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.)
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 Ohio.org (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 Ohio.org from Discoverohio.com, 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 Ohio.org.
TripAdvisor listings are now live on Ohio.org. Instructions for how to manually add this new service to your listing will be mailed in January. Ohio.org 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:
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.