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Indianapolis’ Official Tourism Organization Rebrands City April 22, 2009

Posted by ICVA Communications in Advertising Campaigns, Conventions & Meetings, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS—In response to extensive research and trend analysis, the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) officially has launched the City’s new brand, aimed at increasing convention business and attracting additional leisure visitors.

The new brand, with tagline “Raising the game,” showcases the 13th largest city in the nation in a more confident tone, focusing on Indianapolis’ first-class sporting amenities, its convention and hospitality package, its rich cultural offerings and continued economic  growth.

“Around the world, Indianapolis’ name is synonymous with the spirit of competition.  With every structure we build, every event we stage and every attraction we display, we set new national standards,” said Warren Wilkinson, ICVA senior VP of marketing & communications. “Our new brand strategy leverages this competitive spirit.”

The new brand coincides with more than $3 billion in new tourism related product coming online by 2011—including the doubling in size of the Indiana Convention Center and significant hotel growth.

As the official sales and marketing organization for Indianapolis, the ICVA is charged with driving tourism, filling the expanding convention center and meeting the demand of additional hotel inventory.  The ICVA spent more than six months researching trends and analyzing how meeting planners and potential visitors view the city.

The new marketing campaign incorporates a deliberate suite of materials to catch the eye of meeting planners and leisure visitors.  The campaign was creatively designed with the help of the ICVA’s strategic/local partner, Young & Laramore.

New Brand Elements: “Raising the game”

  • New URL: www.visitindy.com  
  • New Microsite in the works for convention planners: www.visitindy.com/raisingthegame 
  • Convention Print Advertising (convention/meeting magazines)
  • Leisure Print Advertising (regionally)
  • Radio Spots (regionally) 
  • TV Spots (10 new spots each 15 seconds in length; regionally) 
  • E-mail Marketing Campaign (engaging meeting planners)
  • Public Relations (media materials and promotional items)
  • Comprehensive Tradeshow Strategy (industry events around the U.S. and Canada)

An integral component of the brand rollout will be an increase in summer radio advertising during morning and evening drive times in key cities that research shows draw the most visitors: Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Louisville.

The ICVA booked a record-breaking 685,000 room nights in 2008.

“Whether it’s $69 million in hotel renovations in the last 24 months or significant improvements to our many cultural attractions—Indianapolis is continually ‘Raising the Game’ and our momentum will continue,” said Wilkinson.

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. Shifflet & Associates, 22 million visitors annually provide $3.56 billion in total annual economic impact of tourism on the Indianapolis economy resulting in 66,600 full-time equivalent employment positions in the hospitality industry.

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Indianapolis Named 2009 Most Disability Friendly City April 21, 2009

Posted by ICVA Communications in Expansion & New Development, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – Mayor Greg Ballard today accepted congratulations from the president of the National Organization on Disability (NOD) in recognition of Indianapolis’s selection as the national model of a disability-friendly city. Sponsored by NOD, the 8th annual Accessible America competition showcases best practices in accessibility and the inclusion of persons with disabilities in community life.

“Indianapolis is honored to be recognized with the National Organization on Disability’s Accessible America Award,” said Mayor Ballard. “A commitment to make our city more inclusive for people with disabilities and the aging population has spanned generations, and I am pleased our collective efforts are benefiting both our residents and visitors.”

Approximately 20 percent of Indianapolis residents have a disability, and that number is expected to increase as medical technology saves more lives, baby boomers age and veterans return from combat.

NOD applauded Indianapolis for its historic commitment to access, including the creation of the Indianapolis Business Leadership Network, a business-led endeavor which promotes employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. It also highlighted the universally accessible features along the Cultural Trail and the efforts of Mayor’s Advisory Council on Disability in distinguishing Indianapolis from other communities. Additionally, NOD cited the City’s partnerships with the Veterans Administration, Bosma Enterprises and the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in providing internships for students and adult jobseekers with disabilities, as well as training exercises for contractors regarding physical access.

Carol Glazer, NOD president remarked, “The National Organization on Disability is dedicated to recognizing best practices through which communities offer people with disabilities major footholds to an independent lifestyle, such as education and employment. We commend Indianapolis as a city that has worked hard to achieve a vision where opportunities are available to people of all abilities.”

As part of the recognition from NOD, the City will receive a check for $25,000. The funds will be presented to Mayor Ballard and representatives of the disability community by NOD at a future ceremony in Indianapolis. The money will be used to support access and inclusion for persons with disabilities and seniors in Indianapolis.

