Ohio Travel Association (OTA) membership has many benefits, but did you know that the OTA provides the opportunity to save a considerable amount of money through our strategic partnership with CareWorksComp?
Lake Erie is one of Ohio’s most important natural resources with birders, boaters, anglers, recreationists, home-owners and more all enjoying more than 9,900 square miles of fresh water. The most recent research by Tourism Economics showed that coastal county tourism contributed $12.9 billion in visitor spending and 119,591 jobs in 2014. In recent years, increased amounts of nutrients entering the water has created heightened algal blooms. The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) and Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) most recent forecast predict milder algal blooms this summer. Read more…
Every year, the RUBY Awards honor those who found the most innovative ways to market their destinations, experiences or services. At the annual Ohio Conference on Travel, the Ohio Travel Association recognizes and rewards outstanding performance in the diverse field of travel and tourism marketing and advertising. Here are some tips for ensuring that your entry stands a better chance of winning one of the biggest honors in the travel industry.
The new Heartland Travel Showcase website, heartlandtravelshowcase.com, is now live. Heartland Travel Showcase brings big business to Ohio’s group tour sector of the industry and gives participants the chance to generate business. With quick and versatile access to online registration, you can now register quicker than ever for a show that brought around $1.4 million in business to attendees in 2016 on the showcase floor. Simplified site navigation and a fresh look give you easy-to-use functions that complement the show’s excitement for 2017.
Instagram is the fastest-growing social media platform, and just this week they announced new features to the app including a vibrant logo and white theme that makes images pop. Unlike Facebook, Instagram allows you to post photos without “paying to play”. Although Facebook and Twitter are still great platforms, Instagram allows you to tap a new audience and grow your business in an ever-changing tourism industry.
TourismOhio just released new data showing continued growth in the travel and tourism industry. In 2015, traveler spending supported approximately 420,000 jobs, an 8,000 increase from last year. Total visitor spending amounts to approximately $42 billion, a boost from 2014.
Ohio Has IT!, the industry-led and membership-based group tour marketing partnership hosts its annual meeting Friday, May 27 from 10 a.m. to noon. The meeting is open to current Ohio Has IT! members as well as those seeking more information about the marketing initiative.
"The more reviews you have, the higher you are ranked." This was just one of many TripAdvisor tips discussed when approximately 100 industry partners met across the state during Ohio Travel Association workshops last week. In Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, TripAdvisor representatives shared travel data, tips on managing reviews, advice on soliciting more reviews from your customer and more. Learn more.
Although the celebrations around National Travel and Tourism Week wind down soon, travel leaders across the state used this week to engage, educate and talk about the travel economy. Find out how some industry members celebrated here.
Two important bills are on their way to the governor's office. Both provide support for Ohio's $40 billion travel industry. An agritourism bill contains several elements that will make it easier for a farmer to have a farm market, offer hay rides, vint and sell wines, and other agritourism activities, while the capital budget bill includes money for parks, museums, historic sites, zoos and more.
A clean and healthy environment improves the traveler experience, and news stories about environmental issues pollute potential travelers' perceptions. These are among the top reasons why the travel industry should care about the environment. The Ohio Travel Association learned more about how to communicate the importance of a healthy Great Lakes during a recent workshop hosted by Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.
The leisure travel market is booming. In a 2016 study conducted by Destination Analytics, results show that 34% of Americans plan to increase their leisure travel spending in the next 12 months. The report highlights important trends that will lead the industry into an even stronger foothold throughout the next year.
On April 18, TourismOhio gathered at the statehouse with travel industry leaders. Progress on TourismOhio's strategic plan, Plan2Win, was shared.
National Tourism Week is May 1-6. To help you celebrate, our friends at U.S. Travel Association have created a resourceful website with tons of great information and statistics about the importance of travel for the upcoming week.
Museums, parks and attractions across the state may soon receive assistance for renovations and improvements. The $2.6 billion Ohio Capital Bill was introduced into the Senate Finance Committee this week. The bill is expected to be fast-tracked for passage by the end of the month.
Targeting millennials is hot. Travel businesses and ad agencies are often so razor-focused on this market, that a massive market with huge promise is overlooked. Retirees have the time and money to travel, and they are looking for places to visit.
