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Geneva Chamber reports on city’s tourism

GENEVA – In the first seven months of 2012, the Geneva Chamber of Commerce purchased nearly 14 million “impressions” of Geneva, according to an annual report on the city’s tourism.

“Impressions,” said Chamber President Jean Gaines, “is the number of times the name ‘Geneva’ was heard on the radio, seen in print or on multiple Web products.”

In Gaines’ report to the Geneva City Council on how the city’s hotel/motel tax was used, the Chamber bought expanded radio ads, digital online and interstitial ads, QR codes, website products, apps, an online brochure and news release materials used by the media.

The Chamber receives 3 percent of the city’s hotel tax, nearly $115,000, Gaines said. According to the report, the Chamber spent nearly $156,000 on the ads, using its share of the hotel tax as well as its own reserves.

“We follow guidelines set by the Illinois Department of Tourism, that this money is designated to put ‘heads in beds,’ ” Gaines said. “We don’t spend it on administration or postage, it’s strictly paid advertising in that area … where someone would stay overnight.”

The Chamber used the money to promote each festival, special tab sections in local newspapers and online promotions.

It bought ads in local theater and various events’ program books. The Chamber used direct mail, magazines, Yellow Pages and the Geneva Park District quarterly brochure.

According to the report, “Advertising is a puzzle and we have to put the right pieces together to get results. The message must be consistent and repeated over and over to be effective.”

Because of the huge crowds seen at the events, Gaines reported, the Chamber’s promotions “reached the market in a variety of options.”

Mayor Kevin Burns said the Chamber’s report gives positive and encouraging news to the council and the community.

“Geneva remains a premier destination for folks throughout Chicagoland and beyond,” Burns said. “And that we are being good stewards of the treasure that is historic downtown Geneva. The Chamber’s primary responsibility is to bring visitors to town. The business owners’ job is to bring them back.”

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