Destination Gettysburg's Nicole Absher was honored last week with the National Tour Association's (NTA) Young Professional Award. This award is given to NTA members, age 40 and younger, who have exhibited leadership and demonstrated passion for the travel and tourism industry. Out of all of the nominees, the NTA Young Professionals Advisory Group chose Nicole to be one of five to be honored.
"We are proud to have Nicole representing Destination Gettysburg to tour operators and group tour leaders around the world," said Norris Flowers, President of Destination Gettysburg. "She deserves this recognition for all of her hard work and creativity in bringing tour groups to our destination."
Nicole started at Destination Gettysburg in August 2015 as a Group Sales Manager. She has completed the American Bus Association's Certified Travel Industry Specialist program and accomplished a number of endeavors that helped reach sales goals each year.
In her time at Destination Gettysburg, Nicole played a vital role in helping the organization host two major group tour events- the 2016 Pennsylvania Bus Association's Annual Meeting and the 2017 Maryland Motorcoach Association's Group Leader Travel Showcase, which brought hundreds of tour operators and group leaders to Gettysburg. Additionally she has attended over 40 tradeshows and sales missions to promote Gettysburg and Adams County. This has resulted in hundreds of leads that allow the organization and partners to stay connected with the operators and leaders.
Additionally, Nicole's creativity has resulted in unique and different ways to promote Adams County to clients. With so many destinations to choose from, Nicole knows she has to make sure Gettysburg and Adams County are standing out to the tour operators, planners and group leaders so that it is at the top of their list.
"Receiving this award is a great honor and I am very thankful to have even been nominated. Winning this award shows me that the hard work and out-of-the-box ideas that we put into motion every day are making an impact in the industry," said Nicole.
Last month, Hollabaugh Bros. was a participant in USA Today's 10Best Apple Orchard competition against 20 other top orchards across the country. After the voting period ended, results were tallied and Hollabaugh's ranked number five on the list only behind major orchards like Kiyokawa Family Orchard in Oregon, Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in New York, Spicer Orchards in Michigan and Boa Vista Orchards in California. They placed in front of other nationally recognized orchards like Mercier Orchards in Georgia.
The Hollabaugh family grows fruits and vegetables on 500 acres in Upper Adams county, and approximately 200 acres of apples. In addition to selling as many as 25 different apple varieties at a time over the peak of apple season in early October, the family also has a large pick your own orchard featuring varieties like McIntosh, Jonagold, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, and GoldRush.
Every day, Destination Gettysburg gives back to the community through its marketing, which - in turn - attracts visitors who travel to this destination and spend millions of dollars a year and support thousands of jobs. But Destination Gettysburg does more than that. The official destination marketing organization of Adams County, Pa., is a strong community supporter through a variety of partnerships, programs and projects as well as donations to fellow organizations.
Every year, Destination Gettysburg contributes approximately $58,000 in community programs as a way to not only make the Adams County community a better place to visit, but a better place to live. Recently, Destination Gettysburg has donated to the National Apple Museum (pictured above) in Biglerville as they undergo renovations, Historic Gettysburg-Adams County for the Barn Restoration Program and will be donating to the Adams County Arts Council for their 25th anniversary and New Year's Eve celebration.
Destination Gettysburg's mission is as much about supporting the community through economic development, and growing the local job base while supporting other community and civic organizations with their hard work - as it is helping the visitor. For questions, contact Norris Flowers, President of Destination Gettysburg, at email@example.com.
For the last several months, we have been sharing with you the positive impact being seen through the Smith Travel Research (STR) Report. This report looks at our hotel properties, which self-report, the status of monthly occupancy, average daily rate (ADR), demand and revenue. Through August, even with a summer of extreme weather, our numbers appeared to be holding compared to 2017, a record year for lodging demand.
As with all reporting, we will share both the ups and downs. The number we have been focusing on has been the demand which represents total rooms booked. This is a consistent number, not influenced by inventory or room rate. Through August, demand was up 5.6 percent over 2017, with August up 4.7 percent. With the wet and wild weather of September, for the fist time all year, we saw demand drop 2.9 percent, resulting in a year-to-date demand increase of 4.5 percent. Revenue for September was down 3.4 percent from September 2017, impacted by both drop in demand and a slight drop in ADR of 0.5 percent. It is important to note, that even with a slight drop in ADR and a drop in demand for September, revenue is still up year-to-date by 2.7 percent.
As a leisure travel destination, many things can impact our visitation. We have watched over the years as the price of fuel impacts our visitation, as well as politics and the dates of holidays and school openings. Environmental impact by weather - rain, snow and heat - have definitely left the mark. This September was one of those heavily impacted months. In addition to the cancellation of World War II events, even the Gettysburg Wine & Music Festival was forced to end short.
"We have had rain in prior years with little impact on attendance," noted Carrie Stuart, President of the Gettysburg Adams Chamber of Commerce and host of the Gettysburg Wine & Music Festival, "but this year's rain caused a nearly 50 percent decrease in tickets sold at the gate on Saturday and closed the event on Sunday. No additional marketing could have helped attendance."
As we approach the final quarter of 2018, now is the time to capitalize on fall, the commemorations of Dedication and Remembrance Day and of course the holidays. October, from what we have been hearing from members, is on track with historical trends. We have heard that December is already booking up with the new Gettysburg Christmas Festival and other yuletide events, weddings and group tour. If you need ideas to drive traffic, please reach out. We have great content that you can share to entice visitors to the area and directly to your business.
Bailey Coach has invited veterans from York and Adams County to Gettysburg for a day of dedication and remembrance on Friday, Nov. 9. A total of 425 veterans and guests transported on eight buses are expected to descend upon historic Gettysburg for museum and tour experiences, speakers and a wreath laying ceremony at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial.
For the past three years, Bailey Coach has been bringing veterans to war monuments around the region. Since the inaugural year, over 1,500 veterans and guests have been transported free of charge to Washington, DC and Arlington.
The day will kick off with a tour of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center experience followed by a Licensed Battlefield Guided Tour. The group will then go to Wyndham Gettysburg for lunch and a program by Tigrett Corp that highlights the WWII history in Gettysburg. The day will conclude with a wreath laying ceremony at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial at 3:30 p.m. This ceremony will include a speech from a surprise guest and a tribute from the Biglerville American Legion.
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