Tourism Industry News
Hello Industry Partners,
I hope you all are having a great holiday season I want to wish you a happy new year as we enter 2020. It’s been a busy year for Indiana Tourism. I hit the ground running last January and I want to take a moment to look back.
We had some great campaigns in 2019. Our Spring-Summer campaign wrapped up with high marks. Total interactions increased year over year by 113%. Pageviews to visitindiana.com/getaways were up 15% and goals for our partners all increased by over 100%. In July, we ran a social campaign to coincide with the release of Stranger Things’ third season, resulting in 215,931 impressions and 15,466 web visits over a two week span. This year, we ran our fall campaign in Indiana, Chicago, Louisville and St. Louis. The objective was to generate interactions by driving more people to VisitIndiana.com, and traffic from our ads and our seven partners increased six-fold. Our 12 Days of Giveaways Instagram contest was a great success, generating 652,417 impressions and over 19,056 entries with an engagement of 78,278. Those numbers almost doubled from 2018! Our Best of Indiana winners this year: Best Brewery Bad Dad Brewing Co. in Fairmount, Best Hiking Trail is The Ladders Trail (Trail 3) at Turkey Run State Park and Best Main Street in Franklin. We are still waiting on winter campaign numbers.
We also expanded our international footprint in 2019. As you may know, Lt. Governor Crouch led a delegation to Mexico to grow the tourism, agriculture and economic development profile of Indiana. The tourism delegation had six key appointments in Mexico City, meeting with travel writers, online publications, online travel agencies, a video online magazine and Brand USA Mexico representatives. I also attended a German/Swiss sales mission with Great Lakes USA (GLUSA). I met with travel agents, conducted many training sessions with the travel agents and met with consumers while in those two countries, learning a lot about what the international traveler is seeking from our state.
The Lt. Governor and I attended two events to see firsthand how the Destination Development Grant is helping our community. We saw the expansion of the Indiana Military Museum in Vincennes and the new and improved first-class cars at the French Lick Scenic Railway. This year the Tourism Council awarded $470,000 in Destination Development Grants to the City of LaPorte and the South Bend Chocolate Company. The South Bend Chocolate Company plans to create a $1.7 million resort-like atmosphere with part of the $250,000 matching funds. LaPorte was awarded $220,000 to complete the $830,000 Dunes Event Center with trails, parking and signage to attract visitors to other trails, parks, hotels, stores, restaurants and the Clear Lake waterfront. We’re excited about the 15 applicants that submitted for our latest round. We will announce the new grantees in March.
Our sense of Hoosier pride and hospitality really shines throughout the year. From greeting people at the Boat Sport & Travel Show or at the Indiana State Fair to welcoming thousands to our state for Visit Indiana Week or FFA. There are many people that make this a great state to live, work and visit. That’s why every year we honor those hard-working representatives of the tourism industry with a Hoosier Hospitality Award. This year Lt. Governor Crouch presented 15 honorees awards for their service. Steve Ferguson, Cook Group Chairman of the Board, was this year’s recipient of the Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award, Indiana Tourism’s highest award.
As you may know, we welcomed Elaine Bedel to Indiana Tourism. Elaine will serve as secretary and CEO of the newly established Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC). We held nine listening sessions were across the state. In addition, a survey was sent out to get input from Hoosiers. If you missed it, please take a few minutes to provide your valuable feedback and share it with your local partners. Take the survey here.
We are currently awaiting the results of our statewide research cooperative, which will use data from 2018. We have once again partnered with the research professionals at Rockport Analytics, Reach Market Planning, Longwoods International and Tourism Tomorrow.
We plan on attending professional development conferences, leisure travel shows, golf shows and media shows in the upcoming year. 2020 travel materials are currently being shipped. We are already planning for our spring-summer campaign and we are unveiling the ultimate 2020 travel experience, called The 20 IN 20 on January 1. We will reveal 20 lists of 20 must-see, must-do Indiana experiences, one at a time, throughout the course of the year.
I want to wish you all the best in the new year and safe travels.