New Interactive Touch Screens on Indiana Toll Road
By Derek Smith
Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission
Six touch-screen kiosks were unveiled this month at travel plazas along the Indiana Toll Road by the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission, a partnership of seven northern Indiana convention and visitors bureaus that works to promote tourism in the region.
Each TAP (Tourist Assistance Portal) kiosk includes a 42-inch interactive touch screen that assists travelers in booking hotels and finding restaurants, shopping destinations and attractions along the Indiana Toll Road. The TAPs allow travelers to navigate up-to-the-minute guides to area businesses, complete with maps, menus, coupons and photo galleries. As part of its user-friendly interface, each TAP allows visitors to find businesses and attractions by toll road exit and includes an interactive, exit-by-exit map with directions to destinations. Additionally, visitors can text or email business information or coupons directly to their phone or mobile device.
“The TAPs are designed to provide the best visitor experience possible and to influence the millions of people that stop at our travel plazas to spend money in our communities along the toll road,” said Dan Bearss, executive director of the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission. “They are a user-friendly way for visitors to find exactly what they are looking for, whether that’s a hotel to spend the night or a family-friendly activity off the next exit.”
Six kiosks have been installed at eastbound travel plazas in Portage, Rolling Prairie and Elkhart and westbound travel plazas in Elkhart, Howe and Fremont. With more than 12 million people visiting travel plazas along the Indiana Toll Road each year, the TAPs are expected to get a high-volume of use, something the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission will monitor along with Blue Focus Media, developers of the TAP software. The TAPs are an extension of the commission’s visitor outreach program on the Indiana Toll Road, which already includes two staffed visitor centers, brochure distribution at travel plazas, and advertising inside travel plazas and on tollbooth windows.
The Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission is a partnership of seven northern Indiana convention and visitors bureaus in Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph, Marshall, Elkhart, Kosciusko and LaGrange counties. The partnership allows local convention and visitors bureaus to leverage their dollars on regional initiatives, such as the TAP program, and to purchase advertising in key markets. Collectively, tourism in the seven member counties of the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission pumps more than $2 billion into local economies annually.
For more information on the TAP program or Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission, call 574-862-6163, or visit http://www.northernindianagetaways.com/.
ABOVE: (L-R) Lorelei Weimer, treasurer of the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission Board of Directors and executive director of Indiana Dunes Tourism; Dan Bearss, executive director of the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission; and Jack Arnett, president of the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission Board of Directors and executive director of the LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau stand in front of one of the new TAP (Tourist Assistance Portal) touch screens.