Visit Champaign County proudly accepted the award for the Best Branding Initiative during the 2018 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism, held February 26–28 in Chicago.
Annually, the State presents the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards to honor innovative tourism marketing initiatives that promote the outstanding destinations, attractions and events throughout the State of Illinois. Any tourism-related business is encouraged to apply for any of the eleven award categories, including Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), attractions, hotels and more. Each category contained a Budget A for organizations with annual operating budgets of $500,000 and above, and Budget B for organizations with budgets under $500,000.
Visit Champaign County submitted their “Faces of Travel” campaign that ran during the 2017 National Travel & Tourism Week, May 7–13. During the week, various individuals representing the tourism industry were featured through video, welcoming visitors to the area.
“From the frontline staff at the I Hotel to the bus driver with the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District to the barista at a local café, these are the faces and the voices of the greater Champaign County area,” explains Terri Reifsteck, Vice President of Marketing at Visit Champaign County. “As brand ambassadors, we wanted to showcase the diversity of personalities and attractions that visitors can expect when coming to town.”
Fourteen individuals were selected to deliver personal welcome messages through video—Carol at the Virginia Theatre; Dave at William M. Staerkel Planetarium; Rich at Krannert Art Museum; Justin at JT Walker’s Brewery; Tracey at the I Hotel & Conference Center; Julie at Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch; Vern at CU Mass Transit District; Carolyn at Cinema Gallery; Pete at Bergie’s; Mohammad at Strawberry Fields; Wes at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery; Jamarr at Aroma Café; interns at the Japan House, and Jordan at Allerton Park & Retreat Center.
The videos were released throughout the week across social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and were widely shared and commented on from residents and visitors alike. The videos were seen over 8,500 times with over 15,575 impressions on Facebook. In addition to the welcome messages, this video provided a wrap-up of the past year with highlights of various events, conferences and moments that showcase our Outside of Ordinary destination.
Competing in the Budget A category, Visit Champaign County was up for Best Branding alongside large entities such as the Shedd Aquarium, Visit Lake County, Great Galena Marketing, Greater St. Charles CVB, and Rockford Area CVB.
“The people of the greater Champaign County area are our biggest asset,” states Jayne DeLuce, President & CEO. “It’s only fitting that we took home an award on behalf of those that make up our Outside of Ordinary destination.”