Danville tourism plans ad blitz in new fiscal year

The Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau plans to nearly quadruple its spending on advertising to promote the area to tourists next fiscal year.

The growth in the CVB’s “ad placement” budget line from $18,000 to $70,000 is fueled mainly by an anticipated $90,000 increase in room tax revenue, CVB Executive Director Jennifer Kirchner said.

The opening of the Holiday Inn Express on the south end of Danville is expected to help grow the revenue from the room tax, she said.

“Based on the information I gathered from the hotels and their projections, we felt safe about adding $90,000,” she said. “… So it’s a real game-changer for us.”

Kirchner said thanks to completion of the recent rebranding study and finishing up some other planning projects, the CVB is “ready to pull the trigger” on much more amped-up external marketing activities.

“We’ve been doing a lot of planning for the last couple years, and I really see this as the budget to have the rubber meet the road,” she said. “The timing is great that we have the highest amount of revenue and we’re also ready to hit it with our branding complete … This is the fiscal year that I’ve been waiting for, that we actually have a number of things we’ve been working on in place and we can go and really effectively execute our mission, more so than we’ve ever been before.”

The bigger budget means the CVB will be busier — a fact that Kirchner said led to the organization stepping away from a job it’s held for a year — managing communications and public relations for the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership.

“There’s just too much that the CVB needs to do for me to split my time,” she said. “The board had to make some decisions about what we’re going to do and they felt that keeping me focused on the CVB was the greatest value. And I’m very pleased with that.”

EDP Chairman Ben Nelson said the EDP contracted for communications services with the CVB for one year after former communications director Kasey Hill left. Now, the EDP will need to look elsewhere for those services.

“If they feel like her plate is overloaded, I certainly understand,” he said.

Kirchner said the CVB also plans to attend at least one “travel trade show” in the new fiscal year — something it’s not been able to do before because it didn’t have the funds. Such trade shows attract people who work in travel promotions, such as reviewers. Different locations can attend and set up booths to pitch their area and attract interest. Kirchner said it can cost around $8,000 to send someone to a trade show.

The CVB is also interested in doing more to use Shaker Village in Mercer County to attract tourists.

“That is a major attraction that (hotels) are seeing people come here for,” she said. “Tourists don’t know county lines — they don’t matter. So we’ve incorporated Shaker Village into some of our marketing efforts, which seems like a no brainer — why not, right? — they’re hugely successful.

“And a lot of people go to Shaker Village and then they come to Danville to eat. And if they don’t want to stay in Shaker Village, they stay here.”

Other items in the CVB’s budget, which was approved by its board Monday, include:

• $10,000 in savings for the future purchase of new signs once a wayfinding study by the City of Danville is completed;

• $13,000 to conduct a feasibility study to see if Danville could attract a downtown hotel;

• $25,000 to overhaul the CVB’s website; and 

• $20,000 for community development grants, up from $13,550 this year.

The total budget for 2017-18 is $366,000, up almost $84,000 from a projected total of $282,117 this year.

Graphic courtesy Convention and Visitors Bureau
Taken from the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s recent rebranding study, a graphic shows one option for advertising the area on a billboard.