1A: VFR Engagement Program
Develop an engagement program for local residents that motivates them to invite friends and relatives to Indy, empower them with resources to be effective trip planners, and help them be stronger destination advocates. Such a program might include information resources like those offered to hotel concierges like key special event calendars and attraction information. It could also include connections to new or existing incentives or rewards programs. While supporting local hosts in general, this program focus on days and months when convention and special event visitation is lower in order to fill in occupancy or visitation gaps in hotels, attractions, shops, and restaurants.
Value to the CommunityHaving friends and relatives visit often gives us a reason to be a tourist in our own backyard, exploring attractions and neighborhoods and local shops and restaurants we might not visit every day. While serving as tour guides, we see the strengths of our city with pride but also notice its challenges in ways that can motivate improvement. And because our friends and relatives often have similar demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, focusing on VFR helps ensure visitors to our city reflect the diversity of people who live here and support the places that matter to them. Stronger engagement of local residents also allows Visit Indy to ensure its work is aligned with community desires.
Value to the Hospitality IndustryLike most destinations, visiting a friend or relative is the number one reason visitors come to Indy, representing more than 45% of all trips and nearly 25% of all paid overnight stays in 2019. On a per-resident basis, Indy already outperforms nearby competitors. Encouraging more VFR trips can increase attendance at attractions, increase spending at shops and restaurants, and increase overnight hotel stays without having to invest a dime in any new infrastructure, all while building resident pride. It can also help stabilize the peaks and valleys of visitation caused by expected gaps in a convention calendar.
- August 2021. VFR Marketing Program. In 2021, Visit Indy launched its first targeted VFR marketing program, using local tv, print, radio, streaming audio, and social media to inspire residents to invite friends and family to the city.
Visit Indy (Lead)
- Partnerships Under Development
- Anderson Madison County Visitors Bureau
- Boone County Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Brown County Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Festival Country Indiana
- Hamilton County Tourism
- Hancock County Tourism Commission
- Putnam County Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Shelby County Tourism & Visitors Bureau
- Visit Hendricks County
- Visit Morgan County
- Indiana Independent Venue Alliance
- Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association
- Indiana Tourism Association