COLUMBUS – Nebraska Tourism Director John Ricks stopped in Columbus Thursday to talk about the plans for Nebraska tourism, moving forward.
Ricks talked about a variety of topics during the meeting, including advertising on a national scale. Ricks said they have taken the zip codes of people who have requested Nebraska tourism information, and used that date to help advertise in those areas.
Ricks says they are working to improve their data, with zip code data from the Media Research Inc. that will show numbers of people who visited Nebraska, who had intent to visit the state, and then says he is working with state hotels to get data on who has stayed at their facilities.
“Most people pay with credit cards, so they know the zip code. And I’ve tried this in other states, and it was starting to kind of work,” says Ricks. “And from a privacy standpoint, I don’t want somebody in a hotel giving my information out. I said forget my name, I don’t want names, I don’t want addresses. All I want is zip codes.”
Ricks was also asked about how the financial state of the organization was, and Ricks said, financially, since he has arrived, it has been the tightest run organization that he has ever worked at.
Ricks also said he wants to continue gathering ideas from the people who live in Nebraska, on better ways that they can help grow the tourism in the state.
“We talk for seemingly hours about some issue. And I’d say, oh I have a good idea. Why don’t we go ask consumers. Cause we can sit and talk about this stuff until we all turn blue in the face, and the consumers will answer it for us in 10 minutes if we just ask,” says Ricks.
Ricks says among other ideas, he plans to return the Nebraska State Map to the inside of the State tourism brochure to help give visitors a better visual of the geographical layout of places to visit.