The locally produced full-color publication “Welcome to Springfield” magazine, found in Springfield hotel rooms and other selected sites to provide helpful information for visitors for the last 13 years, has a new owner and publisher according to founder John C. Ford. Sharon Ladd took over the magazine company the first part of May.
“The decision to consider selling the magazine came the latter part of 2012 when I determined the publication could benefit from a fresh approach” Ford explained. “I began to believe that someone else would have the inspired interest to take the magazine to the next level and incorporate social marketing and new sales efforts. I was very lucky to find those things in Sharon Ladd.”
The magazine is bi-monthly and the first issue was distributed in March-April 2000. It has served the occupancy needs of over 90% of the 6,300 hotel rooms in Springfield that hosted just under 1.1 million guests in 2012 according to Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau statistics. The publication is considered an important amenity for overnight guests as it is placed in the rooms by hotel staff. It contains welcoming letters from the Missouri governor and Springfield mayor, a convenient city thoroughfare map, a restaurant guide, an area activities calendar, editorial features, and helpful advertising messages.
Ford has been active in the tourism industry serving on the Springfield Hotel Lodging Association board of directors and is a past chairman of the Convention & Visitors Bureau board. Prior to publishing the magazine he had several area print media experiences that included “Travelhost Magazine,” “Pennypower Shopping News,” Mountain Grove Journal” and the “Rolla Daily News.”
Ladd has a background in a variety of executive sales positions. Her husband Tom is a former Springfield radio broadcaster and executive and is presently the general manager of ticket sales and services at Missouri State University.