The six other finalists in the competition included: Alexandria, Virginia; Denver, Colorado; Louisville, Kentucky; New Haven, Connecticut; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Surprise, Arizona. AARP is the sponsor of this year’s competition. The mission of NOD is to expand the participation and contribution of America’s 54 million men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. NOD created the Accessible America Competition in 2001 to identify cities, towns or counties that value, recognize and promote the economic, social and cultural contribution that people with disabilities represent. The purpose of the Accessible America Competition is to recognize exemplary community practices that facilitate the comprehensive involvement of citizens with disabilities in community life and promote replication of best practices and innovative ideas to communities, nationwide.

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Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Strengthens Convention Sales Department with Staff Addition March 30, 2009

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) announces the hiring of Lesly Connolly as National Sales Manager in the ICVA’s Washington, D.C. satellite office. 

In her role with the ICVA, Connolly will work to attract business to Indianapolis from associations, corporations and other organizations utilizing 1,000 or more room-nights on peak.  Connolly brings more than 10 years of diverse experience in the hospitality and travel/tourism industries to the ICVA sales team.  Connolly most recently served as the convention sales manager with the Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

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. Shifflet & Associates, 22 million visitors annually provide $3.56 billion in total annual economic impact of tourism on the Indianapolis economy resulting in 66,600 full-time equivalent employment positions in the hospitality industry.

American Library Association Coming to Indy March 30, 2009

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, Expansion & New Development, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – The American Library Association will bring its 2021 Midwinter Meeting to Indianapolis.  The meeting, Jan. 22-27, 2021, is expected to attract 11,000 attendees and fill more than 18,000 hotel rooms, according to the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA).  Visitor spending is estimated at $11.6 million.

“As a result of the Indiana Convention Center expansion, the new Marriott Place hotel package and the continued enhancements of our downtown facilities, the American Library Association is the type of customer we are now able to attract,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of the ICVA. “It is our furthest booking out and we’re thrilled to have them in Indianapolis for the first time in their history.”

Other cities hosting the ALA in upcoming years include Boston, San Diego, Dallas, Seattle, Philadelphia and Chicago.

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.

Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Names Senior Vice President of Sales; CVB Professional Ronnie Burt Jr. Joins ICVA Team on Jan. 5 December 16, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) has named Ronnie Burt Jr.  as its new senior vice president of sales.  Burt Jr. had been the vice president of sales and services for the Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association since 2005. 

“We are incredibly fortunate to have secured a convention sales professional of Ronnie’s caliber,” said ICVA President & CEO Don Welsh.  “His broad experience in sales and services will allow the ICVA to more aggressively sell Indianapolis’ changing convention product, while his strong leadership and management skills will motivate and drive our sales team to produce metric-driven results.”

With nearly 20 years in the hospitality and tourism industry, Burt Jr. began his career as a marketing executive at Caesars Hotel and Casino.  He joined the Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association in 1999 as director of national accounts, eventually leading its sales efforts in the role as vice president of convention sales and services, the position which he vacates.  In 2006, Burt Jr. served as the interim president and CEO, where he managed a staff of more than 50 employees and a $9 million budget. 

Burt Jr. is an active member of several professional industry associations, including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP) and Meeting Professionals International (MPI). 

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. Shifflet & 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.

Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Announces New Board Members December 15, 2008

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INDIANAPOLIS – Following its recent annual board meeting, the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) has announced the election of new board members and its slate of officers for 2009.

“We are delighted to have such an exceptional group of people joining us in our commitment to making Indianapolis one of the country’s premier conventions, meetings and tourism destinations,” said ICVA Board Chair Jerry Semler.

New to the ICVA board are:

  • Tanya Bell, president and CEO, Indiana Black Expo;
  • Pete Ward, senior executive vice president, Indianapolis Colts;
  • Nick Weber, deputy mayor, City of Indianapolis.

Officers for 2009 are:

  • Chair, Jerry D. Semler, American United Mutual Insurance Holding Company;
  • First Vice Chair, Michael G. Browning, Browning Investments, Inc.;
  • Second Vice Chair, Thomas W. Jernstedt, National Collegiate Athletic Association;
  • Secretary, Ellen R. Saul, Maribeth Smith & Associates;
  • Treasurer, William G. Mays, Mays Chemical Company, Inc.;
  • President & CEO, Donald P. Welsh, ICVA.

Re-elected to the board are:

  • Gerald L. Bepko, Indiana University/IUPUI; 
  • Anton H. “Tony” George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway; 
  • William Shrewsberry, Shrewsberry Associates;
  • Fay H.  Williams, attorney;
  • Donald P. Welsh, ICVA.

New ex-officio board members are:

  • Greg Charleston, Arts Council of Indianapolis;
  • Roland Dorson, Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce;
  • Susan Williams, Indiana Sports Corporation;
  • Phil Ray, Omni Severin, Greater Indianapolis Hotel  & Lodging Association.

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. Shifflet & 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.

The National FFA Convention Will Return to Indianapolis December 15, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Conventions & Meetings, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – The National FFA Organization announced today that its annual convention will be returning to Indianapolis, and the event will rotate between Louisville and Indianapolis for the foreseeable future.

Starting in 2013, the city will share hosting duties with Louisville on a three-year rotational basis. Louisville will host the convention 2013 through 2015. The convention will return to Indianapolis for the years 2016 through 2018. After a return engagement with Louisville, Indianapolis will then be given the first right of option for the years 2022-2024.

“It’s great news to learn that Indianapolis has once again been selected to host the national FFA convention,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.  “The positive impact of this event, and these outstanding young people, on our city is undeniable.  Indianapolis has much to offer FFA members, advisors and guests, from new downtown hotels to world-class sporting events, arts and entertainment.”

National FFA President Paul Moya was jubilant as well.  “The city of Indianapolis has extended its very best brand of Hoosier Hospitality to our organization and its members,” said Moya.  “This host city arrangement will allow all our future members to take part in the Indianapolis convention experience during their high school years.”

“We are elated to continue to be the host of the national FFA convention through 2012 and beyond. It’s the biggest and one of our most important city-wide conventions,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association. “We understand and respect the decision to put Louisville in the mix. It is a great city and destination in close proximity to Indianapolis. We know it was a great host city for FFA prior to coming to
Indianapolis. We look forward to continuing working with National FFA leadership and our local partners on ways to provide an exceptional experience for these outstanding young men and women.”

The annual national FFA convention, which is currently contracted to Indianapolis through 2012, hosts more than 54,000 high school-aged FFA members from across the country.  The return of this prestigious event—the nation’s largest annual youth gathering—will bring Indianapolis estimated annual revenue exceeding $40 million.

At this morning’s announcement, FFA representatives presented Indianapolis officials with commemorative blue corduroy banners showcasing the FFA emblem and the years the city will host the annual national FFA convention. 

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 507,763 student members – all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture – as part of 7,439 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The National FFA Organization changed to its present name in 1988, in recognition of the growth and diversity of agriculture and agricultural education. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Visit www.ffa.org for more information.

NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee Selects Women’s Final Four Sites for the Years 2012-16 November 14, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Events, Expansion & New Development, ICVA Business.
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INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee has chosen five future Women’s Final Four sites for the years 2012-2016.  The Women’s Final Four sites are:

            2012 – Denver.  Mountain West Conference, host.
            2013 – New Orleans. University of New Orleans, host.
            2014 – Nashville.  Ohio Valley Conference, host.
            2015 – Tampa Bay.  University of South Florida, host.
            2016 – Indianapolis. Butler University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Horizon League, hosts.

“The women’s basketball committee invested a tremendous amount of time and effort in the Women’s Final Four site selection process,” said Jacki Silar, chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and associate director of athletics at Duke University.  “It was a very difficult and important decision and it was the committee’s charge to determine which of the cities would best serve as future host sites for the pinnacle of women’s basketball – the Women’s Final Four.”

After submitting an intent-to-bid form last November, representatives of 12 cities attended a pre-bid seminar in January, and they met with NCAA staff for individual planning and progress updates in April and again in June.  After selecting eight finalist cities in August, women’s basketball committee members made site visits to each finalist city in September and October 2008.  Following the site visits to each prospective city, representatives of the bid committee made final presentations to the committee on Nov. 11-12 in Indianapolis.

“The committee appreciated the work and effort of each of the cities that participated in this bid selection process,” Silar said.  “Committee members evaluated each prospective host city based on many criteria, weighing each element’s importance and what is critical to successfully host a Women’s Final Four.”

When evaluating prospective host cities, the committee reviewed each city’s competition venue, convention center, hotel community, transportation plans, legacy programs and financial commitment, as well as the community’s and prospective host institution/conference’s overall commitment to the event.

“This is an exciting time for the game of collegiate women’s basketball and this was evident by the number and quality of cities that participated in the bid process as prospective 2012-16 Women’s Final Four hosts,” said NCAA President Myles Brand.  “Congratulations to the five cities selected as these cities represent the future for this great event.   In 2016, the NCAA will celebrate the 35th anniversary season of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.  With cities such as Denver, New Orleans, Nashville, Tampa Bay and Indianapolis serving as future hosts, we believe the Women’s Final Four will continue its growth as a marquee event and continue to be the ultimate experience for our student-athletes.”

