While attending graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I had the opportunity to explore the beautiful State of Illinois. Naturally, Illinois commercials that aired in Toronto over the summer sparked my curiosity. Here is what I discovered about the campaign.
Illinois tourism is a key economic driver. In recognition of the $3.5-billion boost in the impact of tourism during the last 5 years, the Illinois Office of Tourism has been supporting domestic travel to the State through its Mile After Magnificent Mile campaign.
In 2011, Illinois had 93.3 million visitors, representing a 10.2% increase over 2010 levels. An analysis revealed that Canada was the largest source of foreign visitors. With over 37 direct daily flights to Illinois from Canada, the significant growth potential for visitors from the Canada was evident.
The Illinois Office of Tourism extended the Mile after Magnificent Mile campaign to Ontario from June 25 - July 29, 2012. Designed by JWT Chicago, the campaign, consisting of TV commercials, on-line pre-roll advertising and digital banners, was highly successful. Overall inquires increased by nearly 70%. During the campaign, there was a spike in traffic to enjoyillinois.com. Canadian visitors accounted for 20% of web traffic.
Due to this success, "escape to Illinois this fall" has been launched in the U.S. and Canada focusing on:
- Chicago and Beyond, encouraging visitors to extend their time to explore Chicago and areas beyond including Route 66
- the Land of Lincoln
- Great Rivers Country, showcasing "charming bed & breakfasts, historic river towns and autumn activities along the rivers"
- Trails to Adventure, shining a spotlight on "tranquil state parks and picturesque forests"
The campaign conveys the core message that, with its fall colors as a backdrop, autumn is the perfect time to explore Illinois. Based on my memories of Illinois, I agree.
Photo Credits: Jeremy Wilburn
For more information, consult the Cvent Illinois Meeting and Event Planning Guide and Top Meeting Destination – Chicago: A City for Every Taste.