Tourism Office Announces Economic Impact Numbers, Enhanced Website and New Marketing/Sales Initiatives

(Bucks County, PA) Visit Bucks County (VBC), the official tourism promotion agency of Bucks County, held its Annual Meeting & Luncheon on Friday, October 18 at PARX East. The tourism office joined partners, community leaders and VBC's Board of Directors for the premier hospitality industry event in Bucks County. The 2013 event theme "We Mean Business...Together!" focused on the importance of partnership and collaboration to bring more visitors to the area and generate increased economic impact in Bucks County.

"The goal of Visit Bucks County's Annual Meeting & Luncheon is to celebrate the impact the tourism and hospitality industry has on Bucks County's economy," said Jerry Lepping, executive director. "And we certainly have much to celebrate; this year, all of our numbers are up, proving that tourism in our beautiful county is thriving!"

ECONOMIC IMPACT

According to Tourism Economics and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism & Marketing Corporation, visitor spending in Bucks County generates:

• $877.3 million in local economic impact
• $117 million in federal, state and local taxes
• Tourism supports 11,637 jobs locally

Key hotel indicators also report an increase from the past year:

• Hotel revenue is up 6.5%
• RevPAR is up 2.2%
• ADR is up 2.1%

VISITOR CENTERS

Visit Bucks County's nine-person full-time staff and 25 part-time Visitor Information Specialists welcome visitors at the tourism office's Visitor Centers throughout the county, fielding:

• More than 50,000 visits
• More than 3,000 phone calls

SALES EFFORTS

VBC has made strides in all sales markets over the past year, including sports, weddings, meetings and groups.

Sports
Bucks County's sports market was more active than ever this past summer as the Bucks County Sports Commission, a division of VBC, welcomed two major sports tournaments.

• Patriot Games Lacrosse: 700 room nights, approximately 10,000 total attendees
• PONY National Softball: 2,152 room nights, approximately 10,000 total attendees


Weddings
Weddings continue to be a strong market for the tourism office thanks to Bucks County's variety of event venues from elegant castles to sprawling vineyards to rustic barns.

• The Bucks County Bridal Show welcomed 160 brides-to-be and 500 attendees.

Groups
The group travel market was extremely active in Bucks County this year.

• Approximately 50 leads were distributed.
• Sales representatives attended five group market tradeshows.
• VBC hosted five familiarization tours that introduced Bucks County to 160 group leaders and tour operators.

Meetings
With leads currently pending, there is the potential for nearly 3,000 future room nights, due to efforts of VBC's sales team to bring meetings and conferences to the region.

• The tourism office attended three association and corporate tradeshows.
• VBC worked with tourism partners on six sales missions to Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Princeton and Bucks County.

BRING HOME THE BUSINESS

During the Annual Meeting, VBC announced a new initiative, "Bring Home The Business," aimed at educating residents and the business community about the importance of bringing meetings, events, sports tournaments, reunions and group tours to Bucks County.

2013 MARKETING CAMPAIGN

VBC's co-op marketing campaign, themed "Capture Your Bucks County Moment" yielded more than 200 million impressions in North New Jersey and New York.

• Partners for this year's campaign included the James A. Michener Art Museum, New Hope Chamber of Commerce, Bucks County Wine Trail, Peddler's Village, Sesame Place and PARX Casino & Racing.
• Advertising appeared across multiple mediums and outlets, including the Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit, SeaStreak Ferries, TripAdvisor, Google Display Network and two double decker tour buses.

ENHANCED VISITBUCKSCOUNTY.COM

In September 2013, the tourism office launched an enhanced VisitBucksCounty.com. The upgraded site is the definitive online tourism resource for visitors and locals for Bucks County information. New features of the site include more photography, content, articles, video and integration of other popular websites including social media and TripAdvisor.

SOCIAL MEDIA

VBC reached major milestones on social media this year and now have more than 45,000 total social media followers across six different sites, including the newest, Instagram.

• The tourism office won a Travel + Leisure Social Media in Travel + Tourism Award for the second year in a row. This year, the tourism office was recognized for public service social media efforts around Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
• VBC's 2013 summer social promotion focused on image-sharing and generated nearly 2,000 entries, a more than 100 percent increase from the 2012 contest.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

The tourism office's public relations team spread the word about Bucks County garnering more than 300 stories in both leisure and B2B media outlets.

• Recognized both nationally and locally as a wonderful destination, Bucks County received numerous accolades this past year, including, but not limited to:

o "50 Best Dates in the 50 States" by Redbook Magazine
o "10 Reasons to Love Bucks County" by Harrisburg Magazine
o "125 Best Ideas for Summer Fun" by NY Metro Parent Magazine

Contact

Jessica Lawlor
Communications Coordinator
Visit Bucks County
215 639 0300 x 227
jessical@visitbuckscounty.com

Michelle Greco Falcone
Communications Manager
Visit Bucks County
215 639 0300 x 231
michellef@visitbuckscounty.com

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.