SIDNEY — As has been its mission since inception in 2002, increasing the regional visibility of Sidney and Shelby County as a recreation travel option continued as the primary focus of the Sidney Visitors Bureau last year.
“The promotion efforts of the Sidney Visitors Bureau reached more than 5 million people in 2016,” said President Jeff Raible. “In total, the Visitors Bureau fulfilled more than 8,100 personal requests for information about events, attractions, and hotels in the Sidney area. All requests received a formal reply through the mail that included a cover letter accompanied by a Sidney Visitors Guide and seasonally specific information about upcoming events and attractions. Email replies that included an electronic version of the visitor’s guide with link to the Visitors Bureau web site were also sent when possible.”
His report continues:
Newspaper, magazine, and electronic advertising were each used to reach would-be travelers. The Bureau placed advertisements in travel and family oriented consumer magazines, major city newspaper inserts, and the Ohio Travel Guide. In addition, an increasing number of ads were placed in what is today the most prevalent form of travel promotion —electronic advertising and the internet. E-newsletter ads, online articles, web site banner advertisements, the State of Ohio travel app, and listings with links on travel related web sites are just a few examples of how the Sidney area was promoted using a variety electronic tools. Targeted, broadcast email strategies were also employed.
For the fourth year in a row, the Sidney Visitors Bureau partnered with neighboring Visitors Bureaus in Darke, Miami, Auglaize, Mercer and Van Wert counties to exhibit at the AAA Great Vacation Expo in Columbus. This annual three-day show is well attended by consumers looking for both day trip and overnight vacation getaways. In total the Sidney Visitors Bureau handed out 900-plus packets of information to patrons visiting our booth. According to AAA, more than 10,000 attended the show.
Brochure distribution services were another effective promotional tool for the Bureau in 2016. The Sidney Visitors Bureau distributed its area visitor guide at rack locations along Interstate 75 from Toledo, Ohio to Chattanooga, Tennessee and along Interstate 69 and Interstate 70 in Indiana. In addition, guides were strategically displayed in a number of Ohio Department of Transportation Travel Information Centers across the state.
Event support comprised yet another of our major marketing efforts last year. We assisted with the promotion of many area events to include the Mayfest Soccer Classic, Shelby County Fair, the Shelby County Historical Society’s Living History Weekend, Downtown Sidney activities, Alumapalooza, Country Concert, the Rebel Run Rod & Custom Nationals Show, Buckeye Farm Antiques Show, Ohio Jersey Breeders Show, Shelby County Farm Tour, and many others.
The Visitors Bureau website, www.visitsidneyshelby.com saw significant traffic and improved site engagement in 2016 as evidenced by data gathered using Google Analytics. Search Engine Marketing strategies using Google AdWords also contributed significantly to growing web site traffic for the Bureau.
Further, an emphasis on social media promotion last year saw significant impact particularly on Facebook where Sidney Visitors Bureau reach increased 13 times over that of the year before. Twitter and Instagram were also regularly used to reach follows on those social media channels.