Visit North Central Massachusetts Tourism Updates

Visit North Central Massachusetts Tourism Update

Here is a recap of efforts over the Spring from the Chamber’s destination marketing arm, Visit North Central Massachusetts (VNCM).

We continue to see strong growth in our website traffic to our tourism website – Users for FY24 are up 54.99% compared to the same timeframe the previous year and pageviews are up 54.66%. We are averaging about 18,237 pageviews each month for FY24. Furthermore, efforts are underway to align the content of Visit North Central’s seasonal landing pages with our SEO strategy to ensure consistency with its SEM campaign.

Tourism Advertising
We have continued with our efforts to effectively promote the region through a combination of print and digital advertising tactics tailored to our targeted markets. Our winter & spring campaigns have been featured on AAA Northeast, Boston Magazine, Boston Spirit, Hearst WCVB, LocaliQ, and MassLive. We actively engaged with travelers at the Dream Destination Travel Show held in Springfield this April, and we’re gearing up to participate once more in October. These efforts underscore our commitment to showcasing the region as a desirable travel destination.

As we transition into spring and summer, we are collaborating with photographers improve the Chamber’s photo library to capture the essence of North Central Massachusetts, focusing on its vibrant restaurant scene, exciting events, and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities.

Social Media
Our Visit North Central Massachusetts Facebook & Instagram accounts have a combined following of 39,217. Our ongoing priority is to expand our social media reach and nurture meaningful engagement with our audience.

Shoulder Season Campaign
In collaboration with two other Regional Tourism Councils, we have been continuing to implement an off-season marketing campaign funded from a federal grant. We have advertising campaigns with Hearst Digital Story Studio, Yankee Magazine and several regional publications.

Public Relations
As part of the shoulder season campaign, we hired CM Communications, a Boston-based PR Agency that specializes in destination marketing, to assist us with generating more interest in the three regions among the travel media and other travel influencers. Visit North Central Massachusetts hosted Press Familiarization Trips in February and March as part of a tour of Central Massachusetts. The tour of our region included visits to Great Wolf New England, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, Wachusett Brewery, Letz Rage, the Icon Museum and Fitchburg Art Museum. The Fam Trips, attended by travel writers, regional bloggers and social media influencers specializing in ‘Family Travel’ and “Arts & Culture” also included stops in the Discover Central MA and MetroWest areas.

MA Office Of Travel & Tourism
Several members of the Chamber staff attended the MA Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism in early April in Boston. This was the first statewide tourism conference since before COVID and provided excellent networking opportunities with other tourism leaders and state officials, as well as valuable seminars on a variety of topics, including public relations, AI and sports marketing. The Chamber also met this spring with the new Director of the Mass 250th Celebration to review ways to coordinate the event with the celebration surrounding Johnny Appleseed’s 250th Birthday.

Visitor Center
Our Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center in Lancaster is entering its busy season. We have continued to make improvements to the center, including investing in a new electronic door counter to give us more accurate estimates of traffic at the center, and adding an additional National Park style informational sign on the grounds. A new furnace is scheduled to be installed this Spring. Our vision is to not only be the best visitor center in the state, but to also transform the center into a destination in its own right that provides an engaging experience and encourages visitors to learn more about the region’s communities and local attractions. Retail sales at the gift shop are up modestly about 5%. We had 28,176 visitors at the center from January to April 30. Our visitor count has been going up each month, and we expect the numbers to climb much higher now that we are entering our busy season.

Email Newsletter
We recently launched a monthly Visit North Central Massachusetts (VNCM) subscription based email newsletter to help promote the region to visitors. The our VNCM email list already has 2,897 subscribers and has an average open rate of 49% and click through rate of 9%.