During the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority's fourth annual Partnership Summit, hosted at Radisson Hotel Star Plaza in Merrillville, hospitality and tourism-related businesses gathered to learn about partnership benefits, business technology and more.

New in 2015, the Partnership Summit offered a special break out session geared toward hotels, offering ideas and information on hotel security. During the session, attendees heard from Elyse Dobney with Salvation Army's STOP-IT volunteer program, and Sergeant Jamie Harris from the Lake County Sheriff's Department.

The South Shore CVA's Chief Marketing Officer, Heather Becerra, and Chief Technology Officer, Luke Weinman IV, gave a presentation on marketing and technology trends that small businesses can implement. The session covered the importance of investing in a mobile website, utilizing Google analytics, and how to target advertising to specific audiences.

During the presentation, Weinman explained that by 2017, tablets and smartphones will account for 87 percent of devices connected to the internet.

"Last year, mobile devices and tablets accounted for 56 percent of the total traffic to the South Shore CVA's website," stated Weinman.

"It is important that small businesses adapt to the needs of their customers. Without a mobile strategy, businesses risk losing valuable customers," said Weinman.

Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore CVA, provided the closing keynote, taking questions from attendees and urging them to be active participants in the South Shore's hospitality and tourism industry.

"Our job is to sell more than 6,000 hotel rooms every night, but we can't do it alone. We need our partners to be involved in the development of more hospitality and tourism assets," said Batistatos. "When major conventions and sporting events come to the region, whether the event site is in Crown Point or Hammond, the entire South Shore will benefit."

For more information on partnership opportunities with the South Shore CVA, contact Megan Langel, partnership sales and development manager, at 219-989-7770 or at megan@southshorecva.com.