The Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau received top honors at the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism for its tourism marketing efforts including an award for Best of Show.
The awards were presented March 21-23 at the annual Governor’s Conference in Springfield.
The CVB took top honors in three categories including: Best Leisure Collateral for its new dining guide, Best Website, and Best Branding Initiative for its new brand platform and companion 90-second video highlighting the region. The highest honor of the evening, the award for Best of Show, is presented to the organization that scored the highest number of points in any category. The Alton CVB received the Best of Show honor.
The awards were presented during a formal dinner to kick off the three-day Illinois Governor’s Conference. This year there were more than 100 entries in 11 categories in the Excellence in Tourism awards. Judges for this year’s entries were selected from other state tourism offices. The awards honor innovative tourism marketing initiatives that promote outstanding destinations, attractions and events throughout Illinois.
“We work very hard to put together a solid marketing campaign each year,” said Brett Stawar, president and CEO of the Alton Regional CVB. “We really focus on creativity and excellence in our products. When you are competing with Chicago, Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, Champaign and other top destinations and attractions across the state, it is a very humbling experience to have our work recognized as the best in the state.”
In the spring of 2015, CVB staff began work on a new printed dining guide as a way to guide visitors to family-owned restaurants. The dining guide was produced to complement the annual visitor guide and help promote annual Restaurant Week activities in January and July. The guide was titled “Great Rivers Great Eats — It’s All About the Food.” Editorial copy was written and compiled by bureau staff and the design and layout was completed by Lisa Caitlin of Brick Street Creative in Alton. This was the first time the CVB produced a standalone dining guide. It was honored as the best Leisure Collateral in the state. This was the third win in 12 years for best leisure publication for the CVB.
As part of a new branding initiative, the CVB worked with Route 3 Films and Ryan Hanlon to showcase the region in a 90-second video unveiled to the public during the May 2015 Tourism Rally in Alton. The video captures the beauty of the region while drawing attention to numerous attractions as a way to entice visitors to plan their getaways here. A new brand platform was used to launch the destination video. This was the first ever win for the CVB in the Branding Category.
The CVB website, VisitAlton.com, has been honored three times as the best tourism website in the state. The website was upgraded and redesigned last year to include a responsive design for desktop, mobile and tablet, live chat option, trending features, an online store and expanded social media. Louder Design produced the redesigned site, which also included seasonal-themed content, and provides a more user-friendly experience for those visiting the site. Following the release of the new design, more than 326,000 unique visitors came to the site, an increase of 34 percent over the previous year. The CVB also won the Best Website award at the 2013 and 2014 Governor’s Conference Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards.
“These awards are a great honor for our region and continue to establish our presence as one of the best Destination Marketing Organizations in the state of Illinois,” Stawar said.
“These consistent awards speak volumes about our dedicated staff, our vendors and the local support that helps make all of this possible for the region.”
Over the last 12 years, the Alton Regional CVB has received 22 Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards.