Hamilton County Tourism won one of the country’s most prestigious destination awards at the Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) conference recently held in Austin, Texas.
The 2018 “Closer Than You Think” marketing campaign, which highlights experiences ranging from art performances, wine tasting and outdoor adventures in Hamilton County to the target market of Chicago, received the Destiny Award presented by the U.S. Travel Association. The Destiny Award was given to 23 U.S. destinations for excellence in marketing on the local and state level in a variety of categories.
“I am proud of our team at Hamilton County Tourism and our strategic partners that have worked together to create an inspiring campaign that targeted Chicago with a key message as an ideal place for a getaway,” said Ashley Ledford, Hamilton County Tourism’s director of marketing and promotions, who attended the ESTO conference.
The seven-person marketing team at HCT works closely with Three Sixty Group, an advertising agency in Indianapolis. The “Closer Thank You Think” campaign used TV, radio and print marketing to express how close – just three hours – Chicago is to Hamilton County.
The layered campaign generated $372 of visitor spending for every $1 spent on advertising – the best outcome thus far of any marketing campaign created by HCT. Locally, it generated $62 million in visitor spending in the county, according to market research conducted by SMARInsights.
“The HCT marketing team has taken integrated marketing to a whole new level,” said Brenda Myers, CEO/president of Hamilton County Tourism. “The team’s data-driven approach is soundly based on research, ongoing metrics and well-tested creative and success is demonstrated in the results.”
Hamilton County Tourism Inc. is a nonprofit, destination management organization that promotes tourism growth through strategic marketing, hospitality and development initiatives providing hospitality to more than four million visitors to Hamilton County, Indiana, each year.