SYCAMORE – Social media engagement and mobile website access is helping to draw in tourism dollars for the city, local tourism officials said.
Rose Treml, executive director for the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce, updated the City Council on marketing and outreach initiatives designed to promote tourism and economic development during the City Council meeting Monday night at the Sycamore Center, 308 W. State St.
Treml said tourism dollars in DeKalb County grew by $98.8 million, or 5.5 percent, in 2017, which is similar to growth seen statewide. She said city hotel and motel tax revenues increased from $217,651 to $242,547 from 2016 to 2017.
"That's huge," Treml said to the council. "That's something we should all be really proud of."
Treml said that increase, in part, is because the Chamber's newer marketing approach for the city, which includes more outreach through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But, she said, the Chamber will continue its marketing efforts through more traditional means such as radio and print.
Treml said more than 39,000 unique users visited the city's tourism website Discover Sycamore in the past 11 months. She said 72 percent were new users to the site, and of those visitors, 59 percent were mobile visitors, 29 percent were desktop visitors and 12 percent were tablet visitors.
Treml said 55 percent of those users found the website through organic searches and 45 percent came from social media, which is up by 20 percent from a year ago. She said more than half of website visitors were between 18 and 34 years old, about a quarter were ages 35 to 54 and 9 percent were ages 55 and older.
Treml said the majority of website visitors came from northern Illinois, with 19 percent being from the Chicago area, 16 percent from DeKalb, 8 percent from Milwaukee, 7 percent from Naperville, 7 percent from Rockford, 7 percent from St. Charles and 7 percent from Geneva. She said about 6 percent came from Sycamore, 6 percent came from Genoa, 6 percent from Rochelle and about 5 percent from West Chicago, Wheaton and Glen Ellyn each.
Treml said that data matches what she has seen visitor-wise for events such as the Farm to Table community dinner last week or the annual Winter Chocolate Walk.
"You'd be amazed at how many people we have from Geneva, St. Charles, West Chicago, Glen Ellyn," Treml said. "So, no surprises there."
City Manager Brian Gregory had said motel tax receipts were up 4.7 percent in fiscal 2018, which goes from May 1 through April 30. He said he believes the increase is because of the business climate being strong in the city and with special events happening almost every weekend in the warm weather months.
Gregory said he appreciates the Chamber being progressive in its tourism outreach efforts to show out-of-towners what Sycamore has to offer.
"The first step is having something quality to be able to market," Gregory said.