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A Publication of WTVP

Partnerships, cooperation, a regional approach and solid marketing are the qualities needed to make any destination great. If that’s the case, the Peoria area is on the verge of something wonderful.

Since July, the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has been spear heading a process to develop a regional, cooperative advertising campaign for the entire area. Two in-depth, interactive marketing sessions have taken place discussing what media is best, inventorying our region’s commonalties, and brainstorming on destination branding ideas. So far, we’ve had the support of several area mayors, chamber and tourism offices, economic development officers and business leaders in the hospitality industry.

Simply put, the Peoria area warrants a $250,000 to $500,000 annual marketing campaign targeting the Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis markets.

At our first interactive marketing session, we asked both our community leaders and business leaders to identify what they think are our area’s best assets.

Festivals and events, historic and cultural attractions, golf, the great outdoors, the river and gaming were all prevalent answers.

From these attributes, the process continued, answering the question of how do we successfully brand a destination so diverse and full of possibilities?

Once we completed our inventory of destination assets, we rolled out preliminary plans for the campaign. At this time we’ve structured the campaign on a four-tiered strategy: a $100,000 campaign would result in a print-only campaign focusing on newspaper display ads and inserts and magazine display ads in a variety of regional, travel, general interest, and hobby/recreation publications. With a $150,000 campaign we would add radio advertising to the mix to reinforce the print campaign. For $200,000, cable television and outdoor advertising would be added to the print and radio efforts with billboards in traffic intensive areas, transit advertising in metropolitan situations and format specific advertisements on cable television. Finally, for $250,000-plus, the campaign could further expand to include a larger target market area, direct mail and prime time network television.

As for the return on investment to our local economy, visitors annually reduce the state tax burden of our residents by $500. In 2000, every marketing dollar spent by the Peoria Area CVB provided a minimum return on investment of $27 to the local economies. Without the monies spent by visitors at our restaurants, attractions and shopping centers, it’s unlikely we would be able to enjoy the variety we currently take for granted.

The Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau firmly believes if you want people to buy into the program, you have to involve them in the process—that’s what partnerships are all about. As we move ahead with this regional, cooperative marketing campaign, we hope you will become part of the process and support your local tourism industry. IBI

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