The Importance of the Environment and a Healthy Economy

Recent Environmental Budget Proposals Could Threaten Travel Economy

Given the importance of the travel economy along Lake Erie and the link between a healthy environment and a healthy economy, OTA Executive Director Melinda Huntley spoke about the value of the travel industry during a press conference this week at the Great Lakes Science Center discussing proposed cuts to the EPA. President Trump’s budget calls for a 31% reduction in the EPA budget, a cut that would limit future beach monitoring, brownfield redevelopment, development of new recreation lands, and vital research - not just along Lake Erie, but across Ohio and in many other parts of the country.


State of the State Day Includes Talk of Why Travel is Important

OTA and its Partners Host Ohio General Assembly

During Governor John Kasich's visit to Sandusky for the State of the State address, the travel industry was well represented. Activities included a luncheon at the historic Cedar Point ballroom, a tourism panel discussion and a reception hosted by OTA, OACVB, OH&LA, Lake Erie Shores and Islands and other partners. Read more . . .


Register for Ohio. Find It Here. Ohio Tourism Day 2017

Showcase Your Destination

In conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week and the industry-sponsored May 9 Ohio Tourism Legislative Day, TourismOhio will host Ohio. Find It Here. Ohio Tourism Day 2017 on Wednesday, May 10 at the Ohio Statehouse! As a member of the tourism industry, you are invited to take part in this exciting day by applying for a booth and the opportunity to showcase your destination!


State of the State Activities Include Talk of Tourism

OTA and its Partners Host Reception for Ohio’s General Assembly

Governor John Kasich gave his State of the State address in Sandusky at 7 pm on Tuesday, April 4 at the Sandusky State Theatre. By the time he took to the podium, state lawmakers had already had a full day of learning more about the importance of the travel economy in Ohio.


Building Awareness, Engagement and Visitation for Cincinnati USA’s Arts and Culture Through Strategic Partnership

An Outline for Success Identified by Linda Antus with Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network

Collaboration is pivotal in an industry as diverse as the travel industry. Partnering with other businesses and organizations is a great way to create a multi-leveled product. That is just the case for the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network (RTN), who partnered with ArtsWave, the region’s lead planner, promoter and fundraiser of the arts, to create a multi-faceted marketing campaign for Cincinnati’s arts and cultural entertainment experiences. As said by Linda Antus, President and CEO of Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network, “The RTN was built on the spirit of collaboration when we were founded in 2005 by the CVBs of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. When we decided to create this new initiative, it only made sense to partner with ArtsWave, the first and largest community arts fundraiser in the nation.” Her words speak to the success of this collaborative effort to increase awareness, engagement and visitation for Cincinnati’s arts and cultural community, increasing economic impact and fostering a strong sense of community. We spoke with Linda Antus to discuss the partnership, the project, the success and the future of this campaign.


An International Travel Trends Analysis from the U.S. Travel Association

Stay Up-to-Date on Current Trends

National travel trends, economics and politics trickle down, influencing travel businesses across the nation. International travelers typically stay longer and spend more money at your destination than domestic travelers, so it is important that you stay up-to-date on national happenings. The U.S. Travel Association released a webinar this week that covered topics ranging from a strengthening U.S. dollar to recent executive actions. Discover recent trends on travel to the United States. The U.S. Travel Association has gathered and analyzed data from trusted sources to gain a better picture of the international travel market and its influence on U.S. travel.


Meet OTA’s New Tourism Management Intern, Lisa Baer

Please join us in welcoming our newest intern, Lisa Baer. Lisa is a third-year student from Heilbronn University in Heilbronn, Germany and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management. In her studies, she focuses on International Business & Management as well as Business Travel and the MICE industry (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Events). She has always had a passion for different languages, cultures and traveling.


Heartland Travel Showcase Continues to Generate Revenue for 2017 and Beyond

Relationships Developed at Heartland Led to More Than $9 Million in Sales Over the Last Three Years

This year’s Heartland Travel Showcase not only generated business for exhibitors and operators, but it also generated revenue for the host city of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. With more than 34-percent of attendees responding to the post-show survey, attendees shared the showcase’s influence on their businesses and the group travel market.


Interview Tips for Hiring Great Customer Service

Finding Employees with Exceptional Customer Service Skills

Employees are a representation of your brand. They are your product in action, and the best way to show off that product is by hiring the very best customer service representatives. Your staff members must effectively use their knowledge, skills and positive attitude to solve problems and represent your business every day.


