Today we spotlight Louisville Tourism: one of the Heartland Chapter’s valued sponsors.
What is recently new in Louisville?
“We are excited about the following new attractions and venues that have recently opened,” shares David Kinney, Director of Midwest Sales:
Louisville City FC Stadium (Lynn Family Stadium)
A new 10,000-seat soccer stadium, home to the Louisville City Football Club and a National Women’s Soccer League expansion team – Racing Louisville FC – is now open in Louisville’s Butchertown neighborhood. The stadium will be part of a commercial district with hotel, restaurant, retail and office space. The project is a public-private partnership in an underused and highly visible space that will become a connector for Butchertown and downtown. The stadium hosted its first Louisville City FC game on July 12, 2020.
Waterfront Botanical Gardens
The mission of the Waterfront Botanical Gardens is to develop experiences that promote appreciation and understanding of plants for a more harmonious and sustainable world. Our vision is to create a botanical garden and conservatory of extraordinary beauty that engages, enlightens, and inspires people about plants and nature. Ground was broken on the project in late 2018 and the first phase opened in October 2019. Several more planned phases are currently underway.
Roots 101 African American History Museum
Currently open by appointment only, this important and relevant attraction is brand new, and sits on Louisville’s Museum Row along Main Street. Roots 101 is an authentic voice of African American art, history, and culture in Kentucky, and will create a “healing place” for the African American struggle. Interspersed exhibits throughout the new museum highlight vignettes of the African diaspora and influence in every pocket of American culture. And while the world continues its fight for racial equality and justice, Louisville is no different. This is such a relevant topic in our destination today, and we’re so proud of our African American culture. Louisville would not be the creative, innovative, passionate city that it is without our black community! For all that inspires tourism in our city, from bourbon, to horse racing, to food traditions, and even the Greatest himself, Muhammad Ali, countless people of color have contributed their gifts to build our vibrant culture. We stand with our community in advocating for racial equality and respect for all. This very museum helps us promote that mission!
Hancock House – A 17-room micro boutique themed hotel in the hip Nulu neighborhood, opened in Spring 2020.
Hotel Distil & The Moxy both opened in November 2019 – so almost a year old already. The Hotel Distil is a modern, luxury hotel within the historic facades of the original Whiskey Row buildings, incorporating a bourbon and local theme. Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, it has 205 rooms and is part of a dual hotel project.
The Moxy, also part of the Marriott brand, was the second part of the dual hotel project on Whiskey Row. The 110-room Moxy appeals to “engaging, smart and free-spirited” consumers, especially millennials. You can find restaurants, bourbon distilleries, and entertainment options in this vibrant Whiskey Row neighborhood that sits across from the KFC Yum Center, Louisville’s 22,000 seat arena.
What new is planned for 2021?
West End Indoor Track and Field Facility
The Louisville Urban League is developing a state-of-the-art multi-sport complex anchored by an indoor track and field facility at 30th and West Muhammad Ali Blvd. The indoor track complex broke ground in August 2019 and could be ready for use by 2021. The complex will be designed to host a variety of sporting events potentially sponsored by organizations, such as USA Track and Field, the NCAA, colleges and universities, and local and regional public and private schools.
The facility also is expected to have a restaurant and retail space as well as space for student-athletes to work on homework. It also will be used as a training facility for local colleges and universities. It will have a 200-meter banked track sitting on a hydraulic lift. The track can be lowered to the floor and covered with a protective surface to allow the space to be used for other purposes such as volleyball and fencing and will have 4,200 seats.
West Sixth Brewing in NuLu Marketplace
The 9,000-square-foot brewery, barrel aging warehouse and taproom is a $2 million expansion for West Sixth and is slated to open late 2020. The brewery is the first major tenant announced for the mixed-use space, which will contain retail, restaurants, offices and apartments, surrounding a 5,000-square-foot open-air courtyard. In addition to the brewery, West Sixth NuLu will have a strong focus on bourbon barrel-aged beers. The company is moving its bourbon barrel aging process to NuLu. The space will also include a 1,600-square-foot private event area, a second-story lounge and patio, and a large beer garden
Hotels under construction in downtown Louisville:
The Cambria Hotel – 128 rooms, NuLu neighborhood.
