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Local Tourism Leaders Showered With Awards; Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Receives Three National Awards This Month July 23, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) has recently received new awards and recognition from three national convention trade publications, the Meetings and Conventions Gold Service Award, Successful Meetings Pinnacle Award and Association Convention and Facilities Distinctive Achievement Award.

Award recipients were all selected based on similar criteria of professionalism of staff, quality of destination and convention centers, support on hotels and site inspections, ground transportation planning, supplier information, housing assistance, guidance on local attractions and liaison with local venders and services.  Selections from each publication were made solely based on votes from subscribers. 

The ICVA has been honored with the Gold Service award 12 times and the Pinnacle Award 14 times before this year.  Association Convention and Facilities, however is a new publication and this was the first time the Distinctive Achievement Award was given.

The mission of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association is to advance Indianapolis tourism and economic growth.  The ICVA seeks to increase the number of visitors and their financial impact, expand positive perception of Indianapolis and positively influence the visitor experience.  According to a Global Insight report, in partnership with D.K. Shiffllet & Associates, 21.9 million visitors annually provide $3.56 billion in total annual economic impact of tourism on the Indianapolis economy resulting in 66,621 full-time equivalent employment positions in the hospitality industry.

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New Airport Features Impressive Mix of Local Favorites and Top National Brands July 18, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Expansion & New Development.
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When it opens November 11, travelers and visitors passing through the new Indianapolis International Airport will instantly recognize more than 40 new and returning national brands, including Starbucks, McDonald’s, CNBC, Brooks Brothers, Harley-Davidson, Borders, Pacific Outfitters, Au Bon Pain, Qdoba, Brookstone, Johnston & Murphy, and Cold Stone Creamery.
                            
They will also be able to enjoy one-of-a-kind shopping and dining experiences that showcase some of the city’s top restaurants, arts and cultural institutions, and sports organizations.
 
In an announcement made yesterdat by the Indianapolis Airport Authority, Board President Randall L. Tobias explained, “When we began planning the types of shops and restaurants needed at the airport, we felt it was important that the true feel and flavor of Indiana be evident. We also wanted to be sure the selections would satisfy the needs, tastes, and lifestyle preferences of contemporary business and leisure travelers.”
 
The result is a hometown line-up featuring a number of major players, including:

—  The first-ever Indianapolis 500 Grill, a sit-down restaurant which will be accompanied by a Brickyard Authentics apparel and collectible store and an Indianapolis 500 museum.

—  One of the nation’s first and most comprehensive local museum stores, Cultural Crossroads, is a ground-breaking partnership offering merchandise and displays from eight leading Indianapolis museums and cultural institutions, including: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis; Conner Prairie, a nationally acclaimed living history museum; Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian & Western Art; Indiana Historical Society; Indiana State Museum; Indianapolis Art Center; Indianapolis Museum of Art; and the Indianapolis Zoo.
 
—  Harry & Izzy’s restaurant in Concourse A will offer the iconic shrimp cocktail made famous at St. Elmo Steakhouse as part of its classic-but-casual menu.

—  Café Patachou, Indianapolis’ favorite bistro, will open Patachou on the Fly, a take-off of the city’s beloved neighborhood establishment voted “Best Place for Breakfast” by Indianapolis Monthly for 15 years running.

Joie Chitwood, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was among the speakers at the event. “Creating a restaurant that expresses the history and drama of the Speedway has been an idea in search of the right location. With all of the visitors that flow through the airport, we are excited about this unique opportunity to expose them to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway brand.  When travelers grab a seat in the new Indianapolis 500 Grill, they will instantly know they are in Indy, the world’s racing capital,” he said.
 
Noted Craig Huse, president of Harry & Izzy’s, “The namesakes of this quintessential Indianapolis restaurant were an important part of the excitement of driving the city’s early growth, so we are tremendously proud to participate in this bold new chapter in city history.”
 
Jeff Patchen, president and CEO of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, represented the eight local museums and cultural institutions that join forces for the Cultural Crossroads store. “The new Indianapolis International Airport is the first in the U.S. to provide one store highlighting such a large cross section of local cultural treasures. Each of the institutions represented plans to host exhibits and demonstrations that will ensure even regular airport visitors always have fresh and diverse experiences.”
 
