 50,000 official visitors guides which are distributed throughout the United States and beyond.
In early October, Visit Claremore will launch a new website which will be mobile friendly and have the ability for guests to make online reservations for the Expo RV Park. Visitors and residents can find event information on www.visitclaremore.org, as well as information on the various event venues, hotels, museums, shops, restaurants and everything Claremore. The public is invited to receive their E-newsletter by emailing Lisa Rogers, Marketing Manager at Lisa@visitclaremore.org and just requesting to be added to the distribution.
-MCM Staffer Ashley,
who is excited to see
what comes next