LAKE ERIE SHORES & ISLANDS, OHIO, October 9, 2018 --- The results are in, and Lake Erie Shores & Islands has once again earned top honors in the state for its marketing efforts. At the recently completed Ohio Travel Association’s Conference on Travel, the destination marketing organization for the region took home numerous top awards, including its President, Larry Fletcher, earning the industry’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

At the conference opening dinner, Fletcher was honored with the prestigious Paul Sherlock Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ohio Travel Association. The award was presented by 2017 winner, Ohio State Senator Randy Gardner with additional comments provided by State Representative Steve Arndt.  This achievement is awarded annually to an individual who demonstrates professional, personal, and career excellence. The recipient exemplifies the best in the travel and tourism industry, by believing in and continually promoting Ohio as a destination.  It is named for Paul Sherlock, a former Ohio state director of travel and tourism, who under Governor James Rhodes formed Ohio’s first travel advisory committee, which eventually evolved into the Ohio Travel Association.

Fletcher has served a number of board and officer positions within state and industry organizations, and has served as President of Lake Erie Shores & Islands since 2015. His relationship with the organization however dates back to 2006 when, as Executive Director of the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau, he was invited to be part of the team that created the Shores & Islands partnership.

The annual RUBY Awards, which stands for Recognizing Uncommon Brilliance Yearly, presentation was held at Cedar Point’s Convention Center. The RUBY Awards, sponsored by Ohio Magazine, are the Ohio Travel Association's way of honoring those who have found the most innovative ways to market their destination, experiences or services. While a number of organizations of all sizes and budgets were recognized in many categories, the host destination was celebrated with five awards.

Lake Erie Shores & Islands won a first-place RUBY Award in the Blog category, for its Lake Erie Love Blog, which features stories on area attractions, local personalities, popular events, and interesting history. Another first-place RUBY Award was won for a new category, Innovation in Travel Marketing. The winning entry was a first-time marketing campaign utilizing Amazon Alexa to share information about weekly happenings in the region.  A partnership with Ottawa Broadcasting LLC, this campaign created custom-designed Alexa skills (“Alexa, what’s happening at the lake?” among others) where Amazon Alexa users can ask the device about area events and hear a weekly update from Lake Erie Shores & Islands promoting upcoming events.  Lake Erie Shores & Islands also won the Citation of Excellence in the same category for its innovative 2017 Annual Report presentation, which included both a printed piece and accompanying video.  Finally, the organization was recognized with two Certificates of Achievement for Marketing Campaign, for our Start Coasting 2018 brand campaign, and Promotional Video, for a winter indoor waterpark video produced by Sandusky’s New Departure Films.

On the final day of the conference, Lake Erie Shores & Islands Creative Manger, Jennifer Yochem, was recognized as a member of the 2018 Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy (OTLA) graduating class. Yochem participated in the program, which included 25 professionals representing attractions, museums, theme parks, CVBs, local government, state agencies, federal legislators, community development offices, restaurants, hotels, and more. OTLA is for travel professionals who want to take the next step in advancing their careers or who are new to the industry and want to better understand its opportunities. This innovative program, sponsored by OSU Ohio Sea Grant, sharpens leadership skills, increases professional networks, and gives participants a better understanding of travel industry at a statewide level.

The Cedar Point team treated nearly 300 conference attendees to a first-class experience along the lakeshore at Hotel Breakers, along with events held at the Convention Center, on the beach, and within the park. The Ohio Conference on Travel was truly “on point” this year!



Shores & Islands Ohio is the Midwest’s favorite getaway. This coastal destination boasts 152 miles of Lake Erie shoreline, the best fishing on the Great Lakes, welcoming communities, rich history, a wine trail, and an abundance of family-friendly attractions. World-famous Cedar Point Amusement Park calls it home, along with Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, other indoor and outdoor water parks, animal parks, sports venues, and more. Visitors enjoy ferries and cruises to Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass, and Kelleys Island. One of the country’s best areas for spring and fall bird migration, the area is overflowing with natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation. More at

Media Contact:

Jill Bauer, Public Relations Manager
Shores & Islands Ohio
Phone: 419.625.9495