Working in an Age Where Everyone is a Travel Agent

How to Thrive When Travel Planning is in the Hands of the Consumer

In the advent of trip planning apps such as Google Places, Uber and Kayak, it has never been easier for travelers to plan their own vacations. While in the past many travelers relied on travel agents to book transportation, hotels and activities, now consumers take on that role, further personalizing their trips and cutting out the need for a middleman. With new advancements in travel, businesses must adapt to changing demands. Learn how to connect with travelers in four crucial ways.


Heartland Travel Showcase Wrap-Up

Where Booking Group Travel is a Heart-to-Heart Business

At this year’s Heartland Travel Showcase, 500 travel industry members met in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to build relationships, explore new tour ideas and generate solid sales leads #onlyintheheartland. Of the 500 attendees, approximately 60 companies represented brand new buyers and sellers at Heartland. The showcase was held last weekend, Mar. 3-5.


Avoid Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Violations

When Hiring, use Stand-Alone Disclosure and Authorization Forms

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), of 1970, is designed to help regulate the collection of credit information and consumer credit reports. The FCRA ensures the fairness and privacy of information held in reports by crediting agencies. Lately, issues have arisen from the many forms used by employers when conducting background checks on applicants. Several courts have found these forms to be non-compliant with the FCRA. Breaching the FCRA imposes a fine of anywhere between $100 and $1000 per violation. Learn how to properly state FCRA disclosures and authorizations.


Instagram Makes Leaps and Bounds in Programming

Use New Features to Reach Your Audience

Since unveiling in Oct. 2010, Instagram became one of the fastest-growing and popular social media platforms, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Within the first five years or so, Instagram remained true to its intended purpose: photo sharing. However, with competition rising, Instagram has unveiled several new features within the last year to combat those of Snapchat, an equally popular platform in competition with Instagram. In the last few months, Instagram has launched several new and exciting functions. All of these functions can help you grow your business, expand your audience and keep up with their technological demands. Here are the new features and what you need to know to navigate them.


Establishing Partnership Through Unique Methods

Creativity, Relationships, Product Development and Altruism

Partner. Partner. Partner. We are all familiar with the mantra. Many times, travel businesses partner to bring new and unique experiences to their guests and customers. This doesn’t mean it’s easy. Some partnerships are hard to work out or seem farfetched, but unlikely pairings create more unique experiences. Here are a few suggestions on how to connect with business partners to create new relationships, expanding your market and boosting profits.


Cincinnati Art Museum Showcases the Talent of its Employees in an Exhibition

Celebrating and Engaging Staff in a Unique Way

The relationship between staff and community partners is important, and the practice of that relationship proves beneficial to the work of an organization. The Cincinnati Art Museum did just that with the employee-based exhibition, “Employed: A Staff Art Exhibition,” where they collaborated with staff, who submitted their own art to be shown in the museum. Whether you are a large business or a small organization, there is almost always a creative opportunity to involve staff or community partners with the work you do. You could even implement a small gallery of employee artwork in your own office to forge even stronger relationships. We spoke with Jill Dunne, Marketing and Communications Director, and Erin Geideman, Design and Marketing Assistant, who also contributed her photography to the exhibition. Both told us about the process of collaborating with employees to produce a unique opportunity, showcased in front of tens of thousands of visitors.


Get Creative with Staff and Board Discussions

Make your Meetings Memorable and Engaging

As a part of an industry that is about innovation and creativity, make sure you are bringing that same spirit to your staff and board discussions. Discussions do not always have to be focused in boardrooms or over long tables in a more traditional sense. For many, meetings are a great place to mix both professional presentations and discussions with something fun and engaging. Whether it is using a whiteboard to start conversations in an open format, taking your staff to a park or inverting an issue, think about using a few of these techniques to get a more productive outcome in your discussions.


Selling Your Experience to Get Your Share of Group Travel

with Nancy Willhoite, Director of Business Development for BB Riverboats

Nancy Willhoite, Director of Business Development for BB Riverboats, is a group tour professional and often attends shows that help grow business. Hear from Nancy who discusses how to sell an experience at a group tradeshow, leading to higher business for years to come. Read more...


Group Travel Potential in 2017

Growth, Change and What to Look Forward To

With an ever-growing and expanding travel industry, constantly changing trends dominate the majority of the interactions between the traveler and the provider. With an anticipated “boom year,” group travel will continue to grow in 2017 and into the future.


