Northeast Iowa RC&D staff members Amanda Streeper, Jared Nielsen, Austin Feuerhelm, and Mallory Hanson had the opportunity to attend the Iowa Tourism Conference March 2-4. The conference was an excellent way for RC&D staff to engage with state influencers and our local partners. This year’s conference supplied great information on maintaining relevance as a destination and using innovative marketing techniques with a particular focus on social media (of course!). The conference also focused on the future of the tourism industry including:
- New tourist groups – Sessions focused on the intentionality of marketing in regards to knowing who your audience is and who a good audience would be. Staff learned that minority marketing will be a big push in the future and companies will find it imperative to diversify their marketing efforts through language and imagery in addition to maintaining creativity.
- Data behind the most effective marketing strategies – Video is key! As researchers evaluate the most effective marketing strategies, video consistently makes the most impact. Storytelling through video is currently one of the most effective marketing strategies.
- Technology in relation to the tourism industry – As technology advances faster each day, it is hard to imagine what the future traveler looks like and how technological interfaces will change our world. Speakers at the tourism conference discussed the ways our smartphones have and will continue to revolutionize the tourism industry including creating personalized visitor experiences, tracking travel tendencies, and the development of “do it all” apps.
RC&D Representation at Legislative Showcase
During the trip, the group also had the opportunity to talk with legislators at the Iowa Legislative Showcase about the importance of continued and expanded support of the tourism industry in Iowa. The event was well-attended by legislators and it was great to connect with the State’s legislators. RC&D staff helped represent the following groups: Iowa’s Scenic Byways, Turkey River Recreational Corridor, Northeast Iowa Tourism Association, Iowa Group Travel Association
Mallory Hanson visited the Iowa State Capitol for the quarterly Eastern Iowa Tourism Association meeting and met with local legislator Michael Bergan. While there Mallory was able to show Representative Bergan the RC&D art exhibit in the Capitol Library.
Northeast Iowa Recognized for Making an Impact in Tourism
The Northeast Iowa Tourism Association, Allamakee County Economic Development & Tourism, and Rod Marlatt all received 2020 Iowa Tourism awards for outstanding contributions to the tourism industry at the Tourism Conference.