Marketing Challenge winners

The winning team in the inaugural Southern Illinois University Carbondale Future Business Leaders of American Hospitality Business Challenge is from Marion High School. The team presented “Marketing to Millennials: HerrinFesta Italiana.” They are, from left, Connor Followell and Blake Horner.  (Photo provided)

March 21, 2017

Marion duo wins FBLA Hospitality Business Challenge

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The Hospitality and Tourism Administration Program, in partnership with the College of Business at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, issued a challenge to Southern Illinois high school members of the Future Business Leaders of America: How would you market to the generation of consumers known as Millennials? 

Twelve student teams from three high schools answered. The students, representing Harrisburg, Marion and Murphysboro high schools, were on campus earlier this semester to present their marketing plans for the FBLA Hospitality Business Challenge. The students were to select a region, a cuisine, an event, a destination, preferably in their geographic area, and devise a promotional plan using digital media to market to Millennials.

Here are the top teams:

Winning team: Blake Horner and Connor Followell from Marion High School -- “Marketing to Millennials: HerrinFesta Italiana.”

Second place: Alexis Daun, Kaitlyn Hill, and Johnna McSparin from Marion High School – “Marketing to Millennials: The 2017 Eclipse.”

Third place: Haley Sullivan and McKenzie Sullivan from Harrisburg High School: “The Fieldhouse Promotional Plan.”

Sylvia Smith, associate professor, and Nicole Davis, instructor, in the hospitality and tourism administration program, hope to make the event the first step toward building an annual hospitality and tourism-themed marketing challenge. While other FBLA groups partner with universities and businesses, there is nothing hospitality and tourism administration-themed available as a marketing or business challenge in Southern Illinois. 

Davis said she expects to make an announcement later this spring about the next FBLA Hospitality Business Challenge.