Artificial Intelligence and the Travel Industry

An Outlook for 2017

As humans evolve, so does technology. We replaced buggies for trains, trains for cars, and cars for planes. It’s hard to go anywhere without interacting with some sort of technological service. Grocery stores have automated checkout, and hotels have automated check-in. Artificial intelligence may be closer than previously thought. According to the Deloitte Center for Industry Insights’ Annual 2017 Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook report, “Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are reaching a new level of maturity.” Technology and travel are, and have been, forever intertwined, and as travel grows, so does the technological advancements that propel travel. Here’s what you need to know to navigate the border between tech and travel.


Meet OTA’s New Spring Intern, Christian Cholcher

Learn More About Christian’s Involvement with OTA

Please join us in welcoming our newest intern, Christian Cholcher. A senior at The Ohio State University, Christian is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in English, with a focus in Creative Writing and a minor in Professional Writing. With his love for both fiction and poetry writing, Christian hopes to use his creative skills in the professional world. After graduation in May 2017, Christian hopes to pursue a career in magazine writing, novel writing or publishing.


Ohio Travel Association's 2016 Highlights

A Year in Review

It’s that time of year when we reflect on the past, yet set our eyes on the future. As OTA is led by the industry, your feedback and involvement is what helps keep us focused on what is important to you and your business. Here’s a quick 2016 wrap-up touching a few of our many accomplishments and activities. To name a few, we kept you up-to-speed on industry trends and happenings with 90 unique stories delivered to your inbox, helped you save money through two new cost-savings programs, advocated on your behalf, graduated 24 OTLA students, awarded 43 awards to organizations and industry members, brought you four cutting-edge education sessions, created $1.4 million in business at Heartland Travel Showcase and much, much more. Discover the progress we made in 2016 as we continue the momentum for 2017.


Introducing the Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy Class of 2017!

The Ohio Travel Association sends a warm welcome to the 2017 members of the Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy. Upon completing the six-month program, classmates will graduate at the Ohio Conference on Travel in late-fall, joining more than 130 existing alumni who have gone on to serve on state and national boards, lead tourism development efforts throughout the state, hold public offices and represent the interests of the tourism industry in their community, regions, state and nation.


Making the Most of Heartland Travel Showcase

Heartland Travel Showcase is a group tour tradeshow, produced by the Ohio Travel Association, focused on the Heartland region of the United States. In its 32nd year, Heartland Travel Showcase (HTS) provides the opportunity for tour operators from across the country to meet via scheduled appointments with exhibitors from 12 states. This year, the showcase will take place in Pigeon Forge, TN from March 3-5. Learn more about the show, why it is important for the industry and ways to benefit from attending.


Interview Tips for Hiring Great Customer Service

Finding Employees with Exceptional Customer Service Skills

Employees are a representation of your brand. Your staff members must effectively use their knowledge, skills and positive attitude to solve problems and represent your business every day.


Toledo Museum of Art Leverages New Technology to Enhance Experiences

Multisensory App Takes Visitors on a Scavenger Hunt

The travel industry is typically one of the first industries to take advantage of new technology to enhance visitors’ experience. The Toledo Museum of Art launches a new multisensory app on Dec. 27, during the Great Art Escape, an annual indoor Block Party. This new app takes visitors on a treasure hunt to find clues and solve a mystery all while interacting with the museum’s artwork. The app also features poetry inspired by works of art in the Toledo Museum of Art collection, a multimedia guide for the upcoming exhibition Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, as well as accessibility features to meet the needs of all visitors. This app will be used as a platform for different programs and experiences at the museum. Get the inside look at how this project was developed and staged to provide a unique experience for museum guests. Hear from Maria Iafelice, Docent Program Manager and TMAPP project manager at the Toledo Museum of Art, on leveraging new technology to enhance an experience.


OTA Educates Presidential Candidates on Travel Economy Importance

Work Continues with Transition Teams

During the recent presidential campaigns, OTA was one of the organizations US Travel called upon to establish relationships with both presidential candidates. We met with leaders in Trump and Clinton campaigns, as well as leadership in some senatorial races. Following Election Day, US Travel reached to us again to build upon these contacts with the Trump transition team. This week, Crain's Cleveland Business published an article written by our executive director, Melinda Huntley.


