Advertising, market research and data mining are the tools; jobs, tourism spending are goals

John Oliver, CEO of VisitErie, Erie County’s tourism promotion agency, has read the charge additional instances than he can try to remember.

It is really the assertion that Erie’s increasing tourism segment is a weak substitute for missing producing employment. It is a assertion wrapped in the assumption that Erie has to opt for just one or the other.

Oliver won’t see it that way.

John Oliver, CEO of VisitErie, is convinced that the future growth of Erie's business and industrial economy might be tied in part to an improving sense of place driven by a growing list of attractions.

John Oliver, CEO of VisitErie, is certain that the upcoming growth of Erie’s small business and industrial overall economy could be tied in part to an increasing perception of area driven by a growing record of points of interest.

In truth, he’s persuaded that the long run expansion of Erie’s small business and industrial overall economy could possibly be tied in element to an enhancing sense of position driven by a rising list of points of interest.

The addition in new years of quite a few wineries, a long listing of breweries, Splash Lagoon Indoor Drinking water Park, Presque Isle Downs & On line casino, the Bayfront Convention Centre and four bayfront hotels all have contributed to Erie’s enchantment.

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Individuals points of interest, alongside with Presque Isle Condition Park, Pennsylvania’s busiest condition park, enticed site visitors to commit far more than $1 billion in 2019.

While tourism expending has been increasing as a result of the decades — and has mainly recovered from a crash involved with COVID-19-linked shutdowns — Oliver stated VisitErie is not information with the position quo.

The group, he mentioned, has designs to direct and develop promoting and use exploration and facts mining with the hopes of bringing far more website visitors.

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“We are never content with the selection of visitors,” Oliver explained. “We know we can manage a lot more than we are obtaining.”

VisitErie isn’t really relying on a system of hope or even the information that, amid vacationer locations, Erie lives in a sweet place of very low-price communities that are likely to attract the bulk of its website visitors from in a two-hour generate.

Spreading the message

VisitErie will once more be advertising and marketing to potential website visitors from its core region of Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Buffalo.

In Pittsburgh, VisitErie has purchased advertising and marketing house at bus stops.

“Our message actually is that we are providing the escape that people are on the lookout for. We are giving them the notion of obtaining back to the family vacation that you employed to have,” Oliver said.

VisitErie, which extolled the virtues of salt-absolutely free, shark-cost-free shorelines in a previous promotion marketing campaign, has rolled out a few of new taglines.

1 of them is “Tall rides, quick strains.” The other is “Get unwined in Erie.”

“It is really type of a nostalgic experience for the way vacations utilised to be and how quick likely it is,” Oliver claimed. “Erie is type of an uncomplicated-peasy desired destination to come and get pleasure from what we have.”

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The Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, center, left, and the Bicentennial Tower are shown on Aug. 27. The addition in recent years of numerous wineries, a long list of breweries, Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park, Presque Isle Downs & Casino, the Bayfront Convention Center and four bayfront hotels all have contributed to Erie's appeal for tourists.

The Sheraton Erie Bayfront Lodge, middle, remaining, and the Bicentennial Tower are proven on Aug. 27. The addition in new many years of numerous wineries, a lengthy checklist of breweries, Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park, Presque Isle Downs & Casino, the Bayfront Conference Heart and four bayfront motels all have contributed to Erie’s enchantment for holidaymakers.

Details mining for tourism data

Though VisitErie raises the hope of a nostalgic pay a visit to, the organization’s approach to attract guests has less of an aged-time feel. It has signed a contract with a firm that will use publicly obtainable information and facts from mobile telephones and other devices to acquire facts from these who stop by or click on VisitErie advertisements.

In wide terms, “We want to find out who they are and we want to discover out what they do when they get listed here,” Oliver mentioned.

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Details from the enterprise will inform VisitErie if a potential customer sought information and facts and irrespective of whether they visited the tourism advertising agency’s website. It will also allow for Oliver’s staff members to observe how significantly a customer spends on lodging, foods and other points of interest.

All that data, he said, is aimed at extra concentrated advertising and marketing.

“It will really make it possible for us to identify and begin to target on what persons are on the lookout to do when they get listed here and are we achieving them. Is the message receiving to them?”

VisitErie also tracks experiences from Smith Journey Research, which gives information and facts about home rates and occupancy and from a new contract with a organization named Air DNA, which tracks the small-time period rental sector.

“This sort of information and investigation will enable us to phase up as an organization,” Oliver stated.

Oliver claimed the details really should prove beneficial to corporations this kind of as Scott Enterprises, the casino and Waldameer that market outdoors the region. Nick Scott Sr., president of Scott Enterprises, which owns Splash Lagoon and several lodges and eating places, reported he welcomes a lot more information and facts.

“I assume it will be very appealing,” he stated. “Any time you can get more details like that it allows you. It may well display how to access these people and probably some nuances about wherever they are coming from. I feel it really is a very good factor.”

People advantage from sights

Oliver says that visitor paying is just as very good for community residents who regular points of interest manufactured attainable by out-of-town site visitors.

For many years, that’s included shoppers, who arrive in research of tax-totally free buying on apparel.

“If we did not have readers coming in we would not have these sights,” Oliver reported. “If you appear at all the large box shops, there aren’t adequate of us who reside in Erie County to help all of those. We will need guests.”

These visitors assistance guidance shops that may possibly not or else exist in Erie.

Even at a time when file inflation and soaring fuel selling prices have quite a few of us sputtering, Oliver is predicting a hectic tourism period. Early travel quantities forecast he could be correct. Erie County hotel tax earnings is up for the to start with three months of the year when compared to 2021.

Scott explained his optimism is dependent in huge component on Erie County’s developing listing of attractions.

“We have this kind of a lovely waterfront and the downtown is coming alive,” Scott explained. “It is wonderful to see it take place. I know the foreseeable future bodes nicely.”

But what about the shorter-time period prospective clients — will inflation and large gasoline selling prices stand in the way?

Oliver mentioned he thinks Erie’s position as a relatively small-expense place will engage in to its advantage.

Us residents are worn out of remaining at property, held hostage by the pandemic.

“Touring is prime of mind,” Oliver reported. “The to start with thing they are nervous to do when they are equipped is to get out and travel. It is almost like a start ceremony.”

Make contact with Jim Martin at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ETNMartin.

This post initially appeared on Erie Occasions-Information: Erie tourism leaders are betting info will attract more people