BUCKHANNON - With a new conference center under construction in Buckhannon, members of the Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau are discussing their financial options for tracking and managing the profits and losses they will take on when the center officially opens.
At Wednesday's monthly meeting, members mentioned two different ways that task could be performed - they could either establish a separate checking account for the conference center or create a detailed line item in the finance reports of the CVB that would still give members a sense of whether or not the convention center is profitable or costly.
"That would be my worry going forward with the conference center," Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce President Sam Nolte said. "If there's any concern I would have, it would be it would be, 'is this going to be a positive or a negative (revenue)?'"
It could cost the CVB more money than it generates if the convention center, for any reason, is not profitable. The cost of initial advertising and preparing the center for first-time users could create what CVB members say they already expect to be a
"My major concern would be payroll, revenue, marketing expenses and any other sort of expenses you would have to go along with the conference center," Nolte said.
Many members said they think the conference center might take some time to gain momentum with bookings, as the marketing audience is only beginning to learn of it.
"I think it may take a year or so," Nolte said. "Not everybody's going to know that we have it."
CVB Executive Director Laura Meadows said the conference center already has 10 booked events. Meadows suggested coming up with a more specific plan for the next meeting and consulting the CVB's budget committee about the matter.
Nolte said that keeping separate banking accounts for the CVB and the conference center might be an effective way to keep track of expenses and revenues. Separate records could detail how well the center is generating revenue in contrast to its operational expenses. He said the CVB could just allocate a specified amount of money to that account and then evaluate any potential loss or gain from that number.
Meadows said she plans to get an opinion from an auditor about as to how to best manage the convention center's finances. She said that regardless of how the finances are set up, the convention center's operating finances are revenue are still just an extension of the CVB.
"That way, you know if this is covering itself after a certain period of time or if this is something you're going to have to hypothetically give $20,000 a year to keep it afloat," Nolte said.
Moving onto other topics, Meadows presented a new CVB travel guide promoting Upshur County and its restaurants, shops, events and other attractions. She said that in the last two years, more than 40,000 Upshur County travel guides have been distributed.
Meadows said that the Upshur County travel guides will be among others from around West Virginia at an upcoming travel show.
The West Virginia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus hosts annual travel shows, Meadows said.
Contact Melissa Toothman by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.