OTA Membership Survey Results

Ensuring Your Needs Are Met

The Ohio Travel Association board of directors and staff take our work seriously and your input even more seriously. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about OTA programming, events, resources and opportunities offered this past year through the 2016 OTA Membership Survey. As OTA plans for 2017, your insight is used to guide the organization in the New Year.


Collaboration: Bakeries and Butler County Visitors Bureau

Using Existing Assets to Create New Experiences for Visitors

Through partnership, a small idea snowballs into a new product. For the Butler County Visitors Bureau, a unique idea turned into a tasty trail full of donuts, not to mention sales. In a continued OTA series, we explore how bakeries and a local CVB came together to bring visitors a unique experience. More than 4,600 people have completed the trail since it launched in 2016. Approximately 50% of those completing the trail live outside of Butler County, and 26% of these out-of-towners were visiting Butler County for the first time. Hear from Tracy Kocher, Director of Marketing for Butler County Visitors Bureau, on how to make collaboration thrive.


Vikings: Beyond the Legend Exhibit. Discover How This Exhibit was Produced Through Collaboration Both Locally and Internationally

Get the Behind-the-Scenes Look

Through collaboration, partnership and creativity, the Cincinnati Museum Center staff produced a new 15,000-square-foot attraction within the museum. With more than 500 artifacts from the Swedish History Museum and a 122-foot-long ship, Cincinnati Museum Center has brought the world of the Vikings alive with Vikings: Beyond the Legend exhibit. The exhibit features the Roskilde 6 ship, the only artifact from the National Museum of Denmark and the first-ever appearance in the United States. Hear from Ann Hobing and Dave Duszynski, with Cincinnati Museum Center, as you get the behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce an incredible attraction.


New Member Highlight: Homestead Furniture & The Gardens at Homestead

Interview with Codi Mast, Marketing and Event Coordinator

Meet the Ohio Travel Association's new member, Homestead Furniture & The Gardens!


Save Money, and Get Your Share of the Group Travel Market

Register Before the Holidays for the 2017 Heartland Travel Showcase

If you're looking to boost group travel sales, act quickly to reserve your spot at the Heartland Travel Showcase, Mar. 3-5 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Don't forget; OTA members get a discounted rate. Learn more about the business opportunities available to you.


Create a Scholarship and Education Opportunity for Your Employees and Area Partners

Strengthen Leadership at Your Organization through the Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy

Looking to build strong tourism partners in your community? Do you want to boost your employees’ knowledge and involvement with tourism, leadership and networking? Consider creating a scholarship to send employees and area partners through the Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy.


Ohio Conference on Travel: It's a Wrap!

Nearly 600 Travel Industry Members Joined for the Event

This year at the Ohio Conference on Travel, approximately 600 travel industry members met in the Hilton Columbus at Easton hotel in Columbus, Ohio to discuss travel trends and opportunities, as well as to hear from national experts. The conference, sponsored by the Ohio Travel Association and the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association, was held Oct. 26-28.


Join the Conversation: Network and Engage During Conference

Use These Four Ideas to Engage #OCOT16

Engage with colleagues, and join the conversation at conference where more than 500 industry members will convene to learn, network and be inspired. On Twitter? Follow the hashtag #OCOT16 and @OhioTravel for live tweets of the entire Ohio Conference on Travel. Prefer Facebook? Follow the Ohio Travel Association on Facebook here. Use these four ideas to engage with us and the industry.


Institute for Hospitality Leadership Launches in Cincinnati with OTA as a Partner

Creating Skilled Workers and Leaders is the Goal

The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced the creation of the Institute for Hospitality Leadership and is working with the Ohio Travel Association as a partner. The Institute will work with schools, colleges and hospitality businesses to create a curriculum to prepare more skilled workers and leaders for the continued expansion of the travel and hospitality sector.


Interview with Debra Jasper, Mindset Digital

Learn More on this Topic at Conference

Debra Jasper, Ph.D, Founder and CEO of Mindset Digital, is an international keynote speaker passionate about creating and delivering highly visual, engaging presentations and stories. Before starting Mindset Digital, Jasper spent seven years directing the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at The Ohio State University, where she launched the first social media fellowship for journalists in the nation, showing reporters from CNN, 60 Minutes, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and other top newsrooms how to take advantage of the latest channels. Get a sneak peek of the topic below, and make sure that you are registered for conference.


New Member Highlight: Culbertson Brand Group, LLC

Please welcome the Ohio Travel Association's new member, Culbertson Brand Group, LLC. This company works with CVBs and tourism entities across the state through consultation and marketing strategies. Learn more about this company through a quick interview.


