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Research: Hershey Harrisburg visitors bureau should refocus efforts

The Hershey Harrisburg Regional
Visitors Bureau needs to realign and boost its sales efforts to help the region
remain competitive in the aftermath of the recession, according to research
presented this morning by Berkeley Young.

The Hershey Harrisburg Regional
Visitors Bureau
needs to realign and boost its sales efforts to help the region
remain competitive in the aftermath of the recession, according to research
presented this morning by Berkeley Young.

Young is the president of North Carolina-based Young Strategies
Inc.
, which provides travel industry consulting services. The bureau hired the
company last summer to help it determine where it should focus its sales
efforts over the next several years.

Young today presented the results of four months’ worth of tourism
marketing and sales research his company conducted for the bureau.

The firm contacted meeting and event planners with whom the
bureau does business to find out what could be done to attract them to the area
in the wake of an economic crisis that turned the travel industry upside down
last year, Young said.

His preliminary recommendations for improvement include:

  • Increase
    convention and meeting sales efforts with an emphasis on corporate groups
    and associations.
  • Increase
    efforts to attract groups from social, military, educational, religious
    and fraternal markets.
  • Maintain
    emphasis on attracting sporting events, but focus on those within a
    five-hour drive.
  • Work
    to improve inaccurate perceptions of the area, such as high lodging rates.

Representatives from hotels with which the bureau partners
were at the meeting , which was at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg East. Following
the presentation, the partners split into groups to brainstorm ways the bureau
could improve its efforts. Young said he will use that information to create
his final recommendations for the bureau.

The bureau has invested about $40,000 to commission the
research. More than 65 percent of the bureau’s $2.4 million annual budget is
for sales and marketing.

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