Visit Greater Springfield recently received 8 MIDDY awards at the Ohio Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Annual Educational Conference in Gahanna. The MIDDY awards (named after Ohio’s Midwest location) recognize statewide excellence in destination marketing across all platforms. A record number of entries were judged by a statewide judging panel comprised of marketing, PR and advertising professionals. Visit Greater Springfield received more awards than any other destination marketing organization in the state.
Visit Greater Springfield took home first place awards for:
- Our “Find Your Unwind” marketing campaign which includes print materials, digital elements, bus wraps, apparel and social media
- The VisitGreaterSpringfield.com website which was launched in April of this year and features “mobile first” technology which has helped increase site visits by more than 160%
- Our “Find Your Unwind” visitor guide, 30,000 copies of which will be distributed this year
- The “Minute in Springfield” video series featuring staffers Kelcie Webster, and Emily Harrison, that has been viewed more than 15,000 times via social media
- Our LED billboard ad campaign which is seen by more than 60,000 travelers everyday on the I-70 LED board constructed by the Clark County Convention Facilities Authority
- VisitorView, our monthly e-newsletter that is shared with our local tourism partners and stakeholders
Visit Greater Springfield also claimed second place awards in the categories of print advertisement, and social media campaign. With these 8 new awards, we have now received more than 50 state and national awards since 2011.
While awards are certainly nice, the proof is in the results. The local impact of tourism has grown more than $42 million* since 2011 and the tourism industry is responsible for nearly $370 million in annual economic impact in Clark County. Our local hotel occupancy rate – a leading indicator of marketing impact – is up 8.9% Y-T-D when compared to 2014. Tourism is a growth industry in Clark County and it’s time to embrace it as such.
Funding for tourism promotion is derived from lodging tax charged to guests staying in local hotels. Many DMO’s in the state receive 100% of the lodging tax collected to promote their destination to leisure travelers, business travelers and groups. Visit Greater Springfield currently receives slightly less than 50% of the lodging tax remitted to the City of Springfield by our local hotels.
When compared to our competitive set in Southwest Ohio (Greene, Warren, Montgomery, and Butler counties), our annual budget is somewhere between one-half, and one-quarter, of theirs. This puts our community at a distinct disadvantage from a marketing perspective.
While we continue to promote Greater Springfield at a high level, additional funding for tourism will be needed to move our community forward. We have formed stakeholder committees to help us create comprehensive plans around sports tourism, conventions and meetings, and major event bid fees. These tourism industry sectors have the potential to drive significant increases in lodging tax receipts, sales tax receipts and local economic impact.
The continued growth of our local tourism economy is good news for Springfield. Tourism is closely aligned with quality of life, business attraction and retention, relocation and retail sector growth. Now is the time for us to invest in this growth industry and take the next steps to ensure that it will remain vital for years to come.
*Source: Tourism Economics, “The Economic Impact of Tourism in Clark County, Ohio”, June 2014