Anderson/Madison County Visitors Blog
Annual Meeting Highlights
ESPN has a program on its schedule called “Numbers Never Lie.” Mark Twain may disagree with the premise of the show’s title, but numbers and statistics can often give us a snapshot of what is working and what isn’t.
Well, the numbers are in, and the results are clear.
The Visitors Bureau is one of the primary sources to learn about entertainment options in Madison County, and tourism is a thriving industry for our area.
For example, look at the numbers being produced by our web site, VisitAndersonMadisonCounty.com. In 2013 the site had nearly 1.8 million page views! A page view is just that—a view of one of the pages on the site, whether it be the home page, or the calendar, or an event, or any other page on the site.
The number seems staggering to many in the area that have heard it. Almost two million clicks on our web site in one year? It almost seems unreal. But the numbers are very real and look to grow higher in 2014. For instance, over 30,000 more page views were recorded in January 2014 than in January 2013. The numbers show that people like the site and are going to the site.
Another set of numbers shows the importance of tourism to Madison County. Rockport Analytics recently did a study for the State of Indiana and participating counties on the economic impact of tourism. The study found that in 2012 spending by visitors in Madison County totaled $135.3 million. The study also found that Madison County ranked 16th out of Indiana’s 92 counties in tourism spending, and 20th out of 92 in tourism growth. There is a lot more information in the report that we will release in the future. The bottom line is that investing in tourism is a good investment for Indiana and Madison County.
So, how do we build on our success? First, we have to continue to add more ways to market Madison County to the consumer. Secondly, and just as important as the first reason, we have to make sure those marketing tools fit the needs and wants of the consumer. I think we have done that with two new marketing initiatives that we introduced at our annual luncheon and meeting that was held at The Gaither Music Studios February 13.
We have produced a series of short videos that highlight some of our attractions in the county. The videos were created and produced by the Bureau in partnership with Brian Wrasman and his team at CrossPointe Studios (the creators of VisitAndersonMadisonCounty.com). Each of the videos is roughly three minutes in length or less. Four of the videos feature trip ideas and things you can do in a day around Madison County. Each of the days has a theme: relaxation, family fun, adventure, and arts and culture. A fifth video, which doesn’t have any voice over narration, promotes things to discover in Madison County.
The length of the videos is important. Consumers don’t want to spend ten minutes watching a video. They want to see highlights, have their interest piqued, and then investigate further if interested. The short videos are also the optimal length to best promote the area to motor coach tours and at leisure travel shows. The videos can be found on the home page of our web site, or by going to VisitAndersonMadisonCounty.com/tripideas.
The other new marketing initiative we announced at the annual luncheon and meeting was that the Bureau has teamed up with The Herald Bulletin on an exciting new venture that will help us promote the area to local residents and visitors alike!
Beginning in May 2014 the Bureau and the HB will join forces to produce a new magazine that will focus on Madison County entertainment, attractions, and tourism. The publication will be distributed free of charge within Madison County and also in select locations throughout the state. Look for the first issue around May 5. Two other issues will be produced during the year: one in late July just before the start of Indianapolis Colts Training Camp at Anderson University, and another in early October.
It is cold and snowy now, but spring, summer, warm temperatures and all of the fun things that come with them are right around the corner. It should be a great 2014!
News, notes, and thoughts— It was great to have our annual luncheon and meeting at the Gaither Music Studios in Alexandria. They are a great attraction for the county and Bill and Gloria Gaither are fabulous ambassadors for Alexandria and Madison County…Congratulations to Tammy Bowman for being honored with the Volunteer of the Year Award at the annual meeting. Tammy is with the South Madison Community Foundation and the vice president of the Bureau’s board of directors. She is one of our county’s emerging young leaders…Congratulations are also in order to Mike Kase of Hoosier Park Racing and Casino for being presented with the President’s Award at the meeting. The award goes to a person or organization that has a substantial impact on tourism. Mike works tirelessly to promote not only Hoosier Park, but the entire area to group and tourism leads. I’m fortunate that I have been able to call him a friend for many years…Welcome to the Bureau’s three newest board members who were elected to a three-year term at the annual luncheon and meeting: Rodney Chamberlain, Matt Rust, and Joe Morgan…Doug Scott, the general manager of the local Hampton Inn, has completed his term on the Bureau’s commission and board of directors. We appreciate his time and efforts…Finally, a quick note about George Vinson. With the annual luncheon and meeting concluded, George has finished his two year stint as board president. It has been a role reversal for George and me as I served as his board president when he was executive director of the Anderson Symphony Orchestra. I had huge shoes to fill when I followed the retiring Ralph Day at the Bureau. George has been with me every step of the way, easing the transition, championing ideas, and offering invaluable insight and guidance. Thanks for everything, George!
--Tom Bannon is executive director of the Anderson/Madison County Visitors Bureau