BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau is growing its digital presence through email newsletters, social media and its website, while continuing to use traditional print promotions to attract visitors to the county.
Laura Meadows, CVB Executive Director, attended the Aug. 11 Upshur County Commission meeting to deliver her annual progress report.
“Just at a quick glance, we did have over 32,000 visitors to our website,” she said. “It’s always interesting to look at the backend of our website and really get some more information about what people are looking at, where they’re coming from, and all of these analytics. We constantly see web traffic from all over West Virginia. We have web traffic from surrounding states that are fairly typical … and there are always some Texas visitors to our website, because there is an Upshur County, Texas so people get that confused fairly often.”
The CVB is also on a variety of social media platforms, but the Facebook page receives the most interaction.
“Our Facebook page has tremendous engagements with all our followers, people who have some kind of connection to Upshur County,” Meadows said. “It’s always good to look at the content we’ve produced and see what is the most engaging for people, what people like to see, what people like to do. We get a lot of really good insight from that and then we also share the great things that are happening in the county with our followers.”
Meadows said they also share information with interested parties via an email newsletter that is sent out twice a month.
“The newsletter is sent out to just a little over 1,000 subscribers, and each time we send that, it constantly grows,” Meadows said. “Each E-newsletter really focuses on a specific topic — it might be special events, it might be some new businesses that are popping up, it might focus on the outdoor opportunities like kayaking the Buckhannon River or going fishing. Each one’s a little different.”
The CVB worked with West Virginia Living to do a series of traditional advertisements as well.
“Back in the fall we did a ‘West Virginia Living’ weekend getaway giveaway, where we basically got three months’ worth of promotion and we put together a giveaway package for Upshur County,” Meadows said. “We used one of our Airbnb rentals in the southern end of the county as the overnight lodging stay, we had some meals provided by Fish Hawk Acres, and then some tickets to the Buckhannon Community Theater production, which was later canceled, but it was a really great package that was put together.”
The CVB also produces traditional print travel guides that highlight tourist locations across the county.
“We always print our travel guides and distribute those — not just our travel guides, but really any kind of tourism-related business in Upshur County, or even attractions,” Meadows said. “I know we have the rivers and lakes guide that we produced in partnership with the Parks and Rec department. They have rack cards and we produce those, and we shipped them out to all the welcome centers.”
Meadows and the CVB also partner with several local entities, including the Strawberry Festival and West Virginia Wesleyan College.
“We’re active with Wesleyan and we always have a service scholar at our location,” she said. “That scholar gets a lot of really great experience working in marketing and understanding the role of the CVB in a small community and what kind of impact that can have.”
The CVB also recently updated James Curry Park’s website, where people can learn more about the library and the campgrounds.