Getting the Inside Scoop

Knowledge is power, and Hamilton County Tourism wants to make sure it has the insider info it needs to continue to drive visitors to the area. To do that, Tourism plans to increase investment in research by about 60 percent over the next year. That will allow the staff to gain more insights on tourism trends, which in turn will drive more targeted marketing and product development.

The investment comes into four parts. First, it would mean adding to data it already receives from STR, known for its hotel research. The additional data would dig even deeper into the research to help determine revenue generated from sporting events and also look at occupancy forecasting for up to 18 months.

“We want to be smarter about hotel occupancy and trends,” said Karen Radcliff, Hamilton County Tourism’s deputy director. “It will shape our decisions and provide greater insight to our partners.”

The second tier of the research investment would provide a deeper profile on visitors to Hamilton County – their demographics, their satisfaction ratings and especially their spending patterns and the impact that brings.

Meredith Publications, the publisher of Midwest Living magazine, recently rolled out a market research program using a panel made up of readers who travel. Because Midwest Living travelers match the profile of Hamilton County visitors, Tourism would use the panel to test market products and potential advertising images and messaging.

Finally, Hamilton County Tourism is considering data from TAP, which is focused on group travel research and hotel occupancy projections. That data would be invaluable for both the leisure and sports travel markets.

“It’s a big investment, but there are a number of factors that are changing the face of tourism in Hamilton County as we know it – new attractions, a shift in peak travel days, Hamilton County Tourismshorter booking windows, and the new Millennial traveler to name a few,” said Radcliff. “We want to be prepared for change so that growth continues.”

Moving that House

Saved from demolition, the historic, 153-year-old Kincaid House moved from 106th Street to its new home a half mile down the road to the west side of Navient’s campus, where the two-story brick farmhouse will be visible from Interstate 69.

Hamilton County Tourism worked in partnership with Nickel Plate Arts, Noblesville Preservation Alliance, Indiana Landmarks and other local groups to stop the demolition of the house in June, and launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to cover the cost of the move. Developer Thompson Thrift – which donated $20,000 to the fund - had planned to raze the building.

Commonly known as the Kincaid House, the Italianate-style farmhouse once was owned by Gen. Thomas Armstrong Morris, a key player in building Indiana railroads and the canal systems. Loma Kincaid - founder of Kincaid’s meat market – later bought the house and passed it down to heirs before it was sold to the developer.

“Saving this house is saving a slice of Indiana history, and we’re grateful that Navient has generously donated land for the house, while Thompson Thrift not only donated funds toward the move, but graciously held off razing the structure, so we could work with other community organizations to save this landmark,” said Brenda Myers, executive director of Hamilton County Tourism.

Tourism in partnership with other organizations will conduct a study to determine the best use for the house. The public is invited to share its ideas online.

New Technology to Help your Business

Two new technologies – Google Business View and Peoplocity – could make reaching consumers easier for Hamilton County businesses. Google is taking its popular streetview maps inside for Google Business View, which is working with Hamilton County Tourism to help give visitors a look inside restaurants, attractions and event venues.

Ashley Ledford, Hamilton County Tourism’s director of marketing and promotions, said the new technology can accomplish two things: It can increase websites’ visitor traffic through Google searches and also give consumers the kind of visual information they seek.

A second technology – Peoplocity – is an app developed through Launch Fishers that allows consumers to connect directly with businesses through the app available on Google Play and iTunes. It makes connections nearly instantaneous, while also providing ways to post comments on social media sites. Hamilton County partners interested in learning more about either technology should contact Ledford at aledford@hamiltoncountytourism.com or 317.660.4036.

We Are All-In

Hamilton County Tourism, the Current and Indiana Humanities are partnering on an exciting initiative called ALL-IN. You may have read about it in the Current but are unsure how your organization can get involved. Well, it’s easy! Here are three ways to participate in the fun, community-building activity:

1. Promote your location via social media for appropriate challenges (i.e. try an ethnic restaurant, identify a hidden gem, share a beautiful place of worship and reflection) 2. Challenge your employees to go ALL-IN and use it as a team-building activity 3. Participate individually and compete for prizes! (Don’t forget to use #ALLin_HC)

So far, hundreds of people across Indiana have participated in the challenges together, including corporations, nonprofit organizations, communities, and schools.