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WCVB to bring county lodging providers together

Events and amenities bring people to Warren County.

But if people don’t have places to stay, the economic impact will be limited.

The Warren County Visitors Bureau is looking to bring all of those lodging entities together for a “Lodger’s Luncheon” next week. The event is set for Sept. 30 at noon at the WCVB office in Starbrick.

“It’s important to note that, while this blossomed from the idea of reaching out to airbnbs, this event is for any business that provides overnight accommodations,” WCVB Executive Director Casey Ferry said. “We truly are all in this together.”

That includes airbnbs, hotels, campgrounds, inns and bed and breakfasts.

A search on Thursday shows that there are currently 113 airbnbs listed in Warren County.

“The popularity of airbnbs has absolutely exploded,” Ferry said. “I was amazed when I saw the numbers. The fact that there are so many is one thing, but what really jumped out to me was the contribution percentage.”

She concluded that rentals like airbnbs and VRBO account for over 27% of local overnight accommodations.

“When I saw that, I thought, “We have to reach out to them,”” she said. “Many people don’t realize that the Warren County Visitors Bureau is not funded by local, state, or federal taxes, but rather by hotel tax or ‘bed tax.'”

That tax is collected by the county and then passed through to the WCVB as the county’s designated tourism promotion agency.

“We want to be good stewards with that money and reinvest it back into the county,” Ferry said. “This is our job, and we take that responsibility seriously.”

Ferry outlined several objectives for the luncheon from networking, to distributing information on the county to gathering information from the lodgers.

“We want them to get to know us,” she said. “We want to make sure that the managers, employees, and owners know what Warren County is about and what there is to do here. Guests are more likely to return and to spread the word if they have a good time while they’re here. This benefits them and us.”

And the inverse is true as the WCVB wants to learn about the lodgers and what makes them unique.

“If someone comes to us and says they want to stay at a place that has X, Y, Z, we want to be able to say, ‘We know the perfect place!'” Ferry said. “Every place has its own draw. We want to help highlight it.”

In terms of tangible takeaways, Ferry wants to create a lodging binder – “something we can set out that has photos, descriptions, contact information, etc. that people can thumb through when they stop in and can see the variety here.”

“Our ultimate goal is to see Warren County thrive,” Ferry said. “When hotels, bed and breakfasts, and airbnbs are successful, it benefits us, too. They contribute to us, and we, in turn, take that and use it to promote the county and our overnight accommodations which benefits them.

“It’s a really nice cycle. Working together with them will benefit us all.”

Any one looking to attend the luncheon is asked to RSVP to the Visitors Bureau by Monday by calling (814) 726-1222 or emailing director@wcvb.net.

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