“Kanab does not get the money out of visitors that it should,” internationally-recognized travel industry speaker Roger Brooks told those attending his June 30 seminar in Kanab.

Brooks began his career in the concert industry providing tour management services for big recording artists such as Chicago, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and the Bee Gees.

But for over thirty years, he has truly been a change agent for the travel industry!

In that capacity, he has helped thousands of people transform ordinary places, businesses and attractions into incredibly successful destinations. In addition, Brooks has worked with states, provinces, national parks and countries in their branding, product development and marketing efforts. Kanab was fortunate to have the high demand speaker bring his marketing ideas to town.

Brooks enthusiastically shared numerous ideas that, if implemented, could immediately help Kane County get a larger share of the tourism dollar! “Tourists are seeking shopping, dining and entertainment experiences in a pedestrian-friendly setting.”

To address those desires, Brooks stressed the import of a community’s downtown. “Downtowns are critical to your success! Downtowns are back. People want them now more than ever!”

Brooks said Kanab shouldn’t focus on marketing the community as a ‘gateway,’ because people use ‘gateways’ to travel on to someplace else. We need to make it a destination in and of itself! He encouraged property owners to define a small brand and retail focus.

Nighttime shopping, eating and entertainment were brought up several times, with him stressing how important it is to have the businesses stay open late. He said overnight visitors spend four times as much as day visitors. “70 percent of all consumer retail spending takes place after 6 p.m.” said Brooks.

As for public sector appeal, he said angle-in parking was important in encouraging shoppers to come downtown to spend money. Public downtown restrooms were also highly valued. (He admonished businesses that had customer-only restrooms. He said most who use the store’s restroom buy something out of guilt!)

Brooks talked a lot about creating a community ‘wayfinding’ system. (A large map and visual directory to show visitors where businesses and events are located. Well placed vehicular and pedestrian directional signage). Brooks stressed this as an investment, not an expense! He said it would boost community revenues by increasing traffic to desired destinations by answering three important questions: Where am I? How can I get to my destination? and What’s here that interests me? It helps educate both tourists and locals alike, and instills a sense of community pride.

Other ideas Brooks shared:

• Place your community and business signage where it’ll make the best first impression.

• Sidewalk and cafe dining is a must.

• Keep downtown roads narrowed to two lanes. That way tourists must slow down and look at the offerings. “The slower they go, the more they’re going to spend,” said Brooks.

• Retail beautification pays off for everyone. Curb appeal is enormous.

• Think benches! Brooks said the addition of numerous benches gives visitors a ‘welcome home’ feel.