Agents sampled the best of what the Cincy Region has to offer at the Selling Travel Connect: Cincy event on June 7.
The event saw 40 agents gather in London’s Caledonian Club to learn more about selling the U.S. region, which consists of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, and celebrate the new direct flight from London Heathrow to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) with British Airways, launched on June 5.
A cocktail making contest saw agents use Kentucky’s signature spirit – bourbon – with the winning mixologist chosen by judges Julie Kirkpatrick, Cincy Region CEO and Gina Christ-Kohler, Regional Sales Director.
The Cincy team were keen to discuss details of the new flight, which operates five times per week in the summer season and four in the winter. It is also currently the only direct service between the UK and Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
“This flight has been a long time coming,” said Kirkpatrick. “It is something that we felt was missing in the region and we’re hoping to quadruple visitation from the UK as a result.”
Speaking of the wider potential of the new route, Kirkpatrick said: “I think the story of this conjoined region was very intriguing to British Airways. It offers visitors the chance to either venture further north and depart from Chicago or explore further south and depart out of Nashville.”
Selling the region as part of a wider road trip was something that appealed to Jo McPherson from Hays Travel, with major cities including Pittsburgh, Chicago and Nashville around a four-hour drive from Cincinnati.
“The new flight makes it really easy for us to sell the destination in conjunction with other road trip highlights such as Nashville,” said McPherson.
A presentation showcased what makes this region so different to anywhere else in the USA, including its culinary scene, German heritage, abundant street art and affordability.
Kirkpatrick said: “Our region is not just the merger of two states, Ohio and Kentucky, but a merger of two cultures, it’s the end of the North and the start of the South.”
“As the gateway to Northern Kentucky and the famed Bourbon Trail, we have seven major bourbon distilleries and 81-plus breweries that visitors can sample, and a must try is our famous Cincinnati Chili.”
Agents were keen to know how the region ranks in terms of affordability compared to other destinations in America.
“I think what is going to surprise visitors about the Cincy Region is the value for money. Prices for food and lodging are very, very reasonable. It is much lower than New York, Atlanta or Chicago, so it’s a great option for families,” said Julie Kirkpatrick.
What most surprised Peter Foster from Those Travel Guys was the German heritage that dates back to the 1830s. Alongside a thriving German food scene, the region hosts the second largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich.
The evening drew to a close with a prize draw which included £50 Love2Shop vouchers, an £80 bottle of bourbon and a place on an upcoming fam trip.
Tina Braiden, AmeriCan & Worldwide Travel, winner of the fam trip place said: “I’m so excited to see it for myself after this evening. It sounds like such a diverse region with so much to offer. Who knows I might even bump into George Clooney! (a former Kentucky resident).”
Don’t miss our extended coverage in the next issue of Selling Travel.