Interview with John Lambeth, Founder and President of Civitas Advisors and Speaker at the Ohio Conference on Travel

Learn More on this Topic at Conference

John Lambeth, founder and president of Civitas Advisors, specializes in developing unique funding strategies for tourism and travel promotion. He has spent 20-plus years working with destination marking organizations and state travel offices. He has assisted with the formation and renewal of 125-plus improvement districts, including 83 tourism districts. John will be covering the topic, “Tourism Improvement Districts: A Stable Funding Source for Travel Priorities” at the 2016 Ohio Conference on Travel. Get a sneak peek of the topic below, and make sure that you are registered for conference.


Interview with Jonathan Grella, Executive Vice President of the U.S. Travel Association and Speaker at the Ohio Conference on Travel

Learn More on this Topic at Conference

Jonathan Grella, Executive Vice President of the U.S. Travel Association, heads the communications, government relations, research, grassroots and the political action committee (PAC) of U.S. Travel’s renowned advocacy program. Jonathan will be covering the topic, “Transforming Travel – Travel Trends and Forecasts” at the 2016 Ohio Conference on Travel. Get a sneak peek of the topic below, and make sure that you are registered for conference.


Interview with Mary Cusick, Director of TourismOhio and Speaker at the Ohio Conference on Travel

Learn More on this Topic at the 2016 Ohio Conference on Travel

Mary Cusick, Director of TourismOhio, leads the state’s efforts to market Ohio as a destination of choice. She has spearheaded the creation of the first-ever strategic plan for tourism in Ohio, drove the process for building a new TourismOhio website and worked with industry stakeholders and partners to develop a compelling, distinctive brand for Ohio. Mary will be covering the topic, “Who’s Who and What’s What? An Overview of Ohio’s Visitors’ Study” at the 2016 Ohio Conference on Travel. Get a sneak peak of the topic below, and make sure that you are registered for the 2016 Ohio Conference on Travel.


The LGBT Market: Best Practices and Trends

Learn About the Diversity and Opportunities Available within the LGBT Market

The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) market is growing. This community has received a large amount of attention within the travel industry because LGBT individuals travel one and a half more times than travelers outside of this demographic. If you are avoiding marketing acknowledgement to the LGBT community, then you are missing out on opportunities and jeopardizing your business’s hospitality image. Ensure that your business is adopting best practices and the proper training to be welcoming and hospitable to all people. Learn about this growing market and what it means to be LGBT-friendly.


Double Your Advertising Budget for FREE

Register Today to Learn About the 2017 TourismOhio Co-Op

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to grow your advertising budget for FREE! As an Ohio travel destination or attraction, you can take advantage of a great opportunity to request up to $25,000 in state-matching funds to promote your business in 2017 by participating in TourismOhio’s Co-Op Advertising Program. For every dollar you invest in the co-op, TourismOhio will match dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000!


Beauty is in the Eye of the Internet User

Tips for Boosting Your Business Via the Ever-changing Internet

Have you recently assessed how you can improve your business’s online presence to better connect with today’s travelers? Technology is always changing. In a study conducted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), travelers consistently indicated that the internet is their number one source when it comes to travel planning. So what can you do to take advantage of this trend?


TourismOhio Advisory Board Gets Campaign Updates and Hears Future Plans

Holiday Campaign to Kick Off

The TourismOhio Advisory Board met yesterday, Sept. 8. This 9-member board advises the Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and the Director of TourismOhio on strategies for promoting Ohio travel. Advisory Board members attending the meeting included Dan Sullivan (HNS Sports Group), Dan Young (Young’s Jersey Dairy), Lee Alexakos (Cedar Fair) and William Kilimnik (The Golden Lamb).


Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA) and Panelists Educate Ohio Businesses on the Student and Youth Travel Market

Ohio Travel Association Workshop Helps Businesses Grow their Product

On Sept. 7, the Ohio Travel Association hosted a Back to School Workshop to engage industry members in the student and youth travel market. Last year, the student travel industry accounted for 24 percent of the world’s travelers. Attendees learned this and more while also developing their own itineraries with regional partners at the workshop.


Meet OTA’s New Communications Intern, Shana Meyer

Please join us in welcoming our new intern, Shana Meyer. Shana is a senior at The Ohio State University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication and a minor in Professional Writing. She has always had a passion for traveling and exploring and is incredibly excited to merge this passion with her professional goals. Upon graduation in May 2017, Shana hopes to work in the field of hospitality event planning.


