INDIANAPOLIS -- The Events and Tourism Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis wants to become the leading institute for events and tourism innovation worldwide.
The institute's mission is to advance the delivery of events and tourism innovation products and services locally, in the nation and globally. Institute researchers and consultants will assist cities, states, and events and tourism professionals to enhance their events, their tourist experience and the economic impacts of tourism in their communities, said Godwin "Charles" Ogbeide, inaugural director of the institute and an associate professor in the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management at IUPUI.
Jay Gladden, former dean of the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management, and Amanda Cecil, chair of the Department of Tourism, Conventions and Event Management in the school, were the inspiring proponents of the Events and Tourism Institute.
"They were aware of the critical roles the institute would play in our community and in global communities, which is why they established the institute within the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management," Ogbeide said.
Launched this spring, the institute serves as a collective umbrella for the expertise of nearly a dozen faculty members in the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management. The institute is also open to collaboration with interdisciplinary units across the IUPUI campus.
Among the institute's products and services are:
- Collecting survey data and handling the analytics.
- Building tourism brands.
- Improving events education and execution.
- Defining and delivering service innovation principles.
- Assisting organizations with tourism product development.
- Maximizing revenue.
The institute's focus is on Indiana. "Indy is our home, of course. It's right there, first in line for any of our projects," Ogbeide said.
Still, the institute's work will reach far beyond Indiana through partnerships and collaboration with faculty at other universities in the U.S. and around the globe.
"There is a new market developing in other parts of the world, especially in developing countries, for tourism development," Ogbeide said. "We want to be part of it."
The institute also wants to engage with clients concerning opportunities for innovation in event management and tourism, including the use of innovative technology, Ogbeide said.
"For example, many of us are familiar with apps used to help manage events such as dinners at conferences," he said. An app called Social Tables enables event coordinators to hold a smartphone or tablet in their hand to review the dining preferences of individuals at a particular table to ensure they receive a customized hospitality experience.
"We can create more technology like that by working with our technology collaborators," Ogbeide said. "We can create apps for different events that make participants feel more welcome and bring the event to you, so you just feel at home."
Destination marketing will also be part of the mix, Ogbeide said. The institute has the expertise to promote tourism in a manner designed to expand a simple trip to an athletic event, for example, into a longer visit to the area where the event is located.