BUCKS COUNTY, PA (December 8, 2020) – Visit Bucks County (VBC), the official tourism promotion agency for Bucks County, Pennsylvania, shared a virtual industry update on the tactics and strategies employed in 2020 to navigate through the pandemic.
Resilience has been the theme for so many in tourism and hospitality this year. 2019 was a record year for visitation, spending, economic impact and employment, and while 2020 started off with an upward swing in lodging occupancy, everything drastically changed in March.
The Visit Bucks County team, Board of Directors and Bucks County Commissioners, along with industry associations, have worked tirelessly to support the hospitality industry by continuing to market and promote responsibly, to educate, to convene and to advocate for the rebound of tourism while following guidelines.
2019 ECONOMIC IMPACT NUMBERS
According to ESI, visitor spending, in 2019, resulted in $1.1 billion in economic impact to the local Bucks County economy. Overnight visitation growth was the most robust at more than 4%, outpacing regional growth. A record 8.29 million visitors explored Bucks County’s countryside, enjoying area attractions, experiencing outdoor adventure, shopping, dining and indulging in the local flavor. Additionally, the leisure & hospitality industry employed 29,000 in 2019, 12% of the total Bucks County workforce.
NAVIGATING THE UNKNOWN
When the shutdown occurred in Pennsylvania, Visit Bucks County went dark on social media for a day, but quickly resumed with timely and impactful content. Visit Bucks County Restaurant Week, an annual event, was re-imagined to encourage take-out to support local restaurants. VBC also encouraged gift cards for future travel and shared best practices from government and industry organizations with partners.
In April 2020, hotel occupancy dropped to an all-time low of 30.7%. However, over time it rebounded, and in August occupancy peaked at 61%. September and October saw occupancy at 57% and 59%, respectively.
As spring continued, research showed that travelers were anxious to discover rural areas. The beauty of the countryside continued to set Bucks County apart as a destination, making the area well positioned to attract visitors seeking outdoor adventure while abiding by social distancing guidelines.
SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY
During the summer, traffic to VisitBucksCounty.com remained strong. Visit Bucks County launched a podcast, From the Locals, with local host Brooke Hillman spotlighting the stories behind the entrepreneurs of Bucks County, and why they chose this area to start their business. Press trip and influencer outreach also rebounded, with coverage highlighting outdoor summer and fall activities.
In an effort to continue to help Bucks County lodging properties stabilize, VBC executed targeted digital campaigns by promoting overnight packages as well as highlighting protocols implemented at hotels and bed & breakfasts.
VBC hosted countless virtual meetings with tourism and hospitality partners to share best practices and industry guidelines.
Fall traffic to the website continued to show that locals and visitors were seeking outdoor experiences with October 2020 users to the site outpacing October 2019 users.
As the year draws to a close this holiday season, Visit Bucks County is working with the County of Bucks to promote the return of commerce, small business patronage and tourism within Bucks County.
The coming year will continue to be met with challenges, but Visit Bucks County will remain committed to supporting the local hospitality industry and small businesses as they work to responsibly navigate through these unprecedented times.
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Senior Marketing & Communications Manager
Visit Bucks County
215-639-0300 x 227
About Visit Bucks County
Visit Bucks County (VBC) promotes travel to and within Bucks County, Pennsylvania. As the County’s officially-designated tourism marketing agency, VBC drives visitation, increases overnight stays and fuels the local economy by promoting all there is to see and do in Bucks County. VBC supports local businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry, including lodging, attractions, restaurants, retail, events and more. Annually, more than 8 million people visit Bucks County generating a billion dollars in economic impact.