e-Traveler - Tourism Insider Meeting Locations Announced

March 8, 2024


Here are the most important updates this week: 

  • The next five Tourism Insider Meeting locations have been announced. 
  • Registration for the Iowa Tourism Conference closes this Friday.
  • Recent media interviews spotlight Iowa's spring break and summer trips ideas plus new attractions and events. 

Tourism Insider Meeting Locations Announced

The next five Tourism Insider Meeting locations were announced last week. Thank you to the 26 partners who applied to share their communities with the tourism industry! Please save the date for these upcoming meetings. Specific venues and schedules will be announced at a later date. Two New Programs Provide Tourism Readiness Opportunities
Travel Iowa is partnering with Iowa State University on two new programs, created out of the industry strategic plan imperative of ensuring tourism readiness.
The statewide Tour Guide Training Workshop will be held April 17 at Briggs Woods Conference Center in Webster City. Tailored for individuals who lead programs at Iowa’s diverse destinations, the interactive workshop will help attendees focus on creating dynamic programs and refining their personal presentation skills. Upon completion, participants have the option to pursue Professional Guide Certification from Iowa State University. See the flyer for more information and to register.

The First Impressions program is a comprehensive community assessment conducted by a trained team of unannounced visitors. This program will help communities with a population of 10,000 or fewer identify their strengths and weaknesses through the lens of a first-time visitor and develop strategies to strengthen their tourism economy. We will be announcing more about the First Impressions program at the 2024 Iowa Tourism Conference!

Last Chance: Register for the Iowa Tourism Conference

The annual Iowa Tourism Conference will be held on March 20-21, 2024, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. This can't-miss conference is dedicated to promoting Iowa's tourism destinations and attractions through marketing initiatives.  
Registration is open until Friday, March 8, 2024. 

Recent Media Interviews Highlight Iowa's Spring Break and Summer Trip Ideas & New Attractions and Events
  • Four segments on Quad Cities Live (February 22) promoted spring break and summer trip ideas as well as new attractions and events.
  • Everyday Iowa (February 23) featured upcoming March events.
  • Central Iowa Today (February 27) included an update on the Treehouse Village project in Madrid as well as March events.
  • Iowa’s News Now showcased upcoming March events.
Want to be featured in media interviews? Make sure your events and listings are updated on TravelIowa.com.

O'Riley to attend Midwest Travel Journalist Association (MTJA) Conference in June

Jessica O’Riley will be attending the MTJA conference in Bismarck-Mandan, North Dakota, June 12-16. During that time, she’ll meet with travel writers and editors to pitch Iowa story ideas. If you have something happening in your community you’d like her to share, please send to jessica.oriley@iowaeda.com by March 31 for consideration. 

Helpful Tools to Organize Grant Opportunities

Applying for federal grants can be daunting, but they provide an opportunity to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars for tourism infrastructure. Start with background research. Find out if the grantor requires you follow Davis Bacon rules, which can increase project costs 25%; what reporting/documentation is required; if they allow project administration to be paid for with grant dollars; if they allow cost allocation; what personnel time can be included; and what match is required and can any of it be in-kind? 

Featured Grant: The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is for disadvantaged communities for outdoor recreation spaces. Applicants should plan for 12-24 months from time of application before grant agreements are executed and construction can begin. Applications will be posted in March and are due June 15, 2024. Contact Jessica Flatt (jessica.flatt@dnr.iowa.gov) with questions.  

Localhood Reporting Capabilities

Do you know how your Localhood stories are performing? The platform's Data Studio Report tool allows you to see Google Search and Discover metrics, views, click-through rates, engagement rates and benchmarks for your stories and galleries. To access, click into the Reporting section in the black bar at the top of the page. Here’s a simple walkthrough of each reporting section: 
  • Localhood Summary – provides an overarching analysis of all your stories, including combined impressions, views and clicks.
  • Google Search & Discover – shows the number of times your stories have appeared in Google searches and what search results they show up under.
  • Stories – Breaks down story views from different avenues like search, galleries and more, and allows you to see how individual stories are performing.
  • Galleries – Compiles gallery impressions and click-through rates. 
  • Single Embeds – Reveals how many views your single embeds have garnered and top performing stories.