For the last two years, ArtsWave, the planner, promoter and fundraiser for the arts throughout Greater Cincinnati, and the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network (RTN) have partnered to create a Cultural Tourism Marketing Campaign during the shoulder travel season of September through December. The campaign targets travelers within 500 miles of Cincinnati to visit and enjoy the region’s broad array of cultural arts experiences. This partnership is a part of a larger three-year agreement, spanning 2016 through 2018.

Since 2016, the $1.2 million campaign has created an incremental $116 million in cultural tourism revenues during the September through December travel season according to Smith Travel Research and Tourism Economics, a Division of Oxford Economics.

Success highlights for 2017 include $14 million in total hotel revenue, with a total tourism impact of $64 million, a $12 million increase over 2016. Top performing markets included: Dayton, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Atlanta. The 2017 marketing strategy focused on more than a dozen arts organizations’ fall season line-ups, plus two key events, BLINK and the RE(NEW)ED Celebration for newly opened Music Hall + More. A total of 80.7 million media impressions were delivered through the 2017 campaign.

Call to action for the 2017 campaign was tied to ArtsWave’s calendar, ArtsWave Guide (ArtsWave.org/Guide), the region’s most comprehensive arts and culture calendar, and the RTN’s website, CincinnatiUSA.com. Both ArtsWave Guide and CincinnatiUSA.com saw increased site traffic during the campaign. A new strategy included a database of arts and cultural tourism visitors built by the RTN through a newly designed newsletter that promotes cultural entertainment throughout the fall travel season.

The effort to drive fall tourism to the region by promoting arts and cultural entertainment is a first for the RTN, which continues to successfully market the region as a leisure tourism destination during the peak travel season of May through August. Linda Antus, President & CEO of the RTN, notes, “This partnership has allowed us to build upon the momentum of the region’s economic growth and cultural vitality and expand our season, message and audience to build the awareness, engagement, visitation and reputation of our region’s vibrant arts and cultural entertainment experiences.” Alecia Kintner, President & CEO of ArtsWave, adds, “The results of this campaign are a testament to both the economic engine and differentiator the arts have become for our region. This is important to employers as they attract and keep talent, and to us as residents who care about the long-term vibrancy and growth of our region.”

Funders of year two of three-year effort include the PNC Charitable Trusts, Western & Southern Financial Group, the Louise Taft Semple Foundation, the Thomas J. Emery Memorial, Ohio Valley Foundation, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Haile Foundation, Landen Family Foundation, an anonymous foundation,  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 third year of the multi-year collaboration, along with discussions about mechanisms for year-round funding in arts marketing, given the strong return on investment from this partnership. For more information, please contact Alecia Kintner at [email protected].