ELKHART — More travelers are staying at city lodging properties — and likely dining at local restaurants and shopping in local stores — thanks to a new marketing campaign this year that represented a partnership between the Elkhart Redevelopment Commission and the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A series of billboard on the Indiana Toll Road from the Illinois to Ohio state lines highlight the density of hotel rooms and restaurants at Elkhart’s Exit 92.
The Exit 92 marketing campaign, which started in April, targeted the 65 million travelers estimated to utilize the Indiana Toll Road every year. Exit 92 refers to the Indiana Toll Road’s designation for the Cassopolis Street exit on the highway.
According to data compiled by the ECCVB (note: data is only available for lodging properties):
- Elkhart lodging properties sold 184,738 room nights, a 2.97% increase, from April to September 2016, compared with the same period in 2015 (179,408 room nights).
- Elkhart lodging properties recorded $15.49 million in revenue from April-September 2016, a 5.65% gain over the same period in 2015 ($14.66 million).
- In average daily rate (the amount charged to the consumer), Elkhart lodging properties commanded a rate of $83.66 per night from April-September 2016, a 2.79% increase over the same period in 2015 ($81.39).
“We are very pleased by the results of the first year of this campaign,” said Diana Lawson, executive director of the ECCVB. “Demand and interest in development are strong in the northern part of Elkhart. The increase in visitors have helped local businesses collect at least $1 million more in revenue in just five months. And other businesses and attractions in the Elkhart area benefit from the additional traffic.”
The Exit 92 campaign was carried out on multiple channels, including billboards along the eastbound lanes from Chicago to Elkhart and along the westbound lanes from Ohio to Elkhart, brochures and signage at the Indiana Toll Road’s rest areas and digital advertising. The $200,000 campaign was funded by $100,000 contributions each from the redevelopment commission and ECCVB. The redevelopment commission’s portion was drawn from the Cassopolis Street Tax Increment Financing district.
The ECCVB also worked with the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission on the placement of advertising at the rest areas and on billboards.
“The Exit 92 campaign’s key message — that the Elkhart exit is the premier stop on the toll road with the highest density of lodging, dining and retail opportunities, featuring brands that people know and trust — clearly resonated with travelers,” said Janis Logsdon, director of advertising sales & leisure marketing for the ECCVB.
The Exit 92 campaign is expected to continue in 2017.
The Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official tourism advertising/marketing and public/community relations organization for the Elkhart County hospitality industry. The ECCVB champions local businesses, programs and projects that serve residents, visitors and hospitality interests.
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For more information, contact Terry T. Mark, director of communications of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, at 574-262-8161 or email@example.com.