About Visit Stillwater
Stillwater's Destination Marketing Organization
In 1985, a referendum establishing a 4% hotel room tax (lodging tax) was approved. The “Hotel Room Tax” Ordinance states the funds collected from this tax “shall be set aside and used exclusively for the purpose of encouraging, promoting and fostering conventions, conferences, and tourism development in the City of Stillwater.”
The City Council then approved and adopted the “Stillwater Visitors and Special Events Board” Ordinance which created an advisory board for oversight responsibility of the activities performed utilizing the hotel room tax. The City contracted with the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce to provide facilities, management services, and to hire Visitors and Special Events Bureau staff to carry out the functions outlined in the Hotel Tax Ordinance.
Since 1985, the organization name has been updated from Visitors and Special Events Bureau (VASE) to Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), and most recently from Red Dirt DMO, Inc. to Visit Stillwater OK, Inc. The employee structure has also evolved and increased from a single employee to three-five full-time or part-time employees.
On December 30, 2010, the organizational structure transitioned from the private sector into the public sector and became a department of the City of Stillwater. As a City employee, the President & CEO partnered with a local business person to completely renovate one of his properties into the Visit Stillwater office and 24/7 Visitor Information Center.
Effective January 1, 2015, Visit Stillwater restructured to follow industry best practices and now operates back within the private sector as a 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation. The City of Stillwater contracts with Visit Stillwater for professional services for visitor development. The City Council terminated the Stillwater Visitors and Special Events Board Ordinance during the transition process.
On February 8, 2022, Visit Stillwater was successful in passing a referendum by 70% that changed the ordinance from "hotel room tax" to "visitor tax," modernized the term "hotel" to "lodging," and increased the tax from 4% to 7% effective July 1, 2022.
The ballot language now states, "Funds collected shall be set aside and used exclusively for the purpose of encouraging, promoting, and fostering conventions, conferences, and tourism development through the use of long-range strategic destination marketing and management professional services and development and maintenance of visitor development amenities for hte city, and shall be allocated as follows:
70% - To Visit Stillwater: "Shall be used for long-range strategic destination marketing and management professional services to enhance Stillwater's economy, image, and quality of life through the promotion, marketing, and development of the visitor economy."
30% - To the City of Stillwater: "Shall be administered by the Stillwater Economic Development Authority as recommended by the Tourism Advisory Committee (Resolution No. SEDA-2019-2) and used for the development and maintenance of visitor development amenities for the city."
To be a respected destination management leader through effective and innovative marketing, sales, and partnerships to ensure exceptional visitor experiences.
Destination Vision Statement
Stillwater will be recognized as one of the top visitor destinations in Oklahoma and “America’s Friendliest College Town!”.
To enhance Stillwater’s economy, image, and quality of life through the promotion, marketing, and development of the region’s visitor economy.
Visit Stillwater is committed to providing the maximum return on investment to the City of Stillwater and its industry partners through a highly effective program of marketing, sales, and customer service, facilitating economic growth by advocating destination development. To that end, we will:
Be Stillwater’s official storyteller, sharing the community’s brand as America’s Friendliest College Town!
Offer leadership through inclusion, facilitation, collaboration, innovation, and partnership
Value and strive for creativity and diversity throughout all functional areas of our destination marketing organization
Be customer-focused, exceeding expectations with superior service
Demand a culture of integrity, honesty, and fairness in everything we do
Address every opportunity with passion, enthusiasm, and energy
Destination Organization Code of Ethics (by Destinations International)
1. Provide exceptional customer service and detailed information on destination projects and services.
2. Treat all stakeholders, including members of Destinations International, courteously, ethically, and professionally.
3. Actively encourage the integration of ethics into all aspects of management of Visit Stillwater activities.
4. Build collaborative relationships with other DMO industry professionals and others for the advancement of the profession of destination marketing.
5. Handle all inquiries, requests, transactions, correspondence, and complaints promptly, courteously, and fairly.
6. Provide clean and well-maintained facilities and equipment for the enjoyment of Visit Stillwater partners and clients.
7. Exercise truth in all promotional materials concerning facilities, services, and amenities provided and advise the public in a reasonable manner if and when unable to promote the level of services or facilities as advertised. Promotional material supplied by partners must be appropriate for all audiences.
8. Provide customers with complete details on prices, cancellation policies, and services and ensure customers receive fair exchange for their foreign currency where appropriate.
9. Promote responsible and sustainable use of environmental resource base when providing services and products to customers.
10. Abide by all applicable federal, state, and municipal laws.
Visit Stillwater Plans & Reports
- FY 2022 Visit Stillwater Business Plan
- FY 2022 Visit Stillwater Semi-Annual Report
- FY 2022 Visit Stillwater Annual Report
- FY 2021 Visit Stillwater Business Plan
- FY 2021 Visit Stillwater Semi-Annual Report
- FY 2021 Visit Stillwater Annual Report