More than any service or piece of technology, I am most proud of the Redlands Visitor Center staff. I have watched them build relationships with guests — taking the time to listen, laugh or sometimes even cry. We are so fortunate to have a one-of-a-kind guest service team that brings our destination's brand of the Jewel of the Inland Empire to life.

Long gone are the days where visitors are simply looking for information. Visitors are now looking for an experience, something that is unique, Instagrammable, and overall, something that makes their trip easier with less planning.

In 2021, the Redlands Visitor Center interacted with 10,000+ visitors indicating there is still a significant interest by visitors and locals, including new residents, to be able to go into a visitor center and receive a personal interaction/input and take brochures and maps with them. Through digital tools, such as door counters to future forecast traffic and thus staffing levels this year an estimated 40,000 visitors and locals are expected to interact with the center.

The biggest complaint the center receives is, “You’re always closed.” Currently, the center is operating 23 hours a week due to limited funding. While we have already created an online store and Redlands-themed retail store, we need your help to operate an additional 25 hours a week to meet public demand.

Research consistently tells us that a visitor educated on all there is to see and do in a destination not only spends more money while here but also is more likely to become a repeat visitor that plans another vacation in the future as they will not be able to do everything while here. We also feel that by talking to visitors coming to Redlands, it keeps us in tune with what visitors are wanting to experience while here. This insight helps us to create content and collateral for the center that we know will be most meaningful and resonate best with visitors.

The community support has been overwhelmingly positive, and the space is something locals are proud of. We constantly stand by the vision of creating a better community by sharing Redlands with the world, and through the visitor center, we have been able to get locals on board with that vision. Locals now know of our location and are excited to bring their relatives in to show off their home as a unique destination.

Your donation helps the Redlands Visitor Center connect people to authentic experiences that inspire them to stay in our exceptional community, for a day or lifetime. Your support is key to solving this problem. Would you consider donating to help us operate 50 hours a week? You may donate online at RedlandsVisitorCenter.com, mail a check or email hello@RedlandsVisitorCenter.com

Deborah G. O’Hara, board president, Redlands Visitor Center.