Complete Story


TourismOhio Advisory Meeting Held Dec. 15

Reviews 2016 Results and Sets Stage for 2017

Reviewing results of the 2016 Ohio. Find It Here. brand launch and previewing plans for 2017 topped the agenda of the TourismOhio Advisory Board meeting at the Ohio Statehouse yesterday. Advisory board members present included Dan Sullivan (HNS Sports Group), Dan Young (Young’s Jersey Dairy), Ellen Grinsfelder (Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls), Todd Mesek (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum), Lee Alexakos (Cedar Fair Entertainment Group), Brian Ross (Experience Columbus) and Jodi Burroughs (Hocking Hills Canopy Tours.) 

Ethics Training

First on the agenda was an overview of the ethics requirements for those who hold a public advisory seat, including the importance of not gaining personal or professional advantages from the position.

Update on 2016 Campaign

TourismOhio staff presented detailed information on how advertising dollars were spent and results. Core spending (not including co-operative dollars) went to television (52%), digital (16%), experiential - such as the RNC (10%), search (10%), and print (4%). Mary Cusick, TourismOhio chief, stressed the importance of benchmarking results with industry standards to see how the media plan should be tweaked in the future. Key insights included the relevancy and effectiveness of television as a broad based awareness building vehicle to tell the Ohio story and the importance of strong imagery and a call to action on all forms of digital media. 

Holidays in Ohio runs through January 1 and has had more than 30,000 views since launching in November. The average time spent on the site (3:17) exceeds overall average time spent on (1:10).

Earned media associated with the Ohio. Find It Here. brand launch reached 56,478,304 with coverage in all 88 Ohio counties and Fort Wayne, Flint, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Huntington, Parkersburg and Wheeling. A New York media mission last February resulted in an audience reach of more than 15 million, while a Washington, DC, media mission reached 529,779. Influencer engagement with online bloggers resulted in a reach to date of more than 470,000. 

With the switch to from, TourismOhio expected to see a 20% drop. Instead, the site is up 14% over 2015. Traffic to the site originates from Ohio (66.4%), Michigan (9.3%), Pennsylvania (6%), Illinois (2%), Indiana (1.7%), New York (1.6%), Kentucky (1.5%), and West Virginia (1.2%).  When the new website was designed, creating a way to capture partner referrals was paramount.  On each listing, three red bars direct users to click for directions, email and website. Since Jan. 1, more than 422,000 referrals to Ohio businesses have been made from

TripAdvisor listings are now live on Instructions for how to manually add this new service to your listing will be mailed in January. visitors can search by the number of stars. You do not have to add the TripAdvisor information to your listing. 

Social media also grew over 2015, with Instagram growing 70%. A discussion was held on the importance of this platform as its users mature and gain more buying power.

Plans for 2017

Initial thoughts shared by the TourismOhio team included the following:

  • Continue to leverage television as an effective mass market awareness building vehicle
  • Leverage TV for longer duration, but at lower weights than 2016
  • Align spend with visitation (60% of visits April – September, 40% October – March)
  • Maintain SEM, digital and social budget consistent with 2016
  • Allocate dollars toward opportunistic fund rather than sponsorships
  • Taking advantage of high-profile events when heads are turned to Ohio
  • Evaluate experiential, allocating less than in 2016
  • Increase regional content in publications, including Happy Camper section, events and stories of surprising discoveries
  • Working with a new fulfillment partner for publication distribution
  • Exploring new distribution channels, including coffee shops, Kroger, Giant Eagle and lodging facilities
  • A new app for the Ohio Travel Guide as opposed to a mobile platform
  • RFPs are on the books for public relations and publication assistance
  • A New in 2017 (highlighting new experiences to find in Ohio) is scheduled for first quarter 2017, as well as a New York media mission and continued influencer engagement
  • Regional media missions will be scheduled second quarter 2017
  • At the end of 2016, TourismOhio plans to update social media handles to be more in line with the Ohio. Find It Here. brand.
  • Enhancements to may include personalization for the user, database improvements, enhanced Contact Us page, updates to region pages, new landing pages and social and user-generated content.
  • Social media plans include engaging in more partnership on social media (such as bantering with Enjoy Illinois during the World Series), creating fan Facebook albums for each season, creating monthly impact reports for each social media vehicle, exploring new features as they become available (such as Facebook Live and Instagram Stories), and finding new ways to make Twitter-based polls more engaging.

Progress on TourismOhio Strategy

Cusick reported on the Plan to Win strategy, including attainment of goals related to the number of Ohio visits, visitor direct spending, overnight visits from out-of-state, etc. This was an excellent update, rich in information and documenting the office’s strategic direction and results. A Scorecard is also available for 2016 showing progress toward annual goals.

1 Comment

Richard C. Nachazel on Friday 12/16/2016 at 04:33PM wrote:

Thanks, Mel for the update.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the
individual comment authors and do not reflect the opinions of this organization.