Even with a large annual conference drawing thousands to the area this week, the Convention and Visitors Bureau says more could be done.
It argues a hotel would help boost the local economy,but some business owners aren't banking on it.
"About two million people visit annually," says Susan Wade of the C.V.B. " 20% of them are for conventions."
It's a crowd the Convention and Visitors bureau says is slipping through the cracks.
"We know of two conventions lost to Branson and it will only get worse as time goes by," Wade projects.
Unless, says the C.V.B., a hotel is built on vacant land adjacent to the Expo Center.
"We need something connected and more rooms near the expo center," explains Wade. "These are things that would make us competitive with other cities."
While event organizers and guests agree that kind of lodging would add appeal, they say Springfield is making the grade when it comes to attractions.
"We have great service here," says Gary Duncan, who is in town for a large convention. "The convention center and hotels have great service. We like what they offer and we like to see the cardinals play."
It's those kind of events the C.V.B. accounts for about $150 dollars spent each day by an average convention-goer. But just blocks away from the Expo Center, there are business owners who've checked their books and beg to differ.
"I don't see any of that here," says Riad Matar.
Riad says 80% of customers are local. After failed advertising at the expo center, the owner is hoping the Jordan Valley development will contribute to what he says already works.
"We'd like to see condos and offices for people to work and come downtown. That's the business I get out of building around me."
Downtown businesses say convention-goers often grab fast food on the run, or register for meals at the meeting hall. But the C.V.B. says no matter what, it's still money being spent in Springfield, so give the crowds a place to crash.
"Our emphasis is on a hotel," says Wade. "That's a lot of money spent in Springfield."
City staff members are in discussions with four developers regarding the vacant property next to the Expo Center. Three developers have plans for a hotel/office combo. The fourth includes office plans with the potential for a hotel down the line. City Council could take up the selection process before the summer's over.
Downtown business owners say the choice of a hotel wouldn't hurt the bottom line. However, it's local customers that have brought success that's allowing owners like Riad to open other locations like one on the city's south side set for a late August opening.