With the lifting of travel restrictions and COVID-19 rates improving, Visit North Central Massachusetts (VNCM) has resumed its destination marketing efforts to help attract more visitors to our region’s businesses and attractions. We launched a campaign in the Spring called “Discover Your Next Adventure” to target the weekend and day trip markets. We have been executing this campaign through multiple channels including print, digital, and social media. We secured print advertising in AAA Magazine, Yankee Magazine, Boston Spirit Magazine and Bay State Parent. We also utilized branded content campaigns promoting the region to day trippers through AAA Northeast and several other media publications. Our efforts align with the pent-up demand as consumers, who have been unable to travel since the lockdown in mid-March of 2020, are looking for new unique and outdoor experiences. The pandemic solidified a new interest in outdoor activities that sets up our region in a position for increased success. We have seen strong demand for hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking and other activities. We also continue to invest in social media and curating new relevant local content highlighting activities and businesses in our region. We produced five new “Taste of North Central” videos promoting our local businesses and attractions. The videos that have been published so far have garnered over 20,000 views. Our Facebook page saw 248,900 impressions since the launch of the spring campaign, which represents a 390% increase over the same period the previous year. Our www.visitnorthcentral.com website also has seen strong traffic with a 16% increase in visitors over the same period last year.
As of April 1, 2021, our new Spring/Summer 2021 edition of the Guide to North Central Massachusetts hit the stands. The visitor guide is our primary publication promoting the communities of North Central Massachusetts and includes information on our local communities, a calendar of events, stories about the region and much more. We have invested in expanding the distribution this year. The guide will be available through AAA offices throughout New England and hundreds of new locations including hotels, visitor centers, attractions and airports, including Logan and Worcester. We are also distributing it in Canada, an important market for our region.
In other news, the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center in Lancaster has started to see an uptick in visitation since the Spring. Our staff at the center is looking forward to a busier season going into Summer as more and more people resume traveling. We still have all of our safety measures and protocols in place. We also recently applied for a matching capital grant from the state to make some renovations and improve the experience for our 165,000 annual visitors. Our vision is to not only be the best visitor center in the state, but to also transform the center into a destination that provides an engaging experience and encourages visitors to learn more about the region’s communities, local attractions and businesses.
As we move in to the Summer, we will continue our efforts to attract consumers that will be critical to the recovery of our local businesses and economy.