Sunday, May 31, 2020

Real Racine inviting Illinois to come to county in ads; city wary of outsiders coming in

From The Journal

RACINE — Shana Salter and her family took a “little vacation” to Racine this week. They live in Chicago and have been feeling cooped up for the last two months. They had no connection to Racine before, but found a place to stay for a few days and escape the confines of Illinois, where stay-at-home rules have been stricter.
“We wanted somewhere to go,” Salter said while she and her son waited for food inside Downtown Racine’s The Maple Table restaurant, 520 Main St., on Tuesday. “It’s nice to get back to normal.”
Visitors like Salter are exactly the type of people Real Racine, the county’s travel-promoting convention and visitors bureau, is looking to attract. In mid-May, it started advertising again. This came after a weekslong hiatus caused by the nation’s severely depressed travel industry and a massive revenue loss caused by area hotels collecting next to nothing in room taxes since March.
An online advertising campaign targeting married women in northern Illinois — Salter’s exact demographic, and a demographic that controls a large proportion of America’s spending power — invites people to Racine with the phrase “We’re ready when you’re ready.” An ad also ran in the most recent issues of Midwest Living and AAA Living magazines advertising North Beach as “wildly popular among residents and visitors alike.”

This advertisement, promoting Racine's North Beach, ran in recent issues of Midwest Living and AAA Living magazines.

Dave Blank
Dave Blank, the president and CEO of Real Racine, said that he thinks the Midwest population is currently split into three groups when it comes to their feelings regarding travel:
  • One-third of the population is ready to travel again,
  • One-third who might be ready to travel soon but not yet,
  • And one-third who probably will not travel until 2021 at the earliest.
Real Racine’s ads right now are targeted at those first two groups. They can get people like the Salters to visit now — and thus also spend money at hotels or vacation rentals (such as via or and at shops and restaurants — or the ad could plant the seed for future trips for people in the second group.
“We’re trying to attract them here,” Blank said. Regarding people traveling from big cities like the Salters, Blank said: “Some people there (in Chicago) are probably done with looking at concrete and gray and want to escape.”

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