Visitor’s Bureau makes good use of 2%

The Warren County Visitor’s Bureau (WCVB) is making good use of the two percent increase in the county’s Hotel Occupancy Tax.

According to WCVB Executive Director Dave Sherman, “it’s stunning what an extra two percent” can do.

After a rocky trajectory following Sherman’s original request to the Warren County commissioners in 2016, Sherman was asked to provide a comprehensive plan for what he planned to do with the increase, which brought the hotel occupancy tax to a total of five percent, up from three to reflect the same tax in neighboring counties.

Among the things suggested for the WCVB in 2016 were website development, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and mobile application development.

As the statistics reflect, the WCVB has been hitting social media hard. The brunt of the bureau’s efforts was attached to a series of marketing videos that have been rolled out over the past year. They highlight the elements and features of Warren County that provide relief from the hectic pace and demands of life in more urban areas of the state.

Among the things the WCVB chose to promote in the videos most heavily were the outdoors, adventure, and rustic offerings, including kayaking the Allegheny River, hiking the Allegheny National Forest, and visiting nationally-recognized landmarks like the Kinzua Dam. Those videos were subsequently released on television networks but also pushed heavily on social media.

The response has indeed been helping raise awareness about Warren County. Compared with last year’s numbers, the amount of “likes” the Warren County Visitor’s Bureau has seen on Facebook is up a total of 589, from 2,595 for the year by September of 2017 to 3,184 as of Thursday. The number of Instagram followers has also increased dramatically, from 150 to 292 for a total of 142 new followers. The total number of views on the recruiting videos as of Thursday was 6,869.

Aside from allowing the WCVB to focus on increased social media marketing, the increase in hotel occupancy tax has allowed the bureau to keep ahead of a property tax note to the tune of $9,000 and take care of much-needed updates to the building and grounds.

The Warren County Visitor’s Bureau will hold its annual meeting in November of this year.