Industry partners who have embraced the shift from marketing and selling tourism “products” to “experiences,” based on consumer travel trends, have seen a return on their investment. Experiential tourism development continues to be one of the key trends in the industry. Savvy representatives who are currently providing VIP or VIG (Very Important Guest) offerings, personalized experiences, strategic amenities and innovations based on their knowledge and understanding of their customer base are realizing nearly immediate gains in visitation, favorable reviews and revenue generation.
It is not enough to just post on social media; you have to measure your engagement too. Travel experts are constantly telling you that you need to become familiar with social media, and I am sure that many of you have invested a lot of time into your accounts. One thing that is crucial for the success of your business is your ability to measure the effectiveness of social media so you can appropriately adapt your marketing plan.
Today is April Fool’s Day—a day focused on deception. Let’s clear the air on a day filled with cloudy falsities. OTA has debunked the most common misperceptions our industry faces. In this article, you’ll find the tools you need to educate people about our most common myths.
On April 12, Facebook launches Instant Articles, giving you the opportunity to market your business in a brand-new fashion. Instant Articles will allow you to master the art of storytelling through a customized visual display that can be viewed instantaneously within the Facebook app.
Change is inevitable. But if you are on top of consumer demands, you can manage change as a competitive advantage. Group travel experts continue to remind us that to prepare for new generations, tour operators and travel suppliers must change the way they sell and create group experiences.
On Tuesday, March 15, the Ohio Travel Association gathered partner association leaders representing multiple sectors of the travel industry to learn more about the new TourismOhio brand and to preview creative. "It was important to us and to TourismOhio that these leaders had the information to share with their industry partners," said Melinda Huntley, OTA executive director. Mary Cusick, TourismOhio chief, shared research behind the campaign, as well as the new television advertisement that will air beginning Monday, March 21.
As we comb our closets for shades of green and make plans for St. Patrick's Day, the Ohio Travel Association used this opportunity to reach out to some travel industry folks. Read why some of our industry colleagues feel “lucky” to be a part of the industry and what “gold is at the end of the rainbow” for travel.
Mark your calendars for a TripAdvisor workshop heading to Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati in late April. With 375 million travelers using TripAdvisor reviews to plan their trips, Ohio businesses need to better understand how to manage their online reputation and leverage their positive reviews.
Ohio Statehood Day, hosted on March 1, was a day filled with engaging discussions, honorable awards and impressive grants that provided the framework for discussing Ohio’s rich history. More than 250 attendees joined forces to strengthen Ohio through legislative advocacy enhancing the state’s heritage assets and knowledge. Conversations centered on boosting economic development, enhancing quality of life and recognizing Ohio’s internationally significant history while boosting heritage tourism. Join us as we discuss a few of the highlights throughout the day.
May 1-7 is National Travel and Tourism Week, #NTTW16. To help the industry mark the occasion, our friends at the U.S. Travel Association just released a toolkit of communications tools to ensure travel is part of the discussion amidst the 2016 election season. We’ve added some stats of our own to help you tailor your messages for Ohio.
TourismOhio Advisory Board members met Feb. 25 at the Vern Riffe Building in Columbus. Several updates were shared, including information on media buys, the co-op program, a new URL (ohio.org) and a new online format for reading the Ohio Travel Guide.
This year's Heartland Travel Showcase generated business for tour operators, exhibitors and the host city. With 48 percent responding to the post-showcase survey, Heartland attendees shared impacts this showcase has on their group travel market.
Group travel show season is winding down, with many shows in the books. Now what do you do? How do you make the most of the connections and sales opportunities you made at these shows, including Heartland Travel Showcase? In an effort to help you maximize your experience, we’ve compiled 9 helpful follow-up tips to convert conversations to bookings.
TourismOhio just shared their new brand guidelines. If you are interested in promoting the new state brand, please use these best practices and guidelines.
We would like to take the time to thank one of our incredible dinner sponsors who helped to support our 2015 Conference on Tourism. As part of Explore Licking County’s rebranding process, they have changed the messaging they share with potential travelers. Here is just a sample of this enticing new strategy.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it is great to reflect on all of the things we love! So, OTA decided to ask a few of our industry members: “What do you love about the travel industry?”
Last weekend, the Heartland Travel Showcase hosted both tour operators and exhibitors for its 31st year. More than 500 tourism industry members met to strike deals within the group tour industry, all while having a great time and exploring the beautiful city of Grand Rapids, Michigan!
