BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau will begin briefing Upshur County and the City of Buckhannon on its operations more often, its executive director said Thursday.
Laura Meadows, executive director of the CVB said starting this year, she will be delivering four quarterly reports – instead of just one annual report – to the Upshur County Commission and Buckhannon City Council. Reports will primarily focus on their projects and advertising campaigns.
“Our main focus is always revolved around advertising, public relations and all of our social media connections with people,” Meadows said. “We also help people who are forming events and doing that type of thing.”
She said their advertising campaigns try to reach outside of Buckhannon to reach people from any region.
“It really comes down to promoting and advertising and not just to Buckhannon,” Meadows said. “I think it’s really important to speak to the point that we advertise, and we push Buckhannon and Upshur County out to a market that’s outside of our immediate area. We’re hitting people in Pittsburgh, DC, Ohio, all their surrounding regions.”
She discussed a variety of advertising campaigns, including print, online and sponsored stories.
For example, the CVB ran an with Highland Outdoors, an outdoor print company.
“They’ve really got a lot of great traction, and they’re really focusing just on outdoors in West Virginia and they’re right in the hub of outdoor recreation. In Davis, they’ve got a great market over in D.C. that’s coming in, so they’ve been a really great partner,” Meadows said.
About once a month an email newsletter with different topics and themes is sent to people throughout the county.
“We’re getting readership from really all over the country,” Meadows said. “It’s largely the surrounding states, but we have people from Texas and from Florida who have signed up for our information.”
One of the events they collaborated on with local businesses was the walking dinner tour that took place during Fall Fest.
“This was a second year that we did it and basically the concept is you start at the first restaurant, you have your appetizer, you go to the second and you have your entree and so on,” Meadows said. “We’ve done that two years for Fall Fest and it’s been so popular we’re going to start doing that quarterly. So sometime in January/February, we’re going to do another one just to get people out after the holidays, and it’s a really great way to try a different restaurant.”
Meadows also talked about the Event Center at Brushy Fork.
“The event center is a whole new ball game and I always joke that every single day, there’s something new with the event center,” Meadows said.
She said they’ve hosted several types of events at the event center including meetings, conferences, wedding receptions and any other events people may be interested in having.
“We have wedding receptions pretty regularly, a handful every three months or so,” Meadows said. “Sometimes we’re really busy with weddings, sometimes it’s kind of a lull with weddings; it comes and goes and then we always have our space open for just everyday meetings and conferences.
She said when the event center started, they had about 12 events in the first year.
“That was great, it was one event for each month and that’s great,” Meadows said. “If you look, we had 18 events in the course of the first quarter, and at first I kind of looked at that and said, ‘that doesn’t really sound that great,’ but when we think about it, we only had nine available weekends, because we still share that space with a National Guard unit.”
She said they did an estimate and within the first quarter they had over 500 guests use the facility and about 120 overnight guests stay at local hotels.
“I’ll point out our hotel/motel tax has been down the first quarter and that’s pretty typical,” Meadows said. “The first quarter is usually whenever I’m allocating money and spending money that covers the entire year, so our expenditures are usually pretty heavy in July through September because we’re just securing that space and paying bills. We are in the red for the first quarter, but it’s nothing abnormal.”