Visit Bucks County’s Annual Luncheon Meeting
The Power of Partnership Proves to be Successful
(Bucks County, PA) Visit Bucks County (VBC) held its Annual Luncheon Meeting (Power of Partnership: Historic. Progressive. Impactful) on October 15, 2010 at Washington Crossing Inn. The Visit Bucks County board, staff, partners, community leaders and friends gathered for the premier tourism and hospitality industry event in Bucks County. The location of the event symbolized this past year’s efforts to support Washington Crossing Historic Park’s re-opening and maintain the annual re-enactment of the Christmas crossing.
Lynn Doyle was the keynote speaker at the annual hospitality gathering. The multi-award winning journalist and philanthropist spoke about her connection to Bucks County and the importance of raising her family here. She fielded questions from the audience about the ever changing climate of the media and her favorite interviews.
HEADS IN BEDS
Key hotel indicators showed that tourism rebounded in 2010. Jerry Lepping, executive director of the tourism bureau stated “Hotel revenue has increased 8 percent, RevPAR is up 3.8% and hotel occupancy is up 5 percent,” concluding a year to date increase with a promising 2011 ahead.
The Annual Meeting highlighted the recent accomplishments of VBC from booking meetings and group tours to new advertising and social media campaigns:
Over the past year the Sports Commission hosted or supported more than 30 events and tracked more than 4,000 room nights, including the AAU Inline Hockey Junior Olympics, 2010 Babe Ruth State Championships and USASA Regional and National Cup Finals.
More than 100 tour operators were educated one-on-one to increase awareness of Bucks County as a group travel destination. As a result of the sales calls, a Bucks County series tour was secured with Great American Tours and Bucks County product was added to the catalogs of Sports Leisure Vacations and Kelly Tours.
American Bus Association (ABA) Marketplace is coming to Philadelphia in January 2011. Through a convention sponsorship, Bucks County is leveraging this opportunity to make a significant impression on the more than 600 packaged travel customers that will be in the region.
MEETINGS & EVENTS
Held in May, the Annual Gateway to Bucks County provided marketing partners the opportunity to showcase their venue, product or service to 85 qualified meeting planners. In conjunction with the event, a familiarization tour was hosted with 25 planners throughout the county.
Bucks County also hosted many conferences and events over past 18 months; including the PA State Coroner’s Convention, PA League of Women’s Voters State Convention and the Pennsylvania State HOG Rally.
This year, the 2nd Annual Bucks County Bridal Show hosted 189 brides at the Bucks County Visitors Center on Street Road. More than 700 people interacted with 40 venues, hotels and vendors. As a result, 385 leads were distributed. The next Bucks County Bridal Show will be held February 20, 2011 from 2-6pm. Early registration is available on www.visitbuckscounty.com/weddings
MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS
The “UNFORGETAWAYsm” marketing campaign, launched in early spring, in New York and North Jersey was featured on train cards and platforms, bus wraps and playbills. The promotion has sent more eyeballs to VisitBucksCounty.com. Year over year, a 20% increase of traffic was seen from New York and a 10% increase from New Jersey.
VBC is a social media trailblazer in the hospitality industry with recent Foursquare and Foodspotting partnerships. The visitors bureau also promotes online communities for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.
Public Relations efforts resulted in securing numerous local, regional and national hits in the media including Bucks County being chosen as one of the Top 10 Quick Summer Getaways by ShermansTravel Media LLC and receiving international awareness of the troubling status of Washington Crossing Historic Park by The Sean Hannity Show and FOX & Friends on FOX News.
Upcoming in 2011, VBC will redesign the visitors guide to become an all-encompassing publication: The Official 2011 Bucks County Destination Guide. Consumer, group tour, meetings, events, and weddings information along with featured content will comprise the guide.
Several annual events were hosted throughout the year at the Visitor Centers such as the Bucks County Quilt Show, Holiday TreeFest, and Ancestry Fair. Last fiscal year, the staff assisted 52,070 walk-in visitors and fielded 5,379 calls.
The 2nd Annual Visit Bucks County Awards were distributed to the following individuals who have significantly contributed to the tourism and hospitality industry of Bucks County:
Christopher Leskauskas, CEO of Peddler’s Village, Leskauskas is responsible for providing the guiding vision and strategic direction of Peddler’s Village.
Robert Caruso, President of Sesame Place, Caruso started at Sesame Place in 1980 and now has 1650 employees under his management.
Herman Silverman, Chairman of the James A Michener Art Museum-Silverman was the driving force to build James A. Michener Art Museum which now welcomes 150,000 visitors a year.
Robert Green, Chairman of Greenwood Companies-Green was the key contributor in bringing legalized gaming legislation to Pennsylvania in 2004.
Senator Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson- Senator Tommy Tomlinson introduced the gaming legislation that brought PARX Casino to Bucks County. Due to the Senator's bill there are now 1,050 more permanent jobs at PARX.
The Annual Power of Partnership Awards were distributed in recognition of partners that have gone above and beyond providing services and participating in VBC programs. The recipients of the Power of Partnership Awards were: Balloon Rides Daily by the U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team, The Bucks County Wine Trail, Sadie's Bridal, Sound Choice Disc Jockeys, and Tastings and Tours.
About Visit Bucks County
Visit Bucks County (VBC) is the official tourist promotion agency for Bucks County. The mission of the VBC is to increase visitation in Bucks County by effectively marketing its heritage and its diverse sites and attractions. . For more information on VBC activities call 1-800-836-BUCKS, visit www.VisitBucksCounty.com or stop by the Bucks County Visitor Center located at 3207 Street Road in Bensalem (adjacent to the entrance to the 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.
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Contact: Michelle Greco, Public Relations Manager
Visit Bucks County
215 639 0300 x231