The leisure market represents approximately 78% of all travelers. Aside from representing a large segment in the marketplace, leisure travelers also have money to spend. The direct spending on leisure travel by domestic and international travelers in the U.S. totaled $644.9 billion in 2014. Learn what interests and tools leisure visitors use to book trips.
As the New Year gains momentum, ensure that this is the year that you grow your business by again engaging in Ohio’s $40 billion tourism industry. The benefits of membership in OTA are many, but we’ve chosen the 15 that our members tend to value the most. Learn more about how the Ohio Travel Association can benefit your organization by renewing your membership today. The process is easy, and the investment is priceless. Simply contact Karen Eylon, at email@example.com, for more information.
Members of the Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy, otherwise known as OTLA, met in Columbus this week to discuss tourism’s contributions to the economy. This program aims to teach members about opportunities and challenges of Ohio’s travel industry.
Multigenerational travel is an increasingly popular form of travel where entire families travel together as a unit, sharing both their experience and developing strong bonds. This growing trend can have a large impact on travel destinations and businesses, particularly those who now target a singular demographic. Multiple generations in a single travel group can greatly influence choice of destinations, accommodations, dining and attractions these groups visit, as they aim for activities and events that interest folks across generations.
Travelers seek authentic experiences. Ensuring that our communities preserve and protect their stories and heritage is one way we can be competitive. Consider taking part in the Ohio Statehood Day on March 1 to support our partners in historic preservation.
There is not much time left, so please register for the OTA and OH&LA regional meeting next Tuesday in Toledo. TourismOhio Chief Mary Cusick will be introducing Ohio’s new tourism and travel brand, an opportunity you will not want to miss.
This year’s AAA Great Vacations Travel EXPO, headlined by Travel Channel’s very own Samantha Brown, is one of AAA’s premier events nationally and is important to the travel industry in Ohio. From Jan. 22-24, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, guests will have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with top travel experts and will also have exclusive access to information and discounts. This EXPO is a must-see for those to attend, as it includes presentations, entertainment and fun activities for those who attend. Hear from Debbie Sproul, Executive Vice President of AAA Ohio, who discusses reasons why guests should attend.
Several critical Ohio programs, that have a direct influence on tourism, are in jeopardy of expiring. As tax season approaches, many organizations rely heavily on donations from tax checkoff programs. Through a tax checkoff program, taxpayers can designate where they want part of their money to be allocated, allowing for the support of programs like the Ohio History Fund or Natural Areas Program. These tax checkoff programs have seen a dramatic decrease in donations, and since programs need to reach a cap amount in order to be funded, these programs need our support. With contributions across the state, a substantial difference can be made in communities throughout Ohio which are foundational to the travel industry. Support our local communities this tax season, and learn how to promote the programs you care about.
The Ohio Travel Association welcomes Sean Mekinda to the OTA team as its new communications intern. Sean is currently a senior at The Ohio State University, and brings with him a fresh perspective and knowledge of communications. Sean will be focusing on a number of various writing projects for OTA.
Second to face-to-face interaction, profile sheets are one of the most effective tools to reach those planning group travel. Use them to follow-up to visits or leads generated through your trade show and advertising marketing efforts. These easy-to-read reference sheets provide a snapshot of group experiences and your business offers. Tour operators use them to get excited about planning new tours, as well as to expand existing tours. The Ohio Travel Association, through Heartland Travel Showcase, is offering a special deal to get your profile sheets in front of the tour operators attending the 2016 Heartland Travel Showcase in Grand Rapids, MI. If you are interested in getting your profile sheet in front of tour operators currently planning trips to the Midwest, please contact Janet Johnson at 614-572-1931 ext. 2, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ohio Travel Association is proud to announce the Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy Class of 2016 members. These 26 professionals begin their tourism journey on Jan. 20 and represent the largest class in the program’s history. They’ll delve into tourism’s role in outdoor recreation and resource conversation, heritage and preservation, arts and humanities, and economic development at all levels. Plus, they’ll study media and communications opportunities and challenges and will visit the Ohio Statehouse to hear from lawmakers about how best to present issues. The Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy builds leaders by building knowledge, developing leadership skills, strengthening networks and informing participants about the responsibilities of boardmanship.
The Ohio Travel Association accomplished many of our goals in 2015, and we would love to share our highlights. Read more...
