Traffic to VisitPA Spikes, Social Media Soars, Public Relations Efforts Working
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania tourism industry has rebounded from the decline experienced in 2008 and is reporting a new record of 27.5 million hotel rooms sold in 2010, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office announced.
“We are back and seeing an increase in room nights sold in every region of the state,” said Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary for tourism. “We are also seeing the returns from our growing conversation with travelers via our visitPA social media machine as well as a public which is escaping from frugal fatigue.”
According to data from Smith Travel Research, the record sales of hotel rooms has generated $2.8 billion in room revenue and supported $165 million in hotel occupancy taxes.
“Unlike property taxes, the hotel tax is paid by someone else yet levied, collected and invested locally,” Mickey Rowley said. “These dollars are, in most cases, used to support marketing while our efforts to encourage counties and regions to partner seem to be paying dividends.”
Pennsylvania’s tourism website, visitPA.com, also posted a record year with 2 million visitors, which is 500,000 more than in 2009; a 34-percent increase. These visitors accounted for more than 8.3 million page views.
“Beginning in 2009, we concentrated all of our marketing resources into online advertising in an effort to bring more eyes to visitPA.com, which is our strongest and most robust resource for inspiring potential travelers,” said Rose Mape, executive director of tourism marketing. “We also used targeted online media buys to more than double our Facebook audience and to expand our social media real estate.”
As a result of public relations outreach by the Pennsylvania Tourism Office multiple stories appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Additional coverage included National Geographic, Newsday, and the Rachel Ray Show.
“Maximizing our relationships with travel writers, updating our 5,000 followers on Twitter, and the journalists who accepted our invitation to explore Pennsylvania have proven to be effective,” said Rowley. “Our public relations efforts have secured $27.7 million in unpaid media for the commonwealth.”
Pennsylvania is the fifth-most visited state in the nation with an average of 138 million guests annually.
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to inspiring travel to the State of Independence. For more information, go to visitPA.com or call (800) VISIT PA; become a fan at facebook.com/visitPA, follow us at twitter.com/visitPA, share photos at flickr.com/visitPA, friend us at foursquare.com/visitPA, or watch us on youtube.com/visitPA.
For a free subscription to Pursuits Magazine, click visitPA.com/pursuits.