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Visitors Bureau site attracts real and virtual visitors

February 11, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

The Randolph County Convention and Visitors Bureau's promotional efforts continue to pay dividends, with more website visits, new Facebook fans and people coming to the area from around the region.

Brenda Pritt, executive director of the CVB, noted that she continues to use a wide variety of media to bring more visitors to Randolph County. The CVB increases its advertising budget by frequently participating in the West Virginia Division of Tourism's popular Matching Advertising Partnership Program, which reimburses 50 percent of the cost of some expenditures.

In the past three months, more than 7,000 people have visited, that averages to more than 77 people per day. They have viewed more than 22,000 pages, spending an average of more than two minutes on the site.

Social media play an increasing role in promotional efforts as well, with Facebook a critical part of that. Through targeted efforts, the Randolph County CVB Facebook page is approaching 900 "fans," and Facebook ads in January resulted in 350 visits to the website and more than 1 million "impressions" by Facebook users.

"We've worked hard to branch out with our marketing efforts while continuing traditional print options as well," Pritt said. "We have an effective mix of advertising platforms, and I'm confident it will continue to pay off."

Some of the ads have targeted new potential visitors, Pritt noted, such as fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. The Randolph CVB was one of a handful of West Virginia destinations to place advertisements in the football teams' programs.

This summer, the CVB will have a full-page ad in the Pittsburgh Pirates' fan publication, with the state Division of Tourism picking up half the cost.

"We also continue to work with our local destinations and attractions, partnering whenever possible," Pritt stressed. "Cooperation is critical to everyone's success, and we enjoy those joint efforts."

Sponsorships by the CVB include the Mountain State Forest Festival, Randolph County Fair, Rich Mountain Battlefield, Randolph County Arts Center, Old Brick Playhouse, Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade and the West Virginia Child Advocacy motorcycle event, just to name a few.

The Randolph CVB also coordinated a partner ad in the new West Virginia Travel Guide, which was published in January. A new Randolph County Visitors Guide is planned later this year, after the most recent version had extra copies ordered because it proved so popular.

The CVB also assisted in cooperative advertising campaigns and brochures with partners such as American Mountain Theater, Durbin Greenbrier Mountain Rail Adventure, Polar Express, Augusta Heritage, WV Mountain Highlands Travel Guide, Gandy Dancer, The Riverside Blues Fest, Elkins Downtown Map and the Inter-Mountain Recreation Guide.

"We strongly believe tourism is a vital part of our local economy, and the Randolph County CVB helps lead the way in bringing visitors to our area," Pritt said. "We look forward to another successful year in 2012."



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