Exit 92 marketing campaign credited with bringing more travelers to Elkhart hotels

An Exit 92 billboard (photo supplied/Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau)

More travelers stayed at Elkhart lodging properties, and likely dining at local restaurants and shopping in local stores, and the credit has been given to a new marketing campaign this year that represented a partnership between the Elkhart Redevelopment Commission and the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Exit 92 marketing campaign, which started in April, targeted the 65 million travelers estimated to utilize the Indiana Toll Road every year. Exit 92 refers to the Indiana Toll Road’s designation for the Cassopolis Street exit on the highway.

According to data compiled by the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau :

  • Elkhart lodging properties sold 184,738 room nights, a 2.97% increase, from April to September 2016, compared with the same period in 2015 (179,408 room nights).
  • Elkhart lodging properties recorded $15.49 million in revenue from April-September 2016, a 5.65% gain over the same period in 2015 ($14.66 million).
  • In average daily rate (the amount charged to the consumer), Elkhart lodging properties commanded a rate of $83.66 per night from April-September 2016, a 2.79% increase over the same period in 2015 ($81.39).

“We are very pleased by the results of the first year of this campaign,” said Diana Lawson, executive director of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The increase in visitors have helped local businesses collect at least $1 million more in revenue in just five months. And other businesses and attractions in the Elkhart area benefit from the additional traffic.”

The Exit 92 campaign included billboards along the eastbound lanes from Chicago to Elkhart and along the westbound lanes from Ohio to Elkhart, brochures and signage at the Indiana Toll Road’s rest areas and digital advertising. The $200,000 campaign was funded by $100,000 contributions each from the redevelopment commission and ECCVB. The redevelopment commission’s portion was drawn from the Cassopolis Street Tax Increment Financing district.

The campaign is expected to continue in 2017.

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