Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Find Local Events with Visit Montgomery County

Visit Montgomery County just launched a local advertising campaign promoting its new county-wide calendar of events. The campaign includes Ride On bus ads, print and online advertisements in Recreation News, The Gazette, The Washington Post Express and an on-air campaign with All the Hits 107.3. Although Visit Montgomery invests more than $450,000 in advertising each year, this is the first time they are advertising in the local market.

In late August, Visit Montgomery County launched a new Web site, www.VisitMontgomery.com, with updated features like a county-wide calendar of events, interactive map and a trip builder. Visitors can subscribe to an event-specific feed, such as “family fun” or “outdoor adventures” and have the events automatically appear on their Outlook, iCal or Gmail calendar. The event calendar is always in the top five pageviews on the Visit Montgomery website, and that number continues to grow as popular events occur. During the first week of September, the pageviews for the Silver Spring Jazz Festival increased by more than 1,000 from the previous week.

I advocated for creating and funding the new Web site because I thought we needed one Web site with all events in Montgomery County. In 2013, I introduced Bill 36-12, which increased the allocation of the hotel tax to Visit Montgomery from 3.5% to 7%. The Council passed the bill and the funding increase began on July 1, 2013.

Visit Montgomery County encourages local organizations to post their events on the new online calendar of events free of charge. The guidelines are that the event occurs in Montgomery County and would be of interest to a tourist or resident. The goal is to be a one-stop shop for all events in Montgomery County.

The mission of Visit Montgomery County is to enthusiastically promote, market and sell Montgomery County as a destination for meetings, conventions and individual travelers, fostering economic development and benefiting and supporting members and the overall business community. It is Visit Montgomery County's goal to show leadership and be regarded as a quality organization of experts and advocates of its members, partnering with local, county and state organizations and government officials in an effort to further these goals.

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