Mayor Mark Mallory recently tried out the service of Staycate, a business with a terrible website and strange & expensive packages.
I agree that a vacation in downtown Cincinnati can be a great idea. I spent the weekend there a few years ago when my house died. I remembered local blogger, 5chw4r7z, saying "Not living downtown is for suckers. Who needs to get away from it all, when you got it all right here?"
Now, I don't want to live downtown. I like having a yard, but 5chw4r7z has a point. I enjoyed my stay thouroughly & even met up with family (Oakleans) for dinner one night.
But I don't think you need ovrpriced travel agents.
Cincinnati USA, DCI & the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce could pool their data into one site linking hotels, entertaknment venues & their schedules together with transportation options & reservations to offer the potential visitor with all the info they need. Another planning help would be to give distances between hotels & entertainment venues.
Metro should look into more tourist type routes, signage & schedules.
2, 3 or 5 day passes for tourists would help, too. Helping the downtown visitor get around downtown as well as out to places like the Cincinnati Gardens, the Zoo, the 20th Century, Covedale Theater & Northside Tavern should be in the mix. And again, Metro should look into later & more frequent routes on weekends - at least on routes to popular entertainment areas.
The downtown area is pretty flat & fine for bicycling. We already have bicycle rental. Adding multiple day rental and hotel pick up & delivery would make a visit even more friendly. The new Zipcar service will help visitors with memberships & hopefully, the city's emerging taxi regulation will help visitors but I'm kinda skeptical on that one. Regardless, hotel personnel need to be educated on all this stuff.
One thing Cincinnati should have is something they have in mega touris oriented New Orleans - a 24 hour self promotion channel on TV. This is in the hotels & consists of 10 / 20 minute mini documentaries on local places of interest & 30 / 60 second ads for businesses. These could be produced pretty easily at home or utilising students at, at least, 3 local colleges & the local access cable studios. This can help the business traveller as well as the tourist.
As far as marketing to the township dwellers goes - beats me. Those guys hear so much crap from the nattering naybobs of negativity on the radio & TV, it's going to be hard to convince them to visit. However, every time I have had jury duty, the big discussion in the pool is about 'how long it has been since I was downtown - it looks so different'. Maybe that's the place to advertise as most jurors go home not murdered, raped, robbed & mutilated.
Whatever, making downtown more tourist friendly shouldn't be too hard.