Sales Manager Nicole Absher and nine Destination Gettysburg partners attended Student & Youth Travel Association's (STYA) Annual Conference in Birmingham, Ala. on August 9-13.
At this year's Annual Conference, Destination Gettysburg had 40 prescheduled appointments with tour operators from across the United States; this is well above the event average of 22 appointments for suppliers. All 40 appointments were mutual requests, where both the operator and Destination Gettysburg requested the appointment. Over the past few years, Destination Gettysburg has seen an increase in the number of appointments and of mutual appointments, which demonstrates the effectiveness in our marketing efforts to these student tour operators.
As the official destination marketing organization for Adams County, Destination Gettysburg's primary role, as outlined in state law is to use our lodging tax revenue to attract visitors to the county. The ultimate goal in our marketing is to drive overnight stays resulting in higher spending in the market, not just with lodging properties, but with shops, attractions, restaurants, fuel stations and other ancillary businesses. This in turn will drive employment. It is all about the positive economic impact for Adams County. Our marketing programs include print, radio, billboards, and a large array of digital channels.
One specific campaign ran with Expedia from May 15 through July 18. The goal was to drive new visitors to Adams County, targeting travelers who had previously searched for destinations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia as well as Washington, DC and New York City. Display ads ran on the main Expedia site as well as their portfolio sites, including Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz and Hotwire, driving traffic to a landing page where the potential visitor could learn more about the destination, click through to our official website and book their lodging. Destination Gettysburg invested $30,000 in this campaign which delivered 2.3 million impressions and a click through rate of 0.08 percent. The ultimate results were $144,387 in accommodation bookings, a 481 percent return on investment. The program also generated addition revenue in restaurants, local attractions and various other businesses.
Campaigns with Expedia also provide great data. During the campaign period, room night bookings were up by 40 rooms per day, a 22.9 percent increase. We know that of the bookings, the majority were for one night (49.4 percent), with an additional 32.8 percent of bookings staying for two nights, other bookings were for up to nine nights. 61.6 percent of bookings were for multiple adults, with 26 percent representing the family market and 12.4 percent single travelers. Nearly 40 percent arrived in market within two weeks of the booking and 67 percent within 30 days. Top origin markets include New York City, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, Columbus and Baltimore.
This is just one example of how Destination Gettysburg invests the lodging tax dollars and tracks our return on investment, producing an annual economic impact of $726 million dollars to the Gettysburg and Adams County economy.
As you know, we've been closely monitoring the new Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) policy and fees that the National Park Service is implementing. We wanted to share the latest news that these updates are being delayed six months. The National Park Service will not accept road-based commercial tour (RBCT) CUAs until January 1, 2020 and not require CUAs for entry until April 1, 2020. Changes to commercial tour entrance fees will also not occur until the standardized RBCT CUA requirement is implemented.
In addition, the NPS has also made a major policy shift regarding CUA fees. They will no longer require CUA holders to keep track of park visitors under 16 years of age who are already exempt from entrance fees.
>> Click here for more information regarding the CUA changes
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