CVB, Holiday World using influencers

Apr. 24—The age of the social influencer is upon us.

And the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari are jumping in with both feet this summer.

“We’re using influencers to persuade people visiting Holiday World to spend the night in Owensboro,” said Dave Kirk, the CVB’s destination management director. “We can use the ones that promote Holiday World to also post about Owensboro. We will put them up in Owensboro, and they’ll write about Owensboro.”

Josh Moore, Holiday World’s digital communications strategist, said, “This is a new program we’re starting this year. We were going with five or six influencers, but we had so many good applicants that we decided to go with eight.”

They’re called HoliBloggers.

Moore said the number of followers the influencers have ranges from 7,000 to 100,000.

He said about two dozen people applied to be HoliBloggers.

Holiday World estimates that it has roughly 1 million visitors each summer.

Sabrina Jones, media relations manager, said she has no information on how many of those would pass through Owensboro on their way to the theme park.

But, she said, “Nashville is one of our most popular markets.”

The park opens on May 14.

HoliBloggers are required to write a minimum of five blog posts between May 1 and April 30, 2023.

“We started doing the Holiday World promotion during the pandemic because so many of the people who go there come through Owensboro,” Kirk said. “It’s mutually beneficial.”

He said that not only is Owensboro trying to capture people from Nashville and farther south on their way home from the park, but the CVB expects people from St. Louis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Indianapolis and other cities who go to Holiday World for more than one day to spend a night in Owensboro.

There are few hotels near the theme park, he said.

And Owensboro is an easy drive.

Smothers Park is free, Kirk said, and parents can relax in the evenings while their children play in the park.

He said the CVB will start out with around five influencers.

“We have to make sure there are hotel rooms available on the dates we promote,” Kirk said. “This will help fill hotels in the Sunday through Wednesday time frame.”

This isn’t the CVB’s first time using influencers.

Last summer, the agency brought six influencers to town.

They visited the Lure Seafood & Grille, Friday After 5, Reid’s Orchard, the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Green River Distilling Co., SIP Owensboro and the Miller House.

And they spent the night at the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown/Owensboro Waterfront.

“We gained a ton of followers on Instagram from it,” Kirk said. “It was extremely successful. Hotel occupancy was up last year.”

InfluencerMatchmaker.com says that between 2014 and 2016, “statistics show that consumers really were beginning to be influenced by social media marketing and influencers.”

It says that 40% of people said in a survey that they had purchased an item after seeing it used by an influencer and 74% turned to social networks for guidance on purchase decisions.

Influencermarketinghub.com estimates that there are more than 3.2 million influencers worldwide.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, [email protected]