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Five Minutes With ... Stacey David

Five Minutes With ... Stacey David

Stacey David | Executive Director | MetroWest Boston Visitors Bureau

As Executive Director of the regional visitors bureau for MetroWest Boston (MBVB), Stacey David markets tourism and hospitality assets within the 19 towns just outside of Boston proper. David and her team draw visitors into the region to experience arts & culture, historical attractions, outdoor recreation, family fun, lodging, dining, and regional events. With a background in arts and culture marketing and events, David previously sat on the MBVB Board, joined as Deputy Director in January 2023, and took over as Executive Director in September.

ON CHANGES
People are excited for experiential travel these days. I think it's the result of COVID, and spending so much time one step removed from others, as we lived our lives through screens for several years. People want to "do" things now, not just see them. We've witnessed an uptick in the availability and interest in hands-on arts and crafts outings such as sip & paint, mosaics, cooking and flameworking classes, as well as immersive experiences like living history events, interesting takes on gaming and escape rooms, and museums offering multi-sensory exhibits. And many of these are turning attractions into true destinations, with indoor mini golf like Puttshack and escape rooms like Level99 offering gourmet food and craft beer and cocktails, not just snack bars. We even have a huge indoor pickleball court being built that will have four craft dining concepts. This blend of attractions with upscale dining or live entertainment at museums is making destinations more interesting for travelers.

ON CHALLENGES
The greatest challenge is cutting through the noise to capture people's attention. A lack of free time, combined with the "sound bite" mentality social media has created, means you've only a few seconds to capture interest long enough to impact travel choices. Everyone knows Boston, but fewer are familiar with the appeal of the MetroWest area. We're a "hidden gem" of Massachusetts that's not as well known. For groups, we have much more economical hotels and easy bus parking, and offer unique attractions, while still being close enough to the city for people to visit there, as well. It's a challenge to convey that quickly enough to influence the decision-making process.

We're also still feeling the effects of the pandemic in the form of closures of many attractions, restaurants, and retail establishments, and a hospitality industry labor shortage. But I'm happy to see new growth in many of these areas as people rebound.

ON OPPORTUNITIES
When people visit, they're pleasantly surprised at what we have to offer, so we look forward to enticing more groups to come to MetroWest. We're excited by the expected influx of visitors for MA250—all the events in Massachusetts surrounding the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution. Special offerings from now through 2026 include reenactments, special historical exhibits, festivals, parades and more. The American Heritage Museum in Hudson, the Framingham History Center in Framingham, the Wayside Inn in Sudbury (the oldest inn in America!), the towns of Franklin, Holliston, Natick and others are already planning special programming, as well. We're also looking forward to the 2026 FIFA World Cup, with seven games being hosted at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro!

Visit us at metrowestvisitors.org/agents for more information or email me directly at [email protected].

Edited by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor of Groups Today.

This article originally appeared in the May/Jun '24 issue of Groups Today.

 Photo Courtesy of MetroWest Boston Visitors Bureau.

 

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