Holiday Inn Express – 91 rooms.
Tempo by Hilton – 130 rooms, NuLu neighborhood.
How is your organization working with event planners who are planning hybrid events during 2021?
“For events that have decided to move forward with a hybrid approach for 2021 we are offering marketing support to weave the city brand into the virtual component,” explains Angi Van Berg, Vice President of Trade Show Sales. “Incorporating welcome video messages from local leaders to local celebrities (like the bugler from Churchill Downs) would be an example. Video clips from our local attractions, such as the Louisville Slugger Bat Factory and Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center would be another example. We have also provided live bourbon tasting demos from one of our 10 urban bourbon distilleries on Main Street and even offered cooking demos from our bourbon and biscuits studio.”
How do you believe the event industry will evolve during the near-term/2021?
“The hybrid model is here to stay, and we all must adapt,” says David Kinney, Director of Midwest Sales. “While our goal as a DMO is to promote F2F engagement and encourage attendees and leisure visitors back to the destination, we also believe in the importance of our partnership with our customers to support the immediate need of executing the virtual component.”
What interesting fact about Louisville do most people likely not know?
“Everybody knows by now that Louisville is a destination known for a few authentic experiences, like bourbon or the Kentucky Derby,” shares Angi Van Berg, Vice President of Trade Show Sales, Louisville Tourism. “Even some sports treasures like Muhammad Ali, and The Louisville Slugger Bat Factory & Museum. But some might not know that the city was actually named after King Louis XVI of France. Louisville was founded in 1778, making it one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachians. Hence, when we rebranded as an organization a couple of years ago, we incorporated the fluer-de-lis logo. This ties in the French namesake. “
Why is Louisville so special?
“Louisville is quirky and friendly with a creative, authentic spirit,” shares Jessica Dillree, Marketing & Communications Manager. “It’s a place where people really like to have fun and where hospitality is abundant. I love all of our more off-beat celebrations throughout the year. For example, we have an annual goat race and beer festival in the NuLu neighborhood, Gonzofest in honor of Hunter S. Thompson, steamboat races, a Zombie Walk (in summer!), the world championship of Dainty – an athletic competition virtually no one has heard of, and tons more. Basically, we’re always down for a party and there will always be plenty of bourbon there!”
What do you like most about being a part of the PCMA Heartland Chapter?
“My favorite part about the PCMA Heartland Chapter is the support the members provide each other,” shares David Kinney, Director of Midwest Sales. “Remembering back to when I first joined, I was drawn to the people themselves, the friendliness, and the welcoming environment that I felt. Fast forward many years later, and that still holds true. It’s a small community, everybody seems to play an important role in advancing the Chapter.
I’ve especially enjoyed seeing the Chapter succeed in its outreach to outlying areas, such as Oklahoma, St. Louis, and Arkansas for example. There are many talented individuals in this Chapter who have worked very hard to advance this Chapter over the years, and I’m very proud to be a member.”
What is your tip for experiencing a hidden gem when visiting Louisville?
“As you all are aware, we also like to share the bourbon story within our destination!” says Jessica Dillree, Marketing & Communications Manager.
“Louisville itself produces one-third of the entire world’s bourbon! A lot of people might expect that Kentucky produces 95% of the world’s bourbon, but few know that such a large amount is produced within our city – we’re not called Bourbon City for nothing! We now have 10 urban bourbon distillery experiences that are open to visitors and a whole industry of bourbon-themed accommodations, attractions, restaurants and retail.”
Dillree adds, “But for finding hidden gems – check out the speakeasies. Some are literally hidden gems – like the jazz club in the basement of a sandwich shop or the password-protected high-end bar behind a curiosities shop. Others are easier to find, but all of them have a unique atmosphere and great cocktails too. Also, I have always thought that the best way to find a city’s top bars or restaurants is by chatting with the local bartenders. They always have the best intel! And in a place like Louisville it’s really easy to experience the city like a local because the people are very friendly and love to share their favorite local spots with visitors.”