The Heartland Travel Showcase is a group tour tradeshow focused on the Heartland region of the United States. In its 31st year, Heartland Travel Showcase (HTS) provides the opportunity for tour operators from across the United States to meet via scheduled appointments with more than 250 exhibitors from 12 states. Discover how you can optimize your time at the Heartland Travel Showcase, and register today!
‘tis the season . . . when year-end reports and travel forecasts start appearing to help us understand the travel economy. One of the most important of these studies is TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer. They surveyed 34,026 travelers, 90% who were planning trips in the U.S. next year. Read more ...
Nine out of 10 tour operators surveyed by the U.S. Tour Operators Association anticipate growth in 2016 with more than half predicting growth of 7- to 10-percent. Learn more about group travel forecasts, as well as how to get your share of this market.
The Ohio Travel Association board applauds TourismOhio for its work on Ohio's new tourism brand. Learn more about the brand concept, tools that are currently available for your use, opportunities to hear more from TourismOhio on the brand, and our thoughts.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2016 Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy. This 6-month exploration of Ohio and national tourism issues and opportunities introduces you to today's decision makers. Sessions are held once a month and focus on tourism's relationship and influence on economic development, arts and the humanities, legislative advocacy and tourism policy, media and communications, historic preservation and heritage, and outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation.
This year, approximately 500 tourism industry members attended events at the Ohio Conference on Tourism held Nov. 16-18 at the Hilton Polaris/Columbus. Attendees heard from nationally-recognized speakers on a plethora of topics, including tourism trends and opportunities. At the Ohio Tourism & Hospitality Industry Gala on Monday night, Pro Football Hall of Fame CEO David Baker inspired all attending and TourismOhio announced the new Ohio tourism brand!
Engage with colleagues and join the conversation at the 2015 Ohio Conference on Tourism where more than 500 industry members will convene to learn, network, and be inspired by the momentum of the travel industry. This year’s conference marks the largest industry gathering of its kind in Ohio, as the Ohio Travel Association partners with the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association for a Monday night gala celebrating the Ohio tourism industry.
It was a joy to interview Eric Hansen who had a lot of insight to offer on the tourism industry and OTA.
If a research study is part of your strategy for 2016, pay attention here! During the Ohio Conference on Tourism’s silent auction on Nov. 16, you could bid on a gift certificate to buy a research study through North Star Destination Strategies. North Star helps clients understand the depth of their target community, competition, and consumers. This information has proven to be crucial in understanding consumer perceptions, visitor spending, advertising area hotspots, and many other components of this industry. Interested attendees are encouraged to bid on a $5,000 discount off a study. The amount bid will be deducted from a full research package. This item can be invoiced. Click here to read details.
In response to an Ohio bill exempting businesses from participating in same-sex ceremonies, Ohio Travel Association sought industry member input. Seventy-five percent (75%) are opposed to the legislation.
OTA welcomes Chad Duplain as Communications Manager. We are excited to bring his expertise in content development and visual communications to OTA and to the industry.
Making the connection on why a healthy environment is important to the travel economy was the mission this week when Ohio Travel Association joined Cedar Fair and the Ohio Environmental Council in Washington D.C. Meetings were held with Rep. Bob Latta, Rep. Bob Gibbs, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Joyce Beatty and Rep. David Joyce, as well as key staffers in the offices of Sen. Rob Portman, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Marcia Fudge, Rep. Jim Renacci, and Rep. Jim Jordan.
The stunning Granville Inn was the site for an OTA workshop on reputation management. OTA brought in officials from both TripAdvisor and Viator (which is offering new online ticket purchasing.) Learn a bit of what we discussed and learned by reading this summary. OTA is working with both companies to bring additional training and resources to Ohio because of the importance of online reviews and to keep Ohio at the cutting edge.
This week, the Court of Common Pleas of Lorain County, Ohio issued a decision in favor of the travel industry and Ohio visitors, declaring that a three percent tax enacted by Avon in 2014 conflicts with the Ohio Revised Code and is illegal. The City of Avon had adopted an ordinance enacting an additional lodging tax over and above the amount it was statutorily permitted to impose. OTA joined its partners at the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association (OH&LA) and the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (OACVB) on legal action to protect the integrity of lodging tax, as well as to protect our guests. OH&LA perhaps said it best in a recent announcement, when it spoke of OTA, OH&LA and OACVB continuing to “fight for travelers and for our industry.”
