Destination Hilliard executive director Tim Kauffman wants Hilliard to be "everyone's hometown."

Kauffman, named in August as the organization's second executive director, said he wants to make residents and visitors alike aware of what Hilliard has to offer.

He said he has a plan to market the city and take Destination Hilliard in a new direction, which involves a new logo, a redesigned website, a 32-page visitors guide and a two-sided map handout that shows the location of 71 sites, including restaurants, hotels, museums, memorials, parks, shops, entertainment venues and other points of interest.

"The (previous guides and maps) just didn't go far enough," he said. "It listed a restaurant but it didn't say anything about it."

Destination Hilliard began operating in June 2010, with Christy Clark as its first executive director. She resigned in July to become director of digital communications at Westerville-based Crown Services, a temporary-placement employment agency.

Clark, who recruited Kauffman for the job at Destination Hilliard, said it was time for a change.

"We all have different ideas in ways to market a product or service," she said. "It is time for Destination Hilliard to infuse fresh ideas."

Destination Hilliard was created by Hilliard City Council to replace the Hilliard Convention and Visitors Bureau, which was disbanded in May 2010 after criticism from city leaders that the organization was not adequately promoting Hilliard and its tourism activities.

The visitors bureau's funding was derived from Hilliard's 6% bed tax; City Council redirected that revenue stream to Destination Hilliard.

State law requires that a portion of a city's bed tax be allocated for that city's tourism activities, Kauffman said.

Destination Hilliard receives half the city's annual bed-tax revenue, the equivalent of about $200,000 in 2018, to advertise and promote tourism in Hilliard, he said.

Kauffman said though the organization is funded by Hilliard's bed-tax revenue, he is not a city employee and answers to the organization's eight-member board of directors.

In December, Kauffman said, he presented a "strategic marketing plan" to the board of directors for Destination Hilliard and received approval to implement it.

An example of the necessary changes, Kauffman said, included adding descriptions of such eclectic eateries as Starliner Diner, which relocated to 4121 Main St. in Old Hilliard after its former site was demolished to make way for the Landmark Lofts mixed-use development at Cemetery Road and Franklin Street.

"As usual, Destination Hilliard is spot on with (its) outreach and efforts to promote Hilliard," said City Council President Kelly McGivern. "I appreciate the great work (it does) to bring visitors to our community."

The visitors map focuses on Old Hilliard and also sites as far west as Alton Darby Creek Road's Heritage Preserve Park and as far east as Mill Run on the east side of Interstate 270.

Some of the locations are in Columbus but are included because of their proximity to Hilliard and the benefit city's tourism, Kauffman said.

Destination Hilliard will work with the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, Experience Columbus and Ohio's tourism industry to promote Hilliard, Kauffman said.

Libby Gierach, president and CEO of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, said it has been a "valuable collaborative experience" working with Kauffman to move Destination Hilliard toward a new image and branding.

The new logo for Destination Hilliard incorporates the city's official flower, the sunflower, and one of its petals is a destination marker.

"Sunflower seeds surround it, giving it an exciting pop and liveliness," Kauffman said.

Both the visitors map and guide utilize the tagline "Everyone's Hometown."

The maps will be available at various locations, including the city's four hotels: Best Western Hilliard Inn & Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites Columbus Hilliard, Homewood Suites by Hilton Columbus-Hilliard and Rodeway Inn.

The visitors guide is available by calling 614-664-3290 or by emailing tkauffman@destinationhilliard.com.

The redesigned website is at destinationhilliard.com.

It includes a searchable database of events, dining accommodations, a family-friendly page and a description of attractions, Kauffman said.

A new promotional video also may be viewed on the website.

The website includes a photo contest, #MyHilliard, open to amateurs and professionals through Dec. 31.

Images will be displayed in a gallery from which 20 finalists will be selected and their work displayed publicly. The work of the grand champion will used in the organization's future marketing campaigns.

Linda Ulrey, president of the board of directors for Destination Hilliard, said the board is "very excited about the new direction."

"The new platform is exciting and we look forward to celebrating upcoming events," Ulrey said.

David Ball, Hilliard's director of communications, said Destination Hilliard "plays a valuable role in boosting Hilliard's overall economic vitality."

Visitors staying in local hotels also spend money at restaurants and in retail stores, which pumps money into the local economy and promotes job creation," Ball said. "By updating its branding and messaging, Destination Hilliard is taking some exciting steps to modernize and elevate its marketing efforts, which will result in more people visiting our community, dining and shopping in local establishments, and enjoying our community events."

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo