KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – From a growing social media following to an increase in awards, the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) is celebrating a record year for Montgomery County in 2018!
“At the VFTCB, we’re all about moving forward, so we were excited and optimistic to see such growth for Montgomery County tourism in 2018,” said Mike Bowman, President & CEO of the VFTCB. “We’re looking forward to keeping that momentum going in 2019 by keeping our promotions new, fresh, and different in order to support our membership, and bring even more overnight stays to Montco.”
In 2018, the VFTCB learned that tourism spending in Montco reached $1.6 billion, and grew by more than 2.8% from the prior year. The travel and hospitality industries also supported more than 4.1% of all jobs in Montgomery County, employing more than 20,000 people.
Montco still holds a 41% share of tourism spending in the Philadelphia suburbs at $3.8 billion, a 2.8% increase over last year. Montgomery County is also outperforming PA and all the other suburban counties with a year-to-date RevPAR of $82.43.
Here are some more highlights from 2018:
- The VFTCB’s social media following increased by 12%, with video views up 157% from 2017 at 2.5 million views in 2018.
- Membership reached a new high with almost 600 members, a 65% increase from three years ago.
- The organization’s website, www.valleyforge.org, attracted 2 million visitors, a new record!
- Organic search is up 9.6% with a user growth of 25.32%, almost 60,000 more users year-over-year, and page views increased 17.02%.
- The Montco Makers app has been downloaded more than 1,230 times with 5,665 sessions, and over 200 monthly active users.
- The VFTCB saw an 89% growth in more than 500 earned media articles, and more than 200% increase in reach with 92 million.
- The Greater Philadelphia Fairgrounds, just outside the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, hosted more than 86,000 attendees for Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA show. Cirque’s corporate office was blown away by its success, and the VFTCB is excited for the future.
Meanwhile, the organization is gearing up for some other big developments in 2019:
- The Philadelphia Orchestra is coming to the historic Keswick Theatre on March 21, 2019. A side-by-side rehearsal with local students in the Abington School District will take place during the day followed by a community concert in the evening. Currently in their 119th season, the Fabulous Philadelphians – who’ve performed in more than 40 countries – will also be back again for a major outdoor event in 2020.
- The Big Apple Circus will be coming to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks May through June of 2019.
- The East Coast Summer Showcase Basketball Tournament will also take place at the Expo Center over the July 4th holiday weekend
- And, a new My Hockey tournament will be held at Center Ice, also in Oaks, Labor Day weekend
- The VFTCB will launch Montco TV in 2019, to debut on Facebook Watch, and Instagram TV, as well as utilize platforms to attract more social influencers to the area to help support the promotion of campaigns like the pet-friendly Embark Montco initiative.
The nonprofit and its staff collected a record 27 awards and recognition in 2018. The accolades add to a growing list of accomplishments for the VFTCB.
Here is a list of the awards received in 2018:
- AMA Philadelphia Rising Star Finalist, Justine Garbarino
- 2018 AVA Digital Gold, Digital Marketing Campaign, Army-Navy Game
- PR News, CSR Honorable Mention, Freedom from Hunger Food Drive
- PR News, Nonprofit Branding/Re-Branding Award
- 2018 Best Cultural Tourism Advocacy - Pennsylvania & LUX Excellence Award for Cultural Heritage Tourism
- AVA Digital Gold Award, Army-Navy Game Digital Marketing Campaign
- Hermes Creative Awards, Platinum, Montco’s Best Pizza Tournament Social Media Campaign
- Hermes Creative Awards, Gold, Arts Montco Marketing
- 2018 MUSE Gold Award, Snap Montco Social Media Campaign
- 2018 MUSE Rose Gold Award, Meeting Planner Toolkit
- 2018 Communitas Excellence in Community Service for Freedom from Hunger Food Drive
- AMA Movers & Shakers Nominee/Finalist, Edward Harris
- 2018 ILEA Best Catered Event, 2017 Annual Luncheon
- 2018 Videographer Award of Distinction, Monty the Mascot Video Series
- 2018 Platinum dotComm Award for Arts Montco website
- 2018 PR News Agency Elite Agency Team of the Year
- Global Trend Quest Winner for Monty the Mascot Video Series
- Chamber of Commerce for Greater Montgomery County Business of the Year
- DMN 40 Under 40, Edward Harris
- PR News Top Best Places to Work in PR
- PR News Digital Awards Video Honorable Mention, Monty the Mascot Video Series
- PR Daily CSR Honorable Mention, Freedom from Hunger Food Drive
- MarCom Gold, Montco Makers App
- PR News PR People Awards Community Relations Professional of the Year Honorable Mention, Edward Harris
- PR News PR People Awards Media Relations Professional of the Year Honorable Mention, Rachel Riley
- Vega Centauri Travel, Montco Makers App
- Vega Arcturus Food & Drink, Montco Makers App
“These honors just speak to what a great place our organization is to work,” Bowman said. “We always take things to the next level, and that type of environment is attracting the kind of talented people who get recognized for their hard work, leadership, and innovative use of new technology.”
Staff members said that the recognitions were all a team effort of everyone working together to make Montgomery County even better.
The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that actively promotes Valley Forge and Montgomery County, PA as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 500+ member hotels, restaurants, attractions, and services. The award-winning website links visitors, meeting planners, tour operators, and residents to a diverse portfolio of brands focused on reasons to visit the region.