Effective Aug. 20, the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association is doing business as “Visit Indy.”
The name change comes after nearly a year of extensive research and is part of a re-defined marketing brand strategy to grow leisure travel and maximize convention bookings in the Indianapolis region. Officials for Visit Indy worked with local researchers to conduct focus-group testing with potential leisure visitors, garnering feedback on how to best position Indianapolis as a tourism destination. The focus group sessions took place in regional cities that historically have produced a high volume of visitors to Indianapolis, including Chicago, Louisville and St. Louis.
Visit Indy solicited feedback from its meetings-related customer advisory board, surveying this key audience of national meeting decision-makers on existing perceptions of the city and how to leverage Indianapolis’ strengths as a meetings destination.
“Our target customers have a very wide range of perceptions about Indianapolis,” said Leonard Hoops, president & CEO of Visit Indy. “But even with often inconsistent feedback, a common theme emerged time and again from leisure travelers, meeting planners and locals – people consistently make a positive connection with the term ‘Indy.’ It doesn’t matter if they’re saying it, texting it or tweeting it, people associate ‘Indy’ as a more modern, cool and desirable destination compared to perceptions related to the city’s formal name.”
Based on the customer feedback, Visit Indy developed a redefined brand-positioning statement and engaged a local marketing agency to produce new marketing materials and brand marks that best conveyed the positioning statement. Those materials and several variations of a brand mark were tested via online surveys with meeting planners, visitors from targeted Midwest cities and Indianapolis-area residents, and a clear favorite emerged.
An organizational name change wasn’t a planned outcome of the brand research but was a logical step given the clarity of the customer feedback, Hoops added. Other convention and visitor bureaus/associations have made similar changes over the past few years.
“Our community has become a global visitor destination over the last four decades and Visit Indy is our closer,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. “They continue to do a great job bringing in new convention and tourism business and are key drivers in this $3.57 billion industry for the region.”
Since its inception in 1923, Visit Indy has spearheaded marketing and promotion of the city in support of tourism. A recent study showed the tourism industry supports nearly 70,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the greater Indianapolis region.