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Omaha Magazine

Omaha CVB: Tourism's 2021 Successes and 2022 Plan

May 27, 2022 01:40PM ● By Megan Bartholomew
Omaha CVB's Deborah Ward

We are half way through 2022, and there are more and more signs of recovery in our local tourism industry. Hotel revenues are projected to exceed 2019 levels, our sales team is traveling again—selling Omaha as a destination for future conventions and events—and we are expanding our advertising efforts to reach an even larger audience with the message that Omaha is worth visiting. 

As we look back on 2021, recovery had some twists and turns. The anticipated vaccine rollout with its two-dose regiment had a sequel booster shot. The COVID-19 variants brought new questions: Do we meet? Do we mask? Do we cancel? Do we travel? Health protocols, staff shortages, and increased costs are stilling challenging profitability. However, local tourism had successes as well. The number of meetings and events in Omaha increased 61%, bringing more than $138 million in visitor spending to our community. Visit Omaha secured $96 million in new convention and event business for future years, and online interest in visiting Omaha increased 54%. 

With those successes behind us, we look toward a new year with a strategic focus. Our 2022 roadmap includes: hosting focus groups with national meeting planners to better understand their needs in a post-pandemic world; utilizing innovative technology to track where out-of-town visitors go in the city and where they are traveling from; creating campaigns to invite meeting planners to Omaha for customized site visits; adding Chicago to the cities we target with advertising; and identifying new target markets by feeding Omaha advertising to audiences who have visited similar cities. 

If the last two years have taught us anything (and trust us, plenty of lessons were learned) it is that our local tourism industry has an unwavering commitment to our community, and incredible fortitude is overcoming obstacles. 

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2022  issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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