Sue Schrad
Sue Schrad

Carroll’s tourism-promotion efforts, buoyed by $20,000 annually from the city, takes double-barreled aim at boosting cash registers of private business and sales-tax collections.

While the chamber can’t crawl into the mind of every visitor to Carroll and divine a motivation, some recent hotel-motel tax figures show the ramped-up tourism promotion may be yielding dividends. Carroll collected $38,000 in hotel-motel taxes for the quarter ending March 2012, compared with $33,800 for the same quarter in 2011 — a jump of 12 percent.

Chamber program director Sue Schrad said the business-promotion organization knows it audience.

“Western Iowa is mostly our market, where we want to advertise to,” Schrad said during a presentation to the Carroll City Council Monday night.

The chamber obtained a $1,000 grant recently from Western Iowa Tourism, a collection of 36 counties. The chamber’s tourism plan includes advertising in The Des Moines Register, Iowan magazine, Our Iowa magazine and other publications.

Additionally, the chamber seeks to drive people to the county visitor guide, which can be accessed through the chamber website, The guide appears in its entirety on the website, and users are able to enlarge it for easy viewing.

According to Schrad, the chamber’s $20,000 allocation from the city’s hotel-motel tax coffers breaks down as follows: $14,000 for advertising in newspapers, magazines and the Internet; $4,000 for promotional pieces; and $3,000 for administration.

Mayor Adam Schweers asked about possibilities of promoting Carroll through wine tours with Santa Maria Winery as a destination.

“What we can do is to help promote Santa Maria,” Schrad said.

Councilman Eric Jensen questioned Schrad about potential for leverage the presence of the Sauk Rail Trail with visitors. Schrad said the chamber uses photos of the trail in promotional materials.

“We do a lot with that,” Schrad said.