Experience Columbus Pivots Approach, Launches “Live Forward” Campaign to Rebuild Destination for New Normal

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Initiative meant to inspire and rally industry partners and residents, support the local economy

Live Forward Columbus

Experience Columbus pivots approach, launches "Live Forward" campaign to rebuild destination for new normal

Timed with the U.S. Travel Association’s annual National Travel and Tourism Week (May 3-9) and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Experience Columbus is pivoting its focus inward and launching a new marketing campaign – “Live Forward” – in an effort to help rebuild Columbus’ economy and support the local community as a resource. Designed to capitalize on Columbus’ strengths as a forward-thinking city, the campaign is inspired by the essence of collaboration and community found throughout the city from CEOs and city leaders to artists, entrepreneurs, small business owners and residents.

From the onset of COVID-19 in the U.S., Experience Columbus quickly refocused its energy to helping the community. To encourage public health and safety, the team worked with local retail shops, attractions and restaurants to highlight virtual experiences; created an online database enabling residents to find carry-out and delivery options; and curated a list of active job postings from partners still hiring during COVID-19 pandemic. Each of these resources was made readily available to website visitors via a COVID-19 chatbot launched to provide easy access to the best information available. Similar efforts were mirrored by partners around the city, confirming that this adaptive, collaborative and supportive mindset is engrained in the spirit of Columbus’ DNA. The “Live Forward” campaign allows the city and its partners to unite in these efforts.

“Making early calls to change the trajectory of major tourism events in the name of public health and working with partners to repurpose lodging facilities in preparation for the pandemic – our city has shown that we can lead during tough times,” said Brian Ross, president and CEO of Experience Columbus. “The ‘Live Forward’ campaign is another extension of our resiliency and forward-thinking, and it’s an approach that we aim to continue beyond the current crisis.”

In addition to celebrating the work Experience Columbus and its partners have already done, the campaign will also include:

  • A “Live Forward” pledge for local business owners designed to help communicate the city’s promise to put health and safety first in accordance with state and local reopening regulations
  • Strategic gathering and sharing of collaboration stories that help to support Columbus’ forward-thinking approach, like the city’s local distilleries converting their production lines to make hand sanitizer and the Greater Columbus Convention Center’s seamless preparation as a 1,000-bed field hospital
  • Encouragement of partners and residents to share inspirational, “Live Forward” content on social media using #LiveForwardCbus

“This is something we had been working on before the COVID-19 crisis struck, but as the situation has continued to unfold, we began to see how the call to ‘Live Forward’ resonates more deeply than we ever could have imagined,” said Sarah Townes, Experience Columbus vice president of marketing. “We’re resilient, and ‘Live Forward’ is designed to spread the hope, happiness and positive optimism that Columbus is known for. As the crisis wanes, we are committed to leading the community forward.”

To learn more about how to get involved with the “Live Forward” effort, visit ExperienceColumbus.com/LiveForward or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. To share stories of “Live Forward” in action, post on social media using #LiveForwardCbus or email to community@experiencecolumbus.com.

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Columbus is a city unlike any other. Vibrant and alive, Ohio’s capital is known for its open attitude, smart style and entrepreneurial spirit. Columbus' blend of neighborhoods; dynamic nightlife; noteworthy music scene; arts and culinary experiences; events; attractions; and accommodations are all made unforgettable by the diversity of its outgoing locals who eagerly await warmly welcoming visitors. Free travel guides, maps, online booking and detailed information are available at http://www.ExperienceColumbus.com. Visitor information is also available on Facebook: facebook.com/ExperienceColumbus, Twitter: @ExpCols and Instagram: @experiencecolumbus.

Media Contact:
Lexi Sweet, Public Relations Manager, Experience Columbus
lsweet@experiencecolumbus.com, 614-222-6155
ec@fahlgren.com

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Heather Sheppard
Fahlgren Mortine
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Lexi Sweet
Experience Columbus
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