eTraveler - Soul 2.0 & Tourism Conference Updates

January 10, 2024

At a Glance

Here are the most important updates this week: 
•    Register for 2024's first Tourism Insider Meeting (Decorah, February 27-28).
•    Sign up for the Soul of Iowa 2.0 campaign launch webinar (February 6).
•    Iowa Tourism Conference (March 20-21) registration and room block are now open; also accepting your Iowa Tourism Award nominations.


Tourism Insider Meeting Registration

Open Join industry partners from across the state for our first Tourism Insider Meeting of the year in Decorah on February 27-28, 2024. Discussion topics will range from agritourism and wayfinding to small business collaboration and historical attractions. Attendees will tour Vesterheim Commons, hike at Dunning's Springs and experience Decorah's small businesses, restaurants and breweries.

A hotel block is available at the Hotel Winneshiek for the nights of February 26-27. The rate is $119/night+tax. Book your room by calling the hotel at 563.382.4164. Reservation deadline is February 9, 2024.

Please reach out to Stephanie Neppl ( with questions.



2024 Iowa Travel Guide Cover Reveal

We are excited the share the cover of our 2024 Iowa Travel Guide, featuring the Arnolds Park Lakeshore area in Okoboji, which has undergone extensive renovation over the last several years.

The travel guide will be available in March. Automatic shipments will be sent in early March to welcome centers, partner offices and others who have received shipments in the past. Partners can double-check their order status with Jim Lee (

Thank you to all partners who have purchased advertising to support the travel guide, shared your events, attractions and new destinations and help distribute the guide to travelers!


Soul of Iowa 2.0 Update & Webinar

In just a few weeks, we will be launching the Soul of Iowa 2.0 campaign, featuring 35+ destinations and attractions across the state. The campaign utilizes unique drone-captured visuals to showcase Iowa in a whole new perspective - and we're excited to take you along for the ride. On Tuesday, February 6, 2024, at 2 p.m., we will be hosting a webinar to share media strategy, tactical details and additional assets and creative.

In the webinar, we will also provide ways you can get involved with the campaign and take advantage of the attention the campaign will garner for Iowa. The Soul 2.0 campaign will run through fall 2024 and is utilizing funding from a federal EDA grant.

Thank you to our partners, communities, attractions, restaurants and more that hosted video crews to capture the content that will be featured in this campaign! Your hospitality is appreciated and we can't wait to showcase your locations.



Registration Open; Nominate Outstanding Tourism Organizations

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 opens today, and the deadline is Friday, March 8, 2024. The Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel is offering a rate for attendees of $149/night + tax. The Savery is connected to the Iowa Events Center via the Des Moines Skywalk. The deadline for securing a room is February 28, 2024.

Please note that shuttle access for the Wednesday evening social will only be available to attendees staying at the host hotel.

The conference also includes the annual Iowa Tourism Awards, which recognize the amazing work and innovation by Iowa's tourism organizations that have positively contributed to the experience of visitors. Submit your nominations by 4 p.m. on Friday, February 2, 2024.

Travel Iowa Tradeshow Booth Available

The Travel Iowa tradeshow booth is available for tourism partners to use at large tradeshows held outside of Iowa. The Iowa Tourism Office encourages collaborative use of the booth if multiple partners plan to attend the same event. A minimum of three partners is required to use the booth.

Please reach out to Stephanie Neppl ( with questions.


Iowa Travelers' Planning Window Shortens for Weekend Getaways

Research done by the Iowa Tourism Office and our partners at True Global Intelligence has shown that the travel planning window is shortening for weekend trips to Iowa.

Survey research completed in summer 2023 found that 80% of travelers to Iowa plan their weekend trips 0-6 months in advance; 52% of them two months or less in advance. Be sure to use this data and research when you are creating your marketing and advertising plans in 2024.


Helpful Tools to Organize Grant Opportunities

Do you find it difficult to track all of the grant opportunities for your organization? Help your business, organization or city enhance marketing, implement projects and leverage local funding by developing a grant spreadsheet or database. Excel, Trello or other software programs can help document, store, share, sort, delegate and manage grants and related activities.

Start by recording the funder website, due dates, match ratios, potential partners and opportunities to learn from the funder. In the coming months, we'll take a deeper dive into grant success.

Reach out to Lora Friest ( for ideas and templates. Featured Grant: Iowa's Community Catalyst Building Remediation grant pre-applications are due January 29, 2024.


Tips & Tricks: Add Your Events to

Travelers are making plans for 2024, so now's a great time to prioritize adding your events to, especially those happening this winter. Here are three reasons why you should utilize our FREE calendar of events:
  1. Approximately 25% of the total web traffic to reviews the online calendar of events.
  2. The Iowa Tourism Office uses the calendar of events to source events for regular monthly media hits at TV and radio stations.
  3. The Iowa Tourism Office uses the calendar of events to select an event from each travel area for inclusion in the monthly consumer newsletter, which is sent to approximately 103,000 potential travelers.

When adding your events, make sure you're logged in to easily edit for future dates, add photos (events with photos automatically rise to the top) and be sure you're submitting it at least four weeks prior to the event date(s).

Important Dates