Destination Gettysburg's Board of Directors have elected the following officers:
In December 2019, Rick Beamer of the Dobbin House Tavern, Wade Leedy of Tommy's Pizza and Fourscore Beer Co. and Tracy Wolf-Stroyny of Wolf's Bus Lines were elected to the 2020 Board of Directors to each serve a three-year term. These elected board members will take the seats of Del Gudmestad of the Shriver House Museum, Max Felty of Gettysburg Group Reservations and Robert Adams of Gettysburg Campground who all termed off.
The Adams County Pour, the official craft beverage trail of Adams County, has brought on two new partners bringing the total of 22 locations and 34 possible stamps. The two new partners are Hungry Run Wine Cellars - Gettysburg and Ploughman Cider Taproom.
Hungry Run Wine Cellars - Gettysburg is based out of The Hoof, Fin & Fowl seafood restaurant on Baltimore Street where they have a variety of red, white, sweet and dry wines. Ploughman Cider Taproom is located in the southwest corner of Lincoln Square where they strive to uphold Adams County's long history with apples in their unique ciders.
To learn more about the Adams County Pour Tour and all of the participating locations, visit www.AdamsCountyPourTour.com.
Last month, Destination Gettysburg kicked off the new year by attending the American Bus Association (ABA) Marketplace. Sales Manager, Chrystal Charlesworth and Sr. Director of Sales and Partnership, Donna White traveled with 10 partners to Omaha, NE where they were among 3,500 ABA delegates attending.
Chrystal and Donna took 88 appointments with tour operators who were interested in bringing groups to Gettysburg and Adams County. Eighty-two of their appointments were mutual. While history remains a top draw for visitors, operators expressed an interest in new and interactive ways to experience history. We also noticed an increase in requests for holiday experiences happening in Gettysburg.
To ensure that Adams County remains in the forefront of these tour operators minds, Chrystal has begun to send out the first round of customized follow ups to each delegate, providing additional information on the materials discussed during their appointments. She will continue to help facilitate information throughout their 2020 and 2021 planning processes.
2019 was a busy year for Destination Gettysburg with many successes such as an all-time high partnership retention rate as well as continuously increasing room demand throughout the year. Take a look at what each of our departments accolplishments throughout the year.
As a result of direct and indirect media efforts, Gettysburg received over 900 media placements this year in publications and platforms such as Forbes, TravelPulse, Trivago Magazine, AAA.com, Insider, Arlington Magazine and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. International coverage was secured in nine publications from Italy and China. Through direct communication efforts, 19 placements were made throughout multiple group tour and meeting market publications such as Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine, Small Market Meetings Magazine, Select Traveler Magazine, The Group Travel Leader and Groups Today Online.
The communications department attended one sales mission in Toronto Canada and three media marketplaces including International Media Marketplace, IPW and Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance Marketplace which resulted in numerous placements this year. A fall-themed media familiarization (FAM) tour brought in nine travel writers, bloggers and influencers from all over the mid-Atlantic from publications such as USA Today and the Travel Channels to experience all things fall and the Adams County Pour Tour.
On Destination Gettysburg's social media accounts, the follower count across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter increased by over 4,250 and engagements totaled in at nearly 173,000.
In March 2019 the communications department welcomed Natalie Buyny as the Director of Media and Public Relations in and Tori Hartman as the Social Media Manager in October.
In 2019, Destination Gettysburg secured placements in several high-profile industry publications such as Conde Nast, Food & Travel Magazine, GolfStyles Magazine, AAA Word - PA Attractions Guide, Table Magazine and ediblePhilly. In addition to print advertising, a digital billboard went live along the I-95 corridor coming out of Philadelphia, as well as eight bonus boards in regional areas including Harrisburg, Camp Hill and Westminister. Destination Gettysburg also launched coordinated campaigns with Expedia and iHeart Radio.
Following a successful fall marketing campaign, room demand was up 9.4 percent in November as reported in the November 2019 STR Report. The year-to-date demand is trending up 3.3 percent through November. We are waiting to see the impact of December reports and final 2019 demands.
There was a 39.7 percent increase in traffic to the Road to Gettysburg blog and an increase of 2.4 percent in overall website traffic through early December. In 2019, the marketing team started to segment the consumer subscriber list and began sending a quarterly events e-blast that has been received very well. The e-newsletter has an open rate of 39 percent (the industry standard in 13.63 percent).
The Adams County Pour Tour saw the introduction of a fifth beverage type, mead, in 2019. The trail also added seven new partners this year. The program continues to exceed expectations with more than 17,000 stamps and 2,000 prizes earned through the first 11 months of 2019.
Additionally, Destination Gettysburg worked cooperatively with Main Street Gettysburg to market the Gettysburg Christmas Festival in December 2019.
In 2019, the Membership Department officially became the Partnership Department with a focus on working with our business partners to provide valuable educational, marketing and networking opportunities.
Forty-four new business partners came on board this year, a 7.1 percent increase from 2018. Our retention this year is at an all-time high of 94.5 percent, something we are very proud of.
