In 2016, the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network invited ArtsWave, the lead fundraiser for approximately 100 area arts organizations, to join forces in a campaign to increase awareness of and attendance for the region’s arts and cultural experiences.
For the past decade, RTN has marketed Cincinnati as a leisure tourism destination during the peak vacation season – May through August. By expanding the season in 2016 to include September through December, and in targeting a new audience from as far as 500 miles, the RTN saw an increase in hotel occupancy, demand, and $14 million in additional revenue above the same four months in 2015.
Also, both the RTN’s CincinnatiUSA.com and ArtsWave’s CincyArtsGuide.com, enjoyed increased visitation and engagement by arts and cultural travelers from a 100-500 mile radius: Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte and more. Research also showed improvement in overall visitor perception of Cincinnati, including 1) intent to visit, 2) perception of Cincinnati as a quality arts and culture destination, 3) perception as a desirable place to live and work, and 4) an overall positive opinion of the region.
“We believed that we could raise positive public awareness of the region by promoting our arts and cultural assets to a broader geography,” said Alecia Kintner, CEO and president of ArtsWave. “And the results of this first campaign proved it to be true. Moreover, our local results echo national research that shows that cultural tourists spend more and stay longer than other travelers. This project leverages the arts to add economic and reputational value to the region.”
Funders of the first-year effort include the PNC Charitable Trusts, Western & Southern Financial Group, the Louise Taft Semple Foundation, the Thomas J. Emery Memorial, ArtsWave, the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network, thirteen local arts organizations (including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Arts Association), and more than a dozen individuals. Fundraising continues for the second year of the multi-year collaboration, as planning for the 2017 campaign, to run September through December, begins shortly.