Mandy Swift, who co-owns Broad Ripple’s Just Pop In gourmet popcorn shop with sister Carly Swift, also spoke, noting that as “A small-business owner, I am excited about the opportunity to launch a new store at the airport that has the potential to reach millions of passengers each year.”
 
Other well-known local and state brands will operate out of the new terminal when it opens later this year:

—  Shapiro’s Delicatessen, Indy’s famous kosher-style delicatessen, will follow its tradition of offering piled-high corned beef sandwiches and other generous portion sizes at modest prices, at the new airport.

—  Home of the “Build Your Own” hot dog, King David Dogs will bring its downtown Indianapolis flavor to Concourse B.

—  96th Street Steakburgers, one of the city’s favorite retro-cool burger joints, will serve its top-notch, juicy burgers and other fare.

—  Indianapolis’ well-known downtown pizzeria, Giorgio’s Pizza, will serve its signature New York-style pies by the slice.

—  Vera Bradley, the famous Hoosier maker of colorful cotton, silk, and denim handbags, totes, duffels, backpacks, and more will offer its exclusive line of signature gifts and merchandise.

—  Growing chocolatier South Bend Chocolate Company will offer its one-of-a-kind chocolates, premier ice cream, and other treats to take home or enjoy before leaving the airport.
   
The new 1.2 million-square-foot terminal, with two 20-gate concourses, has given the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) a rare opportunity to be creative and still meet the everyday needs of air travelers, Ambassador Tobias said.  “We decided to negotiate individually for each concession concept and tenant rather than turn the entire operation over to one airport concession company. We believe our customers will enjoy the results,” he added.
 
Some of the new airport’s restaurants, news and gift stores, specialty shops, and other service providers have individual contracts with IAA. Others are partnering with major airport concession operators, including Areas, HDS Retail, HMS Host, Paradies, and SSP America.
 
The dining and shopping center of the airport will be Civic Plaza, which will offer approximately 25,000 square feet of restaurants and specialty retailers. Each of the two concourses will have approximately 15,000 square feet of retail space.

Indianapolis Tourism Leaders Launch Expanded Online Marketing July 1, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in ICVA Business.
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Indianapolis Tourism Leaders Launch Expanded Online Marketing
Updated Web 2.0 Site and Social Media Efforts, Lead Nation in Destination Promotion

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) has launched a redesigned Web site at www.indy.org, offering new, engaging interactive features and incorporating user-generated content. The look of the new site reflects the citywide brand and reinforces the ICVA’s established brand slogan “so easy to do so much.”  Already averaging 130,000 monthly user sessions and 1.2 million monthly page views, the new features and functionalities on the site include:

  • internally and externally generated blog content; 
  • expanded photo and video offerings, including submission opportunities through FlickR and YouTube;
  • hotel, restaurant and destination user/customer reviews;
  • user-friendly partner and event listings; 
  • online version of our award-winning visitor guide; 
  • meeting planner’s toolkit, the first of its kind developed by any CVB in the country.

Additionally, the ICVA is among the first CVBs in the nation to have a staff person dedicated to destination promotion through the use of social media.  Karissa Rittmeyer, manager of communications and social media for the ICVA, is responsible for identifying, creating and maximizing social media communications strategies to expand the awareness of Indianapolis’ tourism assets via online resources.  Specifically, Rittmeyer will manage the ICVA’s corporate blogs, synthesize external blogs onto the ICVA Website, penetrate social networking sites on behalf of Indianapolis tourism and utilize social bookmarking and latest technologies to maximize search engine optimization.  

ICVA had already stepped out on the new media forefront of CVBs with the debut of “Doing Indy,” ICVA’s video podcast.  This week marks the 100th episode of the popular podcast since it launched in March, 2006.  Viewership has steadily increased to the current 25,000 monthly iTunes subscribers.  “Doing Indy” also has its own presence on such social networking/sharing sites as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. 

The mission of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association is to advance Indianapolis tourism and economic growth.  The ICVA seeks to increase the number of visitors and their financial impact, expand positive perception of Indianapolis and positively influence the visitor experience.  According to a Global Insight report, in partnership with D.K. Shiffllet & Associates, 21.9 million visitors annually provide $3.56 billion in total annual economic impact of tourism on the Indianapolis economy resulting in 66,621 full-time equivalent employment positions in the hospitality industry.

Contact: Bob Schultz, APR, 317-639-4772, bschultz@indianapolis.org