We hosted 20 events this year, ranging from our Hospitality Heroes Outings, 3-part Social Media Series, Digital Marketing seminar and our most recent and very popular, the festive Who-liday Gathering.
In the year 2019, the Sales Department hosted three FAM tours; one group leader FAM, one international group tour FAM and one meeting planner FAM. These three FAMs showcased the destination's history, food and countryside to over 60 tour operators, group leaders and meeting planners.
Destination Gettysburg attended eight tradeshows, including the American Bus Association's Marketplace and U.S. Travel Association's IPW, which resulted in 350 leads to share with our members.
While working with many large groups, including the Pontiac-Oakland Club, American Association of Community Theatre and the Pennsylvania Municipal League Annual Summit, over 20,000 welcome bags and provided almost 12,000 warm welcomes were distributed.
We also welcomed our new Sales Manager, Chrystal Charlesworth in October.
To promote Adams County as a festive holiday getaway, Destination Gettysburg has been advertising to our top markets including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and Harrisburg. These paid placements include radio in the Washington, D.C and Baltimore area, digital - display, search engine marketing, video and print in regional publications including edible Philly, Susquehanna Style Magazine, Table Magazine and Baltimore Magazine.
In addition to placements, we will be distributing social media posts on all platforms - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Social media content will focus on events, attractions, dining and lodging during the holiday season and, of course, shopping.
View one of our holiday videos here.
The American Bus Association (ABA) published their Best of the Best in this fall's Destinations magazine. "Best of the Best" honors outstanding travel industry members who go above and beyond for the group tour industry. Categories include Adventure, Culture, Entertainment, Festivals & Events, Food & Beverage, Lodging, and Shopping. We are thrilled that four of our members have been showcased in this year's publication.
Culture: Gettysburg Heritage Center
Entertainment: A Christmas Carol, Totem Pole Playhouse
Lodging: Best Western Gettysburg Hotel & Courtyard by Marriott Gettysburg
It's a great honor to be recognized among attractions at other destinations such as Boston and Louisville, KY. Because of individual efforts from partner businesses as well as Destination Gettysburg's efforts, more and more group tour operators are becoming more familiar with the variety of group-friendly experiences in Adams County.
The National Park Service has named Steven Sims as the new superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site. Sims is currently serving as superintendent of Valley Forge National Historic Park, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site and the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail. where he reduced the park's maintenance backlog and preserving park resources. He also led Valley Forge National Historical Park through a $14 million visit center renovation.
"I am honored to have been selected to serve as the superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site," said Sims. "As a former Army Officer, I feel a deep responsibility to care for the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg, moreover, honoring the legacy of one of the most notable military generals and presidents of our nation is a privilege. I look forward to serving these parks and our neighbors in this new role."
Sims will begin serving as superintendent in early January 2020.
The Adams County Pour Tour craft beverage trail, which launched in May 2018, has been receiving positive feedback on social media and from participating partners. Last month, Destination Gettysburg sent a survey to the 360+ subscribers of the Adams County Pour Tour e-newsletter, as well as to the 1,300+ contacts collected from those requesting passports on the Adams County Pour Tour website to collect data from those who have traveled along the trail.
Survey results show that Destination Gettysburg advertising is the primary driver for the Adams County Pour Tour (57 percent) followed by social media (22 percent). The majority of participants are from Pennsylvania (61 percent) and Maryland (19 percent ) and 28 percent are considered local (located within a 30-mile radius of Gettysburg). Fifty-four percent reported staying two or more nights in Gettysburg. They are taking in other experiences like shopping, Gettysburg National Military Park and museums. Eighty-seven percent of those who have done the Pour Tour rated it as an excellent or great experience and 97 percent are likely to return to Gettysburg.
Visitors comments include, "Did this the past two years and never had more fun on our vacation!!! Look forward to next year, and the next and the next etc!!" and "This is an EXCELLENT addition to visiting Gettysburg. The stops are great and the people are awesome."
We will use this data to continue to analyze the structure and operation of the Adams County Pour Tour so we can provide the best experience possible for our visitors. For any questions related to the Adams County Pour Tour, please contact Paige Neidig, Trail Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Destination Gettysburg hosted a media familiarization tour (FAM) Oct. 10-12 showcasing Adams County's fall offerings, including apple picking in the orchards, the Adams County Pour Tour and the National Apple Harvest Festival. Travel journalists and influential social media users from New York, Philadelphia and the Washington D.C. area attended the three-day tour.
Destination Gettysburg's Director of Media and Public Relations, Natalie Buyny, and Media Relations Assistant, Rachel Wright, traveled to Richmond, Va., for the annual Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance (MATPRA) Media Marketplace. During this three-day event, Natalie and Rachel pitched the many stories of Adams County to travel writers from across the Mid-Atlantic region.
Following Media Marketplace, Destination Gettysburg coordinated a visit for one of the journalist in attendance who was interested in Gettysburg's haunted attractions.
Many of the travel writers were interested in Gettysburg's holiday offerings, the Adams County Pour Tour, agritourism experiences and unique ways to experience Gettysburg's history. Over the course of the next few days, Natalie and Rachel will follow up with these writers to either set up media visits or supply additional information for future travel stories in their publications.
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