Last week’s three-day tourism excursion showcased the county’s popular destination spots.
“The previous familiarization tours were by invitation only to magazine editors, directors of recreation groups who visit, and journalist. By opening this excursion up to the general public, I believe more participants were attracted, who were interested in learning something about a local business that they may have never stepped foot into, or had reason to visit,” said Economic Development Tech Analyst, Tory Mabe.
On a visit to Moore’s Springs Manor, Mabe said a woman from Westfield was able to get a closer look at the popular property she often passed by, but had never seen up close. Others were able to see vacation rentals at Indian Creek Cabin, the 1881 Mill on Big Creek and the cabins at Luna’s Trail.
“Those on these stops live in driving distance and haven’t experienced a stay in Stokes County. Seeing the inside of the vacation rentals will help in suggesting a place for their family to stay, when visiting from Florida as was the case of one tour attendees.”
There are already plans of similar excursions in Stokes during the 2019 National Travel and Tourism week May 5-11.
“I believe introducing those who don’t know, or have not experienced a local business or attraction, to a location in an informational group setting, helps further promote local with firsthand personal accounts. They leave having gained more knowledge of the area, able to share with those they encounter or their family and friends who may be looking for a place to vacation,” Mabe said.
Billboard campaign features five images
For a second year in a row, a month long billboard campaign will kick off summer travel season beginning mid-June.
“This year digital billboard ads will run each minute of the day in rotation on two billboards in Winston-Salem on Hwy. 52 at Salem Ave and north of Liberty Street on the right of Highway 52 heading north. Others will be in Greensboro west of Patterson Ave on I-40, and the new location east of Raleigh in Wendell on US Hwy 64 near Rolesville Road,” Mabe said.
In 2017 the Triad area was targeted to capture the attention of those traveling throughout the Piedmont, reminding them that outdoor mountain and river adventures are also available in central North Carolina.
“This year, in an effort to expand advertising reach and market Stokes County outside of the Piedmont, Fairway locations in Charlotte and Raleigh were sought out. Digital billboard inventory in Charlotte is low due to ordinances along highways, but a few locations were available in the Raleigh area on high traffic roadways of a highly populated area.”
Mabe said by having a location and website address on each of the ads, the idea is to drive increased traffic to the tourism website, helping those considering a visit, plan a day trip or extended visit with a comprehensive list of local things to do and businesses to support when they arrive.
Mabe collaborated with a graphic designer and one of the designs features a LEGO mini figure with the caption, “LE GO on an Adventure”.
“Once I saw this ad, my thought was this is going to capture the attention of most any kid riding along in the car, bringing the eyes of their parents to the billboard and hopefully helping to imagine a fun experience in Stokes County as a family,” Mabe said.
He added, “I’ve been in collaboration with the social content creator of BrainyBricks, an online Facebook community for fans of LEGO’s, and with his help will be obtaining the mini figure pictured on the digital billboard. I’ll take these mini figures around to scenic locations of Stokes County and start an accompanying Instagram campaign in coming weeks.”
With digital listings online and inside the Hanging Rock/Stokes County App, Mabe plans to continue to attract those who are staying at Hanging Rock, visiting for the day or weekend to venture out and experience all there is to see and do outside of Hanging Rock or the Dan River.
“Visitation to Hanging Rock State Park has increased by eight percent each of the last few years. Being able to capture more of those visitors and keep them dining or shopping in Stokes County will help in spreading the word to others with personalized recommendations, the best form of advertising.”
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.