Indiana University students create promotional materials for county tourism campaign

Orange County tourism agency partners with public relations students to develop materials for a campaign centered around the 2024 solar eclipse

Author

Carl Nelson

Contributors

Jacob Simpson, Marshall Curry

Metrics

Community
Visit French Lick West Baden, French Lick, IN
Community Size
19,646 (2019 Census Estimation)
University
Indiana University
Program
Sustaining Hoosier Communities
Years
2018-2019
Status
Completed
Case Type
Individual Project
Discipline
Public Relations, Writing
Region
EPA Region 5, USA

Orange County is a rural southern Indiana county comprising four incorporated towns and a number of unincorporated communities. Residents are intent on celebrating the county’s industrial roots, natural beauty, and historic architecture while embracing and preparing for the future. Local progress is driven in large part by “grassroots cooperative leadership” (Report, Pg. 4), while legal and medical non-profits provide essential communal services. This community-oriented mentality lends itself to innovative partnerships between various actors working towards common goals in areas like infrastructure, culture, tourism, and healthcare. 

An impending solar eclipse presents a unique promotional opportunity

French Lick and West Baden are adjacent resort communities located in Orange County. Local offerings include historic hotels, “an indoor water park, horseback trail rides, carriage rides, nature trails, and scenic boat cruises” (VFLWB). Visit French Lick West Baden, the community’s tourism agency, hosts events and creates promotional campaigns and branded content to attract yearly visitors to the region. When it was announced that the area would be in the 2024 solar eclipse’s path of totality, the agency saw unique promotional potential in the astronomical event. 

Students highlight regional offerings with eclipse viewing front and center

With the help of the Sustaining Hoosier Communities (SHC) program at Indiana University, Visit French Lick West Baden began laying the groundwork for the upcoming event. The tourism agency partnered with Elaine Monaghan’s Public Relations Writing course in the IU Media School. Monaghan’s students, collaborating with community partner Kristal Painter, worked to create promotional content which advertised the eclipse while incorporating the viewing into a larger tourism program in the surrounding time period.

A campaign to draw crowds

Student participants produced public relations materials including a feature story about the 2024 eclipse, a short book about the county with relevant local tourism information, and a drone video showing landscapes and resorts. This project challenged public relations students to build a unique campaign, leveraging one regional attraction in order to promote multiple others. With a strong foundation and ample advanced planning, the event promises to be a success for French Lick and West Baden and the Orange County economy.  

Tourism organizers and project participants alike saw opportunity in the coming eclipse. Their efforts on this project represent the creativity and spirit of the greater community. The upcoming event is sure to introduce newcomers to Orange County’s natural beauty and unique charm. 

Sustaining Hoosier Communities Contact Info
Jane Rogan
Sustaining Hoosier Communities Director
jrogan@indiana.edu
(812) 855-0568
https://shc.indiana.edu

Indiana University Faculty Contact Info
Elaine Monaghan
emonagha@indiana.edu
812-856-2781

Read the full story of the partnership.

Read the final student report delivered to the local gov/community partner.