2018 was another great year for engaging with our visitors through Destination Gettysburg's social media platforms. We saw audience growth across all of our social platforms - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Five different social media contests were run throughout 2018. The year kicked off with a National Plan for Vacation Day getaway to Gettysburg giveaway. We ran a multi-month Gettysburg Battle Reenactment ticket giveaway through the spring, as well as a National Apple Harvest Festival ticket giveaway in the fall. Later in the year, we asked our visitors to submit a few sentences on what the Gettysburg Address means to them in our My Gettysburg Address contest. The #GettysburgInspired Instagram contest ran through the entire year.
Destination Gettysburg reformatted the Gettysburg Road Tripping videos and produced 13 new Road Tripping videos to publish to social media in 2018. Those videos received more than 120,000 views on Facebook alone. We created 10 new culinary videos for our social channels in 2018, which received more than 110,000 views on Facebook.
Thirty-nine new blog posts were published on our Road to Gettysburg blog, and received 111,210 views to the blog in 2018. The top published posts for the year were 'Eight Great Gettysburg Battlefield Hikes and Walks,' 'How Well Do You Know Gettysburg's Civil War History' quiz blog and 'Five Epic Sandwiches in Gettysburg.'
Destination Gettysburg excited to continue to engage our visitors through social media in 2019, and are looking forward to the new video, blog post and contest ideas that we have planned for the year.
Destination Gettysburg launched a new craft beverage trail, the Adams County Pour Tour, on May 11, 2018. This marketing program provides visitors with a comprehensive tasting experience including wine, cider, beer and spirits. The program operates using a passport and map, allowing visitors to collect stamps in their passports for prizes along the trail. In 2018, the trail saw tremendous success and quickly garnered popularity among visitors and locals alike. In the first 7.5 months, fifteen Adams County Pour Tour partners gave away over 1,000 passports and over 12,400 passport stamps.
"Since we have joined the Pour Tour, we have had many new customers that are now also returning customers! It has brought guests our way that may not have ventured to this side of Adams County since the majority of the craft beverages are in or near Gettysburg. We hear often, 'I never knew you were here,' so the Pour Tour has definitely been worth being a part of and we look forward to seeing what else it will do for us." - Alisha Carr, Manager, Brookmere Wine & Tasting Room
"In just one year the Pour Tour has impacted Reid's Winery and Cider House in the greatest way possible. It has brought in tons of new guests and gave returning guests even more reasons to come back to try more of our wines and ciders. More often than not, customers who come into our winery aren't familiar with hard cider. The Pour Tour gets these guests to step out of their comfort zone, try something new and receive more stamps." - Laken Wiles, Tasting Room Manager, Reid's Winery: The Cider House
Destination Gettysburg invested in the marketing strategy and creation of the trail. The strategy included the creation of a website, digital and print advertising, radio spots, social media promotions, a monthly e-newsletter, festival sponsorship and media relations. A key piece of the media relations included a media tour in August hosting nine travel journalists and bloggers to taste for themselves the emerging craft beverage scene in the region, as well as talk to the men and women who pour their passion into the wines, ciders, beers and spirits they make. So far, ten articles about the Adams County Pour Tour were published due to the exposure the trail received during the media tour.
The newest addition to the Pour Tour is a merchandise catalogue including t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, polos and beanies. Available for wholesale exclusively through Americana, you are now able to sell this merchandise in your business, too. We have some great ideas for 2019 and are eager see how the Adams County Pour Tour continues to grow.
After a year where it rained roughly 50-percent of the days, the year-end Smith Travel Research report (STR) showed that it didn't dampen the lodging industry in Adams County. For the third year in a row, demand for hotel/motel overnights was up 3.6-percent. This increase follows a record year in 2017 when demand was up 5.4-percent. The Bed & Breakfast industry saw a demand increase of 7.8-percent, the first time demand increased in this segment in the last three years.
Revenue was also up according to the STR report. The increase of 2.2-percent over 2018 follows on the heals of a 6.1-percent increase in 2017. The largest growth month for revenue was in the first quarter, showing 8.2-percent increase in January and 14.2-percent in March. Demand also showed the largest growth in those two months up 9.8-percent in January and 14.9-percent in March. The same trend was seen in the Bed & Breakfast segment for both demand and revenue. Overall revenue in this segment was up less than 1-percent.
It should be noted that overall supply of rooms was up over 2017 with the addition of the Best Western opening in May of 2017 and the Holiday Inn Express opening in August of 2017. This coupled with an increase of Airbnb offerings did show a slight decrease in occupancy of 1-percent. Occupancy levels in the Bed & Breakfast segment did see an increase in 2018 over 2017 by 7.8-percent while their supply did not change.
As Destination Gettysburg continues to hone our marketing strategy and messaging, we are seeing the impact on the overall destination. With an expanded visitor experience throughout the county encompassing our history, agriculture, culinary and outdoor opportunities, we are seeing traditional visitors embracing these experiences while generating a new visitor base to help sustain our industry.
Looking to the 2019 travel season, we are encouraged by the positive growth trends highlighted in this report and the enthusiasm of our visitors who are already planning for their getaways, vacations and many daytrips to our great destination.
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