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Summer Leisure Travel Campaign Draws Visitors to Indy November 12, 2009

Posted by ICVA Communications in Advertising Campaigns, summer travel.
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Regional TV, Radio Ads Net 745,000 New Visitors Spending More Than $145 million

INDIANAPOLIS – Despite a reduced budget, a regional summertime leisure travel advertising campaign launched by the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) produced 745,000 new visitors and more than $145 million in visitor spending for Central Indiana.

The comprehensive summer campaign that aired in Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis generated a $289 return for every dollar spent, according to data gathered by Strategic Marketing & Research, Inc. (SMARI), a nationally recognized research firm.

These results represent a 15 percent increase in return on investment from 2008 despite a 32 percent decrease in dollars spent ($504,497 in ’09, compared to $740,152 in ’08) on the advertising campaign. The return on investment in 2008 was $251 per $1 spent.

The television ads spotlighted Indianapolis area attractions that joined the ICVA in sponsoring the four-month campaign that began in May. Research showed the campaign was most effective in Chicago and Louisville, incenting more than 323,000 and 297,000 visitors, respectively.

“The awareness of Indianapolis and its many arts, cultural, entertainment and sports offerings continues to grow throughout the Midwest,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of the ICVA. “This advertising campaign resulted in leisure travelers taking action and booking visits to Indianapolis and the surrounding area. These results are especially pleasing in the face of the difficult economy.”

SMARI’s research, based on more than 900 interviews conducted in those regional markets, showed the campaign produced slightly more than 745,000 visitors to Central Indiana. Average spending per visitor was down slightly to $195 from $226 in 2008.

SMARI also reported that the campaign produced $20.3 million in spending on lodging. While the bulk of that was in Marion County ($15.9 million), Hamilton County ($3.6 million), Hancock County ($434,688) and Hendricks County ($281,782) also benefitted. In addition attractions and museums received $11.5 million in visitor spending.

Area attractions that partnered with ICVA in the campaign were the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Conner Prairie, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Indianapolis Zoo.

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.