"We've had an incredible year. A great summer, the papal visit, breaking into new markets and working with Google are among some of our most exciting accomplishments from 2015," said Jerry Lepping, President of Visit Bucks County. "The Annual Meeting is our opportunity to share this news with the community and rally Bucks County's tourism and hospitality industry to join in our efforts for the year ahead."
Visit Bucks County is proud to share hotel occupancy numbers from summer 2015. An informal survey of Bucks County hotels indicated that occupancy numbers can be attributed to weddings, sports tournaments and leisure travel.
• In June 2015, hotel occupancy in Bucks County was 74 percent, the highest it has been since June 2012 and prior to that August 2010.
• In July 2015, hotel occupancy was 73.4 percent, the highest it has been since July 2010.
• August 2015 was Visit Bucks County's best month ever and best month of the year. Occupancy was 74.5 percent.
NEWLY RELEASED ECONOMIC IMPACT NUMBERS
According to Tourism Economics/Visit Philadelphia (2014 data), visitor spending in Bucks County generates:
• $937.2 million in local economic impact (up 4.7 percent from 2013)
• $126.4 million in federal, state and local taxes (up 3.3 percent from 2013)
• Tourism supports 11,863 jobs locally (up 1.7 percent from 2013)
• Supporting Tourism Development: VBC distributes funding twice a year through the Tourism Grant Program which has distributed approximately $2.5 million to more than 70 non-profit partners for tourism development since 2008. Fall 2015 grant recipients will be announced in December.
The next round of grant applications are due on April 1, 2016 and October 1, 2016.
• Marketing the Countryside: This year, VBC messaging appeared in Long Island Pulse Magazine, on Long Island Railroad, Roosevelt Field Mall, New Jersey Transit, Northern New Jersey billboards, TripAdvisor, digital advertising and more. The creative direction, "It's That Moment," encouraged consumers to visit Bucks County and create moments that bond families and friends forever.
Because VBC has seen more than a 1,500 percent increase in web traffic from Washington D.C. over the past year, the tourism office will focus marketing efforts in this new market in 2016.
• Putting Bucks County on the National Stage: In 2015, VBC hosted 15 press trips and landed nearly 300 media placements, including stories in USA Today, The Weather Channel, Huffington Post, 6ABC and more. VBC is placing an even greater emphasis on pitching Bucks County as an ideal fall getaway destination, breaking into new markets including Long Island, Washington D.C. and Harrisburg.
In 2016, VBC is focusing public relations efforts on increased national media relations.
• Digital Dive: VisitBucksCounty.com continued to grow reaching 1.3 million page views (up 60 percent from the previous year) and nearly 400,000 sessions. Currently, the site offers visitors more than 200 content-based articles to assist with trip planning. VBC's video series has been viewed more than 77,000 times across YouTube and Facebook.
In 2016, VisitBucksCounty.com will undergo a complete refresh, re-launching to be an even more useful resource for visitors and locals. A partnership with Google Maps will also become part of the enhanced website.
• Sharing Through Social Media: With more than 54,000 followers total across all social media channels, Visit Bucks County continues to share content and photos about Bucks County through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
Looking ahead to 2016, Visit Bucks County plans to increase efforts on new livestreaming network, Periscope, and develop a greater presence on LinkedIn.
• On the Road: To market Bucks County as an ideal destination for group tours, meetings, sports tournaments and weddings, VBC's sales team attended nine tradeshows/conferences last year. In addition, Bucks County hosted (or will be hosting) nearly 15 meetings, groups and events, including eBay's Enterprise Sales Conference, the Bucks County Dragon Boat Festival, Bucks County Curling Club "Big Buckin' Bonspiel" and the Pennsylvania Prothonotaries and Clerks of Courts Association Annual Conference.
In the coming year, VBC plans to focus marketing efforts on weddings and meetings, two areas the tourism office has seen significant growth in lately. In addition, VBC will explore LinkedIn advertising as an outlet to reach B2B audiences.
• Service at the Center: VBC's Visitor Center welcomed more than 10,000 walk-in visitors, fielded more than 700 phone calls and referred visitors to Bucks County businesses 5,400+ times. The Visitor Center hosts four signature events: Bucks County GardenFest, Bucks County ArtFest, Bucks County Quilt Show and the Bucks County Holiday TreeFest (celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2015).
In 2016, VBC will introduce a live chat function to VisitBucksCounty.com, allowing the Visitor Information Center team to interact with potential visitors and assist with trip planning in real time online.
Contact: Jessica Lawlor, Communications 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.