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October 28, 2020

Billy McGonigalQ&A

Getting to know your 2021 Board Chair Billy McGonigal 

Each year a new board chair is elected by the existing MBACC board of directors to provide oversight and leadership to the chamber. Billy McGonigal will step into this important role in January 2021 at which time his predecessor, Steve Mays, will move into the supportive role of immediate past chair.

Billy works in the motel and real estate business in the Grand Strand. Originally from Concord, Pennsylvania, he moved to the Myrtle Beach area after graduating from West Chester University. We recently chatted with Billy to learn more about him and his goals for the chamber in 2021.

So Billy, you’re from Pennsylvania originally. What brought you to the Grand Strand?
My parents were in the motel business in Pennsylvania and while my brother and I were in college, our parents were looking along the coast for a new property. They vacationed in Myrtle Beach and ended up purchasing a motel while they were here. It gave my brother and me a chance to visit and ultimately move to the beach. And what a great move it was for our family!

The motel business in a popular vacation destination is a busy profession. What is your favorite aspect of your career?
Without a doubt, it is the people. As residents, we get to live, work and play here on a daily basis. In the motel business we are constantly meeting new people. It’s hard not to enjoy meeting people who are here on vacation, hearing their stories and seeing the Grand Strand through their eyes.

Speaking of playing here, what is your favorite beach on the Grand Strand and why?
We have amazing beaches across the Grand Strand. It is hard to pick just one, but I am partial to Crescent Beach where our business [Best Western Ocean Sands Beach Resort] is located. I can see up and down the whole Grand Strand from our vantage point.

Let’s shift gears and talk about your involvement with the chamber. Why did you decide to join the MBACC board initially?
Several years ago, I was on the board of the Hospitality Association and I watched the efforts of the organization’s leaders as they worked with the chamber and elected officials to create a prosperous tourism industry. A strong tourism industry is critical to our community, not only by creating and sustaining local jobs but also in keeping our taxes low. Affordable taxes help make this a great place to live. And the chamber plays a big part in keeping this a great place to live, work and play through tourism promotion, advocacy, and business development programs.

You are stepping into this leadership role at a critical juncture for the Grand Strand following unprecedented challenges created by the pandemic. What message do you have for our investors as we move into 2021?
A prosperous tourism industry in the Grand Strand is critical both to our local community and the state. I am cautiously optimistic going into 2021, and it is the chamber’s goal to help get tourism and our local economy back on track. There was no playbook for the challenges 2020 brought to the Myrtle Beach area and it was a learning curve for all of us. But we have an outstanding chamber board and an amazing staff, and we are going to continue supporting Karen and the chamber team as we work together to support local businesses, bring tourism back and help our business community flourish once again.

What is your message to local businesses who have not joined MBACC?
I believe all businesses should join the chamber and the CVB. It is an investment in your business. The chamber is here to help support and grow your business. When faced with the challenges of 2020, the chamber has been innovative in helping local businesses grow and weather these challenges. The creativity in the CVB’s TIP program, creating economic incentive for hospitality businesses who have been impacted by the pandemic, is nothing short of outstanding. Marketing is the last thing you want to cut during difficult times and the TIP program provides strong ROI to hospitality businesses. And this is just one example of how the chamber supports local businesses.

Finally, what is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
My wife and I started coaching youth football before we had our children. We coached for 25 years and loved it. We met a lot of great people. And while I have retired from coaching, my wife is still heavily involved with youth programs in the Myrtle Beach area today.


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