Tourism Industry News
Greetings from IOTD!
With festival season moving into full swing, temperatures are finally beginning to cool a bit and fall is truly arriving. Fall is by far my favorite time of the year in Indiana. The sights, sounds and colors are all more vivid and the pace of our days seems to quicken. Perhaps it’s because the harvest is upon us or that the holidays are just around the corner. Whatever the reason, there seems to be a skip in our collective step that I don’t feel during other times of the year.
September has been a busy month for the IOTD staff. The third quarter Indiana Tourism Council meeting was held at the Indianapolis Zoo and the Council heard an excellent presentation on workforce development from Visit Indy’s James Wallis, Matt Carter and Betsy Delgado of Goodwill Industries. A robust discussion among members on the role of travel, tourism and hospitality in workforce development followed. The presentation can be found here. In my report to the council, I shared an overview of the online effectiveness of our Spring/Summer Tourism Marketing Campaign. The campaign produced a YOY increase in outbound clicks of 328%. This increase is in part the result of a shift in strategy by IOTD that had users reach partner content earlier in the “engagement funnel.” In addition, the rate of outbound clicks increased by 405%. The YOY increase in number of clicks and rate of clicks suggests that the users being referred to partner pages have a higher likelihood of converting to actual visitors.
On the heels of the Tourism Council meeting, IOTD facilitated a meeting of the Indiana Bicycle Trails Task Force. This group is developing concepts to connect existing bicycle trail infrastructure throughout the state and considering big ideas that will evolve our system even further. They will make recommendations to lawmakers in July 2019.
Many of us at IOTD have been on the road quite a bit this month promoting tourism initiatives, supporting special events and attending meetings across the state. The NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Hendricks County was absolutely amazing over Labor Day Weekend and attracted big crowds. Hoosier Park in Anderson held its Breeders Crown kickoff event recently in anticipation of hosting the premier harness race in America this October. I had the pleasure of heading to Amish County to speak at the ITA meeting in Elkhart and give a report on IOTD’s current activities. The following day I met with some passionate filmmakers in Goshen, along with Film Indiana Director, Amy Howell. We were also honored to learn on this same day that Everlasting Light: The Story of Indiana’s Bicentennial Torch Relay was selected for screening at the 2017 Heartland Film Festival. I must say, we have been quite honored and humbled by the legacy the torch relay has left.
The Visit Indiana team is once again taking part in Stellar Community Program site visits. Together with the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and other state agencies, we consider it a privilege to be on the panel evaluating applications and judging the readiness of places vying for a Stellar Communities designation. The team has visited Churubusco, Vincennes, and Madison, with three more sites still to be visited: Greensburg, Culver, and Union City.
A recent ”stellar” announcement means that international travelers will soon be headed directly to Indiana. Indianapolis International Airport is getting a nonstop transatlantic flight to Paris, France. Service will start in May 2018 and this will be Indy’s first direct flight outside of North America.
A few housekeeping items to make you aware of: the deadline to register for the 2017 statewide tourism research co-op program is October 10. The cost of a customized economic impact report for your county is $3,200. This is the fifth year IOTD has offered this program.
Two months remain to complete your applications for IOTD’s Destination Development Grant program. This is a matching grant of up to $250,000 and should target the development of tourism amenities, attractions, and facilities that enhance the visitor experience and foster connectivity within a specific destination or geographic area. The deadline for applications is December 1.
And don’t forget to cast your vote for Indiana’s Best Tenderloins, Best Fall Festivals and Best Historic Destinations in our Best of Indiana Fall categories. The most popular in each category wins! Voting closes on October 27, so share with your partners, family, and friends.
Thank you to all of our industry partners for your continued support. The IOTD staff is here if you need anything, please feel free to call upon us.