Tourism Update Photo

Visit North Central Massachusetts Tourism Update

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

Advertising & Promotion

Throughout the Winter, we continued to promote the region with a blend of print and digital advertising strategies across our target markets. The creative messaging for these ads focuses on “Everything You Love About New England… A Lot Closer to Home”. We also encouraged travelers to visit the region with the tag: “Drive to, not through, North Central MA.” To achieve this, we focused on developing fresh and engaging content for our website. This included creating captivating Blog Articles as well as compiling a comprehensive listing of upcoming events. To attract more visitors from the drive market, we implemented a range of strategies combining both print, social media, paid search and digital advertising.

We invested in paid social media campaigns to reach a wider audience through MassLive; employed targeted and geofenced digital advertising to maximize our outreach through Cumulus; and utilized paid Search Engine Marketing techniques to improve our online visibility through Local IQ.  We also utilized print/digital campaigns through Boston Magazine and Boston Spirit; custom content listings and emails through Visit New England; and listings in Trip Advisor. All these efforts were carefully crafted to effectively showcase the diverse attractions and offerings of our region and to increase web traffic. By utilizing a combination of print and digital platforms, we aimed to captivate potential visitors and encourage them to explore the unique experiences available in North Central Massachusetts.

Visitor Guide

We published 40,000 copies of the Fall/Winter edition of the Guide to North Central Massachusetts, a popular glossy, full-color magazine aimed at informing and inspiring readers. It showcases the region as a unique destination for living, working, and visiting. The guide was distributed to over 300 high-traffic locations throughout New England and a digital version was also shared on our website, social media, via email, and shared with the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) to maximize its reach and engagement.  We are currently working on finalizing the Spring/Summer edition.

Fam Trips & Travel Shows

We actively participated in FAM Trips & Travel Shows. We partnered with MOTT to host a familiarization tour for US Travel Media to our region.  We also continued our collaboration with two other Regional Tourism Councils (Discover Central MA and MetroWest Boston Visitors Bureau), implementing an off-season marketing campaign funded from a federal grant. We have several advertising campaigns underway and are working with CM Communications, a Boston-based PR Agency that specializes in destination marketing, to assist us with generating more interest in the region among the travel media and other travel influencers.  We participated in the Dream Destinations Travel Show, American Bus Association Marketplace, and the North of Boston Tourism Summit to connect with tourism influencers and promote our region as a desirable travel destination.

Social Media & Website

From November 1, 2023 to January 31, 2024, Visit North Central Massachusetts’ Facebook page had a reach of 269,873, a 81.6% increase over the same time frame the previous year. Our Facebook channel also attracted 3,515 new followers, a 11.4% increase. Total followers are currently at 34,700.  In addition, the page also had 5,300 content interactions and 5,100 link clicks. Paid reach was 150,439 and 430,803 paid impressions. On Instagram, the page achieved a reach of 12,502, a 177.5% increase over the previous year, and gained 83 new followers for a total of 2,800. Our Instagram page also had 665 content interactions and 353 link clicks during the same timeframe.

Google analytics indicates that our website experienced a 21.5% increase in pageviews; a 27% increase in sessions; and a 24% increase in unique users from November 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023 when compared to the same timeframe the previous year. During the same time period we also had over 485,417 google impressions.

Lodging & Visitor Data

Lodging data was also very strong.  Data from Smith Travel Research indicates that YTD hotel occupancy through December was 73.4%, a 5% increase over the previous year; ADR was $181.65 which is a 5% increase; RevPar was $133.43, a 10.3% increase over the previous year; total room revenue was up 9.6%; and rooms sold was up 5%. Data from Datafy indicates that our top four origin markets were Boston; Hartford/New Haven; New York; and Providence-New Bedford.

What’s Next

As we move into the winter and spring seasons, our main objective is to raise awareness and attract visitors to North Central Massachusetts. We will continue implementing our successful strategies that highlight the region’s outdoor attractions and showcase traditional New England experiences. With people seeking outdoor activities, we aim to provide them with exciting itineraries for seasonal adventures in North Central Massachusetts. To achieve our goals, we are continuing to focus on a more digital marketing approach. This includes incorporating various tactics such as paid search, paid social media advertising, geofenced ads targeting the Route 2 corridor, digital display and sponsored content ads, print ads, targeted YouTube advertising, branded content, and organic social media engagement. In addition, we are continuing to work on refreshing our home page to ensure it aligns with our updated marketing efforts and provides a captivating user experience. By combining these strategies, we aim to engage a broader audience and encourage them to explore the benefits of visiting North Central Massachusetts compared to our neighboring states.