BUCKS COUNTY, PA (October 14, 2016) – Visit Bucks County (VBC), the official tourism promotion agency for Bucks County, held its Annual Meeting & Luncheon on Friday, October 14 at PARX East in Bensalem, PA. VBC recapped the past year’s marketing successes, including the new, mobile-responsive website, and announced that 2016 hotel occupancy was the highest it has been in a decade.
“2016 was a great year for Bucks County,” said Jerry Lepping, President/COO of Visit Bucks County. “As an organization, we are proud of our marketing successes this year and look forward to continuing to lead the tourism community to record-breaking occupancy levels in 2017 and beyond.”
According to Tourism Economics/Visit Philadelphia (2014 data), visitor spending in Bucks County generates:
• $937.2 million in local economic impact
• $126.4 million in federal, state and local taxes
• Tourism supports 11,863 jobs locally
THE BEST YEAR IN A DECADE
Bucks County partner hotels and attractions indicated that the rise in occupancy was attributed to weddings, sports tournaments and leisure travel from markets including Baltimore, Washington DC, New Jersey and New York. For that last 18 months, Bucks County has seen positive growth in lodging occupancy with year-to-date occupancy (as of August 2016) at 77.7%, the highest it has been since 2006.
2016 Summer Occupancy Statistics:
• In May 2016, hotel occupancy in Bucks County was 70.2%, the highest it has been in the past 10 years.
• In June 2016, hotel occupancy in Bucks County was 75.3%, the highest it has been in the past 4 years.
• In July 2016, hotel occupancy in Bucks County was 77.6%, the highest it has been in the past 10 years.
• In August 2016, hotel occupancy in Bucks County was 77.7%, the highest it has been in the past 10 years.
VisitBucksCounty.com reached 1 million page views in July 2016, the earliest this milestone has been ever reached in a calendar year. Following the year’s success, VBC launched a new website in August 2016.
• A responsive platform making searching on mobile, tablet and desktop easy and visually appealing. Currently, more than 51% of visitors to the site are viewing on mobile.
• Large, engaging visuals featuring bold and bright Bucks County photography.
• Ease of navigation driving consumers directly to content-based articles and itineraries. Content is categorized by Bucks County’s towns and main streets, so visitors can easily search for attractions, restaurants, shops and overnight accommodations.
• ‘From the Locals’ blog, where Bucks County natives are contributing insider content ranging from the best places to bike to all of the breweries featuring pumpkin beer.
• Social media and video content is seamlessly integrated offering visitors a rich media experience.
NEW AND TARGETED VIDEO CONTENT
In 2016, VBC continued its Storyteller Video Series produced by Anthony Sinagoga, highlighting the area’s tourism businesses and the owners behind them. Additions to the Storyteller Video Series included Peddler’s Village and Golden Pheasant Inn.
Visit Bucks County also worked with videographer Paul Loftland to produce Google Interior Tours and aerial photography of all wineries along the Bucks County Wine Trail. Loftland will continue to work with VBC in 2017 to produce aerial drone footage and Google 360 video featuring Bucks County attractions.
Moving forward, VBC is focusing on several new video series each targeting a different demographic from baby boomers to millennials. The organization is partnering with local National Geographic Photographer/Videographer, Bob Krist and Philadelphia based videographer, Meredith Edlow to produce this new content.
BRANDING BUCKS COUNTY
This year, VBC’s brand advertising campaign appeared along New Jersey Transit, on billboards throughout Norther New Jersey, digitally on Tripadvisor and in print publications including The Washingtonian and Long Island Pulse. The 2016 creative campaign showcased engaging photography emphasizing Bucks County’s iconic beauty with large impactful visuals of Covered Bridges, Wineries, Fonthill Castle, Peace Valley Lavender Farm and everyone’s favorite furry friends at Sesame Place. Print ads featured VBC main streets and river towns including New Hope, Doylestown and Sellersville. The 2016 ad campaign will generate 95,267,440 total impressions.
NATIONAL MEDIA ATTENTION
In 2016, VBC hosted 13 press trips and landed more than 240 media placements, including stories in top publications such as USA Today, Huffington Post, Brides, NJ Digest, NY Daily News and more. VBC is placing an even greater emphasis on pitching Bucks County as an affordable, convenient getaway destination to escape from major metropolitan areas such as New York City and Washington, D.C.
Each year, VBC awards several recipients for their dedication to the local tourism and hospitality industry. The 2016 recipients were:
• Elissa Garofalo, President, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
• Kelly Krumenacker, Executive Director, Bucks County Children’s Museum
• Sandra A. Miller, Former Bucks County Commissioner
• Bill Pezza, Founder, Historic Bristol Borough “Raising the Bar”
Contact: Alexa Johnson, Public Relations Manager, Visit Bucks County
215 639 0300 ext. 227
About Visit Bucks County
Visit Bucks County (VBC) is the official tourism promotion agency for Bucks County. The tourism office, with more than 450 tourism/hospitality partners throughout Bucks County, promotes all there is to see and do to potential visitors and residents. In addition to consumer travel, Visit Bucks County targets sports tournaments, motorcoach groups, meetings, special events and weddings. For more information on VBC activities call 1-800-836-BUCKS, visit VisitBucksCounty.com or stop by the Bucks County Visitor Center located at 3207 Street Road in Bensalem (adjacent to the entrance to PARX Casino). The Visitor Center is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. It is easily accessible from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Route 1 and Interstate 95.