Originally Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2013, 1:31 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 15, 2013, 8:57 pm

Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard this weekend

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By Jonathan Turner jturner@qconline.com

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Photo: Todd Mizener
Tim Heim, the Hotel Blackhawk general manager, right, and Brent McRae, director of sales for the Clarion Hotel in Davenport, take part in Tuesday morning's press conference on the "Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard" initiative at Bettendorf's Family Museum. The museum is among more than 45 local attractions, shops, restaurants and other businesses offering special discounts and promotions this weekend, Jan. 18- 21. The pillows at right represent the number of reservations made last year at participating hotels.

BETTENDORF -- If you've never experienced the opulence, comfort and luxury of the historic Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport, this weekend would be a good time to do it. 

The hotel is offering a $129 nightly special Friday through Sunday that includes a game of bowling for two (with shoe rental), and up to $25 credits at Spa Luce and Beignet Done That.

Hotel Blackhawk is one of more than 15 hotels in the Quad-Cities area offering special rates and packages for the 12th-annual "Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard" promotion by the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau (QCCVB).

"It's a really great way for locals to experience all the great attractions and hotels in the Quad-Cities area," hotel general manager Tim Heim said at a Tuesday press conference at the Family Museum.

The weekend will include more than 25 other area attractions, shops, spas, restaurants, and businesses.

Last year was the first time Hotel Blackhawk participated in the promotion over the long holiday weekend, which is traditionally a slower time of year for the .travel and tourism industry.

"We saw a nice impact," Mr. Heim said, noting that 45 room nights were booked because of "Be a Tourist," raising his total occupancy for the weekend from 50 percent to more than 80 percent.

Last year, the promotion helped secure 355 room nights for participating hotels, translating to a $100,000 economic impact, Mr. Heim said.

"With Monday, Jan. 21, a holiday for many parents and students, that weekend is a great time to be a tourist in your own backyard and enjoy an affordable hotel stay," said Joe Taylor, president/CEO of the visitors bureau.

"People don't have to travel far or spend a lot of money to have a great and affordable weekend getaway. And they can use The Loop coupon to get around the downtowns for free."

An example of an attraction discount is $5 off the $25 advance ticket price for Saturday's fifth annual Winter Wine Experience at the River Music Experience in Davenport. The event includes hors d'oeuvres, live music, and a complimentary wine glass.

Go to visitquadcities.com/beatourist for a list of all the weekend specials and discounts, and to easily print any online coupons you’d like to use. Participating businesses also have a supply of coupon booklets.

Mr. Taylor said the coupon booklets are limited, so it's a good idea to pick up one before the weekend starts. They also are available at CVB visitor centers at Quad Cities Gifts, 1601 River Drive, Moline, and Union Station, 102 S. Harrison St., Davenport.

Call (309) 277-0937 for more information.

Instead of a second "Be a Tourist" weekend in February, as has been done in past years, a new Q-C Restaurant Week will take its place Feb. 24 to March 2, said Jessica Waytenick of the QCCVB. For a flat $25, area restaurants will offer special deals and meals, she said.

Other cities have successfully offered this type of promotion and the visitors bureau wanted to try it here, Ms. Waytenick said. A full listing of participating restaurants should be available on qcrestaurantweek.com by Feb. 1.