Interview with Jacquie Chakirelis, Senior Digital Media Expert and Speaker at the Ohio Conference on Travel

Jacquie Chakirelis, Senior Strategic Partner of Advance Ohio, works with the nation’s top media companies that have a proven track in digital marketing and online audiences. With a background in sales, marketing and digital marketing strategies, Jacquie will be covering the topic, “How to Leverage Digital Interactions to Harness Data to Grow Revenue and ROI” at the 2016 Ohio Conference on Travel. Get a sneak peak of the topic below, and make sure that you are registered for the 2016 Ohio Conference on Travel


Travel Technology Trends to be Closely Monitored

Six Key Advancements That Could Change Marketing

Technology trends constantly change, opening up new opportunities for the travel industry. PokémonGo, an augmented reality experience, happened overnight, allowing for increased revenue for businesses that leveraged the opportunity. Learn about six key advancements that are beginning to gain momentum including, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, robots and drones based upon a PWC Global report.


Interview with Melissa Luebbe, National Travel Director and Speaker at the Ohio Conference on Travel

Melissa Luebbe, National Director of Meredith Travel Marketing, and former member of the U.S. Travel Association Board of Directors, is an industry leader in content marketing. With a background in research and understanding how travelers make purchasing decisions, she will be discussing the results of a survey of nearly 13,000 female travelers at the 2016 Ohio Conference on Travel. Melissa will be speaking on the topic, “Redefining the Female Traveler, with Generational Insights.” Get a sneak peak of the topic below, and make sure that you are registered for the 2016 Ohio Conference on Travel.


Industry Members Learn About ODNR's Resources

Nature-based tourism has become a huge component of the travel industry. On Aug. 3, OTA members and partners learned about the many ways they can work together with Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) staff by visiting the Resources Park at the Ohio State Fair. Attendees even discussed new ways that they can partner, while also learning about the experiences and opportunities available to their businesses.


OTLA Group Project Highlight: Tourism’s Economic Impact on Ohio Counties

Tourism is big business in Ohio, generating $42 billion for our economy. In the past, TourismOhio has offered county destination marketing organizations (such as cvbs) the opportunity to purchase countywide or regional reports, showing more local impact. One Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy group explored who purchases these surveys and how the information is used.


OTLA Group Project Highlight: Examining the Role of Tourism in Historic Preservation

Partnering with Historical Sites

Is it the responsibility of the travel industry to help protect historic attractions, or is this something sites should do on their own? According to one Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy (OTLA) group, the answer is simple. We are one industry with one voice. Sectors must work together in order to advance as one. This group explored ways the industry can help to preserve and promote historic attractions by recalling specific examples of collaboration and unison.


TourismOhio Advisory Meeting Held July 15

Marketing and PR Updates, Plans for the Future Discussed

The TourismOhio Advisory Board met yesterday at the offices of Cult Marketing. Appointed by the governor, advisory board members provide important industry feedback and insights to TourismOhio and the Development Services Agency.


New Pokémon GO Encourages Travel

How to Add Stops, Report Unsafe Stops and Leverage Business

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve either heard about the Pokemon craze or witnessed some of your guests glued to their mobile phones more than usual. Launched just a week ago, Pokemon Go has already surpassed Twitter in the number of daily users and has already doubled the level of Snapchat engagement. Like it or not, this virtual reality scavenger hunt is having an impact on the travel industry.


Sen. Portman Gathers Lake Erie Experts and Industry

Actions to Protect the Lake Outlined

Some of the leading Lake Erie researchers gathered last weekend at Lakeside thanks to U.S. Senator Rob Portman. Portman hosted an environmental roundtable to update the public on what’s being done to protect the waters. It was appropriate for the discussion to be held on the lawn of Hotel Lakeside, as the reason for having these discussions were right in front of us - the lake’s sparkling waters where kids paddle boarded through the waves.


Collaboration: History, Breweries and Partnership

Collaboration. Partnership. Working together is what we do in the travel industry. We leverage resources, increase knowledge and create richer guest experiences when we work with others. How can we look at collaboration strategically? We can collaborate based on place – working with others in our state, city or community. Or, we can collaborate across industry sectors. In a new OTA series, we’re going to examine strategic collaboration. We’ll start by dissecting ways the history sector of the industry can partner with the breweries sector.