The cities selected represent a blend of cities with past Women’s Final Four hosting experience in Indianapolis (2005), New Orleans (1991, 2004) and Tampa Bay (2008), while Denver and Nashville will be hosting the event for the first time.

“We would like to express our appreciation to the prospective host cities and bid committees that participated in the bid process for the 2012-16 Women’s Final Four,” said NCAA Executive Vice President Tom Jernstedt.  “The time, effort and enthusiasm in each of their bids were noteworthy and because of this kind of commitment and engagement, the Women’s Final Four will continue to be the outstanding ‘celebration’ of women’s basketball that it has become.  This was a difficult decision by the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, and I applaud their efforts in determining the five cities that will serve as the future host cities for the pinnacle event in women’s basketball.”
 
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org and www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.

Media Contact: Rick Nixon, Associate Director of Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, 317-917-6539

Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association Announces Staff Changes October 30, 2008

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association has announced a number of staff changes as it prepares for increased sales and marketing of the city in keeping with the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center, opening of Lucas Oil Stadium, new hotels and cultural growth.

“We have a tremendous group of professionals at the ICVA,” said president and CEO Don Welsh. “With these team changes, ICVA is made stronger to meet the increased expectations of our constituents and to take Indianapolis to the next level of tourism growth.”
 
The changes include:

  • James Wallis has been promoted to senior vice president of finance, administration and technology. He was vice president of finance, administration and technology. 
  • Susie Townsend has been promoted to vice president of services. She was the director of convention services and meetings team.
  • Mary Huggard has been named vice president of strategic partnerships & development. She was vice president of marketing and communications.
  • Matt Carter has been named vice president of music, arts & culture and executive director of Music Crossroads.  He was vice president of strategic development.
  • Bill Benner has been named director of special projects. He was associate director of communications.
  • Patty Creech has been named cultural tourism manager. She was leisure marketing manager.

Earlier it was announced that Warren Wilkinson has been named senior vice president of marketing & communications for ICVA.

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.

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

National Travel and Tourism Professional to Lead Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association’s Marketing Republic Airways’ Warren Wilkinson to Start at ICVA on October 31 October 2, 2008

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) has named Warren R. Wilkinson as its new Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications.  Wilkinson has served as the Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications for locally based Republic Airways Holdings since 2001.  He will move into the ICVA’s chief marketing position that has been held by Mary K. Huggard since 1994.  Huggard is becoming the ICVA’s Vice President of Partnership and Development, a newly created ICVA position.  Both positions are effective October 31, 2008.
  
“We are incredibly fortunate to have secured the type of national and international marketing talent embodied by Warren,” said ICVA President & CEO Don Welsh.  “His extensive experience in tourism marketing, branding and communications will enable ICVA to focus our message and expand our reach as America’s premier convention and sports destination.” 

“I am very pleased to be joining the ICVA during one of the most exciting periods in our city’s history.  Indianapolis continues to develop an exceptional array of facilities and attractions for both convention and leisure visitors,” said Warren Wilkinson.  “I look forward to working with the ICVA team to leverage these assets to enhance the reputation and national awareness of our great city as a meetings and tourism destination.”

A veteran of 27 years in corporate marketing and communications, Wilkinson comes to the ICVA with an extensive resume from the airline industry, where he was responsible for directing the marketing and corporate communications efforts for the second largest regional airline company in the world.  In addition, Wilkinson managed the successful brand integration of the company’s three operating subsidiaries with five major airlines partners. 

“For the past seven years, Warren has led our marketing and communications efforts with exceptional vision and creativity,” said Bryan Bedford, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Republic Airways.   “Our loss is definitely ICVA’s gain.  I’m confident his passion and commitment will take our city to even greater heights.” 

Prior to joining Republic Airways, Wilkinson served as Deputy General Manager and Senior Vice President of Edelman Public Relations Worldwide’s Atlanta office heading the corporate practice.   Prior to joining Edelman, Wilkinson held senior marketing and communications positions for several regional airlines. 

Wilkinson currently serves on the board of the Indiana Repertory Theatre and the Purdue University School of Aviation Technology Advisory Board.  He is also a member of the ICVA Board of Directors. 

ICVA Board Chairman Jerry Semler added, “Along with Don Welsh’s arrival two months ago, the hiring of Warren is yet another example of our efforts to build and sustain a high performance team of experienced professionals in order to better market and sell Indianapolis’ growing list of outstanding tourism assets.”    
    
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.