Lake Erie business owners outlined the costs of harmful algal blooms this summer at a press conference held Thursday, Oct. 8 at the Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Center in Port Clinton. The event was sponsored by the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, whose members appear to have been impacted the most as the bloom changed fishing patterns and may have kept customers away.
TourismOhio held its Advisory Board meeting at Young's Jersey Dairy on Sept. 29. The agenda included a review and updates of promotional activity, DiscoverOhio.com, public relations, 2016 plans and more.
Karen Eylon has joined the OTA team as partnership development manager. Eylon brings more than 25 years of experience in destination marketing and management, development, communications, event operations, and sales to her new role with the Ohio Travel Association. She will be managing membership and Heartland Travel Showcase tour operator relationships, as well as contributing greatly to the association's strategy.
With coffee in one hand and a pen in the other, we sat down at our tables at 10 a.m. this past Wednesday, ready to learn how to break free from budgets. Our group of experienced panelists turned the workshop into an exciting, open dialogue about taking chances, generating creativity, and creating wonderful experiences without being held back by numbers.
If Congress doesn't pass a budget by Oct. 1, nearly $185 million is at risk as tourism is disrupted. The U.S. Travel Association is coordinating a communications strategy to notify federal legislators. Your stories and voice are needed.
Following the Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry in all states, Rep. Ron Young is sponsoring a bill concerning the religious freedom of businesses in Ohio. The Ohio Travel Association board asks you to voice your opinion.
The National Environmental Education Foundation is funding "friends" groups and other cooperating associations who work with public lands of all kinds - local, state and federal. Deadline is Oct. 30.
The Spruce Run watershed within Hocking Hills State Park has massive hemlock and oak trees. ODNR recently marked the trees to be logged. Environmental groups worked to temporarily stop the logging, and ODNR is now assessing the area as a High Conservation Area.
Grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 will be awarded towards trail creation or maintenance in urban areas and in more remote areas on public lands.
Once again, Michigan voters have overwhelmingly spoken in favor of starting the school year after the Labor Day holiday, according to a statewide survey of 1,075 likely 2016 voters conducted by Mitchell Research & Communications August 8-10, 2015.
A senior majoring in strategic communications, Emily is also pursuing minors in professional writing and economics. After graduation, she hopes to work in corporate communications or public relations.
To help the tourism industry communicate about the impacts of harmful algal blooms, and why immediate solutions are needed, the Ohio Travel Association has created some documents and research.
The state has proposed changes to a multitude of building, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical codes. A summary of these rules is provided for your convenience. These rules for posted for feedback and public comment until 8/28. If your business has any issue with some of these, please forward a copy of your comments to Melinda Huntley at email@example.com.
Interested in serving the industry as a member of the Ohio Travel Association board? There is an opening in every region.
The Ohio Travel Industry Emerging Leader Award honors budding tourism leaders with less than 15 years of professional experience in the industry. The 2015 Ohio Travel Industry Emerging Leader Award winner, Ally Bussey of Canton Stark County Ohio CVB, was honored Oct. 17, 2014 in Springfield, Ohio. This year's winner will be recognized Wednesday, Nov. 18 at the Hilton Polaris/Columbus during the 2015 Ohio Conference on Tourism.
Join us Nov. 16-18 at the Hilton Columbus/Polaris for this statewide gathering of Ohio's tourism industry professionals. It's a not-to-be-missed event full of education, networking, research and fun! Early registration deals end Oct. 2.
Entries are now being accepted for the 2015 Ruby Awards. This statewide competition honors the creative genius of Ohio's travel and tourism industry.
The Paul Sherlock Lifetime Achievement Award in Tourism is the Ohio tourism industry's highest honor, recognizing one individual each year who exemplifies professional, personal and career excellence. Nominate a deserving industry colleague today!
Supporting the Ohio Conference on Tourism Silent Auction is one of the best ways you can invest in our industry and your business. Not only is it a fun-filled event for attendees, but it helps support our shared mission for our industry's voice in legislative issues, provides educational programming and tools to our industry, and brings you resources for growing your business.
The Ohio Travel Association and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources collaborated on regional meetings in late 2013 to discuss opportunities and challenges for promoting and developing nature tourism experiences. This report shares these findings, as well as recent studies.