OTLA Group Project Highlight: Healthy Water = Healthy Tourism

Reducing Dissolved Phosphorus, Using Prairie Grasses and Wildflower Buffer Strips

With 312 miles of coastline and more than 9,900 square miles of fresh water, Lake Erie attracts boaters, birders, anglers, recreationists and home-owners. They are drawn to the lake as a resource and place of recreation. In recent years, the lake has experienced increased harmful algal blooms. One Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy (OTLA) group looked at current research and unique ways to mitigate pollutants, not just in Lake Erie but throughout the state. By reducing dissolved phosphorus, one of the culprits of algal bloom development, using prairie grasses and wildflower buffer strips, improvements can be made to the waters’ health, thus leading to better tourism and recreation opportunities.


Ohio Heritage and Cultural Travelers Stay Longer and Spend More

Tips for Creating Exceptional Experiences, Marketing the Heritage Experience, and Connecting to Ohio's Travel Industry

Ohio's heritage is rich, steeped in inspiring stories and authentic places around every bend. To connect those who manage some of these amazing stories with the travel industry, the Ohio Travel Association worked with some of our state's heritage sites at the Ohio History Connection Annual Meeting last week. Thinking about how we create and market authentic Ohio products, we came up with the reminder to PAUSE and to think about Ohio's exceptional experiences.


OTLA Group Project Highlight: Reputation Management

Helping Members Build Reputation & CVBs Build Relationships

With a decline in traditional travel website usage, a demand for user-generated content and the rising importance of reputation management, one OTLA group focused on developing a creative design for a mobile app. This app could be used to build relationships among partners by forging reviews across social media platforms all in one easy-to-use app. Using TripAdvisor as a case study, the group even went as far as to provide engaging photos of the potential app as well as pricing information.


Apply Now for the 2016-2017 Ohio Travel Association Board

Interested in serving the industry as a member of the Ohio Travel Association (OTA) board? Nominations are due Aug. 2 to be on the slate for consideration at the OTA Annual Meeting (Oct. 27) during the Ohio Conference on Travel.


OTLA Group Project Highlight: Ohio Rivers Lack of Access = Lack of Recreation

With Lake Erie at one end and the Ohio River at the other, Ohio is a boater’s dream. In fact, the Great Miami River Watershed Water Trail was just designated by the U.S. Department of Interior as a National Water Trail, a distinction given to only 21 other trails in the country. But as one Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy (OTLA) group discovered, we can do more to ensure a positive outdoor recreation experience along Ohio’s waterways.


Keep Up with the Times, and Learn About 2016 Internet Trends

Do you know what works best with video advertising, what marketing techniques other businesses are using globally or how much time is spent on each social media app on average? Learn this and more in a “2016 Internet Trends Report” released by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). The report summarizes important data in reference to global internet trends, advertising and communication. We’ve summarized a few of the key findings to strengthen your brand and understand current trends.


OTLA Group Project Highlight: Meeting Expectations in Nature-Based Tourism

The final Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy (OTLA) session for 2016 was held this week. A highlight of the year, the final session includes group project presentations. Early on, classmates formed small groups and selected travel-related issues, and began researching and developing solutions. Each group presented their ideas in front of peers and colleagues this week. We’ll highlight each project in eClips over the next six weeks. This week, we’re talking about “Meeting Expectations in Nature-Based Tourism,” a project introduced by Chad Duplain with OTA, Tammy Terry with ODNR and Kelsey Wagner with Great Lakes Publishing.


Interview with Barbara Wold, Customer Experience Expert and Speaker at the Ohio Conference on Travel

Barbara Wold, CEO of Barbara Wold International, is known internationally for her exceptional speeches and topics related to the tourism and hospitality industry, specifically retail and consumer markets. With a background in retail experience and sales management, she is known for giving engaging, personal talks that connect to the audience. Barbara will be speaking on the topic, “Moving Tourists from Mere Satisfaction to Real Advocacy” at the upcoming Ohio Conference on Travel. Here’s a sneak peak of the subject she will be covering.


Q & A: Ohio History Connection’s Engagement with the Travel Industry

Historic Preservation and the Travel Industry

As one of the largest historic site systems in the country, Ohio History Connection is a valuable component of the travel and tourism industry. The organization oversees more than 50 historic sites and museums across 40 counties. In a recent interview with Brian Cheek, Marketing Manager at the Ohio History Connection, the relationship between the Ohio History Connection and the Ohio travel industry was further expounded. Learn what programs and resources are available to your business, and discover the impactful work the Ohio History Connection does for the industry.


