Fall is notably North Central Massachusetts’ biggest season, and when you live, work and play in the region coined “Johnny Appleseed Country,” who can argue with that? Visit North Central Massachusetts was hard at work all autumn long, showcasing the region’s finest to visitors and groups near and far.
We promoted visitation to North Central Massachusetts through a diverse mix of digital and print advertising in target markets. Web traffic to VisitNorthCentral. com was up 18% over the previous year. New Fall themed blog content on the website included “Apples, Apples Everywhere!,” “Halloween Happenings,” and “Ribbons of Color”. Our Facebook following grew by 86% over the Fall season, primarily due to our strategy of utilizing a combination of Facebook ads, compelling content and video. Three new Taste of North Central videos premiered on our social media channels showcasing local attractions and businesses – The Kitchen Garden of Templeton; Sholan Farms of Leominster; and Slattery’s Restaurant of Fitchburg. Our Taste of North Central series can be viewed anytime by visiting our Facebook page. Hotel occupancy for October was down 3.7% in the region from the same time last year. It was down 5.7% for the state during the same time period. Year to date, occupancy is up about 1.8% compared to the previous year and down 2.4% for the state. Revenue per available room (RevPar) decreased by 6.8% to $96.96, while up 2.2% or $106.21 for the year to date. Our Fall edition of our popular Guide to North Central Massachusetts was well received and sold out shortly after hitting the newsstands. It is distributed locally at key locations, as well as in Boston and throughout New England and as far away as Canada.
From August to October, our Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center – located at Rt. 2 in Lancaster – served 51,108 walk in visitors and hosted 16 group tour buses. Information reported from visitors indicates that they came from throughout New England and as far away as Canada; the Netherlands; and the United Kingdom. Domestic travelers included visitors from as far away as Alaska; Utah; Oklahoma; Illinois; and Hawaii to name just a few states. An estimated 3,100 polished apples were given out to the traveling public and 1,835 Cider donuts were purchased there during the same period.
Our annual Appleseed Country Fair had a record year, hosting its best attendance since its start eight years ago. Families from throughout Massachusetts and New England travelled to North Central Massachusetts for the full experience of family-friendly fall fun. Visit North Central Massachusetts was also proud to partner with the Phillipston and Athol Firefighter Associations on the event and raised over $8,000 to support first responders.
Visit North Central Massachusetts also proudly showcased the region to thousands of attendees over the course of three fall festivals at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area – including Kidsfest, Applefest and Oktoberfest. Families were able to scoop up the latest edition of our Guide to North Central Massachusetts.
In partnership with the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, Visit North Central Massachusetts also showcased the region to hundreds of thousands of out of state attendees that visited the “Big E” Fair in West Springfield.
With Fall behind us, we now shift gears to promoting awareness and visitation to North Central Massachusetts during the Winter season, We are currently seeking partners for upcoming co-op opportunities. Please contact David Ginisi, Marketing and Communications Manager if you
are interested and would like additional information. ◊
This article is from the latest edition of the Chamber Report.