DES MOINES, Iowa (December 17, 2019) – Hosting the Iowa caucuses means big business for Greater Des Moines. From hotel nights and event venue rentals to campaign office and staff housing leases to visitor dollars spent at restaurants, attractions, and events, the financial impact is tremendous. National exposure from the Iowa caucuses helped spur the growth that earned the metro area the designation as the fastest growing city in the Midwest.
Catch Des Moines, the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, predicts the 2020 Iowa caucuses will generate $11.3 million in economic impact for the city in the week leading up to the caucus. Additionally, Catch Des Moines estimates the city has garnered $228 million AVE (advertising value equivalency) from 2.4K mentions of “Des Moines” in articles about the Iowa Caucus from major news sources since January 1, 2019. And we’re a month out. Much of the positive media mentions will come the week of the caucuses when media from across the world convene in Des Moines and experience “Iowa nice” first-hand.
“The value of rolling out the red carpet and hosting campaign staff, political tourists and media covering the Iowa caucuses cannot be overstated,” said Greg Edwards, President and CEO of Catch Des Moines. “And it’s not just the money. The media get to experience Des Moines for the culturally rich, welcoming destination that we know it to be. We see the caucus as not just a showcase for the candidates, but a showcase for our community.”
As the destination marketing organization, Catch Des Moines promotes area attractions and businesses to visitors. The caucuses are a big revenue driver for bars, restaurants, hotels, and stores. Raygun, a printing, design, and clothing store known for cheeky and timely t-shirts is a must-stop for campaigns and political junkies alike, with shirts like, “Iowa! For some reason, you have to come here to be President.”
“It would honestly be hard for me to imagine Raygun without the caucuses. In the four days leading up to the 2016 caucuses, we did 54 different interviews with media from all over the world. The attention gained and connections made are one of the biggest drivers in expanding our national appeal,” said Mike Draper, founder and owner of Raygun. “January is normally a very quiet month in retail, and we see a 30-40% spike in business because of all the traffic.”
Artists and creatives have also benefited immensely from media coverage of the Iowa caucuses, like Scott Siepker, a local actor who launched the video, “Iowa Nice,” around the 2012 Iowa caucuses. The video challenged perceptions of Iowa while highlighting interesting facts about the state and amassed more than 1.5 million views on YouTube. Siepker credits his career as a working artist in Iowa to the high density of international attention that caused his video to go viral. Now, nearly eight years later, he is releasing a new video with Catch Des Moines, highlighting iconic seasonal events and attractions in Greater Des Moines.
The economic impact and exposure are felt long before the caucuses, with high profile events such as the Polk County Steak Fry, the Liberty and Justice Celebration Dinner, the Iowa State Fair and several debates and countless candidate events bringing in tens of thousands of visitors to Greater Des Moines in the year leading up to the Iowa caucus.
Catch Des Moines is a partner of the Iowa Caucus Consortium with aims of ensuring media visiting Greater Des Moines feel welcome and equipped with the resources they need to effectively cover the Iowa caucuses while enjoying all that the community has to offer. For more information about the Iowa Caucus Consortium, visit Iowacaucus.org.
About Catch Des Moines
Catch Des Moines is the official destination marketing organization promoting and representing Greater Des Moines to leisure travelers and meeting planners. As the visitors’ and meeting professionals’ trusted partner, we elevate the visitor experience by connecting the functional to the aspirational. Our focus is to drive economic success for our more than 840 partners and enhance the quality of life in the 15 Greater Des Moines communities we represent. For more information, visit catchdesmoines.com.