Experience Montgomery: Team Report
Team Report Add it Up May MBJ - Home
Ron Simmons, Chief Officer, Destination and Community Development, leads the Montgomery Chamber’s convention and visitor bureau team now called Experience Montgomery. Simmons rejoins the Chamber after serving as President and CEO of the United Way since 2020. Previously, he spent 10 years with the Chamber, where he served most recently as the Vice President of Sales for the Destination Montgomery Convention and Visitor Bureau.
Experience Montgomery works to showcase Montgomery as a great place to visit and do business, both for events like conferences and trade shows and for sporting events and family reunions. Here, Simmons outlines how he and his team move the needle and showcase the capital city as a premier destination in the Southeast.
Explain what you and the Experience Montgomery team do. Experience Montgomery’s overall mission is to enhance the visitor experience and to promote the long-term development and marketing of the city as a destination. Our team leverages Montgomery’s unique assets to promote the city as a whole and further enhances the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. By creating a brand for the entire community and all its tourism-related entities, we get the destination into the public’s consciousness, creating a continuous awareness of and demand for the “product.” That demand comes in the form of business travelers, convention attendees, leisure visitors and residents.
How does the business community benefit from what your team does? The conventions and events that our team recruits to Montgomery generate tax dollars to the local economy, and these visitors patronize and spend money with our local businesses – they eat in our restaurants, stay in our hotels, host meetings and events in our venues and buy gas in our gas stations.
How does the community in general benefit? Tourism is economic development. Pre-COVID, Montgomery’s tourism directly and indirectly generated more than 9,700 jobs within and around the city of Montgomery. When leisure travelers, convention delegates and sporting groups visit Montgomery, they spend an average of $530 per day per travel party in our city – generating more than $1.9 million daily in revenue through lodging, gas and sales taxes. As a result, the average household saves more than $400 per year.
What is your favorite thing about your job? Selling and marketing a city that literally changed the world! To witness firsthand the growth and the changes that have taken place over the last five, 10 and 15 years is remarkable. We are also on the forefront of new opportunities and more great things to come – new hotels, restaurants and the Montgomery Whitewater Project, set to open in 2023. Being able to pay tribute to our history but to also be a part of the new Montgomery is truly an honor.
Over the last year, the Chamber, the City and the County have been working diligently to develop and expand the local tourism experience by unveiling and reopening a brand-new Montgomery Area Visitor Center at One Court Square. In conjunction with the reopening, Montgomery also launched a new tourism campaign – The Journey Starts Here – that incorporates new tourism messaging along with new visitor center branding, wayfinding and street pole signage throughout downtown.