Three Reasons Why Receiving an Award is Good for Business

Apply Now for the 2016 RUBY Awards

The RUBY Awards are one of the highest honors Ohio travel industry businesses receive. Every year, the Ohio Travel Association hand-selects expert judges from across the country to review applicants in 16 unique marketing categories. Awards are given depending on marketing budget size, making the process competitive, yet fair. With the application process now open until Aug. 31, here are three reasons why receiving awards are good for your business.


Meetings Mean Business, and a New Website Helps You Spread that Word

Facts, Talking Points, Infographics and other Tools Demonstrate the Value of Business Travel

Meetings Mean Business is a newly-launched national coalition showcasing the value that business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and conventions bring to people, businesses and communities. Its new website features links to meetings research, infographics, talking points and other useful tools for communicating the importance of in-person gatherings to your business and community.


OTA Helps Members with Substantial BWC Savings, Education and Service

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 Algal Blooms Projected to be Milder than Last Year

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…


Tips on Submitting a Winning RUBY Award Entry

The Inside Scoop from a Judge’s Perspective

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.


Newly Launched Heartland Travel Showcase Website Boasts Online Registration for Group Tour Sector of Industry

Website Users Find Valuable Resources at heartlandtravelshowcase.com

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 Best Practices Tailored to the Tourism Industry

Quick and Easy Methods to Launch and Grow Your Instagram Account

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.


Ohio Tourism Momentum Continued in 2015 with $42 Billion in Visitor Spending

New Economic Impact Information Released

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! Group Tour Marketing Meeting May 27th

Ohio's Industry-led Group Tour Marketing Partnership Invites all to Attend

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.


TripAdvisor Shares Tips on Leveraging and Managing Online Reputations

Ohio Travel Association Workshops Help Ohio Businesses Succeed Online

"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.


Ohio Travel Industry Celebrates National Tourism Week

Product Launches, Special Events and Opportunities to Share the Travel Economy Story Highlight the Festivities

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.


Agritourism and Capital Bills Head to the Governor's Office

Another House Bill Proposes Tax Exemption of Digital Advertising Purchases

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.


New Public Opinion Poll Released about Great Lakes Importance

Talking Points Shaped to Support Restoration and Protection

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.


Recent Travel Research Shows Promising Outlook for 2016 Leisure Market

Increased intent to travel and low gas prices among the signals

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.


Support Travel during National Travel & Tourism Week

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.


The New Ohio Brand Concept. What You Need to Know

"Ohio. Find it Here" Brand Concept is Adaptable, Unique, Inspiring and Tested

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.


Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy Accepting 2016 Applicants

Join Your Industry Colleagues for this Intensive Exploration of Ohio Tourism

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.


Meet OTA's Communications Manager, Chad Duplain

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.


Opportunities for Leveraging Ohio's Great Outdoors

New Report Shares Findings of Recent Studies and Conversations with Ohio's Travel Businesses

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.


Ohio Travel Industry Gets Up Close and Personal with Outdoor Recreation Resources

OTA and ODNR Team Up for Tourism Day at the Ohio State Fair


Statehood Day: Ohio’s Past and Ohio’s Future

3/4/14 (Columbus)-Representatives of Ohio's historical sites and business community (including several from the tourism industry) gathered at the Ohio Statehouse on Feb. 27 for the 2014 Statehood Day hosted by the Ohio Historical Society, Heritage Ohio, and Preservation Ohio. Statehood Day is an opportunity for attendees to meet with legislators on important history related topics. The 2014 event emphasized the... Read More>>


Proposed Regulations Target Ohio's $220 Million Recreational Hunting Industry, 550,000 Hunters

3/4/14 (Columbus) -Over half million Ohio hunters may be impacted by recently proposed changes to ODNR regulations, including increased permit fees, county-by-county bag limits, and relaxed rifle restrictions. The Division of Wildlife just held a series of public meetings to gather comments about the new regulations. Added cost may be a factor for some hunters during the 2014-15 season if new rules take effect, particularly a planned increase to Read More>>






Supporting the Efforts of the Office of TourismOhio

Members of the newly appointed TourismOhio Advisory Board convened for the first time on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 from 1-3:00 p.m. at the Vern Riffe Center in Columbus.


Government Shutdown


Travel Information Center Brochure Distribution


Register for the Back to School Workshop