Survey gathers info on Randolph County

ELKINS — An area agency recently conducted a survey to help gather information regarding Randolph County and the state as a whole.

Elkins-Randolph County Tourism Convention and Visitors Bureau announced the results of the “in-depth regional tourism assessment study” officials have been working on with LMC & Associates, an integrated communications and marketing firm in Elkins.

The goal of the study, which was conducted by distributing assessment studies to individuals who live in metropolitan areas within a five-hour drive of Randolph County, is to develop a brand for the area and obtain an understanding of the attitudes and perceptions out-of-state travelers have regarding the area.

“This type of research was necessary because there was no statistical data available about the area. As a tourism entity it is crucial to spend time investing in research, defining audiences, and building a brand from that research,” Taira Landavere, director of marketing for Elkins-Randolph County Tourism CVB, said in a press release. “In every major organization or business, it is important to understand the customer and in our case the visitor.”

Landavere added nearly 50 percent of the individuals who responded to the study described themselves as a “culture finder” traveler, or someone who wants to learn about and see a region’s culture, specifically the history, art and lifestyle of the residents.

“This is great news for Randolph County because we have many different cultural attractions for these types of visitors,” she said. “We have various cultural facilities such as the museums, trains and the theater in the area, but we also have traditions of indigenous cultural events like the Fastnacht Festival in Helvetia, and many specialty retail shops that carry locally made products.”

The research also provided a better understanding of visitors’ interests in outdoor recreation. Nearly 28 percent of those who responded said that when they visited the Potomac Highlands region they came for the hiking and biking. The natural beauty, fall foliage, and camping were also among the many responses that individuals mentioned when they plan a visit to Randolph County, Landavere said.

“We are happy to share the findings of the market research with any association,” Anne Beardslee, executive director for Elkins-Randolph County Tourism CVB and the Elkins Depot Welcome Center, added. “The results have already been distributed to many organizations such as the city of Elkins, Beverly On Trac, Helvetia, Randolph County Commission, CVB’s around the Potomac Highlands Region, and the West Virginia State Tourism Office. You can email elkinsrandolphtourism@gmail.com for more information.”

The Elkins-Randolph County Tourism CVB was established in May to develop and implement a marketing plan that includes social media, digital platforms and printed materials, the release states.

This CVB works extensively with the communities and associations throughout Randolph County and entities that are planning to visit the area.

The organization’s brand and website are currently being developed based on the results of the study. The new website will be completed in the spring prior to tourism season; however, you can currently learn more about Randolph County and all local events at www.Facebook.com/elkinsrandolphwv.

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