Destination Gettysburg hosted 13 tour companies (18 operators and 3 guests) for a three-day, two-night familiarization tour on July 19-21. The companies invited to attend the FAM met one or more the following criteria:
An itinerary was developed by Destination Gettysburg based on what tour operators said they were looking for - fresh ideas, interactive experiences and new ways to enjoy the destination. With this in mind, the itinerary was created to focus on highlighting new experiences available for groups:
Destination Gettysburg also offered several opportunities for members to participate in the FAM, including sponsorships, turndown gifts and the Operator FAM Member Expo. The expo luncheon took place on Wednesday, July 20, at the Gettysburg Hotel and 17 members participated. During the Expo, members were able to network with attendees over lunch as well as promote their property during the expo.
The Tour Operator FAM was a great success and we received positive feedback from the FAM attendees.
Leads from the Tour Operator FAM Tour will be live in the Member Portal within the next week and will contact information of attendees, along with planner history and more information on what their groups are looking for. If you have any questions on how to access the leads, please contact Nicole Absher, Group Sales Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-338-3062.
Over the course of the past nine years, Destination Gettysburg has worked with the California University of Pennsylvania’s Tourism Research Center to talk with visitors to Adams County as a way to better understand who they are and what they do while they are spending time in our community.
Such information is vital to Destination Gettysburg as it not only markets Gettysburg, Pa., to potential visitors, but to highlight tourism as a driving force in the local economy.
This year, Dr. Susan Ryan, who heads the research project, presented Destination Gettysburg’s Board of Directors with a snapshot of our typical visitor – based on information collected and calculated to averages and medians of answers by those nearly 1,000 visitors surveyed in 2015.
While the information is simply meant to provide those inside and outside the tourism community with an informal understanding of our visitors, the information is crucial to develop a strong marketing plan to grow the county’s top industry.
Among the findings:
Dr. Ryan emphasized to the Board of Directors that the aforementioned responses from visitors was an accurate sampling of Adams County’s overall visitor base. Surveys are conducted at various points throughout Gettysburg and during all 12 months of the year.
She also suggested that Gettysburg was in an “enviable” position, meaning that its “typical visitor” detailed above was a “high-quality” visitor.
“The destination is extremely healthy and will continue to be so long-term,” said Dr. Ryan, who added that visitors to Adams County are highly matched with the experience the destination offers.
For a full copy of the California University of Pennsylvania’s 2015 Intercept Visitor Survey, contact Carl Whitehill, Director of Communications with Destination Gettysburg, at email@example.com.
Destination Gettysburg relies on a variety of studies and research - including a statewide economic report compiled by Tourism Economics, as well a monthly review of Adams County's lodging through Smith Travel Research. For a look at the research Destination Gettysburg uses, click here.
TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site both in content and visitors. As of 2015, the site hosted 290 million reviews and opinions with 190+ user contributions added every minute by 90 million TripAdvisor members. This content is viewed by nearly 250 million unique monthly visitors. It was imperative that we work to give Gettysburg a better presence on this site.
In June, Destination Gettysburg launched a display campaign targeting visitors who were searching for trip ideas in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. This was a great strategy to reach potential visitors who may not have thought of Gettysburg as a destination. But once we convinced them to consider Gettysburg, what content would they find on TripAdvisor?
While individual review scores for Gettysburg properties were very good – average accommodation review was 4.33; it was 4.68 for attractions; 4.14 for restaurants and the overall review score was 4.39 – the general content on the overall destination did not truly capture the experience. We also struggled with the presentation of businesses. If an Adams County business was outside of the 17325 zip code, they did not appear in a Gettysburg search. We were asked to find a way to fix this.
This month, Destination Gettysburg invested in a Premium Destination Sponsorship that allows our organization to control the destination content as well as underwrite the cost of recoding so that all businesses in Adams County could be associated with a Gettysburg search. This investment resulted in two platforms to showcase our destination – the Gettysburg page and the Greater Gettysburg page on TripAdvisor. In both cases, Destination Gettysburg has control over the content.
We believe this investment will benefit all of our members and create a better awareness of our destination. The campaign does include a tracking dashboard which will be actively monitored. Any questions on the sponsorship should be directed to Stacey Fox, VP, Sales & Marketing, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The parking area and sidewalks for the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg National Military Park along Taneytown Road will close on July 11 for up to six months for a construction project, National Park Service officials have announced. To accommodate national cemetery visitors during the project, a number of detours and temporary access points have been established.
Parking - Temporary grass and gravel parking lots for the National Cemetery will be designated on the east side of Taneytown Road, across from the existing lot, and at the intersection of Taneytown Road and Hunt Avenue.
Pedestrian Access - Because of sidewalk closures on the west side of Taneytown Road, pedestrian access to the national cemetery will be through a new gate through the stone wall on the south side of the cemetery, directly accessible from the temporary parking area. All existing cemetery gates will remain open during cemetery hours. Pedestrians using the trail from the park Museum and Visitor Center will be rerouted onto a new temporary grass trail on the east side of Taneytown Road.
Handicapped accessibility - Visitors with mobility impairments may obtain special permission from Park Rangers in the Museum and Visitor Center to drive into the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.
Auto Tour Route - Cars following the Gettysburg National Military Park’s auto tour route will be directed from Hancock Avenue to Steinwehr Avenue to Taneytown Road to the temporary parking lot for the cemetery (Auto Tour stop 16). Buses, RVs and large vehicles will follow detour signs on a special route via Steinwehr Avenue to Queen Street, to Fairview Avenue, to Gettys Street, to Washington Street, to Taneytown Road to the Hunt Avenue temporary parking area. These large vehicles must take special care when parking at Hunt Avenue due to wet areas on the left and right side of the entrance.
Local traffic detour - Local traffic that uses this area for access between Taneytown Road and Steinwehr Avenue will be redirected to the intersection of Taneytown Road and Steinwehr Avenue or Wheatfield Road.
Freedom transit – The Gold Line shuttle’s cemetery stop will be relocated to the temporary parking lot.
Bicycle traffic – Bicyclists, including users of the Gettysburg Inner Loop bike trail, will stay on Steinwehr Avenue to the intersection with Taneytown Road and proceed to the bike racks inside the Taneytown Road entrance to the cemetery.
Project background – This $1.5 million dollar project will rehabilitate Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg National Military Park, bringing back missing features on the historic landscape at the center of the Union Army’s battle line and reduce the size of a parking area at Ziegler’s Grove. The nonprofit Gettysburg Foundation provided a grant of $900,000 to match National Park Service funding of $600,000. Special funding from the National Park Service was made available as a National Park Service Centennial initiative.
Details about the project are available on “From the Fields of Gettysburg,” the official blog of Gettysburg National Military Park, (click here) or go to: https://npsgnmp.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/gettysburg-details-rehabbing-cemetery-ridge/.
Visitation in Adams County, Pa., in 2015 surpassed that of the community's monumental 150th Anniversary year in 2013, according to recent analysis by the California University of Pennsylvania's Tourism Research Center.
The report concluded that 3,789,380 visitors traveled to Adams County in 2015 - just more than 1,500 visitors above 2013, when the Gettysburg region commemorated the sesquicentennial anniversary of both the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address.
Last year's visitation marks an all-time high since CalU began tracking countywide visitation for Destination Gettysburg in 2007.
"The tourism community of Adams County should be very proud of this accomplishment," said Norris Flowers, President of Destination Gettysburg. "This number is proof that we are building a strong future for tourism in this community."
Visitation through the years, as calculated by the California University of Pennsylvania: