The Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism was awarded the 2016 McDaniel Award at the Upper Midwest Convention and Visitors Bureau Conference in Rapid City, South Dakota on September 19. Katie Godfrey, Director of Conventions and Tourism, and Bridget Hayes, Tourism Associate, were presented with the award for their work on doing a complete overhaul on Owatonna’s tourism branding and marketing materials for under $10,000. The award category was for Bureau Innovation for annual budgets under $350,000.
“We are honored to win this award which brings recognition to the work we have done to market Owatonna as a destination,” stated Katie. Katie and Bridget both started at the Chamber within the past two years. As they researched the tourism industry, it became clear that the tourism marketing materials needed to be updated to be current with industry trends in order to be competitive in the marketplace.
After doing research they found that the visitor guides that had the most impact are similar to traditional magazines in size and style with more of an editorial focus and an emphasis on large images. Kerri Lynch from Tri-M Graphics did the design work on the visitor guide and advertisements. Kerri pulled colors from photos used in the guide to create the color palette for the new materials. The letter “O” in the Chamber’s Owatonna logo was enlarged and used throughout the guide to emphasize call-outs and images.
Soon after completing the visitor guide Katie and Bridget began work on overhauling the tourism website, www.visitowatonna.org. Josh Elwood from The Fox Company out of Faribault developed the new tourism site in less than ten weeks with a launch date of May 25. Josh pulled visuals from the new visitor guide to match the new site. The new website is mobile-friendly and has had a thirty-five percent increase in users since the launch.
The McDaniel Award was developed after the Convention and Visitor Bureau Industry lost one of their leaders with the untimely passing of Bruce McDaniel, one of the founders of the Upper Midwest CVB Conference. In his honor and memory, the Conference awards the annual McDaniel Award to tourism industry professionals that achieve and exemplify greatness.