Lake Erie marketing group receives awards

Staff Writer

Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands, the marketing organization for Erie and Ottawa counties, recently received recognition for its response to the global pandemic during the Ohio Travel Association’s Spirit of Ohio Travel state tourism conference.
The Ohio Travel Association’s Recognizing Uncommon Brilliance Yearly (RUBY) Awards recognize the travel industry for efforts in advertising, marketing, and public relations. This year, the awards focused on two categories – how the industry has served others and how businesses have pivoted during the crisis.
A RUBY Award was presented to Lake Erie Shores & Islands in the category “Spirit of Innovation” for a Group Care Package. As group travel began to diminish when the pandemic first hit, the LES&I group accounts team brainstormed options to keep in contact with planners. It was determined to send a bit of “Lake Erie Love,” in the form of care packages, to operators/planners/event organizers that the team had worked with in the past or planning events in the future. Fifty packages were sent, consisting of coffee, candles, or vinegar and oil sets from local partners.
A Certificate of Achievement in “Spirit of Innovation” was received for a social media Sports Challenge. This challenge was created to support local sporting events facilities, such as Cedar Point Sports Center, Sports Force Parks, Erie MetroParks, Lakeside Chautauqua, and more, during a time when they were not able to host tournaments. Lake Erie Shores & Islands continues to work closely with sports facilities throughout the region.
One unanticipated way the region was able to drive sports-related benefit this summer and fall was by being able to quickly and efficiently host a number of fishing tournaments that were displaced from other locations. Lake Erie Shores & Islands worked closely with the cities of Sandusky and Huron, as well as with local business owners, to support and bring in such large-scale fishing events as the FLW Bass Pro Circuit and the National Walleye Tour Championship. These events brought significant positive economic impact for the region.
Other OTA Ruby awards were received in the “Spirit of Community” category which recognized how organization served others throughout the year. Lake Erie Shores & Islands received a Certificate of Excellence for its Happy Hour social media campaign and a Certificate of Achievement for its Takeout Tuesday social media campaign, both aimed at supporting local businesses. Another Certificate of Achievement was received for the organization’s new Sports Blog, which highlighted how local sports facilities were responding to state and local health orders to make their facilities safe for competitors and guests.
“Coronavirus has no doubt resulted in a significant downturn in visitors and associated spending in the Shores & Islands,” said Lake Erie Shores & Islands President Larry Fletcher. “I am however confident that because of the innovation and resilience of our tourism industry partners, and our staff team’s work to support them, we will continue to stand strong and move through this to better days.”


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