By Andrea Harwood Palmer
Washington County is the focus of a new collaborative tourism initiative in the region.
Jesse Tyree from black dog Designs in Glens Falls, Andrew Meader from 8 of Eight Strategies in Glens Falls and Jessica Ziehm from Cornell Cooperative Extension gathered at RS Taylor & Sons Brewery in Salem recently to announce a long-term strategic initiative.
Mannix Marketing in Glens Falls and Lakes to Locks in Crown Point are also a part of the effort.
A key part of the effort is the website www.washingtoncounty.fun. A calendar of events allows Washington County businesses to promote themselves and draw visitors to their location. An editorial calendar goes in-depth regarding things happening in the area.
As the grassroots movement takes shape, meetings will be held on a quarterly basis.
“The meetings are about sharing ideas not only with us, but with each other, on how we can promote Washington County as a tourism destination,” said Meader.
Data has been collected over the years on tourism in Washington County.
“We feel strongly that we’ll reach most potential visitors primarily through social media. Obviously, that’s not the only way, but it’s the most cost effective and most successful way. That’s where the eyeballs are,” said Meader.
Most visitors coming to Washington County come from downstate, officials said. Those from neighboring counties are also part of the tourist data.
Mannix Marketing assists in distributing the articles, with hundreds of thousands of impressions, according to their data.
In 2019, Washington County AirBnB hosts brought in just under $2 million in revenue, officials said. HomeAway and VRBO, vacation rental marketers, brought in an additional $2 million.
“It really shows that people are coming here and staying here, even with the lack of hotels and motels in our area,” said Meader.
Occupancy tax on $4 million would have been $160,000. Though sales tax is currently not collected on this revenue, the earnings do count as earned income.
Attendees were presented with two items for discussion. What marketing efforts do businesses participate in and what seems to work best? And, what help, tools, skillsets or resources do area businesses need to reach a larger audience?
“How can we work together better? We all have strong businesses and our own niche. We’re stronger together. We want you to tell us—how can we coordinate a larger plan for all of us here in Washington County?” said Ziehm.
The next collaborative meeting will be in April and will likely be at Slickfin Brewing Co. in Fort Edward. Washington County businesses and those interested in the initiative are encouraged to attend, to give input on how the collaboration will take place.
The Washington County Tourism Business Group page on Facebook is a place to stay informed of future meetings and developments.
Any Washington County business that wants to be involved in the initiative can contact Meader, Tyree and Ziem. Meader can be reached at email@example.com, Tyree at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ziehm at email@example.com.
The website for the effort is www.washingtoncounty.fun.
By Andrea Harwood Palmer